UBC Graduate Research

What is culture anyway? : looking back on a workshop design experience Stevenson, Fiona


This graduating paper describes the author’s self-reflective process in developing a workshop on Canadian workplace cultures with an accompanying workbook and facilitator’s guide. These were developed for Workplace Connections, a volunteer mentorship program in MOSAIC, a Vancouver based immigrant services provider. This paper, the workbook and facilitator’s guide are counted together to fulfill the graduating paper requirements. The paper firstly examines the struggle to situate MOSAIC’s request to incorporate the theory of cultural dimensions (Hofstede 2001) as applied to Canadian workplaces (Laroche 2003, Laroche and Rutherford 2003) within a socio-constructivist understanding of multiple cultures and experiences. The paper also outlines the author’s attempts to explore the workshop content through a learner-centered, dialogical workshop format drawn from popular education and critical pedagogy approaches. A description of an initial trial workshop compared to the final design identifies some concerns with the final products, highlighting some of the institutional constraints of workshop design and program planning. These lay the groundwork for reflections on the author’s positionality, the connections between theory and practice and a discussion of culture with the framework of immigration, before a final consideration of how this process has affected the author’s teaching perspective.

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