Friday, March 1, 2013

Cross Cultural Communication - Spring 2013

Busan University of Foreign Studies
Graduate School of TESOL
TES 517 Cross-cultural Communication
Spring 2013: March 8 ~ June 21, 2013

Instructor: Jeff Lebow   Office Phone: 640-3708     E-mail:
Website: (or
Materials: Combination of handouts and online materials. There will be no textbook for this course.

Course Overview:
I aim to make this course as interesting and applicable to students' real lives as possible. As such, we will use not only 'academic' readings, but also authentic sources like blog posts, online presentations, personal videos, etc. Each week, we will focus on one set of core questions related to Cross-cultural Communication.  The core questions can be seen below.  Required assignments and supplemental material will be posted on the course website. Students are encouraged to seek out other materials that address the core questions as well. Some weeks, there will be no required reading, and students will be able to choose the material of most interest to them.  It is my hope that by having students engage with different (but related) material beforehand our class discussions will be more interesting and include a broader range of perspectives.
Methods of instruction will include short lecture style presentations, online interactions,  and group discussions. Students will be required to post at least 10 reflective writings on their own blogs during the course of the semester.

Course Goals:

  • To explore cultural self-awareness, other culture awareness, and the dynamics that arise in interactions between the two.
  • To understand how verbal and nonverbal communication processes differ among cultures.
  • To identify challenges that arise from these differences in intercultural interactions and explore ways to successfully address them.
  • To examine the theories that have been proposed to account for communication among people of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds
  • To identify and describe the factors that affect the development of relationships across cultures and explain how the cultural, microcultural, environmental, perceptual, and socio-relational contexts affect intercultural communication in organizations.
  • To explore the role the cross-cultural communication currently plays in education and how this role may evolve in the foreseeable future.

Students will be assessed according to the following criteria
40% Attendance & Participation
30% Assignments & Reflections
10% Mid-Term
20% Final Exam

Instructor Notes
Please make every effort to arrive on time.  If you are absent, please check the course website for information about any assignments.  Please turn cell phones off (or silence them) unless they are being used as part of a class activity. Please do not hesitate to contact me any time you have questions, concerns, or confusions about any aspect of this course. This syllabus is subject to change according to the needs of class participants and with occasional schedule interruptions due to holidays, etc.

Core Questions: Week#1    -   What is culture?  What is communication? What is your culture?  How do you define your identity, your culture, sub-cultures? Which are most significant to you?
Week#2    -  What are the primary aspects of communication and how do they vary within a culture and between cultures?
Week#3    -  What are the  key ingredients to successful cross-cultural communication and  multicultural collaboration?  What are the challenges of living ‘out of culture’?
Week#4    -  What are the linguistic components of English and other languages that are necessary to understand in order to successfully engage in cross-cultural communication?  How does one be ‘polite’ in English and other languages?
Week#5    -  How do Koreans see their own culture, communication styles, etc? How do non-Koreans see Koreans? How do other specific cultures (and subcultures) see their own cultures?
Week#6    -  What role does gender, age, and other demographic differences play in intra-cultural communication and cross-cultural communication?
Week#7    -  What role does culture play in the classroom, specifically a TESOL classroom?
Week#8  - Midterm

Post-midterm topics will be determined based on class interest.  These might include 'digging deeper' into topics already covered and/or other topics related to CCC (e.g. World Englishes, Media & Social Networking Issues, Flat World, and Flipped Classrooms).

Weeks#9~10 - To Be Determined
(May 17) - Buddha’s Birthday (no class)
Weeks 12~14 - To Be Determined    
Week#15  -
Final Discussions Part#1             
Week#16 - Final Discussions Part#2

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