20 SES 08 B, The Impact of Migration and Cultural Diversity on Learning
This study is an exploration of students’ experiences in a transcontinental exchange project. During a period of four to five months, the students meet people with different cultural backgrounds and thus develop their intercultural knowledge, skills and identities. The study-abroad program is a global education project between seven universities in the European Union and South Korea. The program primarily aims to promote competencies of global education (Mansilla & Jackson, 2011) for student teachers. In the exchange program, students spend an academic term at the host institutions, taking academic courses and participating in teaching practice at local schools during their stay.
Based on our previous investigations (Johnson, Heo, Reich, Leppisaari & Lee, forthcoming) and supported by other current research (e.g. Curtin, 2010; Kim, 2001; Kohonen, 2005), we propose that a single moment or event rarely makes or changes an individual’s intercultural understanding as such. Rather, we assume that interactions of outer activities with inner interpretations and relationships between current and past experiences provide the individual an opportunity to revisit, reconstruct, and even transform his or her intercultural knowledge, skills and identities.
In 2011-2012, we conducted a first-step explorative study on our exchange students’ intercultural learning and experience of the project (Johnson et al., forthcoming). This study, which was primarily based on semi-structured interviews conducted in the beginning and at the end of the exchange period, revealed that the exchange students of our study made sense of educational systems and practice in their individual ways. They constructed and re-constructed their self-identities and shared their social identities. We also found it significant how the exchange students experienced the stress and emotionality of their intercultural encounters.
This research paper will present our next-step study, which now focuses on exploring the emotionality, stress and identity issues of exchange students' intercultural experience. Unlike in our previous explorative study, we implemented narrative inquiry based on both our previous (2011-2012) and very recent interview data (2012-2013), following the methodological suggestions of Clandinin and Connelly (2000). Our research question was as follows: What insights does narrative inquiry provide us about the emotionality, stress and identity issues of the exchange students’ intercultural experience?
Clandinin, D & Connelly, F. (2000). Narrative Inquiry: Experience and Story in Qualitative Re-search. San Franciso, CA: Jossey-Bass. Curtin, M. L. (2011). Coculturation: Toward a critical theoretical framework of cultural adjustment. In T. K. Nakayama, and R. T. Halualini, (Eds.). The handbook of critical intercultural communication (pp. 270-285). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. Johnson, E, Heo, H. Reich, K. Leppisaari, I. & Lee, O. (forthcoming) Exploring how exchange students construct their global minds. Kim, Y. Y. (2001). Becoming intercultural. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. Kohonen, E. (2005). Developing global leaders through international assignments: An identity construction perspective. Personnel Review, 34(1), 22-36. Korthagen, F. (2004). In search of essence of a good teacher: towards a more holistic approach in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20(1), 77–97. Kvale, S. & Brinkmann, S. (2008). Interviews: Learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. Mansilla, V. B. & Jackson, A. (2011). Educating for global competence: Preparing our youth to engage the world. Asia Society. Retrieved from http://asiasociety.org/files/book-globalcompetence.pdf.
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