Engaging Students in a Multicultural Class Through Scaffolded Learning Innovation
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RMIT University attracts a significant number of students from different cultures, not only to its Melbourne campus, but also to the Saigon, Vietnam campus. The Vietnam campus attracts both domestic and international exchange students from around the world. This has meant that challenges have emerged to the RMIT Vietnam campus and curriculum. The question of how to engage diverse multicultural cohorts of students in classes has become a growing concern to academic staff. This chapter details a personal journey of applying innovation, in order to improve the satisfaction of all students’ in-class experiences. The base measurements were the Course Experience Survey (CES) teaching scores and students’ anecdotal comments and emails. Using the personal narrative method, the changes to the curriculum that were introduced as a result of the broad understanding of industry employment requirements and the diversity of the student cohort that presented in the ‘Global Fashion Marketing’ course, are traced. Using a scaffolded learning approach based upon critical analysis of culturally specific case studies and the development of portfolios that mirrored workplace requirements, the potential for creating bridges between the cultural practices and literacies of diverse students and the acquisition of disciplinary knowledge was facilitated. The results of this modified teaching approach were positive; CES teaching scores and in-class participation in discussions and student engagement improved and student anecdotal feedback on the new teaching methods were constructive. These approaches have implications for campus-based courses involving international students and may provide insights into approaches to pedagogy for all tertiary educators.
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