Michael Goh started his brief presentation with a fun activity. He put a photo of five people sitting around a table on the screen and told everyone to interpret it. Some kids thought it might be a parent-teacher conference, an important meeting, or even a family dinner. After each person took a guess, he quickly replied, “That is not correct.” As several students kept trying to guess what could be going on within the photo, he cut them short to teach them a lesson about their cultural IQ (CQ). Goh told them that you could not fully articulate what is going on in the photo, as we all have different interpretations of it stemming from our backgrounds (i.e., race, gender, life experiences, country of origin, etc.). Instead, we create stories to fill up the gaps with what we know or recognize. Soon after, he began to ask students another question, “what is cultural intelligence and cultural incompetence?” As students once again started shouting out answers, he said they were all wrong. Although cultural intelligence has more than 300 definitions and 30 models, the way he likes to teach it is in four steps: CQ Drive, CQ Knowledge, CQ Strategy, CQ Action.
After giving students a baseline definition of what this cultural intelligence means, he ended his lesson by showing how to incorporate CQ into their daily lives, making sure never to make broad assumptions, as you may be completely wrong.