“Challenging Perception and Suspending Judgment” on line intercultural workshop for Youth Workers

Following the “Change is a Journey” Irish Youth Workers’ Erasmus+ mobility program which took place in Greece on April 2023, Fotoessa organized an on line Intercultural Citizenship Education workshop for the program’s team of Irish Youth Workers, on June 20th. During the digital ICE training session, Aspasia Protogerou presented possible limitations of our perception and an effective educational tool for suspending judgment.

The D.I.V.E. model is a practical tool for different types of participants, from pupils to educators, to address perception limitations subjectivity and cultural differences and to work on intercultural competences such as self awareness, critical thinking, observation and listening skills, confronting stereotypes and respect for diversity, empathy and mindfulness.

Often when encountering new situations, we tend to be quick to judge and do not take the time to mindfully observe. It is in our human nature to want to classify things when we see them and we frequently cannot control our subconscious, gut reactions. D.I.V.E., however, can help slow down and separate the facts from possible explanations, and personal judgment of these explanations.

To implement the model, it only takes to present participants with an ambiguous photo and then ask them to follow four steps:

  • Describe: -What do I see in an objective, factual way?
  • Interpret: -What do I think about what I have described?
  • Verify: -What do others think? Is my interpretation accurate?
  • Evaluate: -How do I judge what I think and others think?

The D.I.V.E. model can be used each time we are in an unfamiliar situation or dealing with ambiguity. It will broaden our views on the situation and help us understand and respond effectively and appropriately within an intercultural interaction.

The model can also be applied without the use of an image. For intercultural learning to be effective, steps must be taken in order. The D.I.V.E. tool is ideal during cultural exchanges or international mobility experiences, when we meet people with different habits, opinions and lifestyles. It helps to broaden our perspective about situations we are experiencing, but also to exercise our critical thinking when we receive information and messages from the environment and, especially, the media.