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Posts Tagged ‘cultural

It was from this TODAY article that I found out about cultural intelligence or CQ. If I had to oversimplify it, I might describe CQ as a systemic version of EQ.

Near the end of the article, the author declared:

…having cultural intelligence is not about being an expert in the different cultures. It is about having the right mindset and the ability to be effective in different cultural settings.

The good news is that Singapore is at the forefront of recognising the significance of cultural intelligence.

There is a cultural intelligence course being offered at Nanyang Technological University and the Ministry of Education has been trying to incorporate cultural intelligence in our education system.

Unfortunately, there was no more said about how exactly Singapore might be poised for CQ beyond our geography and history. Neither was there information about the CQ course or details on a CQ curriculum (if that is even possible).

I wonder if CQ can be taught within classroom walls. Within such walls are insidious ones borne of not just our geography and history but also our upbringing and socialisation. Being multicultural does not give us an advantage if we do not first recognise these invisible walls.

This week I read two seemingly unconnected articles, one about US politics and the other about cultural literacy. I link them both and connect them to questions about schooling.

The first was a Wired article that contrasted the plans of Clinton and Trump as they drummed up support for their campaigns.

…you can learn a lot juxtaposing the optics of the campaign speeches Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump gave last week on the future of the economy. While Clinton spoke from the center of a tech hub in Denver, surrounded by millennials tapping away on MacBooks, Trump addressed a crowd inside a scrap metal factory in a Pennsylvania steel town, standing before a wall of crushed aluminum cans.

Before either candidate spoke, they’d cast two opposing visions. In Clinton’s, the economy hinges on investing in technology and the industries of tomorrow. In Trump’s, it depends upon reviving the industries of yesterday. Both aspire to create jobs. But one has a chance of achieving that goal, because history shows that industries survive the future only by embracing it.

Two potential country (and world) leaders outlined plans, one designed with the now and future in mind, and the other based on the nostalgic but increasingly irrelevant past.

The second article was also US-centric. It was a cutting analysis of how an older generation might accuse a younger generation of not having enough cultural capital.

However, using #‎BeckyWithTheBadGrades as an example, the author reasoned that the opposite was also true. Adults are just as ignorant of the culture of their children. A case in point:

By the same token, teachers are sometimes unable to connect with their students’ world views.

By some distorted reasoning, we expect the next generation to embrace the past — and they should cherish the good bits — but we do not acknowledge their now in order to help them shape their future. The author described schooling like this:

We might think of schooling as teaching the prior generation's knowledge so that youth are prepared to communicate on an equal footing with those they are about to join in the economic and civic spheres. -- Robert Pondiscio

Is our schooling entrenched in the past? Is it led by leaders looking in the wrong direction?

More importantly, if we see the disconnects, what do we strive to learn and what do we do to address these gaps?

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