Students are given the role of manager of a company
who is hoping to expand business to Japan. The students’ task is to
prepare the sales force for travel to Japan taking place in 1 week.
The sales force will have an interpreter traveling with them. The
trip itinerary will help dictate what Japanese cultural elements will
need to be introduced. After identifying and anticipating the specific
aspects of culture in which the sales force needs to be trained, the
managers (students) need to prepare the training (worksheets, video,
and/or presentations) along with a timetable for training. Students
will present the plan to their supervisor (teachers and classmates) for
On the first day the students are given the following task:
You are the manager of a company who is hoping to expand
business to Japan. Your task is to prepare your sales force for
travel to Japan. The sales force will have an interpreter traveling
with them. The trip itinerary is as follows:
1. Fly into Tokyo Sunday afternoon
2. Dinner (formal) Sunday night with prospective clients
3. Monday morning breakfast at hotel
4. Mid-morning tour of prospective client’s facilities
5. Lunch (informal) with prospective clients
6. Team sales presentations
7. Attend traditional tea with prospective clients
8. Dinner with sales colleagues prior to flight home
Because your sales force has no experience with Japanese culture,
you must prepare them before they leave in one work week.
After identifying specific aspects of culture in which your sales
team needs to be trained, prepare your training (worksheets,
video, and/or presentation) along with training schedule (remember,
you only have one work week and a maximum of two
hours of direct instruction!).
Modeling and Guided Practice:
Direct students to databases, such as CultureGrams and ABC
Clio World Geography, and online resources, such as CIA
Factbook, to find quality information on Japan. Discuss how
these sites might be better to use than travel sites. Show students
how to manage their resources using word processing software.
Have the students individually list specific aspects of culture that
the sales force will need to understand for the trip. Have students
share with a partner, and then share with the large group. List
cultural elements on the board. Together, examine one cultural
element and compose questions that need to be answered: For
example, list the tea ceremony. Some questions might be:
What should one wear to a tea ceremony?
What type of tea is typically served?
What types of food are served?
Do I bring a gift to the host of a tea ceremony?
Students should be creating questions from their list of cultural
elements. Choosing the best resources, students will begin
research to find answers to these and other questions that
emerge, making sure they cite their sources.
Discuss different ways to present—list on the board how
students are taught at school. List may include: Straight
lectures, PowerPoint presentations, worksheets, readings,
group projects, videos, tests, online course materials, etc. Have
students consider which ways work best. How do they know
it works? Which instruction methods take the most time?
With these things in mind, students should plan their training
Students should determine what type(s) of instruction will work
best for the information and time frame given. Remind them they
have one week, but only 2 hours maximum of direct instruction.
Be creative! Students will continue with their research and
Work day. Students should finish their research and
planning. Students will evaluate their own progress (SM2_
JapaneseBusinessTrip) and communicate with their teacher
Students will tie up loose ends of their research and planning.
Back in the classroom, teacher (supervisor) will discuss
expectations of the presentation of each student’s training plan.
Sharing and Reflecting:
Begin presentations. Each student will have 5 minutes to present
his/her training plan to the supervisor (teacher and class).
Students should discuss the cultural elements presented, types of
instruction used, and the timeline of their project. Students will
provide feedback for each presenter (this feedback can be added
to a class Moodle or other type of online forum), answering the
1. Which cultural elements were presented? Which, if any, of
the elements were missed?
2. Which types of instruction were used? Explain why these work
well. Explain why these types of instruction might not work.
3. What areas of the time line work well? Which parts of the
time line would you change? Give reasons for your answers.
4. What resources were used? Suggest other resources. Was
credit given to all resources?
Each presenter will receive the feedback and write his/her
own reflection, answering the questions above for his/her own
presentation. This reflection will be handed in with the timeline
and all other instructional materials. As a follow up, have a local
international business representative discuss training for overseas
business travel. Have students prepare questions ahead of time
and write a thank you note afterward.