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The Intercultural Approach to VET Teaching and Learning Ly Thi Tran, RMIT University.

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Presentation on theme: "The Intercultural Approach to VET Teaching and Learning Ly Thi Tran, RMIT University."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Intercultural Approach to VET Teaching and Learning Ly Thi Tran, RMIT University

2 2 Presentation Outline Aims of the study Research approach The intercultural approach

3 3 Research Aims analyse international VET students’ learning experiences explore how teaching staff adapt their practices identify factors that shape VET’s capacity and potential to cater for international students

4 4 Research Approach 150 semi-structured interviews with international students, teachers, general staff, managers and CEOs from 25 training providers in NSW, QLD and VIC. Second interviews were conducted with a small number of students and phone dialogues Took part in student activities and visited them at their homes and workplaces Theory and practice class observation

5 5 Designing and structure activities that require students to build on their cultural experiences -1. Asking students to do presentation about vocational practices in their home countries -2. Engaging students in the reflective process about professional practices in different countries - Oh, I try to get them to tell me, well, I’m always asking them, how do you do it in your country?... Our timber frame, this is all unknown to them because there’s no timber frame buildings there. Most of them are brick or solid walls of some sort, mud. So I try to relate what we’re doing back to what they explain that they do in their country and then show them the differences. (Building, TAFE, VIC)

6 6 Designing and structure activities that require students to build on their cultural experiences 3. Using improvisation to help students develop international vocational knowledge and skills –All the students would develop an international marketing plan. The students might be asked to pick a country - Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam - and told, okay, your clients wants you to sell this product that's unique for this particular country, say to a different audience than that you have a different target audience. So in that regard you could re-contextualise it. (Finance, TAFE, VIC) –4. Encourage students to be trainers of the day – So you sort of, or rather let the students be a trainer for a day and then, see in my home country, this is how we do it. And then everyone learns. So yeah, I think that would be good. (Hairdressing, private college, VIC)

7 7 Enhancing awareness and knowledge of international students’ backgrounds and cultural learning characteristics I learn to be familiar with the society where the group come from and to link back into those societies as best I can to at least hook on what they know from home into what they will have to learn here or what system they'll be operating in. I like to know what's happening in India, Korea, China, the Philippines. I find international students are very pleased if you can say, well, that's not how the courts work in Korea, they work in this way. Here we work this way because this is a British heritage country. And they're often quite stunned that you know something about the legal and political framework in the country from which they come. (Law, TAFE, NSW)

8 8 Intercultural approach to fostering engagement between international students and local students Designing pairwork including a local and an international student followed by a plenary activity Structuring learning activities that allow international students to respond in their native language I asked for volunteers and they had to speak their language. So I’d speak to them in English and they had to answer in their language. And the group had to try and figure out from their body language and tone of voice what they were actually saying to me. And then we did another little group activity where we got an Indian student and an Asian student to try and speak to each other and they both had to speak just their language, but with body language try and communicate. And it was hilarious. And it was good because it broke the barrier a bit and they got to realise how difficult it is for each other. But what I try and make them understand that part of the reason we’re doing that, not in English, is because it’s like excluding the local students and it’s making them look like foreigners and to understand the challenge. So it was like a really good ice breaker. (Hairdressing, Private college, VIC).

9 9 Develop teachers’ cultural sensitivity and awareness of cultural difference Yeah, look, what you learn from them is the way to teach because and they are very different. And as a teacher, you also need to be able to understand the cultural differences, particularly with things like special dietary needs, and particularly if you're making products that may be also sensitive that you don't demand someone use it because it may be against their religion. I think that you need to understand. If you went in with a very closed mind and thought, I'm going to treat them all the same, I don't think you'd be able to do that. I think you'd have more problems than if you went in there with an open mind and say, tell me about your country, tell me about your religion. I think you have to be able to understand your learning process too. It's not right or wrong. It doesn't really matter. (Bakery, TAFE, VIC)

10 10 Key Characteristics of the Intercultural Approach Enhancing knowledge of diverse student population’s educational backgrounds and cultural learning characteristics Consciously searching for information related to international students’ home country and workplaces practices Positioning international learners as a resource of knowledge and productive contributors Designing activities for learners to share, build on and validate their prior professional and cultural experiences

11 11 Key Characteristics of the Intercultural Approach Providing a necessary condition to get local students to take an interest in international students’ home contexts Understanding cross-cultural pedagogic practices and familiarizing students with Australian classroom culture Adopting ice-breakers to assist students with the development intercultural competence Developing cultural sensitivity and awareness of cultural difference.

12 12 Thank you for your listening! The project is funded by the Australian Research Council. We would like to thank: The advisory group for this project: Chris Nyland, Simon Marginson, Kate Dempsey, Rebecca Biazzo, Sophie Arkoudis, Helen Forbes-Mewett and Chris Ziguras.


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