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Stages in Intercultural sensitivity development

Throughout my career as a teacher I have come across many challenges especially on issues related to culture. From a wide range of reading, discussions, or interactions with different people; I have noted that many people have not yet realized on the importance of tolerance and respect for other cultures. I was influenced greatly about the concepts learnt in week four regarding intercultural sensitivity and more so the insights given by Bennett in his book, “Towards Ethnorelativism: A Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity”.

From my readings I discovered that intercultural sensitivity and intercultural competence is the aspect of recognizing the diversity of human cultures. In this respect, I realized it is very important for people to seek understanding on why different people act the manner they do. In regard to this paper, I will address the process of intercultural sensitivity (Bennett, 1997). In my quest to establish a harmonious society which values and accepts the existence of a diverse cultural structure, I found it worthwhile addressing some of the insights and ideas developed by Bennett.

I strongly acknowledge the work of Bennett in the development of the intercultural sensitivity model. In this case, I find it very useful in the human society which is composed of different cultures. It is evident that, the model is well driven in that it gives a factual sequence of the concepts which match native progressive development in learners. I have realized that; Bennett’s model has a well organization sequence of learning elements which better fits the process of developing intercultural sensitivity (Wines, 2008).

I strongly agree that the ethnocentric stage comes automatically in all individuals or all members of any cultural group. In this scenario, I realized that; all human beings assume that their culture is the most superior in all spheres of life. This level is attributed to many socials evils since people are fond of abusing other cultures. The first aspect of ethnocentrism is denial; where by people do not recognize the existence of cultural diversity. In my readings and analysis of this model, I realized that people always act fast to defend any aspect of foreign culture which may perceive as threatening.

This stage comes after the realization and interaction of people from different cultures. I noted that, people use different tactics to defend their cultures; for instance the use of negative stereotyping and the establishment of rationales for the inherent inferiority (Adler, 2008). On the other hand, minimization stage is the attempt where people opt to ignore their cultural variation under the influence of cultural resemblance. I noted that this stage is inevitable after one acknowledges the existence of cultural diversity; whereby denial or defense can not apply.

Based on this, people assume the existence of differences since they perceive the similarities to be more powerful. In my opinion, I find this stage very beneficial in the process of realizing intercultural sensitivity (Gudykunst, 2001). Fortunately, the process of achieving intercultural sensitivity is being enhanced further by Bennett’s model as depicted in the ethnorelative stage. I came to learn that, cultural differences should be accorded due respect; where in this case they are seen to be neither good nor bad. According to Bennett, all cultures are equally important though some are more adaptive than others.

In this case, I realized that ethnorelativism is the opposite of ethnocentrisms and it is very important in realizing intercultural sensitivity. Some of the stages involved in ethnorelativism include the following (Gudykunst, 1986). Acceptance is the acknowledgement of the existence of cultural differences; whereby no judgments are made on whether it’s bad or good unlike in the defensive stage. In respect to this stage, I noticed that people accord value for behavioral differences as well as respect for cultural ideals.

In my opinion, I suggest that this stage is very crucial and should be addressed to all people in order to harmony and understanding among cultural groups (Banks, 1989). The next developmental stage in intercultural sensitivity is the adaptation stage. I find this stage very beneficial and that it should be embraced fast to all individuals so as to enhance intercultural understanding. In addition, the integration stage has proofed to be very important in the process of realizing intercultural sensitivity.

This aspect of intercultural sensitivity entails the recognition of other cultures and adapting them while at the same time keeping the original identity (Wallbort, 1988). The ideas and insights of Bennett’s model can be effectively applied in student’s educational and organizational contexts. Bearing in mind that, educational institutions are composed of learner’s from diverse cultural background; the model is very useful in creating intercultural sensitivity among the learners. In my career as a teacher, I have been involved in solving conflicts among students basically on cultural basis.

For instance, a hot contested debate on the issue of Islam ladies veiling their face has brought about big controversy in the non Muslim schools. A solution to this cultural conflict can be effectively realized by establishing intercultural sensitivity whereby the values of each culture are respected (Hofstede, 1997). Conclusion In conclusion, I suggest that Bennett’s model on intercultural sensitivity be addressed on all human organizations in order to ensure harmonious coexistence among cultural groups.

Importantly, training on the importance of intercultural sensitivity should be emphasized in learning institutions so as people may grow up with the knowledge of coexistence and respect among cultural values. Reference list Adler, N. (2008). An International Perspective on the Barriers to the Advancement of Women Managers. Retrieved August 24, from http://onlinelibrary. wiley. com/doi/10. 1111/j. 1464-0597. 1993. tb00745. x/references Banks, J. Et al. (1989). Multicultural Education. Retrieved August, 24, from http://www. carla.

umn. edu/culture/definitions. html Bennett, A. (1997). Adaptation and the Evolution of Physiological Characters. New York: Oxford University Press. Gudykunst, W. & Hammer, M. (1983). Intercultural communication Effectiveness: Culture general or culture specific? Retrieved August, 24, from http://commfaculty. fullerton. edu/bgudykunst/vitae. htm Gudykunst, W. (2001). Asian American ethnicity and communication. Thousand Oaks: Sage Press Gudykunst, W. (1986). Intergroup Communication. London: Edward Arnold Press. Hofstede, G. (1997).

Cultures and Organizations: Software of the mind. New York: McGraw Hill Kim, Y. & Gudykunst, W. (1988) Cross-cultural adaptation: Current approaches. Newbury Park: Sage press. Wallbort, H. & Scherer, K. (1988). Communication Distortion: An Intercultural Lesson from the Visa Application Process. Retrieved August, 24, from http://www. informaworld. com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a911555680 Wines, W. & Napier, N. (2008). Towards understanding of cross-cultural ethics: A tentative Model. Retrieved August, 24, from http://www. springerlink. com/content/vr67485r1j4u3582/

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