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Book: Americanah (by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

When Ifemelu departs military-ruled Nigeria to pursue her studies in America, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. This powerful and tender novel illuminates race relations in contemporary America through Ifemelu’s refreshing wit and brazen honesty.

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Today's virtual teams: Adapting lessons learned to the pandemic context

Feitosa, J., & Salas, E. (2020). Today's virtual teams: Adapting lessons learned to the pandemic context. Organizational dynamics, 100777. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orgdyn.2020.100777

Researchers have highlighted five main challenges that ordinary virtual teams face during the COVID pandemic. Considering the current situation, the authors revisit these original challenges to contextualize them with the goal of helping managers better navigate these unprecedented times.

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"10Things Brits Say...and What Americans Think We Mean" - BBCAmerica

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Italian Grandmas Try Olive Garden For The First Time

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Daniel Charles Jones onto Cross-cultural videos

What Do U.S. Elections Look Like Abroad? | NYT Opinion

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Daniel Charles Jones onto Cross-cultural videos

‘That’s Ridiculous.’ How America’s Coronavirus Response Looks Abroad. - NYT Opinion

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Daniel Charles Jones onto Cross-cultural videos

Forum's Guide for Global Learning

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Simon Gray onto Global Learning

Language Constructs Enemies

Here's another one for TESOL teacher in training. It uses concrete examples and an inductive approach to critique the language often used in US media and other discourses to describe other cultures, turning that language back on aspects of US culture that are difficult to understand for cultural outsiders (in the vein of the classic anthropological reading, Nacirema).

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Language Envelopes

I love this activity. It does require face to face instruction, though, and it takes quite a bit of time to organize the materials, especially for larger groups. But, it's wonderful for highlighting semantic organizations and how they differ across cultures/languages as well as individually.

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Redundancia

This is not an activity I would do with ESOL learners themselves, but it is great for TESOL teacher training, especially for monolinguals or for those who haven't studied a language in good while. What a great reminder of the frustration, anxiety, and exhaustion of trying to communicate in a language you are not fluent in. It's a wonderful empathy builder for the language learner experience. I think it would also work well in the virtual context, although I haven't tried it that way.

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Zoom in, Zoom out

If you are trying to get your ESOL students to stop equating culture with nationality, this is a great activity to complicate their thinking. It's low tech and results in great discussions that utilize crowd-sourced geographical and cultural knowledge.

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Metaphors across Cultures

While we are a metaphor kick - this one would be more appropriate for advanced ESOL students unless you conducted it in their L1. It is great for highlighting the important role that language plays in constructing meaning and interpreting experience, though. 

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Metaphors for Culture

I am a fan of talking and thinking about culture in TESOL classrooms, and I also think it is fun to dissect language, so this one has double the appeal. It's a great powerpoint that gets learners thinking about the implications of conceptualizing culture itself in different ways: an iceberg, onion, fishbowl, glasses, etc. Great for beginners, and could be used in a mixture of L1 and L2 if need be.

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Mini Metaphors

This is one of my favorite ice-breaker activities, and it can also be used as a debriefing/reflection tool. It is just a collection of little charms and miniature objects, but in my experience learners love putting their hands on them. It is an instant change in atmosphere from afraid to talk to eager to explain their choices: a real conversation starter that encourages deep thinking through metaphorical connections. For this reason I think it is perfect for language learners who have so much more to say than their level of fluency and speech anxiety will sometimes let them.

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Zoom in, Zoom out

I have used this activity for years in language and linguistics classrooms (face to face) and have found it very useful for getting learners to a more complex understanding of culture when their minds automatically jump to differences at the level of national culture. It translates extremely well to the online context, either synchronous or asynchronous, and would be perfect for preparation for COIL because it gets people beyond thinking of nations as monolithic wholes represented by their peer counterparts.

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Counter-Storytelling

This is a great activity for learners who need to know more about micro-aggressions (specifically those encountered by Asians and Asian-Americans in a higher education context) and how to counter them. I did it recently online with staff, but it could easily be used for students as well. It is a great mix of theory and practice, includes multimedia, and ends with a useful discussion of cultural humility.

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Documentary: Crossing Borders (2009)

This is a documentary about the power of cross-cultural friendships. It follows four Moroccan and four American university students as they travel together through Morocco and, in the process of discovering The Other, discover themselves. 

Crossing Borders Poster

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Movie: Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

The film follows the 18-year-old daughter of British Indian Sikhs in London. She is infatuated with football but her parents have forbidden her to play because she is a girl. She joins a local women's team, which makes its way to the top of the league.

Two sporty girls hugging.

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Movie: Lost in Translation (2003)

The film explores themes of alienation and disconnection against a backdrop of cultural displacement in Japan.

Bill Murray's character sits on a hotel bed with Tokyo visible in a window behind him.

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Movie: The Farewell (2019)

The film follows a Chinese-American family who, upon learning their grandmother has only a short while left to live, decide not to tell her and schedule a family gathering before she dies.

The Farewell poster.jpg

Note: A tool created for this movie is available at https://hubicl.org/toolbox/tools/649/objectives

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Movie: Queen (2013)

Rani, an under-confident Punjabi girl from New Delhi embarks on her honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam by herself after her fiancé calls off their wedding.

QueenMoviePoster7thMarch.jpg

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