Using humour to bridge cultural divides
Keynote address by comedian Gilson Lubin
June 10, 6 pm at Residence Inn by Marriott (7 Earl St.)
By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer
A comedian and an equity/diversity advisor walk into a classroom…
This setup promises to draw a lot of laughs and foster a serious discussion during the International Educators Training Program Summer Institute next week.
“We want to explore the ways humour can bridge cultural differences,” says Ekta Singh, an equity/diversity advisor in the Equity Office, who will lead the workshop with stand-up comic Gilson Lubin. “We also hope the participants will share the ways they use humour when interacting in an intercultural setting as well as with colleagues.”
Ms. Singh and Cathy Lemmon, an international programs advisor at Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC), incorporate humour into the socio-cultural training program (SCT) they offer to international students. Some jokes get people from around the world laughing together; other times, the instructors need to take more time explaining what they mean by certain idioms and language.
Humour offers more than just a window into a culture, according to Ms. Singh. She says research has shown that humour can ease the anxiety international students feel when they are experiencing a new culture and help them form bonds with others.
Using humour in a cross-cultural context does pose some risks, though.
“There is a responsibility to be educated about how we use humour in this context,” says Ms. Singh. “For example, there are some issues and topics Canadians feel comfortable joking about in public that people from other cultures might find insulting or offensive.”
In addition to the workshop, Mr. Lubin will also perform during the Summer Institute’s dinner and comedy evening on June 10. The event is open to the public.
QUIC has hosted the IETP Summer Institute since 2003. The core curriculum, courses and workshops offered during the Summer Institute give international education professionals from across Canada and around the world practical skills-based training on a variety of topics.
More information about the Summer Institute is available on the QUIC website.