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Mentor / Coach Suggestions

Getting the most out of the EXPLORING CULTURE activities

These culture exploration activities are designed to help a newcomer learn the culture from members of the culture. They are also designed to teach the learner a culture-learning method they can use as long as they live in the adopted culture. The further they go, the more ownership the learner takes for the learning process. By the end of the pre-designed activities, they should be bringing learning topics to your attention and designing their own culture exploration activities.

These Level 1 activities progress from pure observation to simple interview and on to complex observation/interview assignments.

Once the early exercises are completed, you can assign the rest in any order you please, depending on the topic or situation that arises.

We recommend the following process for you to get the greatest benefit from these culture exploration activities.

Step 1: Help the learner prepare for the exercise by assisting in choosing a location, a person to interview and how to involve their tutor or language helper (translation or vocabulary.)
Step 2: Consider doing the activity yourself, and make rough notes as you go along.
Step 3: Convert these notes into an Activity Report. Use sentences and describe what you observed or the conversation that took place.
Step 4: Debrief the learner after their experience.
Step 5: Help the learner identify related questions that need additional consideration. Encourage them to describe what further investigation needs to be done. (Sometimes further investigation will come in later culture exploration activities but outstanding questions should still be identified and noted at this time.)

It will be important at the beginning to help the learner refrain from interpreting too quickly (assigning meaning) and making value judgments. After they have completed all these assignments and level 2 and 3 assignments they will have a foundation for interpretation and evaluation.

It will take discipline on your part not to tell the learner what you know about a topic, especially if their initial research tends to contradict what you know. Help them do additional follow-up “research” when findings are immature or incomplete. You may find it enlightening to do the Culture Exploration activity yourself to test your own knowledge and increase your own cultural understanding.

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