Culture shock Is defined as “a common psychological response to an unfamiliar culture [which] Is characterized by disorientation, heightened anxiety, and more rarely by depressed or paranoid behavior. ” (1) Three groups of people are prone to culture shock – those outside of their own countries, those experiencing a very different culture within their own countries, and former ex-patriots who are now returning home. There are also three phases of culture shock – euphoria, anxiety, and adjustment.
Short-term visitors and people who are very new to a culture see the new culture as exotic and exciting, but have not really left home, yet. Many people who go to international, multicultural, or ethnic fairs or who eat at an ethnic restaurant of a group not their own also experience the first pleasant stage of culture shock. The second stage Is not nearly so pleasant. This usually strikes people who have been in the new culture for awhile, and who are planning to stay longer, but it can also affect those just encountering a new culture.
The written and unwritten rules that work so well at home no longer work, and in some cases the new culture makes little or no sense. At worst, people in this second stage see the new culture as a disaster and their own home cultures as ideal and they may experience much anxiety and even paranoia during this time. People who stay In a new culture long enough and who learn enough of this culture’s rules and logic usually adjust. This is the third stage of culture shock.
By this time, the sojourner can see the merits and demerits of both the new culture and his home culture. How Cultures Clash – Experts Count the Ways Many scholars and researchers have written on culture shock and clash over the years. One of the earliest and most important experts on this subject has been the cultural anthropologist, Edward Twitchier Hall. The main focus in four of his books, Beyond Culture (21 The Dance of Life (3), The Hidden Dimension (4), and The Silent Language (5) has been on how deferent societies define, perceive, and use time and space.
He also gives graphic and compelling examples, both of Individuals experiencing culture shock as they adjust to cultures new to them and of groups of people experiencing culture clash as they interact with each other. Hall also Alehouses winter cultures are “Nell or low context”, analytical or equilaterals, ND collective or individual. These points will be further discussed below. Wilma Longest (6) built on the foundation laid by Hall and many other researchers by describing in detail five “aspects of ethnicity” – verbal communication, nonverbal communication, orientation modes, value patterns, and intellectual modes.
She applies all of these aspects of ethnicity to classroom behavior and instruction. Specific aspects of verbal communication include the issue of ethnicity in learning and Judging speech, the grammatical structures and nonstandard dialects of languages, denotation and connotations, and discussion modes. Denotations are dictionary definitions of a word, wheel connotations are the many unwritten and emotional definitions of words, as used by people from different groups. Definitions and denotations of a word are often very specific while connotations can vary widely.
Longest also writes at length about discussion modes, including who can interrupt, what interruptions may mean, and whether group members “take turns” in discussions or everybody talks at once. (7) Longest describes several ways that researchers have studied nonverbal communications, including kinesics, “the scientific study of communication based on he body’s motions”; proteomics, or Hall’s study of interpersonal space; hepatics, or the study of interpersonal touching, and the meaning of symbols and signs.
Proteomics involves the study of distances between people as they interact with each other, spatial arrangement of people, furniture, buildings, and larger geographic areas, and how different societies use space, in general. The study of hepatics include the frequency, quality, and location of touch. (8) Orientation modes refer to the use of both time and space by people in relating to each other. These modes include body orientation or positions that people from efferent cultures take as they stand, relax, sit, eat, etc. Attention modes or how people indicate that they are paying attention to a speaker; spatial-architectural orientation, such as how the design of classrooms encourage or discourage learning, and time modes, which is how people from various groups believe that time should be used. (9) Social value patterns are the written and unwritten rules of social behavior. Longest describes these values as varied, even within groups. She talks about dominant and secondary patterns of value within groups as well as whether group embers see values as preferences, minor requirements, important obligations, or as basic moral ideas.
She also describes behaviors as “desirable or undesirable, as important to achieve or unimportant, as possible to accomplish or as impossible. ” (10) Intellectual modes or the learning and teaching styles valued by a culture includes ethnic influences on approaches to learning, ethnic emphases on favoring development AT Intellectual telltales, Ana castles Ana settling Tanat may encourage or discourage the development of an intellectual ability. Approaches to learning loud include behavior during new learning, questioning styles, ways of dealing wit different kinds of problems, and ways of organizing data.
Ethnic emphases favoring development of intellectual abilities would include whether students are encourage to memorize, or whether they are encouraged to know how to find information, as well as qualities emphasized in the exercise of intellectual abilities. (11) A more recent researcher, Patty Lane, (12) who comes from an evangelical Christian perspective, describes cultural modes very similar to those described by Hall and Longest, but there are some differences here. The modes that Lane discusses include the following: Where we are – the importance of high and low context in a culture What drives us? He value of activity – whether a culture is a “being” culture or a “doing” culture Who am I? – is the source of identity collective or individual? When do we start? – our sense of time – is time abundant or limited? What is really real? – differences between pre- modern, modern, and post-modern cultures How is conflict resolved? Like Hall, Lane discusses whether cultures are high or low context, hierarchical or egalitarian, or collective or individual. Both researchers also discuss how people room different cultures deal with conflict.
Lane defines high context cultures as holistic cultures where the “context of an event is as important as the event, itself”, where “the listener is responsible for understanding communication”, and where “experience is equal in value to fact”. (13) It is implied that outsiders understand the culture, so little is explained and much is implied. Instructions are not spelled out. For examples, television commercials from high context cultures may make a subtle point, without ever mentioning the specific product being advertised.
It is assumed that the viewer will understand the point of the ad. Commercials from low context cultures are seen as aggressive and intrusive. Some examples of high context culture include many Asian and African cultures, as well as some cultures within the U. S. (e. G. Some Native American, Asian American) Low context cultures , on the other hand tend not to be holistic, but function by breaking things down into separate parts. There is a strong preference for analytic thinking over holistic thinking.
In low context cultures, “the content of the message more important than the context, the speaker is responsible for communication, and people are defined by their recent achievements. (14) Less is implied and much more is explained, including instruction and in some cases, even laws and regulations, which can be spelled out to the minute detail. It is not always assumed that “outsiders” or even in some cases “insiders” understand what is going on. Commercials from low context cultures will tell viewers explicitly, not only exactly what they should buy, but why and how they should buy it.
Commercials from high context cultures are seen as vague and confusing with viewers asking “What was the point? “A prime example of a low context culture is the dominant culture of the USA, specially in the north. A an Lane Locus winter cultures are analytical or equilaterals Ana whether they are collective or individual. Hierarchical cultures are organized by age, class, sex, or ethnicity. In such cultures, some groups, such as the old or the wealthy have more status than others and are addressed accordingly. In most cultures, older people are addressed by honorifics and not by their first names.
All of this would govern the use of language, as well as how services are provided. Other societies, like the USA, Australia, or Israel are moor egalitarian, at least in principle. Most adults end to automatically address each other by first names. In a collective society, one’s status and fate rests largely on one’s family, tribe, ethnicity, community, etc. How well or poorly an individual does reflect on all of these things. In such a society, individuals avoid failing or getting into trouble for fear of bringing shame to their families or communities.
There is also a certain level of protection for individuals in collective societies. On the other hand, individuals may be afraid of being creative or different, or may have difficulty getting away from their roots, should they want to. Many Asian and African societies are collective in nature, and so are a number of ethnic groups in the U. S. In individualistic societies one’s status and fate rests more upon one’s own efforts. How well or poorly individuals do reflect less on their family, village, tribe, nation, etc.
Individuals can succeed or fail without reflecting as much on their points of origin. The advantages and disadvantages are in direct contrast to those in collective societies. People in individualistic societies are freer to be eccentric, creative, or Just plain different, and in some cases, can get as far away from their roots as they wish. However, they don’t have the protection or support system of people in more collective cultures and can be left stranded, on their own, and vulnerable. The USA is currently as individualistic as a culture can be without disintegrating.
While Lane discusses many of the same points addressed by Hall and Longest, she also focuses on whether a culture is a “being” culture or a “doing” culture, as well as on whether a culture is pre-modern, modern, or post-modern. “Doing” cultures emphasize the efficient use of time to finish tasks. “Being” cultures tend to see time s infinite and are as concerned with the Journey of life or the process of creation as they are with the finishing of tasks. Lane also compares pre-modern (agricultural), modern (industrial), and post-modern (information based) societies.
Implications For Reference and Instruction Librarians These theories have many implications for reference services and for information literacy instruction. Aspects of ethnicity that would be especially important at the reference desk would include ethnicity in learning and Judging speech, the denotations and connotations of words, kinesics, proteomics, hepatics, and body relation Ana postures AT Don patrons Ana Edwardians. How Edwardians Ana patrons interpret each other’s speech would have a major impact on how well they answer patron’s questions, and in some cases, how seriously they take these questions.
The use of gazes and other body language and interpersonal space by librarians and patrons and how each interpret the other can also have a major impact on the success of reference interactions. In the classroom, it is important for librarians to be aware of the many ways that people indicate that they are paying attention. Some groups do so with silence, and there do so by indicating responses, such as “call and response” throughout the presentation. Librarians should be aware of education philosophies and histories of students’ original cultures.
Memorization of large amounts of narrative information may be the most important way to learn in some cultures, while knowing how to find, evaluate, and use bits of information may be the most prized in others. What is knowledge and how can or should this be demonstrated? The answer to this varies by culture. Group orientation can also affect individual and group behavior in class, s well as attitudes towards “plagiarism” and “cheating”. For cultural groups where everything is shared, the ideas of intellectual (or any other kind of) property and plagiarism may represent real culture shock.
There is also the question of what is worse, morally, “cheating” by giving a friend an answer on an examination or not helping a friend in need. Aspects of ethnicity and culture that would affect both of these library services would include the spatial arrangements of both reference and instruction areas, proteomics, attention modes, and preferred modes of learning. Students from some cultures use questions and answers as a way to learn. In many other cultures, learning is done through modeling. A parent, teacher, or older sibling does the action and the learner observes and then imitates either in front of the leader or on their own.
In some cultures, asking questions is seen as a sign of stupidity. This would have many implications, both at the reference desk and in the instruction classroom. Where using questions and answers may not be effective, using modeling may be, for instance. Library and Information Science (LIST) Perspectives on Culture Shock and Other Related Subjects There has been a wealth of literature over the years describing in detail culture shock experienced by international students using U. S. Libraries by researchers such as Woman (1 5), Morphed (16), K.
Sardine Menses (17, 18,19, 20), MacDonald and E. Sardine Menses (21), Hendricks (22), Gilson (23, 24), Spinal (25), Jiao and Incongruence (27), Intonation (28), and Admiration and Zoe (29). There is also a separate body of literature on U. S. College students who go through culture shock as they start their academic careers that will not be further described in this essay, but which are least In tans diastase. I Nils particular phenomenon Is Known as Diary anxiety The best articles to begin with are those by Allen Intonation and by Diane Admiration and Lucian R. Zoe.
Intonation gives an excellent review of eighteen articles published between 1987-1993, summarizing trends and issues described by a variety of researchers. Major barriers encountered by international students adjusting to U. S. Libraries are language barriers, cultural barriers, and technological barriers. Intonation mentioned that many students speaking English as a Second Language have half the reading comprehension of their U. S. Counterparts and less oral comprehension. Some students avoid asking questions because they are self-conscious about their skills in this area.
Culture clash occur in libraries because of different library and research traditions that students must negotiate. The role of libraries in society, ways that people use libraries, organization of libraries, and library procedures can vary tremendously from country to country. Intonation also briefly mentioned technological issues, that were Just beginning to emerge at that time. He then discussed a number of solutions to these problems, including how librarians would behave at the reference desk and how they should plan presentations.
Intonation ended his article by urging more staff training and development for librarians in technology and other subjects, as well as working with other groups that are undeserved in the United States, including ethnic minorities, returning students, users with disabilities, and first generation college students. An excellent recent publication is Teaching the New Library to Today’s Users, edited by Trudy E. Jacobson and Helene C. Williams (30). This book includes chapters on all of the groups mentioned by Intonation, except for disabled people.
It also includes chapters on reaching lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LIGHT) students, “at- risk” students, graduate students, distance education students and adults and senior citizens as college students. The chapter on international students by Admiration and Zoe (31) further addresses issues raised in the Intonation article, as well as many issues described in this database, including cultural differences, learning styles, and multiple intelligences. This article is especially outstanding in describing in detail language and technological issues faced especially by non-English speaking international students.
The ways different languages are structured can affect not only oral communication and comprehension but especially the use of catalogs, indexes, and other databases of the post-modern library. They then described how all of these issues are further complicated by new technologies that have emerged in the past decade by thoroughly analyzing the difficulties of teaching about computers, full-text and other databases, the Internet, and search engines to students with little exposure to these things at home.
They give detailed instructions for planning instruction and for implementing presentations and activities. Admiration and Zoe also briefly discuss the issues of critical thinking and of partnerships between librarians and instructors. Much AT tans literature can De unhelpful to puddle Edwardians working wilt Immigrants Some public librarians have created very innovative services to reach this target group and many of these approaches may also be helpful in other library settings.
An especially outstanding program is the New Americans Program from the Queens Borough Public Library in New York. Literature also exist on this and similar programs. Last, insights from comparative librarianship can be very helpful here, especially for tooth international students and for recent immigrants. Some very old sources that can give historical information on librarianship and related activities include Kerry’ and Lotto’s World Librarianship: A Comparative Study (32) and Anne Pillowslips The World of Children’s Literature. (33).
These studies can be updated by using the World Encyclopedia of Library and Information Services (34), publications, such as the UNESCO Journal of Information Science, Librarianship and Archives Administration (35), the FILL Journal (36), Libra (37), and Bookbinder (38) and by looking under specific Mounties in Library Literature and in related databases. Knowing how libraries and information services have developed in different countries can also be very helpful in planning and implementing improved reference and instructional services for diverse groups.
More Insights, Solutions, and Recommendations Librarians who want to find out more about teaching international students or immigrants should determine what countries students come from, what languages they speak, and how large the various groups are. It is a good idea to start with the comparative library literature, which can give very useful background information. Finding out about education methods in countries of origin can also be helpful.
Librarians should then read LIST literature on teaching international students, starting with the essays by Intonation and by Admiration and Zoe. Those needing a more general and theoretical overview can also consult the culture shock literature described at the beginning of this essay. Articles describing public library outreach activities to immigrants may also be useful sources for ideas. This author wrote a 1994 article on instructing diverse groups (39). In making final recommendations, she will update suggestions made there, and incorporate some insights from Intonation.
Form partnerships and work closely with related agencies, such as community or ethnic agencies and organizations serving immigrants for school or public library settings or international student centers, SSL, and similar programs serving International students In camel settings. Be aware AT ten general International needs of your public, as well as what users should know to effectively use your library. Are the students in your audience first year students or graduate students, for instance? Know the characteristics of your group(s). What countries do your students come from and what languages do they speak?
How large are your language groups? You may be able to design more specific instruction that is bi-lingual or in the students’ own language(s). Be aware of the particular needs of your group(s). This includes library history and traditions, as well as more recent trends in countries that students come from. Be aware of how people develop, in general. Some theories, like those of Erikson or Pigged can be applied across cultures, at least to some extent. Others, like those of Goldberg, Gilligan, and Perry may be more culturally specific.
Be aware of different learning styles and multiple intelligences within different cultures. Many of these theories seem to work within a variety of cultures but should be used with some care. Other learning theories may also be useful, but should be approached even more cautiously. Be ready to adapt teaching methods. Supplement lectures with active and collaborative learning and questions and answers with modeling and imitation. Intonation also recommends combining hands-on training and the use of transparencies and handouts with initial exercises in a controlled setting.
Tailor learning approaches for specific groups. International students in a college setting can be approached by country, region. Language, or disciplines. Use robbers or languages relevant to your specific target groups. In your verbal communication at the reference desk and in the classroom, Intonation recommends that librarians “listen intently, speak deliberately, clearly use common words and be patient. ” Others have suggested using English words with either German or Latin roots, depending on the audience.
Intonation and others also mention that librarians should avoid slang and colloquialisms, define technical terms and Jargon, and use repetition. Apply all of your learning and teaching principles to your indirect instruction, as well. More general information on culture shock can be found elsewhere on this website, as well as specific information on diverse groups in general, international, multicultural, and ethnic researchers, in general, immigrants and international students, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics or Latino, and Native Americans.
Sources which reflect insights of some librarians and educators of color. And which discuss learning styles, as well as racism and other issues that affect the education of people of color are listed on those pages. This is in addition to general information on younger researchers, older researchers, and researchers with disabilities available elsewhere on this database.