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Cross -cultural education: Breaking through cultural barriers

Shirley Potter Conley, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This study investigated three major cultural theories of cross-cultural conflicts: (1) perceptual differences; (2) absence of cultural awareness; and (3) inability to accept cultural differences.^ The methodology in this study included: (1) a review of literature, which explored the need to cross cultures and investigated three major theories responsible for cultural conflicts; (2) in-depth interviewing of a small group of Cape Verdeans, which revealed incidents of cross-cultural conflicts experienced by them when they attempted to break through cultural barriers; (3) an analysis of these cross-cultural conflicts, which manifested their connection to the three major theories; (4) a review of the three major approaches to teaching cross-cultural communication: (a) the didactic; (b) the experiential; and (c) the humanistic, which examined their strengths and weaknesses; and (5) a presentation of some generalized strategies designed to surmount cross-cultural conflicts.^ The study concluded that: (1) global interdependency emphasizes the need to cross cultures; (2) perceptual differences, absence of cultural awareness, and the inability to accept cultural differences inhibit effective communication across cultural boundaries; (3) the three major theories of cultural conflicts that were proposed were causes of cross-cultural conflicts experienced by the Cape Verdeans in this study, although they may not have been the only causes; (4) the three major approaches to teaching cross-cultural communication (didactic, experiential, and humanistic) would be most effective when used together; and (5) some generalized strategies can be designed to overcome cross-cultural conflicts.^ Recommendations are made for the future study of the causes of cultural conflicts. ^

Subject Area

Bilingual education

Recommended Citation

Conley, Shirley Potter, "Cross -cultural education: Breaking through cultural barriers" (1989). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9001494.