Laura Marchese

Laura Marchese is an MA student in the MAIS program at Athabasca University. Her research interests include intercultural theory, identity, power, and the real world manifestations of these themes. She has worked as an intercultural trainer for almost a decade and has a genuine passion for helping facilitate understanding between individuals and groups. She is pursuing her studies part-time while prioritizing parenting responsibilities for 3 year old twins.

Title: Considering Emotions and Reasoning in Intercultural Training

Abstract: The aim of Intercultural Competence training and Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training may be undermined by a failure to consider the role of emotions and reasoning in interactions with different cultures. The training itself also evokes strong emotions in participants, impacting the learning process. As such, it is important to consider aspects of the training, including content, context of workshop delivery, and ultimate utility of the training along with the mechanisms and triggers in the body for development of emotions. This presentation will consider the objectives of intercultural training and the way these objectives interact with the natural development of emotion and reasoning, as well as the utility of the training for participants. The researcher has drawn on personal experiences as an intercultural trainer, as well as examining relevant literature on emotions and intercultural and current training techniques. An analysis of the functioning of the brain and its creation of emotion and reason revealed that the benefits in intercultural training are perhaps largely situational for most participants, despite the training goal to create lasting change. It is important for trainers to recognize the role of emotions in learning, but also, for trainers and participants to be mindful of the dangers in training the body to ignore emotional responses learned through prior experience. They both have their utility in an ever-changing world.


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