Teaching Intercultural Communication

Teaching Intercultural Communication

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Jolanda, Javad,

Yes, Hoofstede did an amazing job in identifying cultural categories. However, his taxonomy is based on the view of cultures as sealed entities. Today’s reality and other more recent approaches in intercultural communication suggest that INDIVIDUALS may not necessarily fit into any pre-conceived category. Hoofstede’s view of culture(s) falls into the definition of ESSENTIALIST approaches. This says that ‘culture’ is a concrete social phenomenon which represents the essential character of a particular nation.

Another, very different approach is the NON-ESSENTIALIST approach. This says that ‘culture’ is a movable concept used by different people at different times to suit purposes of identity, politics and science.

The two concepts are summarized in this article by Adrian Holliday. A much better and enjoyable discussion of these issues and their hands-on application in intercultural communication classes is presented in the book Intercultural Communication: An Advanced Research Book by Adrian Holliday et al.

Javad, I believe that familiarizing yourself with the non-essentialist approach would serve you well in improving the effectiveness of your teaching, as it would make you mindful of a broader range of situations that would go beyond Hoosftede’s taxonomy.

Available resources on these topics abound.

I am posting the link to a short article on Different approaches to Intercultural Communication.

This is the link to the Building Bridges, a Peace Corps Classroom Guide To Cross-Cultural Understanding (grades 6-12).

I hope this will be useful to you as you approach your new teaching project.

This thread gives me the opportunity to make some cross-references between courses. Hoofstede’s taxonomy was presented in my group’s report for the Course Adult Learning Perspectives.

I remember you read it and gave us valuable feedback. Click here to view my essay on THE INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION DIMENSION IN GLOBAL LEARNING.

At the bottom you will also find some web resources. I am pasting some of them below:


Resources on Geert Hoofstede:




Pamala Morris’ Training Module on Building Cultural Competencies:


Milton Bennett’s Development Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS):


Modes of intercultural communication:

The Hidden Dimension:

Beyond Culture:

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