TALKING CULTURES: FOSTERING CROSS-CURRICULAR INTERCULTURAL AWARENESS
University of Kent (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Page: 5944 (abstract only)
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:The research for this poster has been inspired by the ‘Connections collaborative project’ initiated by HEA/UKCISA (September 2012) to enhance teaching and learning across an institution. The poster will demonstrate the step-by-step process and considerations taken when designing a short course in intercultural awareness and the versatility a short course can have when delivering it to suit a range of purposes.
The changing nature of the student body aligned with the shifting global context in which HE is couched, means that UK HEIs must keep in close touch with the needs of international students and the developing requirements of educational support available to students within the international HE community. Internal feedback and research conducted at the University of Kent has shown that some students feel uncomfortable approaching or working with peers from other cultures, particularly if it is perceived that the cultural background has distinctly different features from their own.
The poster presentation will concentrate on the following aspects:
• Rationale behind short course
• Summary of short course pilot in order to create a course specification, syllabus and related materials
• Challenges and Limitations
• Reflection on learning
• Transferability of this concept to include university/Higher Education staff training, and working professional including Medical Practitioners.
The poster presentation will also note the applicability of the above short course in preparing students for their outbound study and/or work abroad experience, noting:
• The importance of developing strong intercultural awareness skills in preparing for the global job market
• Sharing of practitioner experience. Student mobility is an institutional priority for the University of Kent, known nationally and internationally as the 'UK’s European university'. It offers a wide range of Study Abroad and work placement opportunities to students (www.kent.ac.uk/GoAbroad), both within Europe and further afield including: USA, Canada, Hong Kong, China, Japan, South America, Malaysia and South Korea.
• How a short course might offer an intercultural competencies' framework to enable outbound study and/or work abroad students to reflect on the (intercultural) skills needed both before they depart and during their time abroad, and how they might subsequently reframe and reflect on those skills on their return.
• The combination of both teacher-led input sessions and an opportunity for student-centred personal development and reflection, will afford students an appropriate environment to develop intercultural competencies.
Considerations with regard to the sustainability of this course have been a focal point due to the need to ensure UK HEI stay ahead of the game within an increasingly competitive transnational education market place.
It is hoped that the audience will gain an overall understanding of the process of how a short course in intercultural awareness might be established and integrated in to a HE environment. Furthermore, acknowledgement of the individual learner needs and achievements both within and outside the classroom will be conveyed.