Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Principle #1: Motivation in the HARBOR

Let's Talk
We are now going to spend time hanging out in the HARBOR, the 3rd dimension of cross-cultural communication.  Re-visit my entry titled "Dimension #3 - the Harbor" for an introduction to this special, exciting place.  I want to share here what another linguist/cross-cultural communicator has written on what 'harbors' mean in the context of being a learner. 

Homi Bhabha, a well known educator and theorist, was one of the pioneers in examining what I call the 3rd Dimension and what he called "the 3rd space". In his book Location of culture (1994, London. Routledge), Bhabha explores this meeting of people and their respective cultures by presenting an artist's view of actual harbors as an example of how people and goods meet "in the very flux of exchange" (p8).  In his manuscript for Fish Story, an exhibition about the world's harbors, the artist Alan Sekula vividly describes a scene from a typical contemporary harbor:

"A scratchy recording of the Norweigan national anthem blares out from a loudspeaker at the Sailor's Home on the bluff above the channel.  The container ship being greeted flies a Bahamian flag of convenience.  (The ship) was built by Koreans working long hours in the giant shipyards of (Ulsan City in Korea).  The underpaid and the understaffed crew could be Salvadorean or Filipino.  Only the (Norwegian) Captain hears a familiar melody..." (p8)

In our ever increasingly global community, we often find ourselves in this type of multi-cultural context.  At any given moment, you or I  may be this Captain, the only one hearing a familiar melody - the only one understanding any given situation, the only one benefitting from what is offered.  Let's see how we can move from being in that isolated spot to building a framework for effective cross-cultural everyone involved is hearing and enjoying the sharing of the melodies!

Share your comments below.

The Task
In order to move into a HARBOR where shared goals and experience can be enjoyed, we must first engage with our HOST and begin to communicate about these goals!  What motivates us to do this?  What motivates our HOST to participate?  You began to examine this in the "Principle #1: Motivation and My HOST" entry. Bring what you discovered from there, and let's formalize that now with the next steps:

1. Identify and share Learner Goals (from HOME)

2. Identify and share HOST Goals

Share your comments below.


A helpful exercise in identifing anyone's Goals for language learning is to do a "Needs Analysis".  These are available in many formats online.  You can google "language learning - needs analysis", or you can follow these simple steps to get started:

1.  Identify your, the Learner's, Goals:
* list things you want/need to do with your Target Language (TL)
       Be specific - don't just write "Be able to talk"!!
       Think through who you want to talk with, what circumstances you will find yourself in,
             what kinds of tasks you might have to accomplish, etc.
       Make your list of specific items
Examples: I enjoy sewing and would like to purchase material at the market to use for that activity.
                My job requires that I interact with local farmers to see what their planting traditions are.

* write a goal for each item
Examples: I want to be able to buy a piece of material from a local merchant.
                I want to be able to interview a local farmer about his planting traditions.

*  share these with your HOST and record their initial reactions, questions and input

2. Identify your HOST's Goals:
* list things your HOST would like to accomplish
Examples: My HOST is my friend who wants to learn to sew using a treadle machine.
                My HOST is a local farmer who wants to improve his crop yields.

* record your initial reactions, questions, input

Share your comments below.

Next step?  Exploring how each of these goals can be achieved by working the HARBOR!
See you next time!

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