Surviving the First Month at Canadian Workplace
Lesson 9: Getting On Time (Punctuality at Workplace)

To prepare for Lesson 2, skim through the lesson below and read Task 1 & Task 2. What are the functions and forms you may use in the class? Post your answers here.
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Lesson 9 Homework johnsonkunnel johnsonkunnel 0 5 Jun 16, 2015 by johnsonkunnel johnsonkunnel

Lesson : Task 1 (Listening and Speaking)

Pre-Task: Watch the first two minutes of this video (HERE)about concept of time in North America

Have you had similar experience?

Do people understand time the same way in your country? Why?

Now watch the second part of the video. Is one concept of time better than the other?

Task: You have been working in Canada for a few years now. You heard that one of your friends who is comparatively new to Canada will be joining your company very soon. Give him / her call and talk about the importance of punctuality at workplace in Canada. Offer to work with him on this. Sit back to back.

Task Analysis: Watch this video and note down the language used to talk about the difference and similarities. What other language did you use? How else could it be done?

Click **HERE** to watch the video

Lesson 9: Task 2 (Reading and Writing)

Pre-Task 1: Read the following text and write at least three questions for your classmates to answer.
(Note to the instructor: Give separate cards to individual students in groups of three - jigsaw).
Card A

Monochronic cultures like to do just one thing at a time. They value a certain orderliness and sense of there being an appropriate time and place for everything. They do not value interruptions. They like to concentrate on the job at hand and take time commitments very seriously.
A monochronic time system means that things are done one at a time and time is segmented into precise, small units. Under this system time is scheduled, arranged and managed.
The United States is considered a monochronic society. This perception of time is learned and rooted in the Industrial Revolution, where "factory life required the labor force to be on hand and in place at an appointed hour" (Guerrero, DeVito & Hecht, 1999, p. 238). For Americans, time is a precious resource not to be wasted or taken lightly. "We buy time, save time, spend time and make time. Our time can be broken down into years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds and even milliseconds. We use time to structure both our daily lives and events that we are planning for the future. We have schedules that we must follow: appointments that we must go to at a certain time, classes that start and end at certain times, work schedules that start and end at certain times, and even our favorite TV shows, that start and end at a certain time.” [1]
As communication scholar Edward T. Hall wrote regarding the American’s viewpoint of time in the business world, “the schedule is sacred.” Hall says that for monochronic cultures, such as the American culture, “time is tangible” and viewed as a commodity where “time is money” or “time is wasted.” The result of this perspective is that Americans and other monochronic cultures, such as the German and Swiss, place a paramount value on schedules, tasks and “getting the job done.” These cultures are committed to regimented schedules and may view those who do not subscribe to the same perception of time as disrespectful.
Source adapted from:

Card B

Polychronic cultures like to do multiple things at the same time. A manager's office in a polychronic culture typically has an open door, a ringing phone and a meeting all going on at the same time. Though they can be easily distracted they also tend to manage interruptions well with a willingness to change plans often and easily. People are their main concern (particularly those closely related to them or their function) and they have a tendency to build lifetime relationships. Issues such as promptness are firmly based on the relationship rather than the task and objectives are more like desirable outcomes than must do's.
If you live in the United States, Canada, or Northern Europe, you live in a monochronic culture. If you live in Latin America, the Arab part of the Middle East, or sub-Sahara Africa, you live in a polychronic culture.
Interactions between the two types can be problematic. Monochronic businessmen cannot understand why the person they are meeting is always interrupted by phone calls and people stopping by. Is it meant to be insulting? When do they get down to business?
Polychronic businessmen cannot understand why tasks are isolated from the organisation as a whole and measured by output in time instead of part of the overall organisational goal. How can you separate work time and personal time? Why would you let something as silly as a schedule negatively impact on the quality of your relationships?
You can quickly see the problems. Recognising whether you are dealing with a polychronic or monochronic culture and the attendant differences in how time and relationships are valued is crucial to being able to communicate effectively across cultures.

Card C

The concept of time is viewed very differently across cultures. In some cultures time and punctuality are of low importance, but in cultures where people run their lives by the clock, arriving late for a meeting is usually considered rude and unacceptable.
Canada is a culture that places immense value on time and punctuality, and the Canadian workplace is greatly influenced by time. An employee’s attendance and punctuality are taken into consideration when measuring job performance.
Most employers will overlook the fact that an employee is five minutes late from time to time. However, if an employee is repeatedly late for work, this will be viewed as a lack of interest in the job, and is considered a valid reason for firing someone.
When people can’t help being late for a meeting, it is customary to phone ahead, apologize and agree to a new date and time to meet. Many Canadians will not wait longer than 10 – 15 minutes for someone who has arranged to meet them for a business appointment.
Canadian employers highly value employees who have good attendance records; who show up for every shift they are scheduled to work; who are on time for staff meetings; who complete tasks in a timely manner; and who return promptly from coffee and lunch breaks.
If you are new to the Canadian workplace, or will shortly be seeking employment in Canada, it will benefit you considerably to know that being on time for work and meeting deadlines demonstrates to your employer that you are a dependable employee, that you care about your employer and your co-workers and that you care about keeping your job!


Pre-Task 2: Get into groups of three (Text A, B & C -jigsaw) and exchange your text and set of questions. After five minutes, answer the questions orally.
As a group, discuss if Canadian culture is mostly monochromic or polychromic.

Task: send an email back to your friend (see speaking task for details) thanking for the phone call as well as the articles she/he sent you (the articles from the pre-task above). Explain how the phone call and the articles would help you.

Task Reporting: Instructor invites 3-4 learners to present their in-class writing to the class. Learners put their writing on document sharing camera ( ELMO), the class read the work silently and then the presenter shares his/her reflections.

Post Task Analysis: Read the sample email projected on the screen. How is the text organized? What language is used to thank and to describe?
(Note to the instructor: Students have already written four emails in this thematic unit, so use one of the samples from a competent student for task analysis).

Practice: Read the information **HERE** and review your email. Rewrite a couple of sentences to include compound sentences.

Homework: Read the blog **HERE** and reply to the blog. Let your voice be heard. Do you have a story to share?

End of Lesson 9 >> Go to Module 1 - Lesson 10 (Getting Together)