Cross-Cultural Fluency: The Rhetoric of Dialogue

By Tom Gage.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Secondary students in the US need to be more competent in writing and to be more aware of foreign cultures. This paper addresses these needs with a curricular proposal. A unit of study called Cross-cultural Fluency (“CCF”) involves students in paired classrooms to communicate over the Internet with counterparts elsewhere in the world. Based on theories of learning, dialogue, and rhetoric, this pedagogy at once broadens adolescents’ horizons, sensitizes them to the culture of the Other, and develops writing abilities. Once implemented and disseminated, US students under teacher supervision on password-protected websites join with counterparts in a network of schools around the world in order to dialogue through blogs, text-messaging, wikis, and pod casts that foster good will and mutual understanding. Presently being piloted in Morocco, Bali, France, and the US, paired classrooms are engaged in these forums that enable youth to acquire non-consciously what the late James Moffett described as the four orders of knowledge, which approximate the traditional four modes of rhetoric.

Keywords: Rhetorical Theory, International Discourse, Cross-cultural Fluency, Pedagogy for Secondary Education

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.171-178. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 551.285KB).

Prof. Tom Gage

Professor Emeritus, English Department, Humboldt State University, Fortuna, California, USA

Dr. Tom Gage, professor emeritus, Humboldt State University, earned all his degrees at the University of California, Berkeley. As a student in the 1950s, Gage hitchhiked from California to Damascus; subsequently, he has journeyed to the Eastern Mediterranean two dozen times. A senior Fulbright lecturer at Aleppo, Syria, 1983-1984, Gage has taught widely, including China, Greece, and Turkey; he has delivered papers in many of the United States, recently at the 2007 Conference on Exploring Models for Peace, University of Texas. He has been resident lecturer on comparative education in China. Gage was a principal in creating Humboldt’s International Studies department, the architect of the English department’s master’s degree in Teaching Writing, and founder of Humboldt’s Redwood Writing Project. Presently working with Fatema Mernisi, co-recipient of the 2004 Erasmus Award, Gage is advancing opportunities for dialogue among secondary students in both Morocco and California. He has been an officer of the National Council of Teachers of English and is a member of the Board of the Consultants for Global Programs, with student exchanges in China, Cyprus, Mexico, and South Africa. Gage has published articles on travel writing, co-authored anthologies of literature in translation, and a book on steel.

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