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Immediacy, Engagement, and Immersion: Critical Pedagogy and the Study Abroad Mission


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Intentional, critically informed pedagogies are a means of developing and shaping the kinds of transformative experiences students should have. While much of the work in the field of international education emphasizes formal assessments, we’ll focus on critical pedagogy and how to best shape experiences that promote experiential learning, immediacy, engagement, and immersion that is both self-reflexive and respectful. We’ll consider approaches and methodologies that can be used for specific study abroad programs and the ways in which an ethos of deeply intercultural and experiential learning can inform campus and curriculum internationalization efforts.

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Immediacy, Engagement, and Immersion: Critical Pedagogy and the Study Abroad Mission

  1. 1. International Center Immediacy, Engagement, and Immersion Critical Pedagogy and the Study Abroad Mission Presenters: Dr. Cari Vanderkar Moore California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Prof. H. Leslie Steeves University of Oregon Prof. Josh Machamer California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Dr. Roger Adkins Gustavus Adolphus College
  2. 2. International Center History of the Internationalization of Higher Education • Hans de Wit (2002): Internationalization of Higher education in the United States of America and Europe • International aspects of higher education in the US became organized after WW II o As a corrective measure o As an element of foreign policy and national security • Rui Yang (2002): “Internationalization has mostly occurred in a rather ad hoc and incremental fashion, with policy and reflection often occurring after the fact.”
  3. 3. International Center Influence on present Intentionality • Emphasis on global and intercultural awareness • Efforts to internationalize (“interculturalize”) curricula
  4. 4. International Center Case Statement for Internationalization American Council on Education: “In order for the US to have a truly world-class higher education system, we must be globally engaged and prepare students to be citizens for a multicultural community both at home and in a globalized world.”
  5. 5. International Center American Council on Education Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement
  6. 6. International Center CRITICAL PEDAGOGY • Ira Shor (CUNY Staten Island) one of the leading advocates on critical pedagogy: o "Habits of thought, reading, writing, and speaking which go beneath surface meaning, first impressions, dominant myths, official pronouncements, traditional clichés, received wisdom, and mere opinions, to understand the deep meaning, root causes, social context, ideology, and personal consequences of any action, event, object, process, organization, experience, text, subject matter, policy, mass media, or discourse." (Empowering Education, 129)
  7. 7. International Center CRITICAL PEDAGOGY– • Catherine Forbes and Peter Kaufman (2008) on critical pedagogy: o Promotes a problem solving dialogue o Encourages such dialogue through lived experiences of learners o Helps students find comfort zone for working through uncomfortable issues • Such as identity, race and tolerance
  8. 8. International Center Leslie Steeves, Professor of Journalism University of Oregon
  9. 9. Media in Ghana University of Oregon School of Journalism & Communication
  10. 10. There is so much mystery around Africa. In the U.S. it is either spun as being Eden or just total chaos. When there is so much mystique around a place, as a person and as a journalist I want to go there and see for myself. (Dana, 2013)
  11. 11. WHY GHANA? •Politically stable and safe. •English as language of government and media increases accessibility.
  12. 12. • Historic connections to North America draws students.
  13. 13. • Excellent onsite service providers.
  14. 14. Aya Center from road & Dr. Michael Williams, Aya Director
  15. 15. • Ghana’s media are among the freest and most diverse in Africa.
  16. 16. • Technology such as cheap mobile phones and internet access create new opportunities.
  17. 17. Pre-Trip • Students are selected by February. • Mandatory spring term orientation, weekly 2 hours. Orientation class: teaches about Ghana and program logistics, plus facilitates pre-program bonding. Readings and papers also are required. • Optional Twi class.
  18. 18. Once in Ghana: • Move into shared house. • Onsite week-long orientation—lectures & local field trips. • Begin full-time internships. • Weekend fieldtrips—to Cape Coast (historic slave-trading castles), Kumasi (capital of Ashanti region), and to Volta Region, southeastern Ghana near Togo.
  19. 19. • Students have the mutual security of living together (‘Real World Ghana’). • However, each is placed in a separate internship: media/news outlets (radio, TV, newspaper, etc.), advertising and PR agencies and NGOs.
  20. 20. Expected Learning Outcomes Include: •Be able to critically evaluate representations of Africa in Western media. •Successfully live and work professionally in an unfamiliar culture. •Better understand, appreciate and respect cultural difference and diversity, as well as cultural commonalities.
  21. 21. We address learning outcomes in many overlapping ways including: •Social media use. •The media internships. •A team client project for a local NGO, Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights, ARHR.
  22. 22. SOCIAL MEDIA + Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more
  23. 23. “Now I want to apologize for posting this picture, or at least not putting it into proper context. . . I did not come to Ghana to save anyone. I came to learn about a culture and to work as an intern in my chosen profession.” -Jeff Mercado,, 2013
  24. 24. INTERNSHIPS Newspapers, radio, television, advertising & public relations agencies + media for NGOs and private sector organizations
  25. 25. At work in internships, JOY TV (right), Today Newspaper (below) S
  26. 26. “Although I found this form of journalism troubling, I continued with my job, pulling from numerous US press sources in order to make the story as balanced as possible. After sending the article to my professor and receiving positive feedback . . . , I turned the story in . . . However, when I saw the paper in print, the title of my unbiased article jumped out on the front page: ‘Gayism is insult to Creator’s intelligence, Ghanaians declare’” -Erin Hampton,, 2015.
  27. 27. TEAM CLIENT PROJECT ARHR, Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights See:
  28. 28. “Women lined the hospital waiting to be seen. There is no air conditioning and seating is limited. The “waiting area” is lines of benches next to a construction site. .. After delivery, mothers share a single bed with three other mothers and their babies, that is six people per bed. There are no incubators . . •All the beds were occupied and we are told this is not even considered busy. As we moved down another hallway, we passed a baby that could not be more than 2-3 pounds just resting on its mother’s lap. In America, the baby would be in an incubator. . . We moved to the ward for mothers with complications and needing surgery. The nurse proceeded to tell us they have no water today. How do you do surgery without water? She also said they often lose power... •The healthcare problems Americans face are nothing compared to the ones here. The amount I take for granted is unbelievable. . . The doctors and staff there are unbelievable. They truly make miracles happen with basically nothing. It was an eye-opening experience today.” -Gretchen Henderson,, 2015
  29. 29. “At the end of the day, we all just want to love and be loved. . . We might live a completely different life than someone we meet but I truly believe we share the same core values. . .When I feel the cultural barrier closing in on a conversation, I must remind myself of this notion: We are more alike than we are different. All the emotions I am capable of feeling are the same exact ones they feel. Everything I crave: support, love, happiness, acceptance, are the same exact things they crave .” -Stephanie Hinson,, 2013.
  30. 30. THANK YOU For information: and Or Email:
  31. 31. Explores the ideas addressed by contemporary and historical global artists, productions, and organizations. Focuses on the integration between performance and cultural background, thematic ideas, and nationalistic issues/history. Cal Poly Global Program - Summer Study in London TH390 Global Theatre and Performance Uses the theatrical contexts of London as the laboratory © Machamer 201
  32. 32. course objectives identify key concepts related to the understanding of theatre/dramatic arts in performance investigate varied means of theatrical performance in/around London construct clearly supported and specific critical responses to the varied nationalistic, cultural, and historical issues found within the context of plays/performances develop an understanding of a play/production, organization, movement, and/or persona's significance, not just from a performance/theatrical point of view, but also from a cultural or historical perspective Cal Poly Global Program - Summer Study in London TH390 Global Theatre and Performance © Machamer 2015
  33. 33. Cal Poly Global Program - Summer Study in London TH390 Global Theatre and Performance Intentional, critically informed pedagogy in Cal Poly's Summer Study in London Program Course is constructed as a way to enhance intercultural and experiential learning for students while abroad Sharing of three (3) specific assignments that are used to immerse and engage students in the local communities/cultures in London © Machamer 2015
  34. 34. #1 FOUNDON PROJECT "Found in London" © Machamer 2015
  35. 35. FOUNDON PROJECT "Found in London" • Students apply a chosen theatre production to a particular location in London. • The goal is for them to utilize the surroundings of the city as the theatrical backdrop for enhancing the story, ideas, and/or elements of the given play. • A combination of visual and narrative elements - the essence being to find one (1) “non- theatre” space (indoor or outdoor) that would enhance the experience of the play. • Provide a detailed descriptive write-up and photos of the space. • Illuminate how the ideas, themes, and/or particular aspects of the play that are key elements lend themselves to the found space. © Machamer 2015
  36. 36. #2 WEST END MAPPING © Machamer 2015
  37. 37. • Students work in small groups. • They are given a tube location, blank sheet of paper, a direction (e.g. head NE), and a time limit. • Working their way toward Leicester Square, they are drawing/cataloging the West End theatres and productions, streets, and landmarks along their route. • The key aspect is that the map is being hand drawn in the moment, showing a bread crumb trail as interpreted by each student. • The end products are "merged" together as one cohesive Theatreland map for all students. © Machamer 2015
  38. 38. #3 LOCAL KNOWLEDGE Cultural Dramaturgy Project © Machamer 2015
  39. 39. LOCAL KNOWLEDGE Cultural Dramaturgy Project • Working in small groups, students are assigned a specific "neighborhood" theatre/theatre company in and around London. • They use their entire time in London to "get to know" the specific area the theatre inhabits (Dalston, Brick Lane, Islington e.g.) via the ethnic demographic, history, cultural significance, current issues. • The leading question to address: if theatre is a story a community tells itself about itself, then what is this neighborhood's story? • The subsequent report is then compared against the mission, philosophy, and production choices of those specific theatre(s). • Does the theatre and the stories they present have an inherit tie into the community that surrounds them? © Machamer 2015
  40. 40. T H E R E I S A D I F F E R E N C E B E T W E E N T R A V E L W R I T E R S A N D T O U R I S T S . A T O U R I S T I S O N V A C A T I O N ; A T R A V E L W R I T E R I S O N A P U R S U I T . D I N T Y W . M O O R E ( A N A M E R I C A N E S S A Y I S T ) © Machamer 2015
  41. 41. “Interculturalization” Course- and Campus-Level Observations Roger Adkins, Gustavus Adolphus College CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL AND CULTURAL EDUCATION
  42. 42. • Literature, folklore, and social justice in the UK • Integrate primary texts, theory, experiential learning, engagement, and self- reflection • Intercultural engagement projects CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL AND CULTURAL EDUCATION Fantasy on the Fringe
  43. 43. • “7 pieces of your soul” • Highly integrative project (synthesis of course content, experiential learning, and self-reflection) CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL AND CULTURAL EDUCATION Project example: Horcrux Project
  44. 44. • At the summit of Arthur’s Seat, first personal experience of the ‘numinous’ is a terribly Scottish one • A British production of “The Crucible” at the Old Vic brings ‘the Other’ into sharper focus CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL AND CULTURAL EDUCATION Horcrux outcomes
  45. 45. • Theoretical backdrop for this project: Ethnography is not innocent! • Students seek out a host national who gets to interview the student, asking any 10 questions that the person desires about U.S. culture. • Students, in their write-up, analyze the experience of being the ethnographic object CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL AND CULTURAL EDUCATION Reverse ethnography
  46. 46. • Importance of working collaboratively with the people whose culture(s) you are studying • Colonizing tendencies of ethnography (and study abroad), even for US students in the UK • Intersubjectivities (working against the self/Other power dynamic CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL AND CULTURAL EDUCATION Reverse ethnography outcomes
  47. 47. • Define the terms to work against the colonizing gaze of academic research • “Intercultural” instead of “international”  It’s not about nation-states  ‘Cultures’ very broadly understood  Encompasses ‘diversity,’ too • “Interculturalization” So… how to do this on the institutional level?
  48. 48. • Multilingual Learners Program • ‘Interculturalizing’ the 10-Year Strategic Plan • Intercultural focus in scholarship programs and fundraising • Infuse the curriculum with ‘interculturalism’ • Develop more models for intercultural learning • Making room for transformation CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL AND CULTURAL EDUCATION Intercultural mission (examples)
  49. 49. International Center Intercultural and Experiential Learning Campus & Curriculum Internationalization Efforts • Establishing Connections • Creating Meaning • Developing Shared Experiences Dr. Cari Vanderkar Moore
  50. 50. International Center Establishing Connections
  51. 51. International Center Creating Meaning Task Force on Curriculum internationalization developed the following definition: Curriculum Internationalization at Cal Poly is the process of designing and delivering courses of study that equip graduates to become interculturally competent and to solve global challenges in sustainable, ethical and inclusive ways. An internationalized curriculum at Cal Poly will: • Challenge students to critically evaluate themselves, cultures, values, and how meaning is created; • Fuel informed global systems thinkers and doers; and • Activate Cal Poly students to be positive forces in the world.
  52. 52. International Center Developing Shared Experiences Participation of faculty in conferences/workshops • NAFSA • AIEA • ACE Internationalization Collaborative • CIEE • China Studies Institute Staff and faculty site visits abroad
  53. 53. International Center • Intercultural Competency • Diversity and Internationalization • Global Citizenship • Curriculum Internationalization
  54. 54. International Center Fostering Critical Pedagogy in your role • Policies and Procedures: o Curricular and co-curricular efforts • Training • Programming
  55. 55. International Center Co-curricular travel • “The experiential nature of the co-curriculum — where students encounter cultural ‘others,’ navigate shared space, learn to manage conflict, calibrate their moral compasses, and test their leadership skills—can offer some of the richest opportunities for students to encounter cultural differences that test their beliefs and assumptions.” (ACE—CIGE: Internationalizing the Curriculum Part Two: Global and Intercultural Education in the Co-curriculum)
  56. 56. International Center Training Faculty/staff pre-departure training • Teaching in the context of intercultural immersion • Embedded Education Abroad Faculty Toolkit (University of Kentucky—April 2009) Staff/student employee training • Reflect on own experiences • Tell your own ‘story’
  57. 57. International Center Programming • Creating connections—international students and campus community o Hosting program launching this fall bringing together faculty/staff with international students o Peer mentoring program—study abroad returnees o Inclusive classroom workshops/discussions with Center for Teaching and Learning
  58. 58. International Center CLOSING “Knowledge rooted in experience shapes what we value and as a consequence how we know what we know as well as how we use what we know.” bell hooks, Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom
  59. 59. International Center QUESTIONS • List the top three things you will work on implementing at your institution • In what ways has your institution/international office constructed study abroad programming to promote “intentional, critically informed pedagogies?” • Questions for panel