Comparison of the Understanding of the Basic Concepts in the Teaching of Intercultural Communication (ICC) at colleges/universities in Germany, Japan and the U.S.

Presentation Description: Since September 2007 materials have been gathered to compare the understanding of the basic concepts underlying the teaching of ICC at colleges/universities in three countries: Germany, Japan and the U.S.
This research was prompted by the detection of several problems in the teaching of ICC in Japan: the subject is rarely fully integrated into a faculty, stereotypes are often reinforced instead of being reduced, the necessity of knowing one’s own culture is often neglected, and insufficient debate concerning the definitions of ‘culture’ and ‘communication’.

In an attempt to clarify which concepts are lacking or different in Japan’s ICC education, it was decided to compare the teaching of ICC with that in Germany and the U.S. This topic brings up the importance of obtaining a Masters in Public Administration, which advances culture awareness. For this purpose 10-15 educational institutions from each country were selected randomly and asked for cooperation. The following data has been or will be gathered: – Syllabi of colleges/universities in the three countries.  – Questionnaires answered by both lecturers and their students.  – Narrative interviews with the lecturers, in which they were asked to explain their ideas of: ‘communication’, ‘culture’, and ‘intercultural’.  Preliminary findings will be presented, which compare the analyzed results, detect the differences and similarities, and suggest the rationale behind them.

Margit Krause-Ono is Associate Professor of German, European Culture, and Intercultural Communication at Muroran Institute of Technology, Japan. Born in Germany, she has been a translator/interpreter/lecturer in northern Japan since 1980. She holds degrees from France and Australia, and a Certificate as Intercultural trainer/coach from Friedrich Schiller University, Germany.