In this inaugural blog post we introduce the reader to the project “Tales From a Multicultural Classroom.” And it is about time we did! This project emerged at JAMK University of Applied Sciences, in Jyväskylä Finland, in 2013, and engages bachelor’s degree students in international business to respond to intercultural communication course theories by ideating and then producing short videos. Working in small multicultural groups, students focus thematically on topics related to communication, values, and behaviours. and also on social topics such as academic integrity, wellness, and sustainability. Students may pursue a fictional, scripted video, or they may choose to take a documentary-styled approach. In parallel to the intercultural communication theory, students are provided with tuition about video production. Here students learn about stories and storytelling, character development, storyboarding, shooting, and editing.
A scene from the short film ‘StereoFives’, produced in Autumn 2015 as part of the ‘Tales from a Multicultural Classroom’ project.
As of February 2019, the project has yielded 129 videos, and viewership has expanded across Europe, the USA, and Asia. The videos are envisioned as teaching and learning tools, and each video includes a short synopsis and/or a “teaching note” in the form of a viewer’s guide. Using the viewer’s guide, teachers are able to learn about the underlying theories that inform the video and are able to develop a teaching approach to using the video in the classroom. In fictional videos, Tales project teachers often advise students away from finishing the story by encouraging an open ending. This approach allows the teacher to engage students to observe and interpret critical incidents, and then to encourage discussion about potential ways to address the issues that the story’s characters are dealing with. In future posts we will explore various aspects of the Tales project and we look forward to hearing from students who have participated in the project, and from teachers who use the videos in their teaching.
Steve Crawford, Senior Lecturer, Cross-Cultural Management
Tales from a Multicultural Classroom: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6p0Wps-7OxNGSCmTTZrdVw