Bilingual Business Leader Program,Core Curriculum of Department of Business

EAP 2 Students Consider What It Means to Be Global

Updated on: June 09, 2014|  PrintPrint

DeWitt1.JPGのサムネール画像のサムネール画像Mr. Nathan DeWitt, an intercultural communications consultant at Link Global Solution Inc., visited EAP 2 students in the College of Business to discuss some of the challenges of group communication in international business on May 30, 2015. Mr. DeWitt began by asking the students if they considered themselves to be global? The majority of the students responded that they were “unsure” whether or not they were global citizens. After some probing, a number of students identified their so-called inadequate English language skills as the main factor for their uncertainty. Mr. DeWitt then introduced the three pillars of successful global business people: English skills, business skills, and intercultural communication skills. He emphasized, however, that contrary to what the students may believe, intercultural communication skills were most important for global business people.

DeWitt2.JPGのサムネール画像のサムネール画像のサムネール画像のサムネール画像 To demonstrate, he introduced the example of a multi-cultural group he worked with to introduce how education impacts meetings, presentations, and discussion styles. In this particular group, communication challenges arose as a result of Socratic and Confucian style education backgrounds; whereas people from Socratic education backgrounds challenged ideas, played the devil’s advocate, and actively contributed to group discussions, people from Confucian style education backgrounds tended to be passive listeners rather than active participants. According to Mr. DeWitt, the differences in expectations for business communication are influenced by a person’s educational training. For business people from Socratic style learning systems which encourage the sharing of knowledge between teachers and students in an egalitarian environment, working together with business people who trained under a Confucian style learning system which places the teacher and student at polar opposites of the learning continuum can prove to be extremely challenging. In such cases, being able to understand both communication styles and adapt accordingly is key for successful business communication.
To promote successful group communication in international business settings, Mr. DeWitt advised the EAP 2 students to develop a deep understanding of the “do’s” and “don’ts” associated with different world cultures. He encouraged the students to find opportunities to socialize with international students, study abroad, and participate in intercultural communication training sessions. At the end of the lecture, students were asked to perform a self-evaluation using the ICST (Individual, Class, School, Target) scale to determine their individual comfort level for class participation compared to their EAP 2 instructor’s expectations. Upon reflection, a number of students acknowledged the need to make more of an effort to proactively share their opinions and ideas in the classroom. With a new understanding of the meaning of global, the EAP 2 students were inspired to further develop their English skills, together with their business skills and intercultural communication skills, in hopes of strengthening  these three pillars to become successful global business people.
Article and photos by Melanie Czarnecki



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