Making the transition from business language trainer to intercultural trainer

I’ve been hearing a lot about intercultural training within business English circles recently and so decided to go along to Adrian Philbeam’s talk ‘Making the transition from business language trainer to intercultural trainer’ on Saturday morning to learn more.

He started by giving us something of his background, telling us how, over the previous twenty years, he had learnt to put a course for language teachers together from learning about the intercultural training active in the States and applying this to his work.

He then posed the question ‘What is intercultural training?’ and after a brief discussion offered us Robert Kohls’ pretty general definition ‘training that helps people acquire the knowledge, attitudes (awareness) and skills to communicate and function effectively with cultures other than their own’.

This was followed by a discussion on the skills and qualities needed by an intercultural trainer, drawing comparisons with those the business English trainer already has, and describing the characteristics of good intercultural training activities.

Finishing with advice on the steps we can follow to become intercultural trainers ourselves, he gave us information about his own courses in Bath which, after this talk, I am now tempted to look into.