Part of living in a globalized world is our encounter with foreign cultures, both at school and at work. To develop an understanding and respect for other cultures is quintessential in order to succeed in a globalized world. It can also prevent cultural misunderstanding and blunders.
Our class has therefore studied the cultural iceberg and discussed its meanings. In addition, we have looked at various songs and videos where cross-cultural communication is an issue. The poem “The Fat Black Woman Goes Shopping” by Grace Nichols is a good example of different value systems and cultures. Can you think of what the theme(s) and messages in this poem are?
- Watch these two clips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed7C3gAXQNA&feature=related
3. What are the differences and similarities between these two clips?
4. Discuss: Do you think the shopping experiences of the black woman would have been different if she was a. Tall and slim and b. A beautiful white woman. c. A rich black woman. d. A black man?
5.Write your own poem, a micropoem (Twitterpoem) of no more than 140 characters. It could be written as a poem/blogpost/comment. E.g.
Is enjoyable to those with a thick wallet and credit card
Nothing similar to those whose ward
Is the empty bank account
That only dismount
To complete blood count
The wolfs of the credit card
Which only disregard
The scarred shopper the whopper
Who needs to be put in a locker
Write a blog post where you compare the book and the film. Watch the trailer to the film and an interview with the author, Mohsin Hamid and the director, Mira Nair linked to in this blog post
In your blog post, comment on differences in plot, character descriptions and relationships, as well as focus and message in the film vs the book. To what extent do you think that these changes are justified or even improve the story? Or do you think they contribute to the film losing all the subtlety and complex ambiguity of the novel, as argued in this review ?
Former Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Cameron, held a famous speech on multiculturalism in 2012 at the Munich Security Conference. Current Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, held a famous speech in 2015 at the Assembly of First Nations, where he announced that Canada was going to renew its relationship with its native groups.
After having seen Cameron’s speech, write a blog post of about 400 words where you present the basic ideas of the speech, comment on the speaker’s attitude and way of presenting his ideas to the audience. Also, choose one of the following statements and discuss them in writing on your blog.
- Non-violent extremists are just as dangerous as violent ones.
- Universities are bastions of freedom of speech and democracy; therefore, all ideologies no matter how extreme should be allowed to be taught.
- Multiculturalism separates groups of people from each other, assimilation should be encouraged.
On Wednesday, January 10th, we are going to watch Trudeau’s speech and blog the assignment handed out to you in class about how the Prime Minister and Canadian politicians have followed through on the promises made in this 2015 speech.
Testing, testing, testing… Students are tested in every subject more or less all the time and International English is no exception! To prepare for this we arrange term tests, because we want our students to be equipped for a written exam. On December 5, Målfrid’s students worked with task 1 of a former exam. You can also listen to the speech as a Ted Talk. We want to share our knowledge with others and have made a padlet about literary devices and language features which you can access here.
Although we use blogs in our teaching, we still want our students to use a formal, academic style. Here is some useful guidance. Good luck with your term tests!
Gran Torino is a film released in 2008, staring Clint Eastwood – a war veteran trying to comes to terms with the multicultural society his neighborhood is turning into.
(Gran Torino movie poster, picture taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gran_Torino)
It is an excellent film, with a 8,2 rating on IMDB, portraying multiculturalism, its challenges and its benefits.
Before watching the film you will be given the movie poster and some questions about the symbolism and importance of cars, and the city of Detroit, about American war veterans and Asian Americans in the USA.
Write a short blog post where you analyze the movie poster – what kind of impression does it give of the movie?
Also, try to answer the questions you have been given in this blog post. It should be posted on your blog today, as you will have about 45 minutes to work with it in class.
“My Son the Fanatic” is a short story written in 1997 by Hanif Kureishi about a father and a son living in London, and struggling to adapt. The father left Pakistan and loves England, he wants to become as English as possible, because “you can do almost anything here.” The son has never been outside England, but still struggles to find his place in the English society, and is looking for something else, going back to the culture and faith of his ancestors, and becoming more and more angry with the society he sees around himself – the society his father is so in love with.
“Free for All” is a short story written by Moin Ashraf in 1999. This story too depicts a father and a son, this time in the US, the father doing everything “right” to become an upright and successful man in his new country, and being frustrated at seeing his son leaving the ideals of his own country and tradition. It is a culture clash, between a son who has grown up American, and a father who still looks back to and values of his Pakistani homeland.
Write a blog post where you EITHER compare these two stories in terms of father-son relationships and the question of identity and belonging, OR discuss what these two stories say about being an immigrant, and raising a family in a different culture. What are these two stories saying about multiculturalism?
Many countries today are multicultural societies, consisting of several groups of people identified by ethnicity, language, values and ways of life. Many English-speaking countries are multicultural, and the ones we often identify as multicultural countries are the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and India.
India is a complex, diverse country that may not be recognized as a multicultural one. Still, it consists of various cultural and ethnic groups that make up the pluralism that forms Indian identity with its many challenges.
The movie Lion brings us to both Australia and India. After having watched the movie, we will work with questions you can access here.
Another film that deals with multicultural societies is Gran Torrino. This film takes place in the USA. You can find more information about and questions to the film here.