Independent Intercultural Trainer (formerly at Osaka Gakuin University)
Talk / Creating a Safe Space for TransformationRaising Intercultural Awareness for Language Teachers and Learners
Language education takes place in the context of culture. Language educators do not only support the learners to achieve linguistic competence in the target language but also intercultural competence to communicate effectively and appropriately in a different cultural context. In order to nurture intercultural competence, a safe intercultural space is needed for it allows more sharing and learning, which then invite more positive changes and transformation to happen. This plenary session will raise the intercultural awareness of language educators who work in multi-cultural environments by introducing cultural dimensions, intercultural communication theories and models. Through interactive discussions, the audience will explore how different cultural values influence their own and their learners’ perceptions and practice of language teaching and learning. At the end of the session, the participants will be more aware of their cultural influences in their instructions and communication styles, which will enable them to create a safe space for their learners to become more conscious of their own cultural patterns and be able to express themselves more freely and effectively.
Tomomi Kumai is an intercultural coach based in South Korea. She works in the intercultural services and education field serving expatriates, international students, and nationals in the US, Korea, and Japan. Her clients include universities in Japan and Korea, and multinational corporations in various fields such as automotive, financial, and information technology. Born a Korean-Japanese bicultural citizen in Hiroshima, Japan, she has lived, worked, and studied for over 16 years in the United States, Korea, and China. She has been always interested in and fascinated with communicating with people from different backgrounds. She received a B.A. in Linguistics with a minor in Psychology from San Diego State University, and an M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She studied Educational Psychology in the University of Illinois Education Doctoral Program.
Her mission is to provide space and time for people to connect with, learn from, and empower each other to create positive synergy, and she truly enjoys serving people while drawing from her own multi-cultural background and experience of living as a minority.