Classroom Dramas of Cultural Interactions and Global Issues
The student body at my large urban university is made up mostly of students who work at least fifteen or twenty hours a week at local jobs, have little time for intensive study, and little time, too, it would seem, to become more than superficially involved in learning about cultures and communities around the world. In one of my global cultural studies classes, however, I have recently been researching the effects of linking two concepts from scholarly work being done in my field of cultural studies, concepts that have begun to catch students' attention in a new way and arouse their curiosity and motivation to become more involved. The first one, called cultural intelligence or CQ, though it began as a tool to prepare managers for overseas assignments, is highly adaptable in university settings for alerting students to how they can develop specific mental, kinesthetic, and emotional resources beyond the cognitive, in order to help them meet whatever in their lives feels foreign to them, whether local or global, now or later. The second concept — imagined global scenarios — I give to students as part of a directive at the beginning of the semester: they will each research and become a representative of a cultural group involved somehow in global issues; they will then join others in small groups to create three short dramatic pieces during the semester. Intercultural conflict, mediation, resolutions: all these can become part of their dramas and all part of a process in which their learning becomes more deeply involved and dynamic than they are accustomed to in university classes.
Keywords: Imagined Global Scenarios, Cultural Intelligence, Learning through Drama
Dr. Carolyn Hill
Professor, English Department Cultural Studies Program, Towson University