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Square Pegs and Round Holes

Secondary, Elementary, Middle

Description

This lesson is a simple cross-cultural contact simulation. The simulation allows students to experience the conflict and misunderstanding that can occur with cross-cultural contact. In debriefing the simulation, students recognize the need for tolerance, acceptance, communication and compromise when interacting with people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

The resource is inspired by and loosely based on (although quite simplified in comparison to) the “Bafa Bafa” cross-cultural interaction simulation activity described in Pike and Selby's The Global Classroom 1 (Toronto: Pippin Publishing, 1999, pp. 189–195).

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • none

Strengths

  • Concise lesson is clearly presented
  • A minimal amount of materials is required
  • It can be completed as a stand-alone activity or as part of a larger unit
  • It will stimulate discussion and provide opportunities for a response in a range of media
  • Links to learning outcomes are provided
  • Assessment strategies are included

Weaknesses

  • No suggestions for integration within a larger unit are provided
  • Connections or extension suggestions would be valuable

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Themes Addressed

  • Governance (1)

    • Democracy
  • Human Rights (3)

    • Cultural Diversity
    • Social Justice
    • War and Peace
  • Indigenous Knowledge (1)

    • Rituals, Spirituality and Worldviews

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good
  • The rationale and values of the lesson are clearly presented.
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good
  • The lesson examines the social, moral and ethical aspects of cultural differences however, no solutions are presented. The lesson intends only to stimulate discussion.
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Very Good
  • The lesson demonstrates some of the challenges associated with cross-cultural understanding and interaction.
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered
  • The lesson intends only to stimulate discussion.
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good
  • The lesson encourages students to experience first-hand the contact and "collision" of two cultures and to explain their reactions.
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good
  • This lesson is designed to foster empathy and respect between cultures.
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Poor/Not considered
  • Not considered in this resource.
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Very Good
  • This lesson will enhance understanding between cultures.
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Poor/Not considered
  • Teachers may choose to use this lesson as a catalyst to examine historical, current and future interactions between cultures.
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good
  • This lesson will present a foundation for a wide variety of culture/diversity-related activities.
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Poor/Not considered
  • Systems thinking is not included.
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Poor/Not considered
  • Not considered in this resource.
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good
  • It is a single lesson that teaches to the affective and cognitive domains.
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Very Good
  • Students actively experience the meeting of two different cultures and the related challenges in understanding and behaviour.
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Very Good
  • The lesson is completed through a cooperative learning strategy. Cooperative learning roles are clearly defined and additional (web) resources are provided.
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Very Good
  • Assessment strategies are included. Criteria are presented for rating students' responses and participation. The culminating activity of designing a peace plan for the two cultures is an effective way of assessing student learning.
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
  • The plan for peace at the end of the activity provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate their learning.
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good
  • The entire lesson is one simulation.
Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Poor/Not considered
  • It is a teacher-led lesson.
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.