Thursday, April 21, 2011

Taking a Break...

Let's Talk
With this weekend being a holiday for many - and holy days also for many - I just want to visit with you briefly to encourage you to take a break!

Language and culture learning is a huge adventure...and hugely draining!  Sometimes we need to step aside, reconnect with our roots - our "Home", whether that's being with family and friends, returning to familiar resting places or maybe enjoying a favorite activity...

                                                                   The Task

Take a break.

Just do it!!


The Tools
Gather what you need...
or maybe simply take off
with empty hands and open eyes and ears and heart -
to be refreshed and renewed.


Next time we'll look at the 2nd dimension - the Host.
In the meantime, have a good one!

Any comments?  Share them below.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dimension #1 - Home

Cross-cultural Communicators
Adventures is "3 Dimensional" Language Learning!

Let's Talk
The first place in the learning process where we are going to linger 
is within ourselves -
 getting in touch with who we are as learners.

     I was reminded of one facet of myself as learner, and got to know myself alittle better in a different context,  this past week as I worked with my new book-keeper.  She is walking me through my 2010 books, and we had to stop before we got to what I considered a good stopping point.  I'm a global person - she's heavily sequential...the stopping in the middle of our task nearly unhinged me!  Good exercise tho...always good to be reminded - or enlightened - as to who we are!
     Then there was the learner I worked with a number of years ago who was strongly active versus her husband who was a dedicated reflective analyst/desk-working person.  Yikes...that caused major fireworks until we were able to do some careful identifying of each's preferred styles, and affirm these - while acknowledging the benefits of other styles which can be learned in due course.
     More recently I was surprised when I began to work with a retired elementary school teacher who wanted to brush up on her language ability in a second language.  Before tackling the language itself, we started to look at her learning style preferences...and she was also surprised because, despite having taught others for many years, she really was not in touch with some of her own distinct preferences.
Are YOU??!!
The Task 
is language learning in a cross –cultural context. 
That context is the Host community, which we'll be looking into very soon. Before we actually go there, I want to further introduce you this week to the "3 Dimensional Dynamics" of this whole process.

Remember that "3D Dynamics" are grounded in a BIG picture perspective. 
They provide a broad, BRIGHT, full, strategically energized approach to communicating.

Let's start with Dimension #1 which is all about:
YOU, knowing yourself as the Learner,
at HOME in your own cozy, familiar culture and language.
Check out the Tools below to get you started in discovering more about this dimension.
And tune in next week for Dimension #2!

Comments anyone? Please add yours below.
This week's
1st DimensionTools
focus on You the Learner
your place of comfort, your HOME.

Tool #1
To begin your journey into discovering yourself as Learner, it's helpful to look back at language learning experiences through your life - both the formal ones (schools, classes) and the informal ones (languages your family members spoke, places you lived or visited).  For those of you who have started to work with me, look back over your Learner ID.  For others interested in this, check out the "Product Kits and Tools" page on my Global SKILLs website ( ) and contact me for more information abot this tool. 
(select the link, keep your cursor on it and it will give you the choice to go to it)
Reflecting on these formative experiences will help you be a stronger, more efffective learner in future learning adventures - especially if you take in all 3 dimensions which we'll be looking at in the coming months!

Tool #2
To begin your journey into discoveirng your HOME, the place where you are most comfortable, it's helpful to look at your learning style preferences
Check out this simple styles index: 
(select the link, keep your cursor on it and it will give you the choice to go to it)
Send me your index results and I'll give you some details to work through - or just stay tuned since we'll be looking at these on the blog also.

Comments, anyone? Please add yours below.

See you next time!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Welcome to

"Cross-Cultural Communicators"
Adventures in "3 Dimensional" Language Learning!

Hopefully, each week, or thereabout, I’ll be offering a new post here.
The idea is to introduce people who are interested in language and culture learning to a new perspective called  the "3 Dimensional Dynamics" of intercultural communication...
and to guide them through their learning experience, step by step, week by week.

You'll find, and I hope be contributing to, the following:
Let’s Talk
Story time – real life experiences, mine or others, which introduce…

The Task 
Specifics about language learning program principles, planning, process and
yes – that which we all hope to see – progress!

Some Tools
I’ll always include resources, activities, links
to inform and guide you in your communication quest.

And then

Your “Comments
will round this adventure out, as you pitch in and share thoughts, questions,
your own experiences and definitely suggestions about resources
you discover along the way.

At any time, you are also most welcome to visit my website
This is the place you can learn more about:
** where I am coming from as a Learner myself, and as a consultant and coach
** the 3 Dimensional Dynamics I will be introducing in this blog
** the vast array of Global SKILLs (which stands for Strategies and Kits for Intercultural Lifelong Learning) which are available to empower successful learning.

Let’s Talk
this first week about why we’re here:
We want to be successful cross-cultural communicators. 

First of all, lest you have any illusions about this adventure we're on, allow me to state categorically:
Language learning is a HARD thing to do. 
Living and working cross-culturally are not easy. 
Bottom line, this is a HUGE challenge! 
It is also 100% do-able! 
I am convinced of this
I am passionate about helping  others experience it!

The first time I really came face-to-face with the HARD part truth was in a village in West Africa, where I had just landed for several months of intense language study.  Aside from the rather extreme living conditions (no running water, no electricity...) and the total immersion factor (for example, most of the women in the village did not speak anything I spoke...), this particular language was not yet fully written down, did not yet have an established alphabet…so no books, no classes – just me and my training AND (never forget this!) the community of speakers with whom to live and learn.   Now, I will say I’d spent years studying languages in classrooms, done some pretty extensive cross-cultural living and just finished 4 graduate semesters of training and preparation as a budding field linguist.  But in spite of all that good stuff, the morning dawned in the village that day, and I literally asked myself,

Can I really make this happen? Can I learn this language?”   

A somewhat frightening moment, I must admit (remembering it this clearly is evidence),
given the context and that my job description included me succeeding.
That was 30 years ago and I’ve spent much of my time since discovering and sharing
what I’m here today to tell you and that is:
“YES!!  I learned that language (and several since then). 
YES!! You can learn your chosen language too!"
I am sure of this for two very simple reasons:
First because there are 3 keys I will be sharing with you:

** basic universal principles (for general learning and language learning specific)
** ways to choose and define the necessary tasks involved
** many tools available to every learner.   
These 3 keys - if put into action strategically and consistently - will open the doors for anyone to be a successful language learner.
Second because I have expereinced using the 3 "keys" mentioned here and seen success, time and time again, for myself and while working for the past 2 decades with learners of all ages, from many educational backgrounds and - lest you think this is only for academics or for those who are 'gifted' in languages - learners who truly struggled for years before seeing themselves succeed.

Comments, anyone?  Please add yours below.


The Task
First, I'll make it perfectly clear what is NOT the Task!
I am not going to teach you your chosen, "target", language!!

I am going to help you learn how to learn the language which will then serve you:
** in communicating effectively in that language
** in learning any other language you choose in the future,
** and also, by the way, in learning anything else you want to learn in life!

This learning experience will be guided using a perspective called "3 Dimensional Dynamics"
(or 3D dynamics).  This is a BIG picture perspective approaching the learning process at 3 differnet levels, while acquiring and applying many strategies and skills.

3D Dynamics includes 3 Keys:
** principles which serve as overall guides
** specific tasks to include in your learning adventure
** tools which’ll help you move forward
AND 1 essential ingrediant:

YOU taking responsibility for your own learning.

We'll be talking more about this,
as step by step,
you become an empowered learner!

Comments, anyone?  Please add yours below.

This week, I'd encourage you to spend some time looking at the Global SKILLs website,
and other online resources you can find about language key terms like:
language and culture learning, learning styles, language resources.  Look too for resources on your target language.  Or hang out in a library or good bookstore in the languages section - see what kinds of self-guided courses are available.

The goal is just to help you begin to get a sense of the HUGE amount of material available for people who want to learn languages.  Don't get overwhelmed...just enjoy the tour and have fun!

Next week we'll get started with some specifics which will begin to equip you to set your own personal goals for your language learning...and make strategic choices of what task you want to include
and what tools you can use effectively.

Have a good week!

Photo notes: All of the Banner Photos were taken by Betsy Hopkins
far left - arriving in Dakar, the capital of Senegal in West Africa
center - the mighty Sahara and the west coast of Africa, taken from 35,000 feet up
far right - a copy shop in Dakar

Note of Appreciation:
I want to heart-fully thank my dear friend and "CC Sister" Karen Holmes for designing this blog with me.  Karen's "art eye" and her many years of experience in the realms of design and business have made this blog happen.  I celebrate its 'birth' and look forward to further collaboration with her!