This small group activity uses a pseudo-simulation approach to explore dynamics of enculturation, acculturation, third culture, and diaspora and the resulting influences upon cross-cultural communication competence. All human communication contexts are influenced by perceptual patterns which, in turn, are shaped by culture-based norms and views. Furthermore, as asserted by E.T. Hall, significant linkages exist between a group’s cultural influences and its communication practices. This guided, collaborative learning exercise also draws on the inherent diversity within the students’ personal cultural backgrounds and previous culture-based studies as they work together to create new (hypothetical) co-cultural groups. Through this multi-step exercise, students “experience” the long term processes by which a group develops its culture—as manifested in its observable elements, values, and contextual sensibilities. Students are encouraged to use their imaginations as informed by their historical, geographical, and anthropological knowledge in order to consider beyond their own personal cultural realities. This activity, which can be adjusted to a wide variety of class sizes and session-lengths, accomplishes several additional pedagogical objectives, including: collaborative learning, exploration of culture-based principles, and the application of systems theory to human communication practices (input-throughput-output).

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Communication Commons