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Cultural Academy: a new approach to learning


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Cultural diversity is a fact of life, especially at the University of Surrey where over 30% of our students originate from over 130 different countries. The concept of a ‘Cultural Academy’ was born from a concern and a belief that we could do more to learn from our cultural diversity. Cultural Academy is not part of the formal curriculum but a process, founded on the idea of appreciative enquiry that requires voluntary participation from both students and staff. Through a series of workshops, planning meetings and a student-led conference extending over five months, participants (students, facilitators and mentors) shared their experiences and understandings of culture and its influences on their lives. Infrastructures to support learning included an on-line social networking space to encourage conversation and the recording and sharing of experience , a mentoring scheme to support and encourage learning and to validate learning, a new learning through experience award to value and recognise the learning, a wiki to support the production and accumulation of knowledge gained through enquiry. Various pedagogic processes within the learning process will be explored at the presentation.

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Cultural Academy: a new approach to learning

  1. 1. Cultural Academy: a new approach to cultural enquiry <ul><li>Norman Jackson, Director SCEPTrE </li></ul><ul><li>Vasso Vydelingum & Nimmi Hutnik , Senior Lecturers, Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford. UK. </li></ul>
  2. 2. Creation of Cultural Academy <ul><li>University of Surrey: nearly 30% of our students originate from over 130 different countries. </li></ul><ul><li>SCEPTrE wanted to make multiculturalism a more explicit part of students’ educational experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>The motivation for ‘Cultural Academy’: to learn more from the cultural diversity within our own campus society </li></ul><ul><li>Ideas underpinning Cultural Academy: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>collaborative learning </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>productive inquiry </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Immersive experience </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Cultural Academy aims to: </li></ul><ul><li>Build and support a diverse community of enquirers (students all </li></ul><ul><li>levels and staff facilitators) willing to share their understandings and </li></ul><ul><li>experiences of culture and how it affects us </li></ul><ul><li>Engage members of the Cultural Academy in thinking about </li></ul><ul><li>their own Cultural identity </li></ul><ul><li>Involve the community in enquiry into our own multicultural campus </li></ul><ul><li>society </li></ul><ul><li>Influence the university – by highlighting the importance of culture in </li></ul><ul><li>the experiences of students preparing for a lifetime </li></ul><ul><li>of living and working in an a culturally </li></ul><ul><li>complex world. </li></ul><ul><li>Its about communicating across cultures </li></ul><ul><li>having fun and learning in the process!!! </li></ul>
  4. 4. Cultural Academy: An Overview
  6. 6. Process <ul><li>Through a series of Workshops </li></ul><ul><li>Planning meetings & </li></ul><ul><li>A student-led conference extending over five months, participants (students, facilitators and mentors) shared their experiences and understandings of culture and its influences on their lives. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Cultural Academy productive enquirers Sarah Campbell Y3 Psychology student on placement with SCEPTrE evaluation of learner experience& on- line staff and student perception surveys Lori Riley M level student micro-conversation research Ben Mercer & William Patterson recent graduate enquiring film makers Nimmi Hutnick Norman Jackson Vasso Vydelingum workshop design and evaluation 17 student participants FACILITATORS
  8. 8. Workshop 1 <ul><li>Theme: Me and My Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction to the Cultural Academy </li></ul><ul><li>Get to know members of the Academy </li></ul><ul><li>Acquaint participants with the aims and objectives of the Cultural Academy </li></ul><ul><li>Exercises : I am & I am not </li></ul><ul><li>What does my name mean? </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Gift </li></ul>
  9. 9. Cultural Gift: Exploration of Self-Cultural Identity <ul><li>‘ Anything personally significant that you think contributes to and represents an aspect of your own cultural identity’ </li></ul>
  10. 10. Exploration of Self-Cultural Identity: Using Concept maps
  11. 11. Workshop 2 <ul><li>Theme: Culture and Others </li></ul><ul><li>Discovery and discussion on idea of ‘difference’ in culture </li></ul><ul><li>Produce a Cultural Genogram </li></ul><ul><li>Voting on propositions </li></ul>
  12. 12. On-line social networking space
  13. 13. WORKSHOP 2 <ul><li>A good way of enquiring into culture was to share beliefs by voting on propo-sitions </li></ul>
  14. 14. Workshop 3 <ul><li>Theme: Organisations, Language, and Culture </li></ul><ul><li>An organisation as a cultural web </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of language (and other forms of communication) in organisations through which culture is propagated </li></ul>
  15. 15. Workshop 3:Japanese Calligraphy Control systems Rituals & routines Stories & myths Symbols Power structures Organisation structures The Paradigm
  16. 16. Reflective Process <ul><li>‘ Appreciating Being Multicultural’ Conference </li></ul><ul><li>Reflective Accounts as Student Legacy </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><ul><li>STUDENT LED CONFERENCE OUTLINE </li></ul></ul><ul><li>14.00 Sharing cultural experiences – workshops, conversations and quiz </li></ul><ul><li>Sessions will run concurrently. Most will last about 30mins and be repeated. </li></ul><ul><li>Participants welcome to move freely from one conversation or activity to another. </li></ul><ul><li>Location and theme for each session shown on room/timetable sheet. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>15.45 Tea/coffee break </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>16.15 Enquiring into our own multicultural society AC 01 Lecture Theatre </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ Appreciating our Multicultural Campus’ </li></ul><ul><li>A film by Ben Mercer and William Patterson (SCEPTrE Film Makers) </li></ul><ul><li>Our multicultural campus society </li></ul><ul><li>Norman Jackson and Vasso Vydelingum and Sarah Campbell </li></ul><ul><li>Final act – a certificate for all the students who participated in the Cultural Academy, </li></ul><ul><li>presented by Professor Bernard Weiss (Pro Vice Chancellor Student Experience) </li></ul><ul><li>17.30 International buffet – the cultural gifts of food and music. </li></ul><ul><li>Live entertainment from African drum group ‘Jali-Djembe’ (18.00-19.30). </li></ul>
  18. 18. Class activity <ul><li>‘ I am’ Exercise 5 mins </li></ul><ul><li>Naming Exercise 15 mins </li></ul>
  19. 19. Integration across Curricula <ul><li>Informal Curricula : Cultural Academy Workshop Discussion Group </li></ul><ul><li>Formal Curricula : Interpersonal Communication MA Research on Conversation Analysis </li></ul>
  20. 20. Pedagogic practices within the enquiry process included <ul><li>Concept mapping – to facilitate personal enquiry into understandings of culture </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural enquiry using simple question-based tools </li></ul><ul><li>Voting systems to reveal patterns of beliefs in response to propositions about culture </li></ul><ul><li>Story telling – descriptions of personal experiences and on-line blogs and postings to community forum </li></ul>
  21. 21. Pedagogic process contd. <ul><li>Mentoring to encourage conversation and reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Film making – enquiry into our multicultural campus, the recording of the cultural academy process </li></ul><ul><li>Peer ‘teaching’ – the facilitation of conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Questionnaire surveys </li></ul><ul><li>End process reflective account and conversation </li></ul>
  22. 22. Multicultural Questionnaire <ul><li>100 staff responded </li></ul><ul><li>473 students responded </li></ul><ul><li>Information about ethnicity and culture </li></ul>
  23. 23. Key Findings <ul><li>Ethnicity and culture conceptually very complex </li></ul><ul><li>General feeling of cultural awareness and acceptance of cultural diversity at Surrey </li></ul><ul><li>Feeling more could be done to incorporate different learning approaches into teaching in response to cultural differences </li></ul>
  24. 24. Key Findings <ul><li>Students feel there is a need for more conversation about cultural diversity </li></ul><ul><li>More integration between British and international students is needed </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural complexities are present even in the British home students </li></ul>
  25. 25. Cultural Academy - the student experience <ul><li>Members of the Academy were interviewed </li></ul><ul><li>Appreciative conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of written ‘Learning through experience’ accounts </li></ul>
  26. 26. Cultural Academy - the student experience Similarities & Differences Stereotypes Wider context Positivity - ‘positive attitudes towards different cultures’ Skills; abstract & concrete knowledge;new perspectives; developed as people Learning Experience Respect, trust, confidence Background Safe environment for sharing Expectations Communication Emotions Relationships Motivations Environment
  27. 27. Evocative Words from Accounts ‘ more accepting, considerate and open-minded of other opinions’ ‘ respect’ ‘ immersing oneself in the experience’ ‘ passionate and curious’ ‘ deeper discussion and inquiry’ ‘ self-discovery’ ‘ I was proud of our achievement’ ‘ interdependence’ ‘ sensitive’ ‘ united in experiencing learning’ ‘ a creative venture’ ‘ I had a sense of shame’ ‘ personal choice is important’ ‘ deeper sense’ ‘ embedded’ ‘ reflection’ ‘ I feel so grateful that I am Chinese’ ‘ Another inspiring part of Cultural Academy' ‘ understanding is enhanced’ ‘ culturally sensitive’ ‘ a better person’ ‘ I wish we had the chance to meet more often’ ‘ to reflect on what culture is and to respect its deep meaning’
  28. 28. Recommendations <ul><li>Cultural Academy wiki, develop and connect ‘Cultural Academy Alumni’ </li></ul><ul><li>Members suggested more sessions, with more regularity </li></ul><ul><li>Members suggested the structure should be thought out more carefully; either designed and owned entirely by members or rigid structure around the objectives of Academy leaders </li></ul>
  29. 29. Recommendations <ul><li>Tasks between sessions led to thinking outside of sessions, learning through reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Workshops more explicit in direction, objectives and generalisability </li></ul><ul><li>Some members felt awareness of courses and backgrounds should be considered in workshop planning. </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Academy grown to provide space & support in the form of a drop-in for students needing support or a confidential place to discuss cultural issues they may be experiencing </li></ul>
  30. 30. Impact <ul><li>Student Experience Strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Induction week for Freshers </li></ul><ul><li>Conference promoted awareness and interest among senior managers and departments such as Careers Service </li></ul>
  31. 31. Conclusions <ul><li>The appreciative inquiry approach certainly has had beneficial effects as participants developed a very positive sense of culture </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural safety </li></ul><ul><li>Better marketing techniques for such events </li></ul><ul><li>Learning about culture is a life-long learning conversation. </li></ul>
  32. 32. References- Further reading <ul><li>Cooperrider, David L. & Whitney, Diana (1999). Appreciative Inquiry . In Holman, P.& Devane, T. (Eds.), Collaborating for Change . San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>Novak J.D ( 1998) Learning, Creating, Using Knowledge: concept maps . Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. London </li></ul><ul><li>Hay, D.B. & Kinchin, I.M. (2006) Using concept mapping to reveal conceptual typologies. Education & Training 48(2/3), 127-142. </li></ul><ul><li>Ramsden I H (1992) Cultural safety in nursing education in Aotearoe at the Year of Indigenous People’s Conference, Brisbane, Australia. </li></ul>
  33. 33. I AM DVD