07 SES 08 C JS, Pedagogical Agents Dealing with Challenges in School Regarding Inclusion and Interculturality Part 1
Joint Paper Session NW 07 and NW 20 to be continued in 07 SES 11 D JS
Our research is part of the ACCORD (Attain Cultural Integration through COnflict Resolution skills Development) Erasmus+ project. ACCORD aims to prepare educators to take an active stand against discrimination and racism, to deal with diversity and handle conflicts, and to promote inclusive education practices.
In the context of technological developments, human mobility is increasing. Mobility results in intercultural societies. This raises issues connected to different personalities. Personalities differ along background, learning preferences and understanding. Byram (1997, 3) introduced the term ‘intercultural speaker’ for people who have the ability to establish good relationships in intercultural societies (Hoff, 2014). They can break barriers such as language, intercultural conflicts, and cross cultural adaptability. Byram (2008) adds uncritical processes of socialization like learning a foreign language to adapt to the behaviors and values of others. This is related to Bildung. Bildung moves a person from known to unknown and back, leading to understanding of the world and the person (Gustavson, 1998, 45 cited in Hoff, 2014). The theory assumes that the cultural and community development is based on the individual development (Humboldt, 2000). It has critically examined the understanding of individual’s own cultures through social cultures (Backthin, 1986) and shown, that successful communication reduces conflict in all societies.
The number of intercultural students is increasing in all classrooms (Gay & Howard, 2000). Thus, intercultural conflicts happen more often. Wall & Callister (1995, 517), define conflict as “a process in which one party perceives that its interest is being opposed or negatively affected by another party”. Studies show that the adaptation of conflict resolution strategies by intercultural speakers is crucial to deal with intercultural conflicts and diversity (Kağnıcı 2012). Rahim (1983) underlines two dimensions, namely, concerns for the self and concerns for others. He differentiates five conflict handling styles: (1) Integrating style: High concern for self and others, collaborative activities, openness to acceptable solutions, and the exchange of information. (2) Obliging style: Traits of accommodating, low concern for the self, high concern for others, minimizing differences and emphasizing commonalities. (3) Dominating Style: Competing win-lose style, high concern for the self and low concern for others, standing up for own rights and ignoring others’ needs and expectations. (4) Avoiding style: Suppression, low concern for self and others, postponing issues or simply withdrawing from a threatening situation. (5) Compromising style: High concerns for self and others, sharing solutions and mutually acceptable decisions, exchanging concession, or seeking a quick, and searching middle ground position (Rahim, 2011).
Van der Zee and van der Qudehoven (2000, 2001) proposed five specific multicultural personality traits including (1) Cultural empathy; empathizing with the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of individuals from a different culture. (2) Open-mindness; an open and unprejudiced attitude toward cultural differences. (3) Emotional stability; an ability to stay calm under novel and stressful conditions. (4)Social initiative; a tendency to actively approach social situations, (5) Flexibility; interpreting novel situations as a positive challenge and adapting to these situations accordingly.
Although the studies are related with conflicts in organizational communication, there is a gap in research addressing the conflict in educational (Mao & Hale, 2015). In our study, we have focused on conflict handling styles based on Rahim’s conflict styles, multicultural personality based on Van der Zee & Van Oudenhoven’s multicultural personality theories and the reflexive situation of teachers in conflict situations. Based on the three key concepts, the aim of our study is to investigate the relationship between teachers’ multicultural personality and their strategy of conflict resolution in secondary school classrooms in Austria. We examine the role of teacher’s multicultural personality and their conflict resolution styles in an intercultural classroom.
A Mixed method approach was used. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected separately to address our research issues. In the quantitative part of the study, secondary school teachers’ intercultural personality was surveyed with two separate instruments. The Multicultural Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) with 40 items (Van der Zee & Van Oudenhoven, 2000, 2001), which cover the scales personality traits including Cultural Empathy, Open-mindness, Social Initiative, Emotional Stability and Flexibility, and the Rahim Organizational Conflict Inventory (ROCI II) with 28 items (Rahim, 2007) which measure the amount of interpersonal-relationship conflict on five subscales including integrating, compromising, obliging, dominating, and avoiding. More than thousand teachers were invited to the online survey. 110 surveys were completed. A three hours workshop and a focus group interview with 11 teachers out of 12 registered teachers were conducted. During the 3-hours workshop, researchers presented three intercultural conflict scenarios to the participants and asked for the possible reactions of teachers. The scenarios were derived from field notes in secondary school classroom observation. These scenarios covered the themes majority vs minority culture, stereotyping & ethnic humor, and gender.
Results show that secondary school teachers in Austria have to deal with intercultural conflicts in their classroom and understand intercultural conflicts by majority and minority cultures, religious backgrounds, and gender. Teachers have different multicultural personalities and conflict resolution styles. Most of the participants agreed that they need an intercultural conflict training for their proficiency which did not exist in their career development program. The results show suggestions for the implication regarding handling conflicts by teachers in secondary school classrooms.
Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Byram, M. (2008). From Language Education for Intercultural Citizenship. Essays and Reflections. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Bakhtin, M. (1986) “Response to a Question from the Novy Mir Editorial Staff.” Translated by V. W. McGee. In Speech Genres and Other Late Essays, edited by C. Emerson and M. Holquist, 1–9. Austin: University of Texas Press. Gay, G., & Howard, T. C. (2000). Multicultural teacher education for the 21th century, The Teacher Educator, 36:1, 1-16, DOI: 10.1080/08878730009555246 Gustavsson, B. 1998. Dannelse i vor tid: om dannelsens vilkår og muligheter in det modern samfund [Bildung in Our Time: the Conditions and Possibilities for Bildung in Modern Society]. Århus: Klim. Hild Elisabeth Hoff (2014) A critical discussion of Byram’s model of intercultural communicative competence in the light of bildung theories, Intercultural Education, 25:6, 508-517, DOI: 10.1080/14675986.2014.992112 Kağnıcı, D. Y. (2012). Role of multicultural personality in predicting university adjustment of international students in Turkey. International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling. DOI 10.1007/s10447-012-9149-5. Rahim, M. A. (2011). Managing conflict in organizations. Third Edition. Transaction Publishers. Van der Zee K., I. & Van Oudenhoven, J., P. (2000) The Multicultural Personality Questionnaire: A Multidimensional Instrument of Multicultural Effectiveness. University of Groningen, The Netherlands, in: European Journal of Personality Eur. J. Pers. 14, 291-309 Van der Zee, Van Oudenhoven, Ponterotto, & Fietzer, (2013), Scoring directions for the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire Short Form-40 (MPQ SF-40) Journal of Personality Assessment, 95 (1), pp. 118-124) von Humboldt, W. 2000. “Theory of Bildung.” Translated by G. Horton-Krüger. In Teaching as a Reflective Practice. The German Didaktik Tradition, edited by I. Westbury, S. Hopmann, and K. iquarts, 57–61. Mahwha, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Wall, J. A., Jr., & Callister, R. R. (1995). Conflict and its management. Journal of Management, 21, 515-558. Yuping Mao & Claudia L. Hale (2015) Relating Intercultural Communication Sensitivity to Conflict Management Styles, Technology Use, and Organizational Communication Satisfaction in Multinational Organizations in China, Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 44:2, 132-150, DOI: 10.1080/17475759.2015.1025090
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