Baal icsig-2012-Van Maele+Mertens

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Jan and Katrien presented their work on student representations of intercultural competence during an international study experience at the BAAL-ICSIG Seminar 2012 held by the Dept of Languages, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK, on 17-18 May 2012.

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  • This presentation addresses one of the ‘key questions’ of the conference call: ‘What does it mean (to our students) to be interculturally competent?’ Finding an answer to this question in turn fits within our broader exploration of another of the ‘key questions’ in the call, namely ‘Is it possible to teach students to develop in their intercultural competence, and if so, how?’ Within the action research paradigm: firstly, the answers to the question are sought within the context of our teaching – this also explains why no true experiment was set up: the research activities are part and parcel of the teaching that we do – and secondly, we seek answers with the aim of informing decisions concerning our teaching practice.
  • As you all know, Leuven is a traditional university town 90,000 inhabitants + 35,000 students, of which 10 percent are international studentsThestudents in our program typically come from across Europe, from the Caribbean, from Africa, from the Middle East and from Asia. They present a mix of home students, mobile students in exchange programs, students for whom this program is one stage in a longer-term study plan. Add: - prior degrees in education + a wide range of other domains (architecture, law, sciences, business and economics, …)Four years ago we started offering a postgraduate program in development studies. It focuses on development and capacity building through education, both in and outside school. It blends the theory and practice of capacity building, development work, and education into one exploratory and enterprising trajectory. It comprises two semester programs that can be followed in any sequence or as separate entities: Enterprising Education (fall, 30 ECTS) and Exploring Education (spring, 30 ECTS).Two years ago Group T was the first university college in Flanders to join Unesco’s Associated Schools Project network. The program reflects this as all components are inspired by and organized around UNESCO's Four Pillars of Education: Learning to Know; Learning to Do; Learning to Live Together; and Learning to Be. Learning to live together is the pillar that the UNESCO Commission emphasizes more than any other. It refers to developing an understanding of others through dialogue. This explains the considerable attention that we devote to intercultural communication in the program.So this provides the setting for our workshops, currently two half-day workshops per term (one during orientation week, the other towards the end of the term). From next term onwards: proper module of 3 weeks, which we can devote in part or in full to developing intercultural competence.
  • Written definitions of IC (‘What does it mean to you to be interculturally competent?’) + self-rating of IC (‘On a scale from 1 to 10, how interculturally competent would you rate yourself to be?’). On two occasions: at beginning and towards the end of the term. After completing the questions for the second time, the students received their initial responses, they were asked to observe any differences and think of possible explanations, and they shared their findings in small buzz groups.
  • Definitions were divided up in constituent statements. Each statement was plotted by us against the components of Deardorff’s (2004) pyramid model of IC. Several statements that we found hard to categorize were submitted through email to Darla Deardorff, who was so kind to help us out. We then looked which components were included by how many students; we counted how prominently they featured in comparison with other components; we considered the meaning that students attributed to these components in comparison with the definitions in Deardorff’s model.
  • Yellow: skillsBlue: attitudeRed: Knowledge
  • Voting behavior as an indicator of shifting mindsets at group level. Responding to series of four statements, followed by oral clarification of positions in group, and revote. On two occasions: at beginning and towards the end of the term. Distribute voting cards for a vote on the four statements. The fact that there is a public vote increases involvement in the ensuing group discussion; it is easier for the facilitator to address the more withdrawn students.
  • Count votes and revotes on both occasions. Transcribe recorded group discussion. Identify patterns of meaning in the discourse and markers of shifts in opinion.
  • Written narrative accounts of recent intercultural encounters as the basis for experience-based learning activities. An example will follow later in this presentation. (Analysis of these cases is still in progress). Interviews with students for eliciting their comments on the findings. (stillto be held)
  • Results (for the 16 students of the cohort that started the program this term)Definitions – scope and structure: In one of the buzz groups in which students compared their second and original definitions, it appeared that half the students gave themselves a much lower rating for IC than they had done at the outset of the semester. They explained that they now saw how it takes much more to be IC that they had originally realized. e.g. One female student from Cameroon (quote on slide: first and second definition).Presence and prominence of IC componentsThe analysis of the data supports the students’ perception of an evolution towards a broader conceptualization of what it means to be interculturally competent.Average of components cited by the students increases from 2 to 2,5 per person. All five components play a part. The most cited category that is not featured in Deardorff’s model is language proficiency.“Knowledge” and above all “Attitude” are the most prominent components. Taken together they make up 60% of the definitions across the group. By April virtually every student (14/16) includes ‘attitude’ as part of their definitions, and they also include more of the constituent aspects of ‘attitude’ than they do for any of the other components.
  • Results (for the 16 students of the cohort that started the program this term)Definitions – scope and structure: In one of the buzz groups in which students compared their second and original definitions, it appeared that half the students gave themselves a much lower rating for IC than they had done at the outset of the semester. They explained that they now saw how it takes much more to be IC that they had originally realized. e.g. One female student from Cameroon (quote on slide: first and second definition).Presence and prominence of IC componentsThe analysis of the data supports the students’ perception of an evolution towards a broader conceptualization of what it means to be interculturally competent.Average of components cited by the students increases from 2 to 2,5 per person. All five components play a part. The most cited category that is not featured in Deardorff’s model is language proficiency.“Knowledge” and above all “Attitude” are the most prominent components. Taken together they make up 60% of the definitions across the group. By April virtually every student (14/16) includes ‘attitude’ as part of their definitions, and they also include more of the constituent aspects of ‘attitude’ than they do for any of the other components.
  • What is also remarkable is that quite a few students take a noticeably enhanced view on several of the components in Deardorff’s model.1) “External outcome”: tinged with a touch of activism.To be interculturally competent means “to be aware of the problems of other cultures [= knowledge] and do something about those, which means, to take action” 2) “Skills”: broadened to include mediation (as proposed by the Bertelsmann Foundation).To be interculturally competent means ‘to be able to “build a bridge” between cultures’;3) “Attitudes”, which students emphasize should resonate in our behavior.To beinterculturally competent means to “embraceother cultures”, “we experienceinterculturalfood […] Simplybyeating in these different restaurants we are beinginterculturally competent.” “Having respect is onethingbutit is somethingelse to live up to what the core of respect and openmindedness is ormeans”, “To me it all starts from living up to values as respect and openmindedness.”
  • Whereas the definitions reveal the presence and prominence of the different components, the votes and ensuing discussions give us some insight in the modality or mental attitude of the speaker towards the component. The most remarkable finding here is the vote turnaround on the first statement, namely the switch from “knowledge about the other is essential for successful intercultural dialogue” to “is not essential”. Switches occur during the dedicated workshops, not in the course of the regular program.
  • Overview of discourse that emerges during the oral clarification: patterns of meaning and markers of shifts in opinion;
  • Overview of discourse that emerges during the oral clarification: patterns of meaning and markers of shifts in opinion;
  • Overview of discourse that emerges during the oral clarification: patterns of meaning and markers of shifts in opinion;
  • Students affirm that it is possible to learn and teach ICC, Students can arrive at a layered and nuanced view of intercultural competencesThere are indications that when changes in thinking occur, they are triggered during the dedicated workshops .And they have expressed great enthusiasm for the kind of activities that we have organized with them.
  • We are still unsure what a training module should optimally look like – duration, intensity, contents - but it seems to us that a combination is desirable of (a) immersion experience in an international environment, (b) reflective and active learning activities that center on the students’ experiences, and (c) training of supporting skills. This is one of the ways in which we have elicited the experiences of our students (slide: assignment)And this is the sort of response that we get (read out Pauline’s case)The question now is: what kinds of learning activities can you organize on the basis of this?
  • The situation I will talk about happened in class. We had to work in group. We had to create a new mind map based on the different mind maps of each person of the group. In the group I was with Hansand Thu. I asked Thu ‘Give me your ideas’. I was very direct with her and she was a bit shocked. She told me afterwards that she thought I was a bit rude but then she said that it was normal in Belgium and she was just not used to that way of talking to someone.My goal during this exchange was to have Thu’s ideas for our mind map but it was not reached because she felt a bit attacked and she was a bit angry at me so the conversation was not smooth. There was a lot of tension in the conversation. (Pascale)
  • Our canvas for mapping learning activities on intercultural communication. Some of the people who inspired us: Edwin Hoffman’s TOPOI model, David Kolb’s Learning Cycle (2007), Stella Ting-Toomey’s ODIS-formula. In the center we placed a mineral because the student experiences provide the raw (but rich) input for our learning activities.On this basis, we can organize various kinds of activities. Each verb represents one essential type of activity. They can be set up as a series in a learning cycle but we have also had sessions in which we focus on just one or two activities.What could you for instance do with an experience as Pascale’s: (Using Hoffman’s questions), we ask students to describe the situation (that is, to note the actors’ words and actions) and to record the interpretation that each party. Another activity consists of taking perspective and diagnosing the situation from a distance: looking back, can you see what went wrong? This activity can be part of a broader intervision in which students then offer advice to one or more actors in the case: if this situation should present itself again, what could you do differently? Role playing the experience is one example of a simulation activity.
  • ConsideringPascale’sexperience, youcannoticehow she does not clearly distinguish description from interpretation: there is no description of what Thu said or did at that moment.Therefore, it is recommended to train students in skills that support each type of activity.
  • Read out the different supportingskills;(And we could even think of organizing activities that focus on deepening each of those supporting skills -eg. mindfulness training to enhance observation skills). And thatbringsus to ourconcludingquestions:Read out the different supportingskills;(And we could even think of organizing activities that focus on deepening each of those supporting skills -eg. mindfulness training to enhance observation skills). And thatbringsus to ourconcludingquestions:How useful / meaningful does this canvas seem to you? Where do you see room for improvement? In what ways is it related to what you have been doing? What suggestions do you have for putting the different aspects into practice?
  • As you all know, Leuven is a traditional university town 90,000 inhabitants + 35,000 students, of which 10 percent are international studentsThestudents in our program typically come from across Europe, from the Caribbean, from Africa, from the Middle East and from Asia. They present a mix of home students, mobile students in exchange programs, students for whom this program is one stage in a longer-term study plan. Add: - prior degrees in education + a wide range of other domains (architecture, law, sciences, business and economics, …)Four years ago we started offering a postgraduate program in development studies. It focuses on development and capacity building through education, both in and outside school. It blends the theory and practice of capacity building, development work, and education into one exploratory and enterprising trajectory. It comprises two semester programs that can be followed in any sequence or as separate entities: Enterprising Education (fall, 30 ECTS) and Exploring Education (spring, 30 ECTS).Two years ago Group T was the first university college in Flanders to join Unesco’s Associated Schools Project network. The program reflects this as all components are inspired by and organized around UNESCO's Four Pillars of Education: Learning to Know; Learning to Do; Learning to Live Together; and Learning to Be. Learning to live together is the pillar that the UNESCO Commission emphasizes more than any other. It refers to developing an understanding of others through dialogue. This explains the considerable attention that we devote to intercultural communication in the program.So this provides the setting for our workshops, currently two half-day workshops per term (one during orientation week, the other towards the end of the term). From next term onwards: proper module of 3 weeks, which we can devote in part or in full to developing intercultural competence.
  • Baal icsig-2012-Van Maele+Mertens

    1. 1. Student representations of intercultural competence during an international study experience Jan Van Maele & Katrien Mertens GROUP T – International University College Leuven BAAL SIG Intercultural Communication, Milton Keynes, 17-18 May 2012
    2. 2. Intercultural Communication in International Contexts Key questions• What does it mean to our students to be interculturally competent?• Is it possible to teach students to develop in their intercultural competence, and if so, how?
    3. 3. Intercultural Communication in International Contexts Setting
    4. 4. Design and Methods1. Written definitions of ICC2. Responding to statements regarding ICC3. Narrative accounts of IC encounters4. Student interviews
    5. 5. Written definitions of ICC Data collection • What does it mean to you to be interculturally competent? • On a scale from 1 to 10, how interculturally competent would you rate yourself to be: …..
    6. 6. Written definitions of ICC Data analysisDeardorff, 2004
    7. 7. Written definitions of ICC Data analysisFor me being IC is being able to listen andcommunication with people from othercultures in a respectful way – notundermining one culture, or placing yourviews as more important than others.Having an awareness of other cultures andbeing open to people of different cultures.Communicating and meeting people withoutprejudgements is difficult but it will helpinteraction and lead to interculturalcompetence. (Isobel)
    8. 8. Written definitions of ICC Data analysisFor me being IC is being able to listen andcommunication with people from othercultures in a respectful way – notundermining one culture, or placing yourviews as more important than others.Having an awareness of other cultures andbeing open to people of different cultures.Communicating and meeting people withoutprejudgements is difficult but it will helpinteraction and lead to interculturalcompetence.
    9. 9. Design and Methods1. Written definitions of ICC2. Responding to statements regarding ICC3. Narrative accounts of IC encounters4. Student interviews
    10. 10. Responding to statements regarding ICC Data collection I agree more than I disagree. I disagree more than I agree.
    11. 11. Knowledge about the other culture is essential for successful intercultural dialogue
    12. 12. It is possible to learn and teach intercultural competence
    13. 13. In general, your intercultural competence will improve as your English proficiency increases
    14. 14. Whenever you wonder what your conversation partner from another culture means, the best way is to ask that person directly.
    15. 15. Responding to statements regarding ICC Data analysis
    16. 16. Design and Methods1. Written definitions of ICC2. Responding to statements regarding ICC3. Narrative accounts of IC encounters4. Student interviews
    17. 17. Results1. Definitions of ICC: scope and structure2. Definitions of ICC: attributed meaning3. Responding to statements regarding ICC
    18. 18. Scope and structurethat kind of person aware of the customs, who has learned and traditions, languages understood many of different cultures in the cultures‘ world; you need to accepts other know how things are cultures‘ done and said in flexible to dialogue in different culture; one way or the other we can also think of with people‘ behaviour and food eaten by different able to speak two or cultures in the more languages from
    19. 19. Scope and structureNr of students who cited the component <4 5-7 8-11 >12
    20. 20. Results1. Definitions of ICC: scope and structure2. Definitions of ICC: attributed meaning3. Responding to statements regarding ICC
    21. 21. Attributed meaningEnhanced view• External outcome: activism• Skills: mediation• Attitudes: manifest in behavior
    22. 22. Results1. Definitions of ICC: scope and structure2. Definitions of ICC: attributed meaning3. Responding to statements regarding ICC
    23. 23. Responding to statements vote 1 ≠ revote 2 vote 1 revote 1 vote 2 revote 2 √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √Knowledge is essential
    24. 24. Responding to statements• Nice but not essential “It’s sure nice to know some have knowledge about the other culture because you can really place things, but not essential.” (Stijn)
    25. 25. Responding to statements• Nice but not essential• In an environment like this “I think that’s true if you are going to somebody else’s country like it’s disrespectful not to sort of understand their practices and just expect to go into their country but I think like in an environment like this it’s not essential because we all come here like to learn and to have a intercultural dialogue” (Lisa)
    26. 26. Responding to statements• Nice but not essential• In an environment like this• It’s a constant learning “because it is like Rita said you know conflict doesn’t always mean it’s gonna be the end, it’s a constant learning, which kind of ties in with what everybody else is saying about it’s a progression almost” (Joanna)
    27. 27. Conclusions
    28. 28. Teaching module on ICCCombination of• immersion experience• activities that center on student experiences• training of supporting skills
    29. 29. Eliciting student experiencesCan you recall an intercultural experience you hadin which communication did not go smoothlybecause the goal that you wanted to achieve –voicing a complaint, an apology, a refusal, anencouragement, a greeting, a compliment, aninstruction, ... – was interpreted differently fromwhat you had intended?
    30. 30. Pascale’s experienceThe situation I will talk about happened in class. We had to work in group. We had to create a new mind map based on the different mind maps of each person of the group. In the group I was with Hans and Thu. I asked Thu ‘Give me your ideas’. I was very direct with her and she was a bit shocked. She told me afterwards that she thought I was a bit rude but then she said that it was normal in Belgium and she was just not used to that way of talking to someone. [...]
    31. 31. Pascale’s experienceThe situation I will talk about happened in class. We had to work in group. We had to create a new mind map based on the different mind maps of each person of the group. In the group I was with Hans and Thu. I asked Thu ‘Give me your ideas’. I was very direct with her and she was a bit shocked. She told me afterwards that she thought I was a bit rude but then she said that it was normal in Belgium and she was just not used to that way of talking to someone. [...]
    32. 32. elicitationsuspension
    33. 33. ReferencesDeardorff, D. K. (2006). Identification and assessment of intercultural competence as a student outcome of internationalization. Journal of Studies in Intercultural Education, 10, 241-266.Dervin, F. (2009). The Others as impediments to ‘integration’ into Finnish society: the case of exchange students in higher education. Research on Finnish Society, 2, 19-27.Hoffman, E. (2009). Interculturele gespreksvoering. Theorie en praktijk van het topoi-model. Houten: Bohn Stafleu van Loghum.Holmes, P. & O’Neill G. (2010). Autoethnography and self-reflection: tools for self-assessing intercultural competence. In Tsau, J & Houghton, S. Becoming Intercultural – Inside and outside the classroom. Newcastle: Cambridge.Intercultural Competence – The key competence in the 21st century? (2006). Bertelsmann Stiftung (www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de).Intercultural Competence in English – ICE. (2009). Frankfurt am Main: European Language Competence (www.elc-consult.com).Kolb, D.A. (2007). Kolb learning style inventory. LSI Workbook 3.1. HayGroup.Lams, L. (2010). Reconnecting theories of language pragmatics and critiques on logocentric methodological approaches to media discourse analysis. Romanian Review of Political Science and International Relations, 7(1), 94- 110.Ting-Toomey, S. (1999). Communicating across cultures. New York: Guilford.
    34. 34. A Warm Thank Youkatrien.mertens@groept.be jan.van.maele@groept.be

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