Who are you? What's your view?
Hello again blogosphere! And blog friends! It's Sean here and this week and next I'll be blogging here in the Staff blog. How many 'blogs' is that?!! Well, I'll try to do a couple of entries each week - but maybe if you send me some really interesting comments I'll have to do more! ;-)
So what to talk about? What to say? Right now I'm staring at a blank screen, wondering who is out there... Who will read this? Who will reply? Well, I'm hoping some of my old friends who replied to my Teacher blog a while ago will pop up... and I hope some new friends too! From all over the world! That's the beauty of BBC Learning English - we can all come together from all over the world and exchange views....
But what's your view? What's your perspective? Where do you stand? Who are you?!
You see your view, your perspective, where you stand... often determines not only what you see but very often what you understand... even how you react! Have a look at this picture. Can you guess what it is? Or do you need to change your perspective? Your point of view? Your standpoint?
Can you guess what this is? Or do you need to change your perspective? Your point of view? Your standpoint?
Did you get it? Did you see?
If not - stand back and take another look!
Easy now, right? A beach hut! So you see perspective is everything!
When I was thinking about this I remembered a great TV ad from years ago the Guardian Newspaper. It's very clever. It not only communicates the point that your viewpoint or point of view is determined by where you stand - your standpoint if you like! - but also plays very cleverly on 'cultural' assumptions or points of view about who someone is because of the way they look or dress... or indeed behave! You can see the ad on Youtube if you like -
It's only when you get the whole picture that you can fully understand what's going on. But it's not just about your point of view. It's about who you are! And who you are often determines your point of view! Or perhaps your point of view determines who you are! If you just watched the ad, be honest - what assumptions did you make about the 'skinhead', the 'housewife' and the 'businessman'?
I'm talking now about culture.
Culture is an amazing thing. I'm not talking about the arts (the high culture of opera or 'low culture' of soap operas and so on) but about our values, attitudes and behaviour. That's the meaning of culture in the wider sense - and, whether we like it or not, whether we know it or not, our identity - and very often our perspective on things and people, is shaped by our cultural identity - by the culture in which we have lived. Culture - whether national culture or even organisational culture - shapes our values, which inform our attitudes, which in turn affect our behaviour. Powerful stuff!
So who am I?
And how has my culture shaped me? Well, I'm Sean! I was born in Uganda but grew up in Yorkshire. My parents are English but my name is Irish because my ancestors came from Ireland. I have lived in London since I was eighteen years old. But I have also lived in Switzerland, France, Chile and worked in Egypt, China and many European countries. So maybe lots of 'cultural influences'. I also work for the BBC World Service where there are many different nationalities and people with lots of different cultural values. I like diversity! In fact I even like a dance group called Diversity from 'different walks of life'! You can learn more about Diversity here.
So what does this mean about my values? Well, I'm British and a Yorkshireman. So maybe that tells you something about me and my values. Of course, the danger is that we slip into stereotypes! I'm British or English so I must be ... cold? Formal? I'm a Yorkshireman so I must be frank, plain speaking? To some extent of course, some of this may be true. I'd say I value the English sense of fair play... and I like the dry English sense of humour... and I value plain speaking.
I also value honesty, fairness and hope I recognise that not everyone is the same and that that is a good thing! Of course not everyone will agree with me! I remember another great ad that, to me, captures the British sense of humour, the values of diversity and different styles. If you want to see it I think you'll find it surprising - whether you like it or not may be determined by your culture! You can see it here.
So who are you? How much are you shaped by your culture? A colleague of mine, Marc Beeby, made a fascinating series a while ago all about culture and cultural identity called Who on Earth Are We? You can listen and download the radio programmes and scripts here.
Happy listening! Happy reading! And hope you learn something new about inter-cultural communication! If you do, or if you have any comments on my blog... please tell me.
Who are you?
What's your view?
What are your values?
How much are you shaped by your culture?
I've explained some of the words in bold below.
See you soon!
What's your view?
What do you think? How do you feel?
What's your perspective?
How do you look at this? What do you think? What do you see?
Where do you stand?
What's your position? What do you think?
the key information; the reason
your view point or point of view
what you think
what you think or feel as determined by your culture
usually a man with a shaved head who sometimes dresses in a particular way - jeans, boots - and perhaps belongs to a gang... but not always!
beliefs, what you think is right
what you think, your view on something or someone
how you act
things that have affected you because of your culture
difference; understanding and appreciating differences
a simplified mental picture of an individual or group of people who share a certain characteristic; often negative or prejudiced
to the point; honest; upfront
plain speakingtell it how it is; direct
dry sense of humour
finding something funny in a quiet, clever, unassuming way
communication across cultures, cultural differences; understanding different, diverse cultures