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What Can Students and Faculty Do to Maximize Learning Abroad? Michael Vande Berg, Ph.D. St. Olaf College 24-25 October, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "What Can Students and Faculty Do to Maximize Learning Abroad? Michael Vande Berg, Ph.D. St. Olaf College 24-25 October, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 What Can Students and Faculty Do to Maximize Learning Abroad? Michael Vande Berg, Ph.D. St. Olaf College October, 2013

2 Three dominant narratives: Our community’s ”stories” about learning across cultural gaps 1. Humans learn through exposure to cultural difference 2. Humans learn by being immersed in different types of cultural difference 3. Humans learn and develop: a) by being immersed in cultural difference, b) by reflecting on how they & others frame experience, c) and by re-framing their experience Vande Berg, M., Paige, R. M., & Lou, K. H. (Eds.) (2012). Student learning abroad: what our students are learning, what they’re not, and what we can do about it. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

3 First story: students learn when they are exposed to the unfamiliar culture “out there” Students learn through exposure to the new and different in privileged places. Students learn when educators describe, talk about cultural-specific differences.

4 The first story is hierarchical: Students encounter sophisticated, “civilized” people & places With the Grand Tour—this story’s signature program—learning occurs through exposure to the new & different in privileged places, and through modeling and imitation

5 With story one, we learn to cross cultural gaps through imitating external models To learn, we climb up... And when we slide down...

6 Second story: Cultural relativism undermines the assumption of cultural hierarchy Our common humanity binds us together, and no culture is superior to any other

7 Second narrative: immersing learners productively through social engineering The Contact Hypothesis*: several “Conditions” need to be present if groups separated by deep differences are to change attitudes about each other: Equal status Common goals Intergroup cooperation Authority support Friendship potential *Allport, G. W. (1954). The Nature of Prejudice. Reading, MA: Addision-Wesley. *Pettigrew, T. (1998). Intergroup contact theory. Annual Review of Psychology, 49, *Pettigrew, T. (2008). Future directions for intergroup contact theory and research. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 32,

8 Second Story: educators foster learning through “immersing” students in difference Types of differences educators teach before immersing students: Non-verbal communication Communication styles Learning styles Cognitive styles Value contrasts

9 Second story: our community’s core immersion assumptions and practices Maximize duration of experience Enroll students in host institutions Improve second language proficiency Maximize contact with host nationals Carry out “experiential” activities: Internships, service learning, field work, etc. House students with host families or host students

10 Evidence supporting first and second stories Most frequently cited: “Study abroad transformed me”

11 Convergence of disciplinary evidence challenges the positivism of stories 1 & 2: “Constructivism” The History of Science (Kuhn) Cultural Anthropology (Hall, La Brack) Experiential learning theory (Kolb, Osland) Developmental theory (Piaget, Perry, Belenky, Kegan, Baxter Magolda) Intercultural Communication (Hall, Bennett, Bennett, Hammer) Psychology (Lewin, Kelly, Savicki) Linguistics (Sapir, Whorf, Deutscher) Cognitive Biology (Maturana, Varela) Neuroscience (Zull)

12 Recent research findings also challenge first & second story assumptions about learning In the Georgetown Consortium study* 1,159 study abroad students enrolled in 61 separate study abroad programs; 138 control students did not study abroad. On average, students abroad did not make significant gains in intercultural competence: “a student is all too often in the vicinity of Shanghai without having a Shanghai experience.” While learning gains of female students were not large, they did, on average, learn & develop significantly more—interculturally and linguistically—than did males. *Vande Berg, M. (2009). Intervening in student learning abroad: A research-based inquiry. (M. Bennett, Guest Ed.) Intercultural Education, Vol. 20, Issue 4, pp

13 Core Georgetown Study findings*: To what extent do traditional “immersion” practices foster intercultural learning? Send students abroad for longer periods: Limited impact Take steps to improve SL proficiency: No impact Maximize contact with host nationals: No impact Enroll in host school classes: No impact Doing Internships, service learning: No impact Maximizing contact with host nationals: No impact Being housed in home stays: No impact Pre departure cultural orientation: Yes—some impact Home stays: Yes—when students engaged with host family Cultural mentoring at sites abroad: Yes—the highest impact practice in the study *Vande Berg, M.; Connor-Linton, J.; & Paige, R. M. The Georgetown Consortium Study: Intervening in student learning abroad. Frontiers: the Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad. Vol. XVIII, pp

14 Third Story: how each of us frames an event determines what it means We begin to learn interculturally as we become aware of how we and others typically frame our experiences:“ We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” (Anias Nin)

15 Third story: Since most students abroad don’t develop on their own, educators need to intervene  Educators help students learn to interact more effectively and appropriately in unfamiliar cultural contexts through: Helping immerse students in difference—part of the time Helping students learn to reflect—and thus to become aware of the ways that they and others characteristically frame experience Helping students learn to re-frame—that is, to shift perspective and adapt behavior to other cultural contexts

16 An influential third story learning theory: Learning is experiential, developmental and holistic Kolb, A. & D. Kolb. (2005). Learning styles and learning spaces: Enhancing experiential learning in higher education. Academy of Management Learning & Education, Vol. 4, No. 2,

17 An influential developmental theory: the Intercultural Development Continuum Denial Polarization Minimization Acceptance Adaptation Modified from the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS), M. Bennett, 1986 Monocultural Mindset Intercultural Mindset Misses Difference Judges Difference De- emphasizes Difference Deeply Comprehends Difference Bridges across Difference Copyright, , Mitchell R. Hammer, Ph.D., IDI, LLC, used with permission

18 Facilitating intercultural development through study abroad: 4 current approaches to intervention Faculty or staff living at sites abroad train students through required or elective courses Home campus faculty accompanying students train them at sites abroad Faculty and staff train students before and after study abroad through required training courses Faculty or TAs at home campuses train students, on line, while students are abroad

19 Assessing Intercultural Development: Comparative Program Data (IDI=90-point scale*) SA without facilitation at program site: IDI Gains Georgetown U. Consortium Study (60 progs.)** SA with facilitation across program:IDI Gains U of Pacific training program AUCP training program (Aix, Marseille) CIEE training program (20 programs, fall 2012) Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI): Hammer, M. (2012).www.idiinventory.com Hammer, M. (2012). The Intercultural Development Inventory: A new frontier in assessment and development of intercultural competence. In Vande Berg, M., Paige, R. M. & Lou, K. H. (Eds.). What our students are learning, what they’re not, and what we can do about it. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

20 Four core intercultural competencies Helping students learn to interact more effectively and appropriately with culturally different others means:  Helping them increase their cultural and personal self awareness through reflecting on their experiences;  Helping them increase their awareness of others within their own cultural and personal contexts;  Helping them learn to manage emotions in the face of ambiguity, change, and challenging circumstances & people  Helping them learn to bridge cultural gaps—which is to say, helping them learn to shift frames and adapt behavior to other cultural contexts.

21 Thank you! 21

22 Workshop: Applying Intercultural Theory and Research to our Teaching & Training Michael Vande Berg, Ph.D. St. Olaf College Friday, October 25

23 Three dominant narratives—our community’s ”stories”—about learning across cultural gaps 1. Humans learn through exposure to cultural difference 2. Humans learn by being immersed in different types of cultural difference 3. Humans learn and develop: a) by being immersed in cultural difference, b) by reflecting on how they & others frame experience, c) and by re-framing their experience Vande Berg, M., Paige, R. M., & Lou, K. H. (Eds.) (2012). Student learning abroad: what our students are learning, what they’re not, and what we can do about it. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

24 A growing gap: different stories about learning away Which story or stories about learning away are students typically telling? We educators are increasingly likely to be telling story three. What can we do to bridge this learner/educator cultural gap?

25 Four core intercultural competencies Helping students learn to interact more effectively and appropriately with culturally different others means:  Helping them increase their cultural and personal self awareness through reflecting on their experiences;  Helping them increase their awareness of others within their own cultural and personal contexts;  Helping them learn to manage emotions in the face of ambiguity, change, and challenging circumstances & people  Helping them learn to bridge cultural gaps—which is to say, helping them learn to shift frames and adapt behavior to other cultural contexts.

26 Approaching learning away developmentally: A profoundly intercultural process 1.Bring my own way of framing the event into awareness 2.Bring the student’s/students’ way(s) of framing the event into awareness 3.Start our teaching/training by shifting our frame and adapting our behavior to our students’ ways of framing learning away—a developmental approach to interacting more effectively and appropriately

27 At the same time we’re working to shift our frame: We’re balancing learner Challenge & Support Fadiman, Clifton. (1966). Self and Society.

28 Pre-departure & on-site orientations: Helping start student IC learning & development Identifying personal goals (identifying outcomes and obstacles comes later): “Why am I choosing to learn away from home?” Practicing framing & re-framing Understanding “Culture,” mine and yours (objective & subjective) Identifying out-of-awareness assumptions The comfort, learning and panic zones (“holistic learning” without the third story jargon) Practicing reflection, & increasing awareness of self and other Practicing learning around the experiential cycle Reflecting and increasing awareness of own tendencies through practicing basic transition model (not “culture shock” models) Suspending judgment and engaging ambiguity Becoming aware of learning styles, mine and yours Becoming aware of common communication style dimensions, mine and yours Practicing basic adaptation process Practicing mindfulness Beginning to engage with cultural partner

29 Teachers/trainers need to familiarize themselves with: Learner-centered needs at each stage of sojourn Focusing all training around the four core intercultural competencies Activities that help learners practice the four core competencies (see bibliography) Helping students shift perspective around their learning and adapt their behavior to the third story (that is, practicing the basic adaptation process ourselves) Balancing learner challenge and support (including the comfort, learning and panic zones) Differentiating learning and development Assessing Intercultural learning and development Experiential training—through simulations, role plays, skits The debriefing of such analogue activities “around the experiential cycle” (Kolb and Thiagi question sequences) Holistic training: legitimizing and practicing the emotional dimensions of learning and training Understanding and practicing mindfulness and empathy Focusing on our own intercultural development

30 Facilitating our own intercultural learning and development: Some action steps From theory to practice: familiarizing ourselves with the literature (see bibliography) Learning to train developmentally, experientially & holistically: attendance at intercultural workshops – Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC; annually in July in Portland, OR) – Intercultural Development Inventory Qualifying Seminar (IDI QS; multiple times a year, including in Minneapolis) – Queen University’s International Educators Training Program (IETP; annually in June in Kingston, ON) – Wake Forest Skills Enhancement Program (WISE; annually in February in Winston-Salem, NC)

31 Framing the experience their way: Students choose to learn away “to make a difference” Goals Study what I can’t at home in my major Explore new academic perspectives Improve Second Language proficiency Make a difference in others’ lives: service Make a difference in other’s lives: research Enhance c.v. and employability Travel to new and different places Find romance, maybe the love of my life Make friends in new & different places Escape personal problems at home Escape academic rigor of home campus “Bragging rights” “Making a difference”: for self, self & other, society

32 One case: shifting our frame for those students who want to enhance their c.v. & employability “There is real business value in employing staff who have the ability to work effectively with individuals and organizations from cultural backgrounds different from their own. Employees who lack these skills may leave their organizations susceptible to risks including: Loss of clients Damage to reputation Conflict with Teams” * Employers report that educational institutions should do more to help students develop intercultural competence. *“Culture at Work: The Value of Intercultural Skills in the Workplace.”(2013). British Council, IPSOS, & Booz/Allen/Hamilton. value-intercultural-skills-workplace

33 Providing support often means starting with the (more or less) familiar: “What do we see?”

34 Providing support by leading with the familiar: Describe the woman in this picture

35 Teaching Learning: A basic simulation game for introducing framing and assumptions Draw four straight lines connecting all nine dots, without retracing any line or lifting your pen from the page

36 Practicing framing & frame shifting “Ask yourself: What assumption am I making, That I’m not aware I’m making, That gives me what I see? And when you answer that, ask yourself: What might I now invent, That I haven’t yet invented, That would give me other choices?” * Zander, R. S. & Zander, B. (2000). The art of possibility. New York: Penguin

37 Becoming aware of out-of-awareness assumptions behind our frames. More practice! Draw three straight lines connecting all nine dots, without retracing any line, or lifting your pen from the page

38 What have we begin to experience through such optical illusions and simulations? We do not experience events in the same way: we frame our experience in different ways—even if we’re all from the same national culture. The meaning of events is not in the events themselves, but in us: We make the meaning that we perceive in events—and we can make meaning differently from others, even if we’re all from the same national culture. We can learn to shift our frames of reference. When we can see that there are different ways of framing an event, we have choices!

39 An intercultural strategy: Simulations & Debriefing  Thiagi’s six debriefing stages (compare Kolb): How do you feel? What happened? What did you learn? How does this relate to the world outside this room? What if... ? What next?

40 Thank you! 40


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