About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4185-4186
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain

EMANCIPATED, EMPOWERED & EMPLOYABLE: MIDDLE EASTERN WOMEN'S TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

S. Nguyen

Kennesaw State University (UNITED STATES)
Introduction:
Transformative experiences for Non-Western adult learners are vastly underrepresented in the collection of research on the topic. The purposes of this investigation were exploratory in nature and sought to identify major themes for adult learners who participated in an international experiential learning opportunity to evaluate various aspects of international organizations in Paris and Geneva. Major themes relevant to perceptions of self, increased confidence and perspective transformations were identified from Middle Eastern women’s reflection journals.

Relevant Literature:
Study abroad and international education have long been praised for offering American students practical, meaningful and experiential learning about cross-cultural interaction, cultural awareness, personal growth, perspective transformation and increased employability (Carlson, 1990; Dolby, 2004; Dolby, 2007). However, much of the literature negates some of how this meaningful learning manifests in adult learners outside of the confines of the United States (US). The current snapshot in the Middle East reveals that women outnumber their male counterparts in educational institutions and are generally more educated than men (Metcalfe, Hutchings & Cooper, 2009). Despite the increased presence of women in adult and higher education (AHE), women still earn less and hold limited leadership roles.

Method and Analysis:
Critical reflective journals were completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a course cross-listed in international studies, business, and education. Critical reflective journals encouraged analysis on one’s own values, attitudes and beliefs. These were prompted after one-hour group discussions about a particular international organization and their role in the maintenance of social justice, global citizenship, and community engagement. Journals were copied, with the permission of the learners, to be analyzed using constant-comparison techniques (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Several themes were identified from female learners.

Findings and Conclusions:
For the females within this study, being able to even participate in a course abroad was a “big deal” for the family. Many participants reveal that being able to go to another country on their own, without the family, was something that they would not have been able to do without having an educationally sanctioned purpose. Being able to self-direct and take ownership of a selective course-abroad gave participants a sense of empowerment and confidence about their abilities to do things “on their own.” Female students interacted with volunteers, coordinators, administrators and CEO’s engaging in candid and critical discussion about several contemporary issues and the organizations role. Internships, extended studies and special training opportunities were offered to students. Participants reveal feelings like “this could be real for me” despite never having previously thought about working abroad. Ultimately, a course abroad for female students offered students learning far outside of set objectives for the course. Encouraging experiential international learning could foster new perspectives and opportunities in leadership for Middle Eastern AHE learners.
@InProceedings{NGUYEN2014EMA,
author = {Nguyen, S.},
title = {EMANCIPATED, EMPOWERED & EMPLOYABLE: MIDDLE EASTERN WOMEN'S TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING},
series = {7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2014 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-2484-0},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {17-19 November, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {4185-4186}}
TY - CONF
AU - S. Nguyen
TI - EMANCIPATED, EMPOWERED & EMPLOYABLE: MIDDLE EASTERN WOMEN'S TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
SN - 978-84-617-2484-0/2340-1095
PY - 2014
Y1 - 17-19 November, 2014
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2014 Proceedings
SP - 4185
EP - 4186
ER -
S. Nguyen (2014) EMANCIPATED, EMPOWERED & EMPLOYABLE: MIDDLE EASTERN WOMEN'S TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING, ICERI2014 Proceedings, pp. 4185-4186.
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