ERG SES E 04, Intercultural Education
How, and why does the intercultural knowledges matter, or would matter for teaching and learning in Higher Education (HE)? And so, to know this, how and why should/can we think (of) the intercultural as a paradigm for taking into account cultural diversity (Pretceille, 1999/2017; 2006; 2011) through addressing, problematizing and thinking critically beyond ‘culture’, beyond cultural identity, beyond power dynamics, beyond otherising…? On what empirical premises would such a paradigm sit, and what sorts of epistemic, ontological and theoretical knowledges would underpin it, in relation to HE pedagogy? These key, fundamental questions drive my doctoral research, located within the context of global/ international HE - where one of the key trends concern the links between teaching, learning and cultural diversity. On that, given also that academic mobility is growing at a very high speed worldwide, and with the proportion of international students and academic staff being in seemingly permanent expansion (Brooks and Waters, 2011; OECD, 2013), a number of scholars have argued for the need to develop pedagogic approaches that have intercultural dimensions, and that are fit for the ‘supercomplex’ (Barnett and Hallam, 1999) world of academia, and beyond.
A relatively consistent body of literature, both theoretical and empirical, has come together in the last decades with the aim to cultivate a more complex understanding of what such pedagogies might mean, or aim for, across disciplines (Perotti, 1992; Gordon, 1994; Welikala and Watkins, 2008; Lee et. al, 2012; Tan, 2012; Trede, Bowles and Bridges, 2013 etc.). What these studies claim, in a rather descriptive manner, is that such pedagogies would transmit and promote respect and awareness for cultural diversity and cultural differences. Nevertheless, there are at least two lines of observation and critique concerning this topic. First, we know very little about their emergent theoretical and methodological basis and scope; there is also a paucity of pedagogic research in HE on which to base understandings. Second, the ways in which the intercultural is approached and narrated, both in literature and in relation to educational policies and practices in international HE, requires further critical examination.
Fitting into the broad conference theme, this paper aims to provide insights from my ongoing doctoral exploration by elaborating on two lines of discussion, as an extension to the points above.
The first part of the paper expands on the preliminary, conceptual framework developed in conversation with the Critical Theory (CT) paradigm shaping my inquiry. I begin with the ‘paradigms dialog’ (Guba, 1990) that has cross-cut the field of intercultural studies during the last four decades, how they reflected and informed its research and justified the need to focus and re-focus our thinking toward new ways of conceptualizing it. I discuss how a CT paradigm serves as a lens through which key component-concepts like culture, identity, otherness, power could be thought through critical theories of change/ transformation, power and emancipation (i.e. Bauman, 2000; Lukes, 2005; Wright, 2010; Boltanski, 2011 etc.). I then present the theoretical contributions of Bernstein’s conceptual grammar (Bernstein, 2000; Robertson and Sorensen, 2017) linked to the model of educational ensemble proposed by Robertson and Dale (2015). Put together, they encourage a fruitful line of investigation; of understanding any moment of pedagogy as an educational ensemble, whose cultural, political, social and economic components are to be adapted and represented within, and thought through, the intercultural.
The second part of the presentation will focus on the key, methodological endeavours and present some of the preliminary findings from the case study conducted in one UK (Russel Group) international university. I begin by arguing that intercultural research in HE pedagogy needs to develop a set of instruments for data collection, and show how I made use of critical social sciences principles in choosing them (Morrow and Brown, 1994). Drawing, in a metaphoric way, on Richard Sennett’s work on the choice of tools for craftsmanship (2009), I elaborate especially on the development and shaping of two key methods: the intercultural interview, and the researcher’s key informant testimonies (Ely et al., 1997). A broader overview of the emergent research design and ultimately, the wonders and conundrums encountered during fieldwork, will take my presentation to its end.
This study aims to provide a critical analysis of the intercultural, and new epistemological, ontological and methodological pathways for working with this concept, also in relation to HE teaching and learning. Added to that, an early phase of data collection already “announces”, in Bernstein’s words (2000), the implications of this inquiry both at the individual and institutional levels. One of them would be opening spaces for academics to express their views of the myriad ways in which cultural diversity poses challenges, or raises concerns, with regards to their teaching. Bringing academics’ views and understandings of such phenomena to the surface, might deliver a milestone in the action taking on the matters that are being raised, but also reflect on their policy implications at the institutional level.
Barnett, R. & Hallam, S. (1999). Teaching for supercomplexity: a pedagogy for higher education (Chapter 7). In Mortimore, P. (Ed.) (1999). Understanding pedagogy and its impact on learning. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Bauman, Z. (2000). Liquid modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press. Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity: Theory, research, critique. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield. Boltanski, L. (2011). On critique: A sociology of emancipation. Cambridge: Polity. Brooks, R., & Waters J.L. (2011). Student mobilities, migration and the internationalization of higher education. Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke. Ely, M.; Vinz, R.; Downing, M. & Anzul, M. (1997). On writing qualitative research: Living by words. London: The Falmer Press. Gordon, G. H. (1994). Intercultural pedagogy and the European dimension in education. European Journal of Intercultural Studies, 5(2), 25-34. Guba, E.G. (Ed.) (1990). The paradigm dialogue. Newbury Park, Calif: Sage Publications. Lee, A.; Poch, R., Shaw, M. & Williams, R. (2012). Diversity in undergraduate classrooms: a pedagogy for developing intercultural competence. ASHE Higher Education Report, 38 (2), 1-132. Lukes, S. (2005). Power: A radical view. London: Macmillan. Morrow, R., & Brown, D. (1994). Critical theory and methodology. Thousand Oaks, Calif.; London: Sage Publications. OECD (2013). Education indicators in focus. Retrieved at: https://www.oecd.org/education/skills-beyond-school/EDIF%202013--N%C2%B014%20(eng)-Final.pdf Perotti, A. (1994). The implications of intercultural education for higher education. Higher Education in Europe, 17(4), 14-23. Pretceille, M. A. (2006). Interculturalism as a paradigm for thinking about diversity. Intercultural Education, 17(5), 475-483. Pretceille, M. A. (2011). La pedagogie interculturelle: entre multiculturalisme et universalisme. Lingvarm Arena: Revista Do Programa Doutoral Em Didáctica De Línguas Da Universidade Do Porto, 2, 91-101. Pretceille, M. A. (1999/2017). L’education interculturelle. Paris: Presses universitaires de France. Robertson, S. L. & Dale, Roger. (2015). Towards a ‘critical cultural political economy’ account of the Globalising of Education. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 13(1), 149-170. Robertson, S., & Sorensen, T. (2017). Global transformations of the state, governance and teachers’ labour: Putting Bernstein’s conceptual grammar to work. European Educational Research Journal, 1(19), 1-19. Sennett, R. (2009). The craftsman. London: Penguin. Tan, P.L. (2012). Intercultural pedagogy: deep cultural issues and challenges for global universities. In Groccia, J.E., Alsudairi, M. A. T., Buskist, W. (2012). In Handbook of College and University Teaching for Global Universities. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Trede, F., Bowles, W. & Bridges, D. (2013). Developing intercultural competence and global citizenship through international experiences: academics’ perceptions. Intercultural Education, 24(5), 442-455. Welikala, T. & Watkins, C. (2008). Improving intercultural learning experiences in higher education: responding to cultural scripts for learning. London: Institute of Education. Wright, E. (2010). Envisioning real utopias. London: Verso.
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