Sacramento State Communication Studies Professor Thomas Knutson’s recently published Thai and American Communication Behavior: A Comparison of Elephants and Eagles (Bangkok: Wang Aksorn Press) focuses on how different cultures can communicate with and learn from one another.
His new book has generated considerable publicity in Thailand, where he says the people are very welcoming. “The Thais,” he says, “are especially serene, and we can learn a great deal from their temperament; my book underscores that cultural differences can be bridged by listening to and respecting one another.”
Knutson contends that cultural differences can impede dialogue among people with shared interests. “My research,” he says, “strongly suggests that Thai cultural values and communication behavior can serve as a model for improved international and intercultural communication.”
“We can learn so much from one another,” Knutson notes,” if we can just make the effort to communicate; differences are not dangerous.”
He’s also visited four Sac State graduates working as English language assistants at the Chitralada Palace School. “This group of four is the latest to serve in Thailand in addition to more than 20 others,” he says, adding, “We have built an incredibly strong bridge between Sacramento and Bangkok.”
He notes that five of the last six teachers of the year at the prestigious school have been Sac State graduates.
Knutson’s efforts, which include arranging exchanges between more than 100 Sacramento State and Thai professors and students during the last 15 years, underscore the growth of the University’s international outreach.
Knutson’s next book, Teaching in Thailand: A Practical Guide for Expat Teachers and Trainers (Bangkok: Wang Aksorn Press) is in production.
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– Alan Miller