Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cultural Icebergs

In culture, like an iceberg, we only see 10% of what's really going on. We see the actions, but we can't see the norms and values.

Sometimes our icebergs can collide with each other when we don't stop and think about what's really going on.

I heard a speaker once talking about how she moved to Kenya from the United States. She was to be picked up by some people from the village where she was going to live. Her plane arrived at 9am. The people came to pick her up at 11:00am. They were not apologetic when they arrived, but cheerfully greeted her and brought her back to the village. In North America, being late would be considered rude. But Kenyan norms aren't the same as American norms.

Students learn this concept best through stories and examples. Tell your kids your stories! Jessica Simpson's The Price of Beauty is a great way to demonstrate this. Check out this clip from the episode where Jessica Simpson goes to Uganda. Having students notice the behaviours that are different than their own will help them figure out what norms and values are behind them.

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