The Cross-Cultural Imperative of Interdiscplinary Teaching
Definitions of communication are relative to a discipline. Many fields conduct their affairs through verbal symbol systems, while others rely on the visual and/or numerical. What is deemed communication in one discipline, may not be considered so in another. What is in tension is perhaps not the value of communication itself, but how a discipline situates communication within its own epistemological groundings. When disciplines with different beliefs about the role of symbol systems in the construction of knowledge collaborate tensions about communication often arise. To lessen such conflicts, an awareness of the theories and techiniques developed by intercultural scholars and practitioners is useful. By understanding that worldviews, values, and norms apply to communication behaviors of disciplines just as much as national cultures and social subcultures. This is particularly true when humanities scholars collaborate with teachers and researchers outside of their disciplines, such as in communication and writing in the disciplines programs that service science programs.
Keywords: Discipline, Teaching, Culture, Communication
Dr Mara Berkland
Assistant Professor, Department of Speech Communication, North Central College
Director of the Writing Program, Associate Professor of Communication, Writing Program and Department of Communication, University of Utah