Creating Conditions for Intercultural and International Learning and Teaching

  • H. Gesche Astrid
  • Makeham Paul

As tertiary institutions worldwide embrace broader conceptions of what it means to be ‘international’, there emerges a clearer imperative to deploy strategic approaches that address the cultural diversity of students in higher education. Thus far, activities have mainly been geared to broad definitions of cultural inclusivity and good teaching practices (Eisenchlas & Trevaskes, 2003). However, few concrete examples exist to inform effective curriculum (re)development and delivery. Indeed, the question of how best to design, implement and evaluate an innovative and creative international curriculum remains of great interest, especially in Australia (Curro & McTaggart, 2004; Beattie, 2004; Reid & Loxton, 2004; Ninnes & Hellstén, 2005). Of special importance in this context are the pedagogical practices that can facilitate the acquisition of ‘international’ and ‘intercultural’ skills, both in students and their educators.

This chapter presents the findings of a 2-year project on ‘Internationalising the Curriculum’ at one of Australia’s largest universities with over 38,000 students, including more than 5,000 international students from over hundred countries. One of the university’s key learning and teaching objectives is to create a high-quality, student-centred, international learning environment that equips graduates with skills and knowledge sufficient to operate successfully and harmoniously in an increasingly complex and globalised world. The project reported upon here comprised eight case studies, four of which are detailed in this chapter, which were designed to augment the university-wide approach to internationalising the curriculum. They demonstrate how diverse frameworks of reference and understanding may be mediated with integrity and sensitivity. The case studies involved a total of 1,587 students and fifteen educators situated in the faculties of creative industries, education and humanities. The student mix per class ranged from mainly domestic, to mixed (international/ domestic), to exclusively international students. One of the project outcomes is a set of pedagogical principles recommended for facilitating the development of intercultural and international perspectives and proficiencies in students.

This chapter is organised around three sections. The first provides a general discussion on internationalisation and associated pedagogies. The second describes a range of pedagogical strategies that case study leaders employed to assist their students to attain certain milestones on their road to intercultural competency. The final section discusses some of the underlying interdependent principles of effective teaching that are important in developing international and intercultural perspectives and skills in students. They will be structured along three categories: (1) cognitive, (2) affective, and (3) operational. The principles indicate that positive outcomes are primarily process-oriented and based on careful planning and implementation (see also Teekens, 2004; Deardorff, 2006).

Keywords

Beach Harness Shoe Karen 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Gesche Astrid
    • 1
  • Makeham Paul
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Humanities and Human ServicesQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Creative Industries FacultyQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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