The famous quote from William of Wykeham, 'Manners maketh man', is topical all the time but especially so at the moment with the film 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan' sweeping the planet. This is the story of a man who goes to the US in search of cultural education to take back to his own country. It is all a spoof; cruel & unfair at times, justified at others, generally gross & hilarious throughout. The makers of the film are certainly making millions out of it.
And the other day I came across an article on the Reuters website titled 'Manners Maketh Millionaires', about courses being offered for businessmen in British etiquette. As we have always known culture, behaviour & language go hand in hand so while we are teaching language, we are teaching culture. Here's the article:
Manners maketh millionaires
Fri Nov 10, 2006, Reuters
LONDON (Reuters) - For international executives navigating the minefield of corporate politics, help is at hand -- impeccable British manners can clinch that big deal.
So says etiquette expert Diana Mather who Friday launched a weekend house party at a Scottish castle for businessmen, academics and diplomats eager to prove the 14th century proverb "Manners Maketh Man."
As well as traditional country house pursuits such as clay pigeon shooting, bridge and formal Scottish dancing, participants will be tutored in the finer arts of charm and proper etiquette -- all in the name of good business.
"This unique weekend provides the ideal setting for learning international protocol as well as the essentials of what it takes to become a lady or gentleman," Mather says.
The British fear their once famously polite nation is now more renowned for binge drinking and loutish behavior than for the popular image of rolled umbrella and stiff upper lip.
"Some young British people are the worst behaved in the world," says Mather, a former actress and BBC presenter, but she insists the old values will endure, reflecting the motto of the great churchman William of Wykeham that manners maketh man.
THE GOLD STANDARD
"The English gentleman is still viewed as the most gentlemanly in the world. They are the gold standard. British manners are the passport to success in the boardroom."
Her protocol crash course takes place in a 15th century medieval castle in a remote and wind-swept part of Scotland.
"Out of their comfort zone, they get to know each other better and tend to bond," Mather said of Lickleyhead Castle in Aberdeenshire with its great hall, four poster beds and wood paneled library.
"We learn how to conduct business abroad and how to navigate corporate politics," she said.
With thriving economies like India taking on the West, Mather has tapped into a burgeoning market of businessmen eager to understand and copy the gold standard of good manners.
"If the Japanese want to learn Western behavior they would prefer to learn from the British," she told Reuters at the start of the weekend.
The tycoons of the East and the new generation of Russian oligarchs could also benefit from the study of British manners, Mather says, seeing new business opportunities for herself.
"We are just about to start with classes in China and I would also like to get into the Russian market. They suddenly have a fantastically wealthy middle class which has never traveled before."
The article above would make an interesting reading skills introduction to the theme for the more advanced learner.
Other ideas for cross-cultural awareness:
- discussions about cultural conventions when they arise - of the Borat film....
- tapes or videos of inappropriate behaviour (eg Fawlty Towers) & possibly comparing with appropriate examples.
- matching functional exponents & situations.
- comparison with the students' cultural conventions.
- inventing conventions - students give advice to tourists, designed to get them into trouble with the natives. Lots of fun.
- questionnaires such as the one below taken from the Guardian Unlimited site.
Studying in the UK: Dos and don'ts
You have secured a place at the university of your choice, your visa is organised and you are on your way to the UK. Well, that's the easy part over. Are you ready for the idiosyncrasies of British life?
Transport and travel
1. While travelling on the Tube, on which side of an escalator should you stand?
- The left-hand side.
- The right-hand side.
- Either side is fine. Londoners are an easy going bunch.
- In the middle.
Transport and travel
2. It is 8.45am on the heavily delayed Northern line and the train is packed. Should you:
- Start a conversation with the person next to you.
- Refrain from making eye contact. You know that under no circumstances whatsoever is it okay to look at anyone, speak to anyone or even acknowledge anyone on the Tube. Ever.
- Smile cheerily at fellow passengers to lift the mood.
- Sing along to your favourite songs on your iPod which is turned up to top volume.
Travel and transport
3. You reach the ticket barriers with several dozen commuters hard at your heels. Do you:
- Trip up several people while you pull your small suitcase on wheels to a complete stop in front of the barriers to readjust the handle.
- Wait until you get to the barrier and then rummage through your bag muttering: "I know it's in here somewhere ... "
- Ticket. What ticket?
- Have your Oyster card or ticket in your hand. It's a race for the barrier.
Travel and transport
4. A train arrives at your stop. There are quite a few people waiting to get on. When the doors open, do you:
- Push your way on board. Are these people getting off or what?
- Block people so they do not beat you to a seat.
- Let four trains go by, just in case you are crushed in the stampede.
- Allow all passengers to alight before you even consider getting on.
Travel and transport
5. You are reading a newspaper on a busy morning train. Should you:
- Point out interesting stories to people standing alongside you.
- Not bother with your own paper. After all, you can easily read over someone else's shoulder.
- Open the paper wide, taking up the space of three passengers.
- Read it with as little disruption to others as possible.
Food and drink
6. Which of these is not a traditional food dish?
- Black pudding.
- Stout buttie.
- Bangers and mash.
- Toad in the hole.
7. Wales is:
- A county-shire.
- A country.
- A town somewhere in the North.
- Another name for England.
8. When greeting someone for the first time you should:
- Bow from the waist down.
- Maintain reserve and grunt hello.
- Squeal with enthusiasm and embrace them in a bear hug.
- Kiss them on both cheeks.
9. You bump into someone you have met once or twice before. You don't really know them very well, so what is the safest topic of conversation?
- Your latest digestive problems.
- How much money they earn.
- Their marriage.
- The weather.
10. You go to the pub with your new friends and someone buys you a drink. What are you obliged to do in return?
- Cook them a three-course meal.
- Kiss their feet.
- Leave as soon as you've finished your drink (you don't know them anyway).
- Buy them one back.
11. When someone says they're off to "spend a penny", what do they mean?
- They're off to spend a penny.
- They're off to spend several pennies, and possibly even some pounds.
- They're going to the loo.
- They're going to change their outfit.
12. Which of the following cannot be played in a pub?
- Drinking games.
13. Which soap is not set in the north of England?
Buy Nothing Day has come round again - November 25th internationally & the 24th in North America. Have a read of the BND press release.
NOVEMBER 24 IS BUY NOTHING DAY - NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
(November 25 outside of North America)
THE ULTIMATE REFUND: On November 24th and 25th – the busiest days in the American retail calendar and the unofficial start of the international Christmas-shopping season – thousands of activists and concerned citizens in 65 countries will take a 24-hour consumer detox as part of the 14th annual Buy Nothing Day, a global phenomenon that originated in Vancouver, Canada.
From joining zombie marches through malls to organizing credit card cut-ups and shopoholic clinics, Buy Nothing Day activists aim to challenge themselves, their families and their friends to switch off from shopping and tune back into life for one day. Featured in recent years by the likes of CNN, Wired, the BBC, and the CBC, the global event is celebrated as a relaxed family holiday, as a non-commercial street party, or even as a politically charged public protest. Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending.
Reasons for participating in Buy Nothing Day are as varied as the people who choose to participate. Some see it as an escape from the marketing mind games and frantic consumer binge that has come to characterize the holiday season, and our culture in general. Others use it to expose the environmental and ethical consequences of overconsumption.
Two recent, high-profile disaster warnings outline the sudden urgency of our dilemma. First, in October, a global warming report by economist Sir Nicholas Stern predicted that climate change will lead to the most massive and widest-ranging market failure the world has ever seen. Soon after, a major study published in the journal Science forecast the near-total collapse of global fisheries within 40 years.
Kalle Lasn, co-founder of the Adbusters Media Foundation, which was responsible for turning Buy Nothing Day into an international annual event, said, “Our headlong plunge into ecological collapse requires a profound shift in the way we see things. Driving hybrid cars and limiting industrial emissions is great, but they are band-aid solutions if we don’t address the core problem: we have to consume less. This is the message of Buy Nothing Day.”
As Lasn suggests, Buy Nothing Day isn't just about changing your habits for one day. It’s about starting a lasting lifestyle commitment to consuming less and producing less waste. With six billion people on the planet, the onus if on the most affluent – the upper 20% that consumes 80% of the world’s resources – to begin setting the example.
1. Why is BNDay around this time of year?
2. Where did BND begin?
3. What are some of the things people do on BND?
4. What reasons are given for participating?
5. What are the two recent global warnings?
6. What are solutions to these disasters?
7. What is the log-term aim of BND?
The text also lends itself to an analysis of its discourse structure. Ask the students to decide what the main general point is in each paragraph & then to make generalisations.
2. Invitation to join in
3. Reasons for joining in - the problem
4. More problems
This - intro>problem>solution>conclusion - organisation can be used in the students' writing as a way to provide structure in a variety of genres.
From the above pages their are links to BND sites around the world. There may be one for your students' countries. If you have a multinational group, you could ask them to check out their country's site & report back to the class.
Here's a 2005 YouTube interview about BND with the founder of Adbusters:
Below are a couple more links & ideas for incorporating tolerance discussions in our classes. All of this can be linked to the development of the language of discussion; putting opinions forward, modifying opinions, asking for clarification, explaining, agreeing & disagreeing etc.
A nice technique in roleplays to help people see others points of view is to rotate the roles while the activity is going on. Set up the roleplay & assign roles, the stds could prepare their ideas & then have the roleplay. After a couple of minutes rotate the roles, so each students hands their card to the person on the right. They read their new role & carry on the roleplay from where it stopped. This goes on for another two minutes & do the same, rotate the roles, & so on.
Maybe start the lesson with a vocabulary building task around the lexical area of 'tolerance':
- the word family: (in)tolerant, (in)tolerate, (in)tolerance, (in)toleration
- partial synonyms: open-mindedness, broad-mindedness, freedom, humanity, liberalism, liberality, liberalness, sensitivity, understanding
- partial antonyms - intolerant, disapproval, prejudice
Education for Democratic Citizenship: Teacher's Guide - 'This manual is a very practical introduction for first time teachers of citizenship education. It includes chapters on the central objectives of teaching about democratic citizenship, how to create a structure, skills, moral education, the democratic classroom, concepts, and teachings methods. All chapters are accompanied by sample lessons.' http://www.hrea.org/erc/Library/display.php?doc_id=328&category
(Link to the pack at the bottom of the page)
The lessons can make interesting speaking activities in our ELT classes.
All Different, All Equal education pack - 'the pack was developed as part of the European Youth Campaign Against Racism, Xenophobia, Anti-Semitism and Intolerance. The material was developed for audiences 14 years of age and older. The Education Pack is a book intended for use in informal education settings but activities may also be incorporated into the classroom setting. The book has two major sections, the first dealing with the key concepts for intercultural education and the second suggesting activities, methods and resources. The materials are intended to be a learning tool for the reader, as well as a resource for the organizing of activities and lessons. The text of the pack is highly interactive, with many comments and questions offered to the reader to cultivate a dynamic sense of dialogue.' http://www.hrea.org/erc/Library/display.php?doc_id=829&category
(Link to the pack at the bottom of the page)
101 tools for Tolerance - 'Hate can only be conquered by resident-activists willing to promote tolerance. You may already be one of them. The ideas in this guide will help foster tolerance in yourself, your family, your schools, your workplace and your community. Some of the ideas are things to do. Some are things to think about. Some are things to remember.' http://www.tolerance.org/101_tools/index.html
Have a look through the list - from the menu on the left - & choose interesting ones for your students, asking them to rank them in order of interest, usefulness etc.. & then ask them to think of some more ideas. discussions could ensue as to why the points are promoting tolerance.
'The Power of Words curriculum is about the language that captures the multiethnic temper of our times. Its lessons encourage us to explore the words used in the United States to label ethnic groups, women and sexual minorities and to examine the ways in which these words reveal our nation's social landscape. The Power of Words offers standards-based lesson plans for use in language arts and social studies classrooms; most are appropriate for use in grades 9 and up. Many can be adapted for lower grades and across subject areas.' http://www.tolerance.org/teach/web/power_of_words/index.jsp
Useful awareness for the more advanced learner. Our students wouldn't necessarily pick up on a lot of this so well worth incorporating some of the ideas.
Below is a matching reading task for 'Ten Ideas for Observing the International Day for Tolerance - 16 November'. 'The ten ideas below are a starting point for thinking about how the observance of an International Day for Tolerance could help to boost the promotion of tolerance in individual countries and in the world. These proposals seek to involve mainly, but not exclusively, students and teachers from all countries in our collective quest for an intolerance-free world.' http://www.cultureofpeace.org/calendar/tolerance/UNESCO-10ideas.pdf
If you find the content of the matching a little dry, you could simply use the ideas & the students could storm ideas for each & you could verify & give more information in the feedback. This would be the way if you wanted to use this with lower levels.
(This activity is actually one from the original Tip on Tolerance Day.)
Match the 10 Ideas to their explanatory paragraphs
1. Diversity in Your Community
2. Human Rights
3. Do-lt-Yourself Tolerance Program
4. No to Violence
5. Ecological Diversity and Human Diversity
6. Religious Tolerance
7. Current Events
8. Sports and Tolerance
9. Creativity at Work
10. International Link-ups
a. How are the rights of persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious, linguistic or other minorities guaranteed in your community, nation, region? How about indigenous people, migrant workers, asylum-seekers and refugees, disabled people? Are their rights promoted and protected? Do you find that your law-enforcement officials are adequately educated about human rights? What can you do to improve attitudes or behaviour toward minorities?
b. How does violence come into a community, school or home, and how can it be stopped? Act out the dynamics of tolerance and intolerance through role playing, dialogue, dilemma solving. Organise public debates, take sides in a debate, and then switch sides and speak for the opposite position. How do you imagine peaceful co-existence of diverse individuals and groups? What makes it work, and what undermines it?
c. Organise an event, with the participation of different religious and non-religious groups in your community, to discuss how tolerance is taught by these communities. How is tolerance taught by the different religions of the world, including the traditions of indigenous peoples? Each of them, in its own way, is founded on love and justice, and cannot be used to justify violence or war. Dialogue and discussion between representatives of many religious groups is a tradition that goes back centuries, and is still valuable today.
d. Every community is based on interdependence. Like the plants and animals, we couldn't survive if we were all the same. What are some examples of this truth drawn from daily life in your town? What are concrete examples of how a culture of peace and tolerance can promote environmental preservation? Start a project in your school or neighbourhood.
e. What are the international sporting events, and what is their purpose? What are the possible links between sports and intolerance (such as exclusion of those unable to compete, competitive chauvinism and violence) and how may these be remedied? Organise an athletic event around the theme of diversity and tolerance.
f. Start an international conversation or school-pairing project, by mail or computer. Write to others in another country about issues and problems you face in your lives. Exchange audio cassettes or pictures. Explore the possibilities of participating in international summer camps or student exchanges. Ask your school to join UNESCO's Associated Schools Project.
g. Art speaks volumes. Examine the work of an artist from another region of the world. What does it communicate to you? Create short stories, plays, poems, songs, articles, paintings, posters, photographs, or videos elucidating the themes of tolerance, and publish or distribute them. Write letters to prominent people, asking questions and communicating your views on the subject of tolerance.
h. Organise discussions about current events in relation to tolerance and intolerance. Analyse actual conflicts of the past and present. How might they have been resolved or avoided? How is the issue of human rights in the news today? What are the fundamental rights and freedoms recognised by the international community? How do multi-cultural, multi-linguistic countries work? What are the common interests that diverse peoples share?
i. Write your own tolerance curriculum or program. This means deciding what are the component parts of tolerance, and how you think tolerant values can best be transmitted. Scrutinise your text books and televisions, newspapers and magazines for stereotyping, including gender typing, and assumptions about nationalities and ethnic groups. What are the tolerance priorities for your town, country or region?
j. Wherever you live, the wide diversity of your community will probably surprise you. It has been said that a culture is the sum total of all the influences that a region has undergone. Undertake an investigative project on cultural diversity in your town or community. Who lives there? How do they live? Articles, interviews, posters or displays can be designed to highlight the range of identities and cultures. How is this diversity demonstrated in music? Reflect on the number of traditions of music and dance you've come across, and the mutual influences they show. Organise a concert or cultural festival that brings together a range of cultural traditions.