Intercultural Training for Staff

As our Irish Higher Education campuses in Ireland become more diverse and multi-cultural, it is increasingly important to ensure that staff members are confident that they have the intercultural skills and understanding required to support the needs of all students. International students often face a wide number of challenges when adapting to a new cultural, social and academic environment and this transition can be assisted through the support of interculturally sensitive staff members.

Using the ICOS ‘Diverse Voices’ toolkit (link to Diverse Voices page), ICOS has developed a number of intercultural training workshops to meet the needs of those who work in the third level education sector. ICOS tries to keep group sizes small (maximum 20 attendees) to encourage group interaction and sharing of expertise.

There is a more general Introduction to Cross-Cultural Awareness and Communication workshop which is suitable for both student support staff and academic staff while the Teaching and Learning in an Intercultural Context workshop is targeted specifically at academic staff.

Training courses available are:

Introduction to Cross-Cultural Awareness and Communication

A broad range of staff in university departments who interact directly with international students, e.g. student advisers, administrators, secretaries, receptionists, housekeeping, attendants, canteen and security staff.

This workshop is designed to introduce issues of cultural awareness to those who work with international students. Intercultural understanding is important for a wide range of staff who have contact with international students in many different contexts. The workshop will encourage participants to explore their own assumptions and preconceptions about other cultures, as well as creating awareness of their own cultural heritage and how it affects their world views, values and assumptions. This will encourage participants to focus on their communication style and how it is affected by culture. Sometimes what is said is not what is meant - this workshop will also look at the importance of non-verbal communication signals and the way these affect the communication process.

The workshop will explore aspects of cultural values and cultural differences which may affect interactions with international students and staff. The training approach is interactive and draws upon participants’ own experiences.

To increase cultural awareness among those working with international students and staff.

  • Define the key terms relating to 'culture' and apply this knowledge to discuss cultural difference in a positive way
  • Identify the cultural values that cause cultural differences
  • Understand how awareness about other cultures and cultural differences can improve your interaction in a multicultural environment
  • Understand how culture affects communication
  • Identify barriers to effective cross cultural communication
  • Understand the importance of verbal and non-verbal behaviour when communicating across cultures
  • Use the knowledge you have acquired to further develop your cultural sensitivity.

Teaching and Learning in an Intercultural Context

Those involved in teaching, tutoring and supervising international students.

When you have non-native English speaking international students in your classroom, there are several important issues and classroom management strategies related to effective communication that you may need to keep in mind to help all students have a positive learning experience. International students bring a broad range of cultural perspectives to the learning environment, and this diversity has the capacity to enrich teaching and learning in the University.

This workshop is designed to address the needs of international students as learners. The workshop will introduce issues of cultural awareness to those who teach international students, as well as issues involved in cross-cultural communication.

To discuss and explore strategies for improving the international student experience in a teaching and learning environment, while simultaneously improving interaction between home and international students.

  • Review and discuss the literature available on teaching international students
  • Plan for and offer better support to international students and those involved in teaching
  • Identify the main barriers in terms of teaching, e.g. language awareness, non-verbal behaviour, learning styles, communication skills, academic writing etc.
  • Identify and solve problems with the help of others in the workshop

These workshops can be delivered as introductory (1.5 hour) sessions depending on staff training needs and availability but are more effective when held as part of a more interactive half day (3 hour) or full day workshop.

Do you have a more specific training need? ICOS can also deliver tailored workshops which can be developed to meet your staff training needs.

For further details, see our Training Rates and Booking Information, or contact ICOS' Programme & Training Manager, Emma Dwyer