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Intercultural Communication: Building Relationships and Skills

Author(s): Helen Acosta, Bryan Hirayama, Mark Staller

Edition: 2

Copyright: 2019

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Intercultural Communication: Building Relationships and Skills provides clear explanations of relevant communication theories and practical advice for improving communication skills. This text is designed to introduce students to the most important concepts, theories, and strategies related to intercultural communication. It enables students to establish and maintain satisfying relationships with people from other countries and cultures.

Intercultural Communication presents topics among 10 chapters:

  • Chapters 1 and 2 provide a solid foundation for understanding intercultural communication. In Chapter 1 you’ll gain an understanding of the scope of intercultural communication and in Chapter 2 you’ll learn about how we need to learn to appreciate both similarities and differences.
  • Chapters 3-6 are skill-centered chapters that focus on learning to adapt and empathize, verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and managing intercultural conflicts.
  • Chapters 7-9 are pivotal chapters that help you to come to an understanding of who you are and how your culture and co-cultures have influenced and formed your personal identity through exploration of your values and worldviews, history and multifaceted identity.
  • Chapter 10 presents advice about intercultural communication in very specific contexts (romantic relationships, travel, and healthcare).

The accompanying workbook provides reading guides, journal assignments, activity sheets, and self-tests. Students are able to check their basic understanding of the concepts and theories presented in the textbook while analyzing and evaluating their own intercultural communication strengths and weaknesses.

The print bundle consists of a print text and print workbook. 

The eBook bundle consists of an eBook text and the digital workbook is hosted through Publish1st. 

Preface
About the Authors
Dedication

Chapter 1 Foundations of Intercultural Communication

Chapter 2 Appreciating Both Sameness and Difference

Chapter 3 Adaptation and Empathy

Chapter 4 Verbal Communication

Chapter 5 Nonverbal Communication

Chapter 6 Approaches to Conflict

Chapter 7 Values and Worldviews

Chapter 8 History vs. Histories

Chapter 9 Our Multifaceted Selves

Chapter 10 Intercultural Communication Across Contexts

Helen Acosta

From my earliest memories college was an important co-culture in my life. When I was in preschool my dad was in college. First, he studied at Orange Coast College, and then he transferred to Long Beach State to complete his Bachelor’s Degree as well as his Master’s Degree in Communication. Once he completed his degree he was hired as an instructor and Speech and Debate coach at Bakersfield College. From 2nd grade through 10th grade I lived less than a mile from Bakersfield College, I grew up playing in the hallways where I work today. While college has always been part of my life, and an expected destiny, my own academic journey was one of struggle. As a dyslexic, even after a year of tutoring with a reading specialist, I often felt less intelligent than other students at school. I struggled with the work. My teachers were often disappointed because my large vocabulary and verbal skills gave them the expectation that I was above average but my written academic skills were far lower than many of my peers. I never saw myself as an academic but I knew that I loved learning new things and making new connections between ideas. My joys in school were always performance based: band, choir, and drama. Music was my major when I enrolled in college. In my first semester I also joined my dad’s Speech and Debate team. I struggled in my music classes and I excelled on the Speech and Debate team. I became a national champion and I learned to support the work of my teammates as a peer coach. I decided to become a Speech and Debate coach and became a Communication major when I entered my junior year of college. While I continued to struggle in courses outside of my major I thrived in my Communication courses, earning first a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and then a Master’s Degree, both from CSU, Northridge. While in school I coached the Speech and Debate team at Los Angeles Valley College. A few months after graduation, I was hired as an instructor and Speech and Debate coach at Bakersfield College. After years in Southern California it felt good to return home.

Over 20 years ago, Mark Staller joined me as a coach and instructor in the Communication department at BC. On the surface it appears that Mark and I are exact opposites: I am extremely liberal, he is extremely conservative; I am a secular atheist, he is a devout Christian; I have no interest in ever having children, he has two wonderful adult children. Even our brains work differently. His ability to categorize ideas, ponder philosophical constructs, and conceptualize complex ideas simply astounds me. My understandings of the world do not tend toward the philosophical. I tend toward concrete understandings of the world. All those difference do not hold a candle to the similarities that have kept our friendship harmonious for 2 decades. We are both in love with learning, we are passionate about our work, we both have “absentminded professor” tendencies, and we both put family at the center of our lives. These similarities balance our differences.

Well into my 40s, I remained the youngest faculty member in the Communication Department at Bakersfield College. Luckily, 5 years ago we hired Bryan Hirayama. Bryan’s youth belies by his wideranging experience and expertise. Bryan gives me a glimpse of many experiences of the world that are far from my own. He and his active young family have a lifestyle that might be featured in a fitness magazine. Bryan has traveled and lived outside of the US, neither Mark or I share his global understanding. Beyond Bryan’s athleticism and cosmopolitan experiences, he has a drive and determination that inspires me.

Two years ago we were lucky to hire one of our long-time adjunct faculty, Talita Pruett, Talita’s love of Intercultural Communication initially brought us together and her knowledge, both theoretical and first-hand as a first generation American who moved here in College, consistently inspires me. Talita is part of a new generation of faculty at Bakersfield College who are teaching full-time and raising their young families. Her office is right next door to mine. I look forward to our, almost daily, conversation about our students, our work and our families.

 Today, after 23 years at Bakersfield College, I have a wide variety of communities of which I am a part. I discuss these communities in the chapter titled, “Our Multifaceted Selves.” For my entire career I have taught between three and five public speaking courses per semester. I authored two chapters of the textbook Contemporary Public Speaking: How to Craft and Deliver a Powerful Speech. In the early 2000s, I also began teaching Persuasion and I began teaching Intercultural Communication in 2008. Intercultural Communication, more than any other course I have ever taken or taught, has changed my approach to all of my interactions. When any instructor I meet says they would like to start teaching Intercultural Communication I always say “Get ready! It will change you!” . . . and it does! The skills necessary to be an effective intercultural communicator are all learnable and, as authors, we hope that this text will help you recognize, practice and begin to master them.

 The relationship in my life that has taught me more about Intercultural Communication than any other is my relationship with my husband, Enrique. Enrique has provided me a window into a world entirely unlike my own. Together, over the last 27 years, we have created a two-person culture of our own. Without him my life would be far less exciting. Enrique has introduced me to more co-cultures than I ever imagined: Comic book and Science Fiction (and their conventions), Medieval Recreation Societies, Community Theatre, Hard Rock musicians, actors, composers, theater companies, and coffee aficionados. Together we have been poets, play producers, and members of a community chorus we co-founded. His life before we met was my polar opposite. He pushes me toward adventure and helps me check my perceptions when I would not notice the need on my own. . . . and he keeps me from wandering out into traffic . . . which is tremendously helpful. I wrote Chapter 8 (History vs. Histories), Chapter 9 (Our Multifaceted Identities), Chapter 4 (Verbal Communication), and Chapter 3 (Adaptation and Empathy).

Bryan Hirayama

There are so many events and experiences that have shaped me as a person and driven me to become more aware and conscientious of my communication with others, especially with those who might not come from a similar background. Many of these experiences I wear like badges of honor like being raised in a single-parent home by a woman, despite having four growing children, took full advantage of the support and generosity from family and friends to go back to school and become a credentialed teacher. Although some badges were apparent, chosen, and intentional, some of the badges that decorate my life are worn more proudly than others. There are three in particular that color me as an individual, a scholar, an author, as a professor, and as a husband and father.

I come from humble beginnings, much like many of the students who will read this text. Despite not always having the things I wanted and needed growing up, my participation in sport culture gave me a social capita that was worth its weight in gold. As I excelled in a number of sports within my community, the disparities of being someone without certain luxuries disappeared on some level. My involvement with sports and the culture of athletics propelled my life in ways that will forever be understood as nothing short of life changing. My friend groups and the way I was treated by others were often a direct product of my involvement and skills in sports. Even the friendships I was able to build with others from different sports were unique from the friends from other sports. Each sport culture is so different and rich. It is really the interplay between the sports, sport teams, and fandom of the sports I played that acted as my first training grounds for intercultural communication. The language and behaviors in one sport make very little sense on different fields and venues. It was not until college that I really started to understand just how different and special the culture of sports was. During my community college days I was a two-time All-American in water polo and swimming. Although I consciously made a decision to not continue after two very successful years at the community college level, Water Polo is still very much a part of my life. This culture has and continues to shape the way I see the world and how I understand others.

Secondly, another co-culture that has impacted and continues to impact my life is related to my ethnic identity. As a Japanese American I take great pride in my heritage and being part of a co-culture of racial mixed people. My minority status is often called into question because of my subtle Japanese features but ideologically I have always felt more in-line with other co-cultures that are on the fringes of society. As a fourth-generation Japanese-American, or yonsei, the experiences I share with others within my co-culture creates a bond that is very important for me to nourish and a bond I hope to pass onto my racially mixed children. My love for Japan and Japanese culture helps me to stay connected and grounded within my co-culture and since many of my students are interested in Japanese culture, I am often given a soapbox to share this love with them. Following graduate school, I took a visiting professorship position teaching at a private University in Japan. My two years teaching, studying, living, and learning in Japan has forever solidified my love for my father-land, as I call it, and my family that made the difficult journey to America a few generations ago. My affiliation and inclusion within this co-culture is something I have to work hard to maintain at times but it is through the struggle of reaching out to others, travel, and study that makes this membership so much more meaningful.

Lastly, I belong to a co-culture of loss. Without going into too much detail, my father died when I was eleven. A consequence of his death was in fact my initiation into a co-culture of survivors. At times I hide the fact that I am a part of this co-culture. It is not easy to talk about with others regardless if they too have experienced this kind of loss. It has shaped me in ways that I am still making sense of today in my early thirties. Although co-cultural groups for survivors exist out there, I have always been wary about making my membership known. It is not that I am ashamed or embarrassed, it is just that I reserve my communication about my inclusion in this co-culture to the people that I trust and with students when it is appropriate. This co-culture has helped to shape my goals, values, and in many ways helps me stay true to other co-cultures that I am a part of. Each of these three co-cultures has made and continues to make its imprint on me as a person, a community member, and a family member. I value each of these co-cultures despite my openness about them.

Mark Staller

I belong to several academic co-cultures. As a student in a Great Books program at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California, I earned a BA in Liberal Arts and was the recipient of the Thomas Aquinas Award for outstanding achievement in the Liberal Arts. At the University of California at Berkeley I earned an MA and PhD in Rhetoric. My doctoral areas of concentration were rhetoric and philosophy in the classical world, modern rhetorical theory, and the rhetoric of philosophy. After completing my doctoral work, I taught for about 4 years at several Central Valley colleges in three different academic disciplines, English, Philosophy, and Speech. I taught courses in basic writing, research writing, technical writing, public speaking, critical thinking, and Introduction to Philosophy. Some of my academic identities, therefore, are writing instructor, speech instructor, liberal arts generalist, rhetorician, and philosopher.

For the past 22 years, I have taught full-time as a Professor of Communication at Bakersfield College. For my first 5 years, I alternated with my colleague Helen Acosta as coach and assistant coach of the Bakersfield College Speech and Debate Team, so Helen and I first developed our professional relationship as members of the California Speech and Debate community. For the past 17 years, I have been teaching Communication courses at Bakersfield College, including Public Speaking, Rhetoric and Argumentation, Intercultural Communication, Interpersonal Communication, and Small Group Communication. Collaborating with my colleagues in the Communication Department, I am a principle coauthor of four Communication textbooks: Contemporary Public Speaking: How to Craft and Deliver a Powerful Speech; Small Group Work in the Real World: A Practical Approach; Let’s Get Personal: Creating Successful Relationships Through Effective Interpersonal Communication; and, now, Intercultural Communication: Building Relationships and Skills.

In addition to my academic co-cultures, the primary co-culture I am involved in outside of my college career is the conservative Christian co-culture. I have been an active member of my church denomination since I was a small child, and I have pastored a small church in Tehachapi, California, for about the past 20 years. For a large part of my life, I have travelled back and forth between this traditional religious co-culture and the secular academic co-culture. Studying and teaching Intercultural Communication has helped me to clarify and claim both of these major parts of my personal identity.

Studying and teaching intercultural communication has also helped me to discover my German roots. Although my last name is “Staller,” until 11 years ago (when I first started teaching Intercultural Communication) I only thought of myself as American—I had almost no ethnic identity. On an unconscious level, I had disassociated myself from anything German because I primarily thought of Adolf Hitler and Nazis when I thought of German culture. After researching my family background and my German heritage, I can now write proudly that I am German-American. The Stallers, I have learned, were German Lutheran farmers who immigrated to the eastern part of the United States in the late 1800s. I hope that my Intercultural Communication students can have similar experiences getting in touch with their own co-cultures and their own personal identities.

I wrote Chapter 1 (The Foundations of Intercultural Communication), Chapter 2 (Appreciating Both Sameness and Difference), Chapter 5 (Nonverbal Communication), Chapter 6 (Approaches to Conflict), and Chapter 7 (Values and Worldviews).

Related ISBN's: 9781524968410, 9781792452307, 9781792459269

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