Promoting Intercultural Engagement: Developing a Toolkit for Staff and Students in Higher Education
Keywords:Intercultural engagement, intercultural communication, curriculum internationalisation
This ‘on the horizon’ paper describes and reflects on the development of an intercultural engagement toolkit for academic staff in Higher Education Institutions, for use across a range of disciplines. Higher Education in the UK is continuing to grapple with two aspects of an internationalising sector: increasing numbers of non-UK students (HESA, 2015) and the need to prepare students for a globalised society (Guimaraes-Iosif, 2011). Academic staff are often uncertain about how to engage with these forces in their curricula (Barker, Hibbins, & Farrelly, 2011). While they have different levels of awareness of issues and theories relating to internationalisation of the curriculum, even those with high levels of international experience can be unsure as to how to implement effective changes to learning and teaching. A reflective toolkit to support academic staff was developed with funding from the Higher Education Academy, aiming to support universal processes of cultural negotiation in the context of programme teams and class groups. These resources have been developed following thematic analysis of focus groups and interviews with academics and students across a range of disciplines. Six key areas were identified as being influential: intercultural dialogue, global citizenship, positioning of the academic, design of curricula and assessment, international collaboration and communications. This paper will explore these themes and the theoretical framework which is the scaffolding for the toolkit, including the most recent literature (Killick, 2015; Leask, 2015). It also explores successes and frustrations experienced in the process, and ideas for the toolkit’s future development.
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