Developing Intercultural Capacity: What are Students Learning in Class?
The demographics of our classrooms and campuses are rapidly changing. In the last decade, there has been a 119% increase in international student enrolment nationally. For 84% of institutions surveyed, “preparing internationally and interculturally competent students” is a top reason for internationalization efforts (UNIVCAN, 2014); yet, there does not appear to be much formal assessment or evidence of such outcomes beyond assumptions that structural diversity will simply result in intercultural learning. Kyra will share research findings from a BC study that explored students’ intercultural development and their perceptions of pedagogy and curriculum as influencers of their inter-cultural learning (Garson, 2017). The results demonstrate that merely inviting cultural diversity to our campuses may not result in substantive intercultural learning without intentional pedagogical and curricular considerations. Based on her research, Kyra will share strategies for planning and facilitating multi-cultural group work in ways that prepare students to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work effectively and reflectively with culturally diverse peers (Reid & Garson, 2016).
Dr. Kyra Garson is a member of the Faculty of Student Development at Thompson Rivers University. She is also an inter-cultural trainer and researcher who has developed and delivered professional development programs to educational institutions across the Canada and internationally. Her research interests include intercultural and global learning in higher education; her study “Are We Graduating Global Citizens?” received the Canadian Association for the Study of Higher Education’s dissertation of the year award in 2014. In 2011 she received the Canadian Bureau for International Education’s Internationalization Award for her work supporting faculty in interculturalizing the curriculum and in 2017 was awarded the British Columbia Council for International Education’s Distinguished Leadership Award.
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