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Ask students if they have heard of high context cultures and low context cultures. The terms refer to cultures in which communication is more or less direct. While high and low typically refer to cultures, it is important to note that even within the same culture communication styles differ.

Suggested time: 2 minutes



The following 6 slides refer to a warm-up activity to activate students' schemata about high and low communication styles.


First, you may start by asking the question on the slides to the whole class (and not showing the two possible answers). Get students to provide some possible answers.


Second, show them the two possible answers: one is more direct and one less direct.


Finally, ask them which one they would feel more comfortable using.


It is important to mention to students that both are acceptable, but some people tend to use direct communication more often while others tend to be less direct.


Suggested time: 10 minutes (all 6 slides combined)














































Go over some features among communication styles. You can tell students that certain cultures favour one over the other (e.g., Chinese culture is considered as high context and Canadian is considered low context) but it also depends on each person’s own communication style. You might want to provide an example for each topic.

Suggested time: 10 minutes


Show this slide to students and let them know that sometimes people are more or less direct depending on: 1) who we are communicating with; and 2) the situation. Students can work in pairs and briefly share ideas in the reflection questions.

Suggested time: 5 minutes



Have students work in groups of 4  and choose roles: 2 colleagues, 1 colleague that is causing trouble, and 1 professor. Give them approximately 5 minutes to prepare their scene. Have them reflect on communication styles. Remind them that both low and high are acceptable, but they will choose one or the other depending on who they are talking to and the situation. Have groups present the scene in front of the class.

Suggested time: 15 minutes




Ask the 2 questions to the whole class and have them share a few thoughts.

Suggested time: 5 minutes








This is the end of task 6. For a copy of this task, download the PDF document below.

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