Cultural Implications: the Genre of Greetings and “Global Citizenship” Skills

In this post, Shyam Sharma presents several assignments that aim to develop students’ “global citizenship” skills.

The first one revolves around the discussion on seemingly universal terms, like beauty.  Students share their antecedent genre knowledge and build on it through class interactions and research to expand on their own understanding of the term with the goal of becoming more aware on cultural nuances associated with the term. Another assignment, “Multimodal Group Assignment on Communicative/Rhetorical Practices”, helped students to realize cross-cultural forms of the multimodal genre of “greeting someone”.

How could we implement this idea into our ENG 101, ENG 101.10 ad ENG 145 courses? Erika Romero and Cristina Sánchez-Martín present how they have taken up this article. This conversation attempts to illustrate divergent uptake and collaborative meaning making practices (a principle of Translingualism):

Cristina: What is students’ antecedent genre knowledge on “Greetings”? Students could find a sample of the genre (in the form of a picture, a video, a gif, a textual description) that illustrates what greetings are for them.

Erika: This definitely has multimodal implications too, since greetings often have gestures that go along with them.

Cristina: Genre research: students look for three samples of the genre that are found across three different cultures. I would recommend that one of those cultures is highly represented in the U.S., so that we avoid the idea that cross-cultural communication only takes place in other countries.

Content research – students research the meaning of those greetings for the culture(s), the context where it takes place and other relevant components that make the greeting possible.

Erika: There can be an interpersonal element to this activity, too, to strengthen the end of your second point. Maybe interviewing a classmate or two about how they greet people differently depending on the context of the greeting?

Cristina: Students are asked to perform and record (textually, graphically, etc.) to map out the factors implicated in a greeting situation they experience and to explain how those factors might be similar or different from the ones seen in their research.

By Cristina Sánchez-Martín and Erika Romero