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Cultural Horizons Institute Curriculum Model

The CHI Curriculum Model is based on achieving mastery in three domains (Communication, Home Life, and Industry) at three deepening levels of practice (Consciousness, Harmony, and Integration).

Three Key Domains:

Communication (Language)

• Basic Language Skills
• Expression through Body Language and Customs
• Expression through Voice Intonation and Inflection
• Being heard and understood vs being ignored or misunderstood
• Making a General Greeting, a Request, a Decline or Acceptance, a Promise or Commitment

Home Life (Social and Informal Settings)

Explore the Differences and Common Practices within:
• Home
• Neighborhood
• Restaurants
• Among Friends
• Spirituality and Values

Industry (Professional and Formal Settings)

Explore the Differences and Common Practices within:
• Educational Settings
• Business Settings
• Governmental Settings
• Health Care Facilities
• Religious Settings
• Social Responsibility

Three Levels of Practice:

Consciousness (Awareness)

• Raise a consciousness around social norms and values as culturally constructed behaviors and values v. universal truths.
• Reduce assumptions and cognitive “blindspots”.
• Explore and recognize specific cultural differences.

Harmony (Empathy)

• Raise a consciousness around common or shared experiences of the human condition for the sake of connectedness to others and sensitivity of another’s experience.
• Raise a consciousness around commonalities in social norms and values.
• Explore the concept of “alienation” vs “community.”

Integration (Understanding & Embodying)

• Equip the learner with direct skills to be applied in diverse settings.
• Assist the learner in the ability to integrate new information into an existing reality.
• Impart techniques that will allow the learner adapt to new situations with agility and dignity.


Culture Tip:

The importance of Chinese guan-xi...

In the early phases of founding the Cultural Horizons Institute, I was describing the curriculum and business plan to a potential investor from Shanghai. With great care I went over in my best broken-Mandarin the carefully thought out details of our approach. Proud that I had gotten through the course description and decidedly ready to answer almost any question that came my way, I was unexpectedly caught off guard by her reply: “But how can I explain to the other investors the value of your program? How will you establish the value to them?” Confused, I struggled to re-explain the content, goal and financial viability of our work. After dancing around conversation in search of a satisfying for the next twenty minutes, I came to understand the nature of her underlying question.  What she wanted to know was: “Who are the publicly well-known endorsers? Who are the team members? With what prestigious university will you be affiliated?” In other words, tell me about your guan-xi – your relationships.


News Flash:

Wall Street Journal:
Personal Lives, Office Lives

Chinese draw the lines between personal and professional life differently than Americans do, and the idea of "colleagues" isn't the same in the two countries… READ MORE

By Li Yuan, published February 19, 2008

New York Times:

As American educators seek to emulate Asian pedagogy... Chinese educators are trying to blend a Western emphasis on critical thinking, versatility and leadership into their own traditions… READ MORE

By Ann Hulbert, published April 1, 2007.

New York Times:
Non Asians Show a Growing Interest in Chinese Courses

With its booming economy and aspirations to expand its global influence, China may have achieved a victory in American classrooms… READ MORE

By Natasha Degen and Winnie Hu, published November 29, 2006.


"I appreciated that the workshop allowed us to step back from our studies and reflect on life. I liked the critical thinking aspect of it and how there was not a black and white clear-cut answer. I also liked the environment that you tried to foster by understanding that people feel vulnerable in situations where they have to speak out in a large group." - University of Pacific Student, Fall 2007

Copyright © 2007 Cultural Horizons Institute, an ontogeny of Thalas, All rights reserved.