Diverse group of men and women smiling at the camera. A range of ages and ethnicities.

Great workshops!

In April, Onewa Christian Community hosted two excellent workshops as part of the series on better conversations and restorative thinking.

'Talking about emotions. Free workshop with Baruk Jacob.' OCC logo. On a background of green leaves.
Photo of an Asian man smiling at the camera. He wears spectacles, a bright shirt and bow tie. 'Cultural sensitivity in New Zealand with Ivan Yeo. FREE. Friday 19 April 10 am-2 pm.' Logos of Asian Family Services and Onewa Christian Community.

Talking about emotions

Baruk Jacob facilitated a session using the Emotional Culture Deck as a conversation starter. Participants selected words that enabled them to identify pleasant and unpleasant emotions that they were comfortable discussing with another person. Animated discussions across the room generated insights about the practice of talking about emotions that were shared with the wider group. The conversations progressed through a series of questions (provocations?) to the point where people were able to discuss an emotion they were now choosing to feel. This workshop made us think about the limitations of the usual binary descriptors (‘positive,’ ‘negative’).

What people said was valuable:

  • Interacting with other participants
  • Taking charge of our own emotions and finding great words with which to express them
  • Considering which words we use, and how do we and others process our use of them
  • Being gently encouraged to talk freely about emotions which doesn’t happen usually.

What attendees expected to think or do as a result of the workshop included:

  • I will think more carefully about identifying my emotions before I react
  • Plan and control my emotions before entering a situation
  • Think carefully about the words the folk we meet in our lives use, to describe their interactions with us and others. Are their words being used in a positive…or alternate way?
  • Try and notice the emotion behind what people are saying and let them talk more rather than butting in.

And what could have improved the workshop? It seems only the length: ‘it was too short for the provocation it engendered’ and ‘I really enjoyed it; it brought up so many avenues that could be explored further.’

Man, holding a dog, looking at the camera.
Baruk and Koda

Cultural sensitivity in New Zealand

Ivan Yeo from Asian Family Services facilitated an engaging workshop on cross-cultural communication. He drew on research lead by Kelly Feng MNZM and shared his organisation’s Integrated Tree Model©. The outline of the analogy is that the roots of a tree represent a person’s culture, beliefs and values; the trunk corresponds to what the person was born with (e.g. ethnicity); the branches represent language ability and education; the leaves stand for achievements, social networks, friends; the fruit are health and wellbeing.

Asian man is looking upwards and laughing as he presents. He is speaking at the front of the church.
Diverse group of people seated and listening to one man speak. Ivan, the facilitator, is standing.

Topics discussed included monism and dualism in the perceptions of mind and body; ‘in-betweeners‘ (living between cultures – select that link to watch a video), the challenges and needs migrants experience, communicating across cultures and in settings that are based on the individual or on the collective, that are task-oriented or relationship-oriented, cognitive-based or heart-based (who do we trust and on what grounds?). And we learned a little about the work of Asian Family Services.

After lunch we discussed cultural nuances – differences and similarities. Specific items were noted for future workshops e.g. exploring interpersonal rather than intrapersonal relationships, concepts of hosting and by implication the responsibilities of hosts and guests, the very accessibility of these workshops, growing cross-cultural competency and training for it.

Ivan provided a slide pack after the session.

Our thanks to Asian Family Services and the Justice-Compassion Trust for supporting this kaupapa.

Diverse group of men and women smiling at the camera. A range of ages and ethnicities.
Some of the participants in Ivan’s workshop
Asian Family Services logo. 'Together enriching lives.'