November Lunchtime Talk - Intercultural Competence Training: The Case of an Irish, Not-for-profit, Community Based Organisation for the Homeless in the Republic of Ireland
Speaker: Dr Martin Toal, Dublin City University
Bio: Martin Toal is a lecturer in both English as a second or other language (ESOL) and intercultural studies in the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies at Dublin City University Ireland. His research interests include issues pertaining to intercultural communication and competence; education and training. He has experience living in culturally diverse contexts and has volunteered as an intercultural communication trainer in Focus Ireland.
This presentation describes an ethnographic study utilising participant observations and eighteen group interviews to explore the challenges that face staff in a not-for-profit homeless service provider in the Republic of Ireland called Focus Ireland, in their support of clients who are culturally diverse.
This presentation explores a number of themes, including: challenges related to supporting customers in the semi-public and private spheres such as understanding the ways customers seek privacy or the varying childrearing practices customers might employ; the difficulty staff have in supporting families with diverse family structures and the manner in which this impacts on decision-making, power relationships and the nurture of children; the difficulties staff have in combatting racist behaviour or discrimination by customers themselves, neighbours and private landlords; and the language barrier staff sometimes face, when interacting with customers who speak English as a second or additional language. This presentation will also describe the delivery of two four-hour training workshops in intercultural competence.