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BaFa’ BaFa’ – Asking questions about another culture, what works and what doesn’t.

//BaFa’ BaFa’ – Asking questions about another culture, what works and what doesn’t.

BaFa’ BaFa’ – Asking questions about another culture, what works and what doesn’t.

Learning institutions all over the world have used our simulation BaFa’ BaFa’ to teach cultural awareness, diversity, cultural competency, and much more, and we’d like you to consider using it too. BaFa’ BaFa’ is used to help students, parents and neighborhood groups in all kinds of programs and situations work together more effectively. BaFa’ BaFa’ teaches cultural awareness and diversity in a safe and interesting way.

Here’s an Excerpt from BaFa’ BaFa’ Director’s Guide:

After the simulation portion of the program has ended the participants from the two cultures (Alpha and Beta) are brought together for discussion and analysis of the experience. In the example given below the participants are divided into small groups of 5-7 people, with a combination of Alphans and Betans in each group. The Alphans sit on one side of the group and the Betans on the other side.

At this time the Betans ask the Alphans questions about the rules of the Alpha culture. Once Betans are satisfied that they understand the Alpha culture, have the Alphans ask the Betans about the Beta culture. Both the Alphans and Betans are instructed to only answer the questions that they are asked and not to elaborate.

Once everyone has had time to learn about the other culture, they are brought together in a large group and are asked to analyze the experience of asking questions with the following questions:

  • Which questions were the most effective?
  • Which questions made them feel good
  • Which questions didn’t offend?

Some of the lessons that may come out of this discussion are:

  • The best questions are open-ended, non-judgmental questions such as, “Can you tell me about this?” “I observed such and such, can you help me understand what was going on there?”
  • When someone is asked a question about his or her culture, it’s tempting to respond by answering,  “Well, this is the way we do it in our culture,” which isn’t a terrible response but it tends to stop the conversation. The best way to ask a question is, “can you tell me more about…?”
  • In general, bad questions are those that have a purpose other than getting information, such as, questions that are designed to discount, humiliate or embarrass the other person. For example, “Why do you guys talk funny?” has a discounting value judgement implied in the question. Insensitive, but generally not harmful questions, are those questions asked about another culture that are really designed to give someone an opportunity to talk about his or her culture or life.
  • Harmless but ineffective questions are those in which the inquirer tries to understand the other culture through his or her own eyes or perspective. For example, if an Alphan asks a Betan if they love their grandparents because loving your grandparents in the Alpha culture is important, he or she will learn very little information about the Beta culture. In fact, the question will probably miss the mark entirely. But if an Alphan asks an open-ended question such as, “Can you tell me what the cards mean to you?” they will get a more informative response.

After the large group has discussed asking questions of people from another culture, ask the participants how it felt to answer questions about their own culture. 

  • They will likely say they liked explaining their culture to others. Make the point that most people are worried about embarrassing others by asking about their culture, and as a result no one has the opportunity to talk about their culture or learn about anyone else’s. But most people love to talk about their culture, how they fit into the culture and their reactions to it; they want to share their culture and their background with others. It is important to ask questions in a way that doesn’t offend, but the risk that comes from not asking questions is much greater than the risk that results from asking an insensitive question. If we can help the participant understand how important and easy it is to inquire about the beliefs, attitudes and values of another culture, it will help them gain an understanding of people who are different.

There is much more to this portion of the Director’s Guide, call or email us (858 450-3400), or use our Contact Us form.

Visit the main BaFa’ BaFa’ page Here.

2018-11-06T11:01:58+00:00

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