Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Experiential Learning: Simulating Clashing Cultures in the Classroom

Robert Kuennen, Julianne Gassman.

Research indicates that students possess a wide variety of learning styles. One tool used to determine these learning styles is VARK, a questionnaire designed by Neil D. Fleming that classifies students as Visual, Aural, Read/write, or Kinesthetic learners. Whereas an “Aural” student may respond well to traditional lectures, a “Kinesthetic” student responds best to experiential teaching methods such as real-world examples, field trips, and other hands-on exercises.

The two presenters will introduce Bafa Bafa®, a hands-on, “Kinesthetic” exercise for the classroom used to simulate problems created through the interaction of two distinct cultures. Participants will have the opportunity to experience the two cultures through interactive sessions and through video segments of a simulation in action. One of the major goals of Bafa Bafa is to examine how stereotypes are produced and how, once produced, they can lead to cultural barriers, miscommunication, and alienation.


Robert Kuennen  (United States)
Assistant Professor of Business Administration
Department of Business Administration and Economics
Coe College

Robert Kuennen serves as Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he teaches courses in International Business, Marketing, and Management. He lived and worked abroad for over two years and taught courses in both the Czech Republic and Ecuador. He has an M.B.A. and several years of marketing industry experience. In the fall he will begin Ph.D. coursework at the University of Iowa.

Julianne Gassman  (United States)

Camp Adventure - University of Northern Iowa

Julianne Gassman serves as the Resource Development Coordinator for Camp Adventure Youth Services at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) while completing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at the University of Iowa. She has a M.A. in Leisure, Youth and Human Services Administration and was an instructor for four years in the Leisure, Youth and Human Services Division at UNI. She taught a variety of courses including Diversity in Leisure Services and Leadership.

  • Experiential learning
  • Cultural awareness
  • Stereotypes
  • Diversity

(60 min. Workshop, English)