This Monday, our journey on the road to intercultural efficacy and understanding, began with a simple case study. Amy Newcomb, a Student Programs Officer and Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Academic Director at the Dickey Center for International Understanding, presented the RGLP team with three ways in which individuals converse with each other:
|Mac Zech '18 participates in discussing the different conversation models. Photo by Sally Kim '16.
(1) Turn-taking: a conversational model wherein both parties take turns talking about the subject matter, with person B responding to the opinion and statements of person A.
(2) Pacing: a conversational structure that incorporates pauses to the flow of discussion in order to ensure that the conversation remains thoughtful and deliberate.
(3) Overlapping: a conversation structure such that person B actually begin to voice their lines of thought near the conclusion of the statements from person A.
We then self-identified as either primarily a turn-taker, a pacer, or an overlapper and subsequently broke off into three groups based on our categorizations. These groups then began conversations about what their days were like. I was in the overlapper category and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fast-paced tenor of our discussion seemed very natural.
However, upon splitting into mixed groups, I found that a conscious effort had to be made to include every individual in the conversation. We concluded by finding that each style of conversation had its own merits and that even a task as simple as finding the right tempo for a conversation can be considered an aspect of cultural sensitivity. Though the group went on to learn about the Intercultural Development Continuum and several other theoretical models and tools created by Doctor Mitchell Hammer, I found that even this short excursion into different conversational patterns across individuals and cultures to be eye opening and a source of personal reflection. I can’t wait to see what the rest of this program brings.
-Written by Mac Zech '18, Fall 2015 RGLP Participant
This ongoing series explores sessions of the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) through participant narratives. RGLP engages Dartmouth students who have demonstrated leadership skills and would like to extend these skills on a globally conscious level. In this program, students focus on and further develop international leadership competencies, which have become increasingly crucial in corporate, public and non-profit sectors today.