New handbook benefits students

Christi Cloete -- Mon, 08/19/2013 - 00:00

New handbook benefits students

To obtain a South African applicable prescribed book for students these days is quite a challenge. In the subject area Intercultural Communication it is especially a problem because the typical books in this field are written by American authors (or in some instances, Indian or Australian). It means that South African lecturers have the unpleasant task, like connoisseurs, to look for the theoretical substructure while they have to didactically dally between applications foreign to the South African context.

It is for this reason that two staff members at the North-West University’s Potchefstroom Campus decided to write a book about this from a South African context. Prof Paul Schutte, director of the School of Communication Studies and his colleague, GP van Rheede van Oudtshoorn, have just released the South African edition of “Experiencing Intercultural Communication”.

With the addition of two South African authors, the original text was rewritten for South African students. The book now boasts with examples, applications and recommendations that speak to both the South African and the International context. The book still remains a comprehensive text for undergraduate students in the Intercultural Communication field of study. According to Van Oudshoorn, the fundamental theoretical perspectives from the original text were retained and updated. “Students can now benefit much more in that their immediate world receives attention. We regard it as an exceptional contribution to the study of intercultural communication in South Africa.”

According to Schutte it was difficult to find a balance between the retention of an international perspective and the local contextualisation. “We could, however, succeed in giving, amongst others, identity, verbal and non-verbal communication and also intercultural value orientations a South African flavour. In addition, Intercultural Communication is also highlighted in the applied fields of tourism, business, education and health care. In the last chapter of the book, communication for social change also receives attention – something that has not happened before in a prescribed book at undergraduate level in Intercultural Communication.”

Van Oudtshoorn says the book went through a rigorous process of evaluation by academics from UNISA and the Universities of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Botswana, Stellenbosch, the Free State and Durban University of Technology. “Initially the changes and additions first had to be approved by the authors and the national academics, after which each new chapter went through two rounds of peer evaluations.”

After language and layout editing, the hard copy arrived in Potchefstroom in July. Local universities such as UP, UNISA and UFS have already expressed their interest to prescribe the book. Students of the North-West University will be introduced to the book in 2014.