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Conflict resolution role cards (an American learns that a Brazilian still lives at home) - an intercultural roleplay

Brazilian:

You are a 30-year-old Brazilian on your first date with an American, who just moved to your hometown, Maceio. When you tell the American that you live with your parents, the American starts behaving strangely. The American asks why you live your parents but you don't have an answer for that.

Cultural notes: In Brazil, it is normal to live with your parents until you get married so 30-year-olds living with their parents is fairly common.

1. Both people explain what they find unusual about the other's behavior.
2. Each person realizes the other's cultural perceptions.
3. Each person learns how the problem would be handled in the other's culture.
4. Together, the two people develop conflict solutions.

American:

You are a 30-year-old American who has just moved to Maceio, Brazil. You're on your first date with a Brazilian when you learn that your date still lives with his or her parents. You ask why, but your date doesn't have a good answer for you.

Cultural notes: Many Americans would refuse to date a person who lives with their parents. It's considered strange to live your parents once you're an adult. Many kids move out when they turn 18 and either go to college or get a job. Those who don't move out usually want to. Parents usually want their kids to move out too. Moving out of your parents' house is just part of growing up and becoming independent. If you don't move out, anyone interested in dating you will wonder if you're independent enough. See the movie Failure to Launch for a cultural reference. For another cultural reference, Howard from The Big Bang Theory lives with his mom and is a 'momma's boy'. Being a momma's boy is a negative thing in American culture.

1. Both people explain what they find unusual about the other's behavior.
2. Each person realizes the other's cultural perceptions.
3. Each person learns how the problem would be handled in the other's culture.
4. Together, the two people develop conflict solutions.

Teacher's notes

An assessment rubric for this roleplay is available: Intercultural communication roleplay assessment rubric.

1. I used this as one possible roleplay for the midterm exam during a Catholic University EFL class called Intercultural Communication. Students have already studied the conflict resolution process for intercultural communication. The one given here was created from an American perspective. It is worth asking students if they think it needs to be modified in certain circumstances. For example would a Korean approach conflict resolution differently from an American?

2. Normally you would want to set the scene in class. However because this was used for the midterm exam (students rolled a die on the day of their test to see which situation they would roleplay), students (one pair at a time) came to my office at the arranged time. I recorded the roleplays as I always do in case students wants to argue their grades.

3. Students work in pairs. A group of 3 should be possible with this roleplay.

4. It should be noted that this suggestion came from my Korean students and I then wrote the role cards based on their ideas.