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A Door Opener: Teaching Cross Cultural Competence to Seafarers

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The importance of developing cultural competence in maritime professionals is increasingly being recognized. Seafarers seek knowledge to help them cope with the growing diversity of their employers, leaders and colleagues. However, even though requirements designed to address cultural competence are incorporated into maritime school curricula, the institutional culture of maritime education systematically tends to foster static and essentialist conceptions of “culture” as applied to seafarers. Many questions emerge when we try to teach in a way that brings alive the humanity of mariners. These questions are waiting for their answers, so in our paper we shall try to find and explain some approaches and ways of teaching and research as the goal is to provide maritime professionals with practical wisdom in comprehending what is the seafarers’ life on board ship.
  • Constanta Maritime University, Constanta, Romania
  • Vestfold University College, Tonsberg, Norway
  • [1] Cole, C.W., Pritchard, B, & Trenkner, P. (2005) “The professional profile of Maritime English instructor (PROFS): an interim report” in Maritime Security and MET, Proceedings of the International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU) Sixth Annual General Assembly and Conference, 65-71. Southampton: WIT Press.
  • [2] Delors, J., (1996) “Learning: The Treasure Within – Report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century”, UNESCO, pp: 87-97.
  • [3] Kim, Young Yun 2001. Becoming Intercultural: An Integrative Theory of Communication and Cross-Cultural Adaptation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.
  • [4] Kim, Chai. Improving Intercultural Communication Skills: A Challenge facing Institutions of Higher Education in the 21st Century. (Accessed December 6, 2010).
  • [5] Littrell, Lisa N., Salas, Eduardo, et al. 2006. Expatriate Preparation: A Critical Analysis of 25 Years of Cross-Cultural Training Research. Human Resource Development Review 5:3 (2006): 355-388.
  • [6] UNESCO (1992): International Conference on Education, 43rd Session, The Contribution of Education to Cultural Development, p.5, §10.
  • [7] UNESCO (2001): Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (Culture is “the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterize a society or social group. It includes not only the arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of the human being, value systems, traditions and beliefs”)
  • [8] UNESCO (2003): Education in a Multilingual World, UNESCO Education Position Paper (It discusses the use of mother tongue (or first language), as language of instruction for initial instruction and literacy, the importance of bilingual or multilingual education (i.e. the use of more than one language of instruction), and language teaching with a strong cultural component).
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