22 SES 11 C, Immigrants and Refugees: Intercultural Perspectives on teaching and learning
Diversity and inclusion in higher education
Due to globalization, an international and intercultural learning environment is becoming a reality for many higher education students and teachers in Europe. Programs such as Erasmus+ contribute to this by actively promoting student and staff mobility. This diverse learning environment can deepen students learning through exposure to different perspectives and can aid students in developing intercultural competence and skills to collaborate with a diverse group of people (Denson & Zhang, 2010; Leask, 2009). One particular way that students can benefit from the present diversity is by participating in intercultural group work (IGW).
However, research has shown that the presence of multiple cultures does not automatically result in intercultural collaboration (Lee, Poch, Shaw, & Williams, 2012; Reid & Garson, 2016). When students are given the option who to collaborate with, they tend to choose working with same culture students, even if they had successful intercultural interactions in the past (Moore & Hampton, 2015; Strauss et al., 2011; Volet & Ang, 2012). This preference for mono-cultural group work appears to be stronger amongst home students than among international students (Moore & Hampton, 2015; Spencer-Oatey & Dauber, 2017). Group work is a pedagogical strategy common in European, student-centered educational cultures, but less common in teacher-centered educational cultures such as Chinese Confucian culture (Bowering, Leggett, Harvey & Hui, 2007). This means that the latter students might feel less comfortable with learning through group work. These studies illustrate that diversity does not automatically lead to inclusion. In order to reap the benefits of diversity and facilitate inclusive education, more insight is needed into the factors that hinder and encourage students to actively engage in IGW.
The Expectancy-Value Theory of achievement motivation (EVT) proposes that students’ level of engagement and persistence in IGW is affected by the costs and benefits that they attribute to participating in IGW (Eccles, 1983; Wigfield & Eccles, 2000). The three main benefit-categories are: Attainment value (the importance to the individual of doing well on a task), intrinsic value (inherent enjoyment an individual experiences from doing the task) and utility value (the usefulness of a task in helping achieve other short-term or long-term goals) (Barron & Hulleman, 2014; Eccles, 1983; Wigfield, Tonks, & Eccles, 2004). The three main cost-categories are: the amount of effort needed to succeed, the loss of time that could be used to engage in other valued activities and the negative psychological states resulting from struggle or failure in the activity (Barron & Hulleman, 2014; Eccles, 1983).
Eccles (1983) proposes that an individual’s choices, level of engagement and level of persistence would involve a cost/benefit analysis. An increase of the cost signifies a decrease of the overall value a person would attribute to an activity, whereas an increase of benefits signifies an increase of overall value.
In order to gain more insight into the factors that hinder and encourage students to actively engage in IGW this study aims to answer the following questions:
1. Which costs and benefits do students attribute to engaging in intercultural group work?
2. To what extent are these costs and benefits important to the students?
Methodology Costs and benefits of participating in IGW and the extent to which they are important to the students were explored by conducting 14 focus groups with students enrolled in internationally oriented - English taught - programs representing Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences of two research universities and four universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. A total of 54 students participated in these focus groups of which 74% female and 26% male. Most students came from a European country (61%), most frequently from the Netherlands (20%) and Germany (15%), 24% of the students came from Asia, 9% from Africa, 4% from Latin America & Caribbean, and 2% from North-America (classification of countries according to United Nations Statistic Division, 2013). During the focus groups, students were first asked to individually write down the costs and benefits they had experienced while participating in IGW, followed by a group discussion. To summarize what the students shared, a list of the different costs and benefits was formulated. Based on this list students were asked to compile a personal top 5 of the benefits that are most important to them and a personal top 5 of the costs that affect their engagement in intercultural group work the most. Analysis The costs and benefits as put forward by the students were analyzed according to the EVT categories. Not all costs could be classified in these EVT-categories and a new cost-category – compromising on own values or standard – was formulated. Based on thematic analysis, subcategories were created to indicate the different aspects students addressed.
Participants referred to (cultural) differences in communication style, language proficiency, perspectives and approaches as being the source of costs as well as benefits. The biggest cost was that students had to compromise on their own values. For example submitting a sub-standard product or an unsatisfactory level of team-equality. The second biggest cost was experiencing a negative psychological state such as feeling isolated from the group or insecure about how to contribute. The other costs were extra time and effort needed due to differences in the group. The most important benefit was the utility value. IGW contributed to developing competences, positive character traits and an international network of friends. The second most important benefit was that IGW aided in completing the task successfully. Multiple approaches and perspectives in the group resulted in a high quality product. Enjoyment in intercultural interaction was considered a possible benefit, but students did not attach a lot of importance to that. Students indicated that, although they learned from IGW, it often was a very difficult and time consuming process. Trying to find a way to work together took so much time that insufficient time was left for completing the assignment. Students felt out of their comfort zone because they didn’t know what was expected of them or how to communicate effectively. Students from vocal cultures tended to take the lead as students from other cultures didn’t always get or take the opportunity to contribute. Teachers can facilitate an inclusive learning environment by giving students not only sufficient time to complete the task, but also time and support for learning how to collaborate. This will communicate the value of diversity and contribute to a safe learning environment.
Barron, K., & Hulleman, C. (2014). Expectancy-Value-Cost Model of Motivation. In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. (Vol. 8, pp. 503-509). doi:10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.26099-6. Bowering, M., Leggett, B.M., Harvey, M. & Hui, L. (2007). Opening up thinking: Reflections on group work in a bilingual postgraduate program. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 19 (2), 105-116. Denson, N., & Zhang, S. (2010). The impact of student experiences with diversity on developing graduate attributes. Studies in Higher Education, 35(5), 529-543. Eccles, J. S. (1983). Expectancies, values, and academic behaviors. In J. T. Spence (Ed.), Achievement and achievement motives (pp. 75-146). San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company. Leask, B. (2009). Using formal and informal curricula to improve interactions between home and international students. Journal of Studies in International Education, 13(2), 205-221. Lee, A., Poch, R., Shaw, M., & Williams, R. D. (2012). Special issue: Engaging diversity in undergraduate classrooms--A pedagogy for developing intercultural competence. ASHE Higher Education Report, 38(2), 1-132. Moore, P., & Hampton, G. (2015). "It's a bit of a generalisation, but …": Participant perspectives on intercultural group assessment in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 40(3), 390-406. Spencer-Oatey, H., & Dauber, D. (2017). The gains and pains of mixed national group work at university. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 38(3), 219-236. doi:10.1080/01434632.2015.1134549 Strauss, P., U, A., & Young, S. (2011). 'I know the type of people I work well with': Student anxiety in multicultural group projects. Studies in Higher Education, 36(7), 815-829. Reid, R., & Garson, K. (2016). Rethinking multicultural group work as intercultural learning. Journal of Studies in International Education, 1-18. doi:10.1177/1028315316662981 United Nations Statistic Division. (2013). Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings. Available from: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm Volet, S. E., & Ang, G. (2012). Culturally mixed groups on international campuses: An opportunity for inter-cultural learning. Higher Education Research and Development, 31(1), 21-37. Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. S. (2000). Expectancy–Value theory of achievement motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 68-81. Wigfield, A., Tonks, S., & Eccles, J. S. (2004). Expectancy value theory in cross-cultural perspective. Research on Sociocultural Influences on Motivations and Learning - Big Theories Revisited, 4, 165-198.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.