Communication and cultural mediation (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Paola Dusi
Paola Dusi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 2A dal Feb 15, 2021 al Apr 1, 2021.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
- Knowledge and understanding of the principles concerning the listening attitude
- Knowledge and understanding of the empathic relationship
Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
- Ability to develop a collaborative and constructive relationship both with the user and the other professional roles involved in the helping processes.

At the end of the course, students will have acquired knowledge of the epistemological foundations of intercultural communication; will be familiar with the principal models of intercultural communicative competence; will be aware of the existence of different cultural models; and will be familiar with cultural shock methods. Moreover the course will provide students with the skills necessary to detect the assumptions and values at the base of the different cultural models and of the different communicative styles, and will transfer to them the ability to employ the critical incident technique as both a tool for the analysis of case studies, and as a tool in interventions.



Summary of course contents:

1. The multicultural global society
- Promoting inclusion and democracy: an intercultural outlook

2. An intercultural approach: the Cohen Emerique method.
- Critical incidents: a training methodology for developing an intercultural approach.
- Obstacles to understanding the other
- The other's frame of reference
- Communication styles

3. Intercultural mediation
- The concept of mediation
- Cultural vs. intercultural mediation
- Conflict resolution
- Instruments for cultural mediation

Teaching methods and learning settings

In additional to traditional lectures, the course is based on workshop-type activities, in particular:
a) showing video/film sequences, with accompanying discussion and analysis.
b) reading passages from autobiographical and narrative texts by experts in intercultural competence and/or authors from a migrant or non-Western background.
c) critical incidents, with accounts provided by social work professionals.
d) analyzing interviews carried out with social work professionals who work in areas characterized by dense migrant populations.

Course requirements

- familiarity with the concept of competence
- familiarity with the main concepts that underpin the intercultural approach
- a grounding in the basic principles of human communication.

M. Cohen-Emerique , Per un approccio interculturale nelle professioni sociali e educative Dagli inquadramenti teorici alle modalità operative. Erickson, Trento, 2017
Lecture notes

The content of the text used during the course and that of the lectures and class exercises will follow the program outlined here. Additional learning materials will be available on the course e-learning platform.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
COHEN EMERIQUE Per un approccio interculturale nelle professioni sociali e educative Dagli inquadramenti teorici alle modalità operative ERICKSON 2017 9788859013457 Appunti delle lezioni

Assessment methods and criteria

Scope of assessment
Students will be required to demonstrate:
1) familiarity with the basic principles of the intercultural approach.
2) familiarity with the fundamental principles of intercultural communication (ICC) and mediation.
3) the ability to analyze the critical incidents and experiences recounted/collected via the interviews from an intercultural perspective, demonstrating that they have fully assimilated this form of inquiry and learning.
4) the ability to formulate lines of reasoning in a concise, academically rigorous, and syntactically accurate manner, not least by identifying the essential elements that emerge in relation to the themes and issues under consideration.

Nature of the assessment and material covered:
The assessment of learning outcomes:
- An individual written report, which – taking as its starting point the critical incidents presented in class - should critically analyse them using, as appropriate, the concepts, theoretical models and interventions covered during the course (i.e. cultural frames, relational modes, critical nodes, required competencies, etc. relating to encounters between people from different cultural backgrounds).

Assessment criteria
The assessment result will be expressed as a score out of a possible thirty marks

Marks will be awarded on the basis of the following performance criteria:

The micro-study must provide clear evidence of learning:
-command of specialist terminology pertaining to the sector in question;
- by analyzing and discussing the critical incidents presented in class;
- by citing the texts indicated in the bibliography and other texts identified during the research process,
- by providing a personal interpretation of, and reflection on, the lessons attended bibliographical sources.
- demonstration of personal reflection on the material studied and the ability to reconcile theory and practice;
- correct grammar and syntax.

Instructions for drafting the report*

The data analysis process should be supported by references to the texts covered during the course (and to other works and studies known to the student or students). The length of the report is to be decided by the student or students themselves. The recommended minimum length, however, is 5 pages (each of 3,000 characters) plus the bibliography and appendices (which should include a complete transcription of the data collected through questionnaires, interviews, ethnographic journals, etc.).
The report should include:
- a cover (with full names and matriculation numbers of the student or students, the name of the degree course, the project title, and a contact email address and telephone number;
- an abstract/brief summary of the project;
- introduction;
- data analysis;
- discussion of the analysis and any critical incidents identified;
- conclusion;
- bibliography
- appendices: all data collected via questionnaires, ethnographic journals and interviews, and journal articles used as references in the analysis and discussion on the chosen themes.

The text should be subdivided into paragraphs and supplemented, in a proper academic fashion, by footnotes and final bibliography.
The report must be submitted by email to the course leader at least five days prior to the exam date selected by the student.