On July 21 in the STARTALK Program Director Dr. Alla Kourova and Lead Instructor Irina Pidberejna led a tag team workshop on “How to Deal with Russians”, an informative and engaging presentation on cultural differences. Dr. Kourova has been working on research for many years formulating, analyzing, and collecting different thematic topics that may vary across cultures. So far she has collected 24 cultural ways which can be identified and used as a lens to see the behavior and patterns of different cultural groups. Some of the ways include “Dress Ways, Time Ways, Family Ways, Gestures and Freedom Ways”. There are of course many more which can be found in her book “Picturing Russia: A Research Guide to Russian Culture”. Last year this book won the Best Contribution to Language Pedagogy award. Irina Pidberejna, along with multiple other Russian students of Dr. Kourova’s, contributed to this book highlighting the type of collaborative work and respect Dr. Kourova has for her students’ scholarly abilities. As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Ufa (2015), Irina was also able to highlight her unique experiences and observations of the cultural ways in action. For each cultural way she created a related question to ask her students. Almost all the student chose to answer about family and the concept of family.
An understanding of cultures helps to build bridges between people, reduce hostility between nations, and create an atmosphere of mutual understanding.
Check out more on Dr. Kourova’s culture ways in her book which can be found here!