GETTING PREPARED FOR A GLOBALIZED POLICY ANALYSIS ARENA: HOW GRADUATE POLICY ANALYSIS STUDENTS REFLECT ON THE (FOREGOING) APPLICATION OF POLICY ANALYSIS IN THEIR HOME COUNTRY
TU Delft (NETHERLANDS)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Abstract:Policy analysis students are taught methods and tools to deal with complex societal problems, to analyze them systematically and consistently towards feasible and robust alternatives. The methods and tools that are available and applicable are taught and practiced by novice analysts in a master level curriculum, the Master of Science program Engineering and Policy Analysis. Course instructors are often confronted with remarks or questions from international master students that address the following: “These methods might work in an ideal or well-structured sociopolitical system, but in our country they will not work”. Being alerted by this comment, we introduced a reflective collaborative workshop to policy analysis master students in the introductory course of the policy analysis methodology. Among others, one of the learning objectives of the reflective workshop is to reveal to novice analysts that policy analysis methods employ a universal status as scientific methods. The assumptions, policy making style and policy communication practice however are subjects to change in every cultural context.
We designed the intercultural reflective workshop based on interactive, group-work teaching practices. In the policy analysis workshops, students experience and apply the methodology of policy analysis that is mainly to analyze the problem by rationalizing it. In other words, students have gone through the classical research and analyze part with them in their case study and after that, we ask them how appropriate this is for their culture and what kind of changes they suggest. More specifically, students are asked to share their thoughts and experiences with their group mates and are asked to reflect upon dominant or prevailing policy styles and policy practices in their country as well as to indicate their personal desirable policy style. We also asked for an indication and reflection of the Hofstede’s dimensions for their country and for them personally by filling in Hofstede’s questionnaire. The personal stories shared with group members during the workshop were asked to be briefly reported with the individual assignment of the all the students participating in the workshop. We need here to note that our master class has a high intercultural character, with students from different countries with different backgrounds and working experiences. Two intercultural reflexive workshops have been realized: the first with first year master students (in October 2008) and the second with second year master students (in February 2009).
As teachers, we experienced that at the end of the intercultural reflecting workshop, our students were already thinking how to adapt and strategize in different cultural contexts. We assessed that not only by personal interaction and observation of the group discussions but also by the content of their intercultural assignments and comments in anonymous course assessment forms. A desirable learning outcome of the intercultural workshop is for novice policy analysts to learn all kinds of policy styles so they can apply the most appropriate to certain cultural circumstances. Students realize and learn that a different use of the classical approach of rational policy analysis might also be good thus being also motivated to fill their toolbox with other techniques during their policy analysis studies. In this way, they adapt and integrate their knowledge to the cultural context getting prepared for a globalizing world.
Keywords: policy analysis, multi-cultural, collaborative, education.