Benimadim Einar / project
Professionals experience integration in Turkey
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When working with people from different cultures, one needs a solid understanding of the norms of that culture. People also need communication skills and strategies that can be applied across cultures. A multicultural society demands a lot not only from educators but everyone involved directly and indirectly in working and coaching immigrants. Insufficient training in immigrant’s cultural, social world could lead to dangerous and misleading assessments. Inadequate interpretation, diagnosis might be confused with misunderstanding of norms, behaviors, beliefs of traditional immigrant. To put this theory into practice a group of professionals, teachers, coaches, directors and policy makers from eight European countries took part in this integration program in Turkey. This program contains an admission interview in Turkish, Turkish as a second language, a Final test and Social skills in English. Before going through this experience some of the participants talked about their expectations.
Intercultural education has been marginalized as a discipline over many years and this might be due to its constant neglect of the distinctive patterns of values, behavior, traditions, beliefs and immigrant’s family ideologies that affect cultural minority groups. This discipline has had little contribution to other disciplines because of its inability to deal with the issues in society. This could be compared to someone attempting to get to know many countries through one single keyhole. In intercultural communication there is often less shared linguistic and cultural common ground than in intra cultural communication. If the speakers are unfamiliar and not know much about how to deal with each others culture, they do not know how much common ground they can presuppose. Thus there is ample chance of miscommunication when wrong assumptions about shared common ground are made. The participants in this program are invited today for an interview on admission with an interpreter.
Teaching a foreign language or coaching a group of immigrants with different nationalities is a serious task. The educators should not only prepare their lessons, but also be aware of the wishes, cultural background and needs of the learning immigrants.
Many educators don't want to reveal how little they know about other cultures, so they don't ask questions. Ultimately, they limit their ability to work in other cultures. Questions show you are interested in your students culture. This interest and consideration helps build your relationship, which is especially important if your culture has a reputation for trying to culturally dominate others.
The participants comes today for the first time to learn Turkish as a second language.
This experience has helped the participants not only to understand but also feel that in native speakers and non-native speakers interaction, the native speaker has more control because of having greater communicative competence; and also tends to take the lead in negotiating meaning; in nominating and terminating topics.
It is easy to be misled by our own preconceptions and to fall into the trap of otherization. The weight of responsibility is on ‘US’ to understand ourselves, rather than on essentialist categories of ‘THEM’.


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