“Whether it is a person from another country, someone from a different background, someone of a different age, I think if we ask the right questions and listen to each other’s stories, we can find that common bond.”
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My guest for Episode 18 is Lisa Fore, a gentle and dedicated language education leader, world-embracer, and mentor. Be sure to check out her biography to get a wonderful flavor of her background, passions, and compassion.
She notes repeatedly the importance of cultural intelligence, by which she means the practiced skill and approach to relating to others, having empathy, and understanding the concept and reality of diversity. She begins, though, with specifically training students to identify, understand, and value their own experiences and beliefs. She gives them, right in the midst of the language classroom, training in how to explore why their opinions developed as they did, and thus they learn to recognize the validity of the diversity found even within a seemingly homogeneous classroom. Once that training has taken place, the diversity of experiences, viewpoints, and beliefs–the cultures and languages–of the whole world are a logical and much simpler step.
Interesting, right? The first step in embracing the diversity-with-commonality of the world is to affirm the identity and worth of the individual. When each individual feels they are “permitted to survive and belong” linguistically and culturally, then they have the firm psychological foundation to reach out to other and to begin to learn how to embrace diversity.
We’re hard-wired for tribalism, we humans. But we also have a wonderful brain. We know how to learn to be open to and embrace others. It’s a matter of securing personal security and affirmation, then bringing in mentorship and opportunity. Each one of us in the world can play a role in building up that secure foundation that allows others to embrace the cultural and linguistic diversity of the world. We thus can open up lives to undreamed-of joys, connections, and experiences. Ponder your role in this endeavor, as Lisa shares stories with us of how she learned about, values, shares, and celebrates cultural intelligence.
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