I taught intercultural awareness through the Center for Global and Intercultural Understanding at the University of Michigan for several years. While there, I also developed trainings and workshops for students, staff, faculty, and communities. Many theories of intercultural development are available to describe how people tend to develop in their relationship to cultural difference. I can give you some theories and ideas to play with, but the richest and most important knowledge in the room is already among us, in whoever has come together for a workshop. And the most important thing we can do for the few hours we have together is to figure out how to share that knowledge with each other, to weave it together into more integrated ideas.
I find theory to be useful when it provides us a framework into which we can organize our experiences, and then when that organization helps us see how we can respond (and maybe even more importantly, to anticipate how some responses might backfire). With attention to the goals and demands of your particular group or current project, I will provide us a framework to work with, and then we’ll play around with how that framework might help us think through some of the experiences you’ve had or might have.