You now know that you have pretty decent intercultural teaching capacities.
You have continued to develop an awareness of your own identity and are modelling perspective-taking. Students in your course have the opportunity to interact with different worldviews because you know that makes them smarter. You actively create opportunities to build relationships between ‘others’ and can recognize barriers to student participation – you’ve essentially mastered using your intercultural capacity to inform teaching practices. So now you must be wondering, “What’s next? How can I further internationalize in my course?” No fear, you are not alone. Dimitrov & Haque (2016) have some suggestions for “curriculum design competencies”.
“Effective instructors are able to critically evaluate the curriculum and create learning materials that transcend the limitations of monocultural disciplinary paradigms, scaffold student learning so students have a chance to master intercultural skills relevant to their discipline, and design assessments that allow students to demonstrate learning in a variety of ways.” – Dimitrov, N., & Haque, A. (2016). Intercultural teaching competence: A multi-disciplinary model for instructor reflection. Intercultural Education, 27(5), 437–456. https://doi.org/10.1080/14675986.2016.1240502
Key questions to ask yourself on your internationalization journey:
Does my course syllabus have a specific learning outcome where a student is asked to demonstrate specific knowledge, skills, or attitudes of a global or international design?
Does my course allow students the opportunity to develop a more robust disciplinary identity aligned with their cultural or personal identity?
If answering these questions leaves you with more questions, it’s likely a good time for a conversation with the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning. We can help individually or direct you to one of our workshops to meet your needs.
Intercultural teaching capacity is the ability to engage and support learners through difference in learning activities. Instructors who have intercultural capacity are able to bridge difference in the classroom and foster meaningful relationships with and among students. This is also called intercultural competency, but we like to think of it as a continual process instead of a checkbox. Instead of being just ‘competent’, we need the capacity to work with intercultural relations effectively, and those skills change and grow with each experience as we nurture them. Hence we can be capable or have the capacity to be interculturally competent.
Reasons why instructors may wish to develop their intercultural capacity is so that they may be more aware of their own power and privilege, their inherent biases, and to help them untangle the ‘hidden curriculum’ of attitudes they are inadvertently teaching alongside their content (knowledge and skills). Making the implicit, explicit, serves all learners and leads to a more inclusive and welcoming environment for learning. This aligns with the Learning Charter pursuits of truth and understanding, integrity and respect, and community pursuits. Being open and flexible to change and recognizing the value in other’s perspectives helps build meaningful and authentic community relationships.
Some questions to ask yourself if you want to reach all students so that they all have equitable access to success in your course:
For whom was the course curriculum designed? Who was the imagined ‘student’?
How does the curriculum reflect (mirror) the learners in the room, and also provide ‘windows’ to other perspectives?
How might we build a learning community in the classroom where learners draw from their own and others’ knowledge sources?
What is the difference between (and purpose of) assimilation and integration in the classroom?
Three things you can do to build your intercultural teacher capacity might be:
model and encourage perspective-taking and openness to diverse ways of knowing;
facilitate dialogue about global issues using respectful, inclusive, and culturally relevant teaching strategies;
Purposefully include content, perspectives, and worldview from local Indigenous communities and international perspectives. The focus should be on being prepared to support a diverse world and set of different views. Need some support? Ask for a consultation at GMCTL.
Deliberately offer more than one perspective on the debates of your discipline whenever possible, and explain the value of those discussions to the disciplinary discourse. Provide opportunities for students to engage in facilitated discussions about those debates without taking a position yourself.
What you could do with your students:
Choose to share your own power by using active learning strategies to get students thinking and talking, rather than transmission styles where students mostly listen. Understanding, acknowledging, and valuing perspectives and worldviews different from their own is requires active learning processes, because it requires students to be in dialogue with the other. Learn more about the research on active learning or experiment with some active learning strategies in your class.
Proactively plan for how to have challenging conversations with students in class, and how to respond when students struggle to value worldviews and perspectives other than their own. Not sure how do this? Join the GMCTL for a workshop series on planning for and responding to difficult conversations in the classroom or preview some online resources.
This week is International Education Week. It’s a great time to be thinking about how to encourage global citizenship among your students and how to make your course welcoming for international students. We can play a key role in providing the type of education the world needs, especially in a time of increased nationalism and political division. Internationalizing your course is not just about having some international course content. It is about the alignment between your beliefs, how you facilitate, and how you instruct so students learn to embrace diversity of perspective and experience. Once you know you want to help students embrace global diversity, the next step is to consider how to align your course outcomes, content, learning activities, and assessment.
My learning outcomes: Overtly identity the thinking skills that support internationalization in your course outcomes. Here are some examples:
Discuss the development of ______________ in Canada and ___________.
Defend ___________ using ___________ cultural perspective.
Evaluate the impact of _______ on _______ in three diverse parts of the world.
Analyze international trends in _______________.
My content: Note paces where you might included a more global perspective.
Examples and professional practices
My learning activities: Consider instructional approaches that best facilitate learning of international students and global thinking in local ones.
Model effective language skills and visualization (language learning)
Create collaborative groups with local and international students (cultural awareness)
Use discursive (talking and power sharing) strategies