In order to create a space for Harvard’s international teachers and scholars to delve into the cultural complexities of communication, the Professional Communication Program for International Teachers and Scholars offered an Intercultural Communication Workshop Series in the Spring 2016 semester. This four-session series kicked off during Winter Teaching Week and focused on intercultural communication for the classroom and other settings in Harvard’s international academic environment. These workshops were designed for international TFs and scholars, but open to anyone interested in developing intercultural competence.
The sessions, which were were highly interactive, had the following goals for participants
1. Explore the impact culture has on communication and practice skills necessary to effectively communicate cross-culturally,
2. Discuss and practice strategies for how to create and maintain a productive learning environment,
3. Make sense of verbal communication styles and practice verbal communication skills in order to be more effective in their roles at Harvard, and
4. Practice nonverbal communication that will enable them to more effectively connect with others, engage students, and exude openness and confidence.
All workshops involved trained undergraduate culture and communication consultants who played a critical intergenerational role by being present to engage in learning activities with ITFs, provide constructive feedback, and share their perspectives as undergraduate students. Workshop participants reported that they appreciated learning about the cultural dynamics of Harvard classrooms and practicing communication and teaching strategies effective for Harvard’s international and culturally-diverse academic environment.