ERIC Number: ED334864
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Ways To Achieve "Working Consensus": Some Cross-Cultural Considerations.
Pearson, Bethyl A.; Xu, Qiang
A study investigated cultural variations in the ways groups of speakers reach consensus in the face of disagreement or suggestion. Subjects were six graduate students in each of five groups: one composed of native speakers of American English, two of Taiwanese Chinese, and two of mainland Chinese. Each group performed a desert survival exercise, arriving at agreement on a ranking of items needed for survival. One Taiwanese Chinese and one mainland Chinese group were given instructions in Mandarin; others were instructed in English. Disagreements and suggestions in the interactions were counted, and the interactions' conduct and outcomes were qualitatively evaluated in terms of efficiency and organization. Similarities and differences were found in all five groups in the ways in which they began the interaction and reached consensus and in the resulting rankings as compared with that of a survival expert. Some cultural dependencies were found in the organization and patterns of realization in disagreement and suggestion. It is concluded that students of English as a Second Language should be exposed to a variety of forms used to disagree and suggest, and to how these forms are used in discourse and ratification achieved. The task description is appended. Contains 15 references. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (25th, New York, NY, March 24-28, 1991).