“Developing Intercultural Competence Using UNESCO Story Circles”のご報告
Darla Deardorff (Duke University)
SIIEJ 2021 Workshop: Developing Intercultural Competence Using Story Circles was successfully held on August 26th, 2021, hosted by Dr. Darla Deardoff from Duke University. The workshop consisted of a 30-minute keynote presentation about the UNESCO Story Circles, followed by a group demonstration of Story Circles, a Q&A session, and a short discussion on possible implementations in the field of higher education.
UNESCO Story Circle is a comprehensive training methodology for nurturing intercultural competency under various contexts. Attention to acquiring intercultural understanding is nothing new. Yet, its cultural variation in nature and patterns has often been generalized and simplified. Dr. Deardoff and her team have carefully designed a flexible yet structured method to practice the critical skills needed to conduct intercultural dialogues using storytelling.
Dr. Deardoff explained the role of storytelling as an accessible methodology towards intercultural competency. She first illustrated the importance of understanding cultural differences in a global pandemic, especially in the society experiencing daily dividing, prevailing hatred, and weakening humanitarian values. Then, she introduced to the audience her work on story circles and the pilot projects across five countries from different continents. She briefed the goals, rules, and guidelines, such as the significance of practicing listening for understanding, rather than reaction or judgment, and being genuine and respectful while sharing.
After the presentation, participants joined a demonstration of story circles in a group of 4-5 members for 50 minutes. This closed session consisted of three stages (introduction, sharing individual stories about the intercultural experience, and flashback on the memorable parts), and debriefing. This segregated format of storytelling allowed the participants to dive into their stories and listen carefully to the others.
In the Q&A session, participants shared their experience of story circles, followed by their takeaways from today’s workshop. Each group suggested possible platforms where the methodology can further be implemented. The workshop ended with a short video created by UNESCO summing up the story circles method and its way of connecting the world.
Some of the participant voices are shared as follows:
•“Lessons can be learned even from the simplest of stories. So listen!”
•“Believe in the power of storytelling.”
•“I learned how important it is to listen to others without judging them.”
•“Importance to connecting personal experience and teaching/learning”
•“I learned that it is okay if my talk is not so organized and prepared to share my story with honesty.”
•“How important it is to listen for understanding.”
•“Knowing that I had to do the flashback made me listen so that I wouldn't be embarrassed by forgetting someone's story. I want to listen to people as if I always have to do flashbacks.”
•“The importance of the atmosphere (accepting and not judgmental)”
•“The importance of actually experiencing active listening”
•“Again, respectively, listen to others. Everything has a meaning.”
•“I learned that waiting is important. When someone is silent while thinking, I tend to add my words, but I don’t have to worry about the silence.”
Shimuran Kitahara (Undergraduate School of Law, Nagoya University)
Y. N. (Regional Development Studies, Toyo University)