This assignment has been used widely with executives to deepen their self-knowledge ND understanding. The main areas of course theory which you will apply directly in this assignment are cross-cultural communications and managing cultural transitions. The main outcome is a report on the experience (maximum 1250 words) in which you report on your observations, how you approached the assignment, and what you learned about yourself through the experience. A grading criteria grid will be posted on Mousers providing information on how the assignment will be graded.
Some examples of unfamiliar cultural settings in which you might immerse ourselves include the deaf community, a women’s shelter, religious groups, an ethnic community center, a seniors’ residence, food bank, the blind community. Choose a setting that you have very little first-hand knowledge of, then plan to spend a period of time (one day is recommended) in that culture in a way that allows some participation in it (as distinct from only observing it or interviewing its members). You are not asked to immerse yourself incognito in the sub-culture.
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You remain yourself but are asked to participate in, rather than simply visit the ultra setting. You should strive to be more than a tourist, and participate for a period of time. The emphasis in this fieldwork assignment is on experiential learning. The task is to experience entering and interacting with another culture directly, as opposed to studying or speculating about it. Pay attention to your own behavior and reactions in the period prior to your first contact, as you attempt to gain entry, as well as during your experience and afterwards.
A word about ethics: Do not misrepresent yourself in approaching a group to request entry. Keep in mind too that you are the one asking for a favor. How you ask and what explanation you provide needs to be sensitive to the other group’s needs and perceptions as well as your own need to meet the course reek reorient. In addition, please note that certain groups raise particular ethical concerns when conducting research in Canada. These include indigenous groups (First Peoples), children, prisoners, and people with a diminished capacity to give informed consent (e. G. Individuals with mental challenges).
Students should not pursue projects that might involve such groups. In addition, the project should not involve observing or participating in illegal behavior. Report: The report on your fieldwork experience should include the items below. The report should be 1250 words maximum. Include the word count at the end of your paper. Put your ID number, not your name at the top of your paper. Write concisely and clearly, using point-form in part if you wish (judiciously). 1 . Description of the subculture you chose and why you chose it. This should include your expectations about the culture. 2.
Preparation for entering the ultra – reading, thinking about it, contacting people, collecting information etc; concepts you considered to be of potential use. 3. Gaining entry – how you did it. Contact person, how contacted, permission? 4. Description of the experience (what did you do while in the culture, what happened? ) and the main cultural differences you experienced. Remember you are a part of the experience. What were your reactions and how did you adapt? You are asked to use course material, e. G. In Communications and Cultural Transitions, to deepen your description of your experience. . Reflection and insights – what you learned from the experience beginning with your entrance into the culture. This must include what you learned about yourself: feelings, lessons/insights; things confirmed or not confirmed; surprises – positive and negative. You should make links with the material covered in the course, and your own previous experiences in another culture. You should be trying to draw generalizations from the project experience, your previous experiences, and the course. Try to integrate your learning from these different sources and generate insights from these varied inputs.
Strive to develop insights that might assist you to function better in a new cultural environment in the future. 6. Recommendations or action plan – how or what you would change the next time you have an opportunity to enter another culture. Be as specific as possible about what you personally will do differently or similarly, the next time you experience cross cultural transition. Consider this to be a personal development plan with distinct goals for follow up in the future. Important notes: – Participation and interaction with people in their culture, rather than being only an observer or interviewer, is required for an optimal grade. Culture is a collective phenomenon. This means you must choose an intact, identifiable group with which to interact, not an individual. This group should be outside of your personal life (e. G. Not family members, work associates etc). – The project must be done in ‘real time’; it must not be an analysis of previous experience. (previous experience can be brought into the report as in apt. 5 above). – 5 and 6 above are the most important parts of the report – please give them due attention.