24 August 2016

Language Learning is like Boxing and Cross Cultural Training is like Sparring


Part 2 – The Importance of Cross Cultural Training in Language Learning

In Part 1 (go to Part 1) we have explained what Cross Cultural Training means. Today we would like to give you some practical tips on what to evaluate when looking for a language course that offers fully-fledged cross cultural training.

Cultural immersion is an aspect of language learning that certainly speeds up the process.  Being forced to use your target language to ask directions or order a cup of coffee prompts fast language learning, and also isolates the parts of the language that, at least initially, are most important for fundamental learning.

Many people will tell you that cultural immersion is only possible through travel.  In other words, by going to a country that speaks your target language and immersing yourself in the culture, you are forcing yourself to use the language, and will thus grow more comfortable with its use.

But, while this is true, it is by no means the only way to experience cultural immersion.  With technology affording us global connectivity and some high-quality language schools offering exceptional cross cultural language learning, cultural immersion is possible from your home country.

How to Find a Great Language Course

While some language courses may teach aspects of other cultures, only the finest offer fully-fledged cross cultural training.  So, in order to find one of these, begin by evaluating the level of proficiency in the following:

1. Participation

Decide whether you would benefit more from a one-on-one learning situation or if group learning is more suited to you.  Next, choose a language course that offers both of these scenarios, just in case you change your mind upon embarking on the course.

2. Intensity

If your target language is for the benefit of travel, you might not have a specific time-frame in mind or even know how long it should take to learn a language.  If, however, it is for business purposes, you might be required to learn a portion of the language within a predetermined window.  Find out if your intended language course can meet your needs, and whether its courses can be tailored to your specific requirements.

3. Course Management

Any successful training regimen requires the proper equipment as well as the establishment of attainable goals in the pursuit of success.  Determine whether your language course has an established management option that will provide specific course information as well as provide reports as to your progress intermittently.

How a Language Course Provides Cultural Immersion Locally

If your intended language course meets the above criteria, it will put you in an excellent position in terms of achieving cultural immersion from a local vantage point.

Through media, apps, and, of course, expert instruction, you will learn all of the important aspects of your target language that travel would otherwise afford you.  However, you won’t have to travel in order to receive the benefits of such immersion.

Through a quality language learning institution, it is possible to receive the language skills necessary to conduct business proceedings on foreign soil as if you are a local – and gain such skills from the familiar surroundings of your home city.

If you would like to experience a language course that gives you the specific cultural immersion you are looking for, enquire with us now, or ask us about our cultural training classes.


Part 1 – What Is Cross Cultural Training?

(published on 24 August 2016)

Language learning is a bit like boxing training.  Working the punching bag and shadow boxing are important elements of the sport to learn, but, when the trainee first gets into the ring, all that training needs to be adapted to the situation.

The subtle differences between learning a language and using a language can be likened to this.  It is possible to have a perfectly strong hold on a particular language, but, when it comes time to use it, all of the language training involved in the learning process might have to be adapted.  But, this is where cross cultural language training becomes so important.

To go back to the boxing analogy, cross cultural language training is the linguistic equivalent of sparring.  When sparring, boxers climb inside the ring with other trainees to get a feel for what it is like to throw a punch when the target can retaliate.  Similarly, cross cultural training readies language students for real-life language exchanges, with the focus placed on readiness for specific foreign cultural practices.

A language student learning a target language for business purposes, for example, would benefit from cross cultural training in that he or she would be taught the specific business practices and etiquettes of the target culture.  It is, after all, all well and good to learn the right business terminology, but understanding how the business culture of the target language functions is the key to successful cross cultural business proceedings.

What Is Cross Cultural Training?

Cross cultural training, particularly with a view to international business proceedings, requires a multi-faceted learning approach.  These facets come together to ensure that, when it comes to business dealings, no aspect of the language barrier is adversely consequential.

Some of the prongs in the cross cultural learning approach are:

1. Cultural Awareness

As we mentioned, learning the business terminology of a target language isn’t enough to ensure that the speaker can effectively execute business interactions.  Knowledge of foreign cultures’ approaches to business dealings is extremely important.  And this is what cultural awareness training provides.

2. Market Briefings

Foreign markets behave differently in that they often have very different motivations and expectations.  A thorough understanding of this is important going into business dealings in order to avoid any ambiguities and discrepancies.  Cross cultural training thus incorporates market briefings in order to give language learners a better understanding of foreign business environments.

3. Situational Education

No country is consistent across the board in terms of its culture.  Different regions have different cultural practices to suit their environments.  Regions in the north of Italy might like skiing, to use a truly basic example, while those around the southern coasts might prefer sunbathing.  This type of cultural awareness is important to ease the transition of those moving to another country for business purposes.

4. Multi-Cultural Management

Managing a team of multi-cultural workers can be a challenge at the best of times, and that is before the challenge of language divides is even considered.  In order to create unity amongst workers from different cultures, a very specific plan of action is required.  Multi-cultural management training is vital for accomplishing this task successfully.

Cross Cultural Training in London

Cross cultural training is important for anyone involved in business operations between countries and cultures.  However, it doesn’t need to involve being thrown in the figurative boxing ring.  It is quite possible to learn the business practices between cultures from a central location, through a quality language training facility.

Get in touch with us to find out more about cross cultural language training.

In Part 2 (go to Part 2) we will share with you some tips on what to evaluate when looking for a language course that offers fully-fledged cross cultural training.

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