Intercultural Communication

Course Website for Tunghai FLLD Seminar

Syllabus, Fall 2006

Course Description:

In this course, we will investigate from a variety of perspectives the topic of communication across or between cultures, with special attention to Chinese (particularly Taiwanese) and Western (particularly US) cultures. We will focus on written, spoken, and non-verbal communication in interpersonal, business, and educational settings. Some of the questions we will ask include:

  • What are some of the ways by which cultures are classified? How have researchers developed these classification systems?
  • What are some of the distinctions made between Chinese and Western communication styles?
  • How are cultural values communicated through verbal and nonverbal messages?
  • How do generalizations about communicative styles and practices apply to specific contexts (such as business settings, educational settings, or health care settings)?
  • What is intercultural communicative competence? How can it be acquired?
  • What are the possible effects of English teaching and learning on communication styles and one’s sense of cultural identity?

In addition to class discussion of the readings, we will engage in an online exchange with students from another communications course and we will reflect on that exchange. We’ll also participate in discussions with other students via the course blog. There will also be two short papers which will enable us to review and apply the concepts we’ve discussed during the semester.

Course Objectives (I expect the students to achieve the following objectives by the end of the course):

  1. to identify the stated or assumed definitions of “culture” and “communication” on which researchers base their studies of intercultural communication
  2. to identify some of the major ways in which cultures are classified;
  3. to identify some of the major differences that are said to exist between the communication styles of people from Western (especially USAmerican) and Eastern (especially Chinese and Taiwanese) cultures;
  4. to identify, analyze, and critique various approaches to the study of the communicative theories and practices of a particular culture; and
  5. to observe, identify, and analyze “real-life” examples of how cultural values affect communicative practices in particular settings.

Course Materials:

  • Larry A. Samovar and Richard E. Porter, Communication Between Cultures, 5th ed. Wadsworth, 2004.
  • Additional readings (handouts)

Grading Policy:

In-class Participation (in-class discussion) 20%

Online Participation (discussion on course blog) 15%

Short quizzes on the readings 10%

Group presentation on a chapter or article 15%

Report on online exchanges 20%

Final paper 20%

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