Intercultural Empathy Assignment

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Chuck Calahan
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A person with intercultural empathy demonstrates adequate understanding of the complexity of
what can be important to persons from a different culture. Often a person with intercultural
empathy can interpret experiences or perspectives from their own and more than one worldview.
This person can act supportive and recognize the feelings of a person with a different cultural
perspective and different cultural values.
The exercise on the following page is adapted from Stella Ting-Toomey and Leeva Chung’s
workshop at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication, July 2013, in Portland, OR.
Stephen R. Covey
The Parable Exercise
The Parable
ROSEMARY is a young woman about 21
years old. For a long time she has been engaged to a
young man named HERNANDO and she is coming
from a great distance to meet him for their scheduled
wedding. The problem she faces is that between her
and her betrothed there lies a river. No ordinary river,
mind you, but a deep, wide river infested with hungry
crocodiles.
ROSEMARY ponders how she can cross the
river. She thinks of a man who has a boat, whose
name is SVEN. She approaches SVEN and asks him
to take her across the river. SVEN replies, “Yes, I’ll
take you across the river if you’ll spend the night with
me.”
Shocked at this offer, she turns to another
acquaintance, LEE PAI, and tells him her story. LEE
PAI responds by saying, “Poor ROSEMARY, I
understand your problem, but I don’t see how I can
help. It’s really your problem, not mine.”
ROSEMARY, in desperation, decided to return
to SVEN, and spends the night with him. In the
morning, SVEN takes her across the river. She
completes her journey and arrives in time.
Her reunion with HERNANDO is warm, but on
the evening before they are to be married,
ROSEMARY feels compelled to tell HERNANDO how
she succeeded in getting across the river. HERNANDO
responds by saying, “I can’t believe you would do such
a thing. I wouldn’t marry you if you were the last
woman on earth.” And he banishes her as a soiled
woman.
Finally, at her wit’s end, ROSEMARY turns to
our last character, SEIICHI. He listens to her story and
says, “What a terrible thing to happen. Rosemary, I
Step 1. Write down, in rank order, the character whose
behavior you MOST APPROVE to LEAST APPROVE.
MOST APPROVE: _________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
LEAST APPROVE: _________________________
Now write as a Word document or other file, a 4 sentence
reflection paragraph on each choice. The first sentence
should identify the character and your rank order. Your
second sentence should concisely describe the behavior of
the character. The third sentence should interpret the
behavior using a cultural lens. Sentence four is your
evaluation of this behavior. Write a 4 sentence paragraph
reflection for each of the 4 characters above.
Step 2. Next reverse your rank order from above. Make
your MOST APPROVED person your LEAST APRROVED
person and your LEAST APPROVED person your MOST
APPROVED person.
MOST APPROVE: _________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
LEAST APPROVE: _________________________
For this new reversed rank order write a 4 sentence
reflection paragraph on each new and revised choice as
Word document. The first sentence should identify the
character and the new rank order. Your second sentence
should concisely describe the behavior of the character.
The third sentence should interpret the behavior using a
cultural lens. Sentence four is your evaluation of this
behavior. Write a 4 sentence paragraph reflection for each
of the 4 characters above. In other words, you are writing a
reflective paragraph using a new cultural lens to justify the
opposite of what you presented in Step 2.
The same rubric can be used for step 1 and step 2, noting that the ranking has been reversed.
Split into groups of four or five. Each group member should take turns to share his/her first choice, second choice,
then third choice, etc.
Probe each other for the reasoning behind the rank-order decision-making process. Discuss and arrive at a group
consensus of the rank-order choices.
One member of the group should be responsible to record group choices and report back to the entire class.
Source: Adapted from William Weeks, Paul Pedersen, & Richard Brislin (1979). A Manual of Structured Experiences
for Cultural Learning. La Grange Park, IL: Intercultural Network.
Understanding Intercultural Communication (2012) by Stella Ting-Toomey, Leeva C. Chung and Alex Flecky, New
York, Oxford University Press, 2012
INTERCULTURAL KNOWLEDGE AND EFFECTIVENESS RUBRIC
Definition
A set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together to enable systems, agencies, or professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.
Proficient
Emerging
Developing
3
2
1
Knowledge
Articulates insights into own cultural rules
Recognizes new perspectives about own
Identifies own cultural rules and biases (e.g.
Cultural self- awareness
and biases (e.g. seeking complexity; aware
cultural rules and biases (e.g. not looking for with a strong preference for those rules
of how her/his experiences have shaped
sameness; comfortable with the
shared with own cultural group and seeks
these rules, and how to recognize and
complexities that new perspectives offer.)
the same in others.)
respond to cultural biases, resulting in a
shift in self-description.)
Knowledge
Demonstrates sophisticated understanding
Demonstrates adequate understanding of
Demonstrates partial understanding of the
Knowledge of cultural
of the complexity of elements important to
the complexity of elements important to
complexity of elements important to
worldview frameworks
members of another culture in relation to
members of another culture in relation to
members of another culture in relation to
its history, values, politics, communication
its history, values, politics, communication
its history, values, politics, communication
styles, economy, or beliefs and practices.
styles, economy, or beliefs and practices.
styles, economy, or beliefs and practices.
Interprets intercultural experience from the Recognizes intellectual and emotional
Identifies components of other cultural
perspectives of own and more than one
dimensions of more than one worldview
perspectives but responds in all situations
worldview and demonstrates ability to act
and sometimes uses more than one
with own worldview.
in a supportive manner that recognizes the
worldview in interactions.
feelings of another cultural group.
Skills
Articulates a complex understanding of
Recognizes and participates in cultural
Identifies some cultural differences in verbal
Verbal and
cultural differences in verbal and nonverbal
differences in verbal and nonverbal
and nonverbal communication and is aware
nonverbal communication
communication (e.g., demonstrates
communication and begins to negotiate a
that misunderstandings can occur based on
understanding of the degree to which
shared understanding based on those
those differences but is still unable to
people use physical contact while
differences.
negotiate a shared understanding.
communicating in different cultures or use
direct/indirect and explicit/implicit
meanings) and is able to skillfully negotiate
a shared understanding based on those
differences.
Attitudes
Asks complex questions about other
Asks deeper questions about other cultures
Asks simple or surface questions about
Curiosity
cultures, seeks out and articulates answers
and seeks out answers to these questions.
other cultures.
to these questions that reflect multiple
cultural perspectives.
Skills
Empathy
Attitudes
Openness
Initiates and develops interactions with
culturally different others. Suspends
judgment in valuing her/his interactions
with culturally different others.
Begins to initiate and develop interactions
with culturally different others. Begins to
suspend judgment in valuing her/his
interactions with culturally different others.
Expresses openness to most, if not all,
interactions with culturally different others.
Has difficulty suspending any judgment in
her/his interactions with culturally different
others, and is aware of own judgment and
expresses a willingness to change.

Adapted from AAC&U Core Value Rubrics

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