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Toward the Intercultural Self: Exploring the Effects of Mahatma Gandhi’s International Education in London. Martin Haigh Oxford Brookes University, CICIN.

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Presentation on theme: "Toward the Intercultural Self: Exploring the Effects of Mahatma Gandhi’s International Education in London. Martin Haigh Oxford Brookes University, CICIN."— Presentation transcript:

1 Toward the Intercultural Self: Exploring the Effects of Mahatma Gandhi’s International Education in London. Martin Haigh Oxford Brookes University, CICIN A case study of a special international student: this concerns the creation of the Mahatma Gandhi from the Law-student Gandhi who studied at the Inns of Court, London, This study analyses Gandhi’s memoires as the testimony of an international learner

2 “ It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer of the type well known in the East, now posing as a fakir, striding half naked up the steps of the Viceregal palace to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King Emperor”. – Winston Churchill (1931) Comment on Gandhi's meeting with the Viceroy of India. ill/gandhi ill/gandhi “ It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer of the type well known in the East, now posing as a fakir, striding half naked up the steps of the Viceregal palace to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King Emperor”. – Winston Churchill (1931) Comment on Gandhi's meeting with the Viceroy of India. ill/gandhi ill/gandhi

3 ‘ Our Dramaturgical Selves’ Dramaturgy provides a means for self-defence, self-development and self-validation and one key benefit of an intercultural education could be that it helps learners understand, consciously develop and manipulate their personae that, otherwise, might be adopted subconsciously. A recent interview survey of 15 international staff at Oxford Brookes University revealed the degree to which staff manage their identities in order to mesh productively with the dominant culture (Clifford et al, 2010). Clifford, V., Adetunji, H., Haigh, M., Henderson, J., Spiro, J. & Hudson, J. (2010) Fostering Interculturality and Global Perspectives at Brookes through Dialogue with Staff A BSLE Project Report. Oxford Brookes University, Oxford Centre for Staff & Learning Development, Centre for Internationalisation of the Curriculum & Networking (CICIN), Oxford.

4 Intercultural learning processes are much deeper than playacting, they are about learning to be & about reshaping the learner’s being 4 Pillars of Learning ( Delors, J Learning: The Treasure Within. Paris, UNESCO). Learning to know - using learning skills to comprehend the world - Learning to do - building the personal competencies needed to interact constructively with people & problems and to innovate. Learning to live together - discovering people, engaging in common projects, appreciating the interdependence and value of all beings. Learning to be - the integral development of mind, body, intelligence, sensitivity, aesthetic appreciation and spirituality.

5 Culture shock, (acculturative stress) is a significant life event. Immersion in an alien culture can be traumatic. The incomer is unable to control their impact on the feelings of those to whom they have to relate because the cultural cues and codes that they have known no longer apply Equally, they are unable to read the cues, body language and codes that frame the actions of those who seek to influence them.

6 The process of adaptation, including the ‘psychological acculturative stress’ called ‘culture shock’ described by the classic 5 stage model (Pedersen, 1995)

7 Outcomes of Acculturative Stress & Sojourner Stances (Berry, 1992; Barnett, 1953)

8 Table 1. Gandhi’s Experiences as a International Student in London (Gandhi, 1922) TextStance Stress Outcome Stage However, we reached Southampton… On the boat I had worn a black suit, the white flannel one …having been kept especially for wearing when I landed. …I stepped ashore…in white flannels. Those were the last days of September and…I was the only person wearing such clothes…. The shame of being the only person in white clothes was already too much for me (p.55). Adopter – MG tries to fit in but fails. Aim is Integration A first step toward disintegration I was very uneasy …. I would continually think of my home and country. My mother's love always hunted me. At night the tears would stream down my cheeks… It was impossible to share my misery... Everything was strange - the people, their ways, …. I was a complete novice in the matter of English etiquette and continually had to be on my guard… RejectionMarginalisation – rejection of both England and of returning to India Disintegration – home- sickness and collapse in the face of alien English society.

9 TextStanceStress Outcome Stage Dr. Mehta … said. 'We come to England not so much for the purpose of studies as for gaining experience of English life and customs. (p.57). Towards Bicultural Cosmo- politanism Assisted assimilation Towards adjustment My food became a serious question (p.57)… I launched out in search of a vegetarian restaurant…. … I noticed books for sale..among them Salt's Plea for Vegetarianism … From the date of reading this book, I may claim to have become a vegetarian by choice (p.59). Rejection – leading to niche-finding bicultural adaptation. Separation in the matter of food. Reintegration – with original tradition… but expanding into cosmopolitanism I decided to start a vegetarian club in Bayswater. Dr. Oldfield, Editor of the ‘The Vegetarian’ became President. I became the Secretary (p.69). Bicultural Cosmopolitan IntegrationCosmopolitan confidence I was elected to the Executive Committee of the Vegetarian Society, …attended every one of its meetings, but I always felt tongue-tied…. This shyness I retained throughout my stay... (p.69). AcceptorAssimilationCosmopolitan – but without confidence

10 StanceStress Outcome Stage I undertook the … task of becoming an English gentleman. The clothes … that I was wearing were, I thought unsuitable … I got new ones … I wasted ten minutes every day before a huge mirror … arranging my tie and parting my hair in the correct fashion (p. 61). I did not hesitate to pass myself off as a bachelor though I was married and the father of a son (p.73). This infatuation … lasted about 3 months. The punctiliousness in dress persisted for years. (p.63). AcceptorFull integrationAdjustment I had not to spend a lifetime in England, … And how could dancing make a gentleman of me? I was a student and ought to go on with my studies… henceforward I became a student. (p ).RejectorSeparationReintegration

11 Text StanceStress Out- come Stage Towards the end of my second year in England I came across two Theosophists … They talked to me about the Gita. … I felt ashamed, as I had read the divine poem neither in Sanskrit nor in Gujarati. I was constrained to tell them that I had not read the Gita, but that I would gladly read it with them. The book struck me as one of priceless worth. (p )…. My young mind tried to unify the teaching of the Gita, The Light of Asia and the Sermon on the Mount. That renunciation was the highest form of religion appealed to me greatly (p.77-78). Bi- cultural Inte- gration in the area of religion Cosmo- politan – but extending back into own culture

12 TextStance Stress Outcome Stage Dining at the Inns of Court: Usually of course every one ate and drank the good commons and choice wines provided.... To us in India it is a matter for surprise… that the cost of drink should exceed the cost of food. …I wondered how people had the heart to throw away so much money on drink. Later I came to understand (p ). RejectionMarginal-isation in the area of social networking The Hidden Curriculum I passed my examinations, was called to the bar on the 10th of June 1891, and … sailed for home. …But notwithstanding my study there was no end to my helplessness and fear. I did not feel myself qualified to practise law. … Besides, I had learnt nothing at all of Indian law. I had not the slightest idea of Hindu and Mahomedan Law. (p ) Rejection Towards the second U-curve of dis- integration and re-integration

13 A Mad Hatter’s U-Curve Two steps forward – One step back Gandhi set forth to seek his fortune: " I thought… if I go to England not only shall I become a barrister (of whom I used to think a great deal), but I shall be able to see England, the land of philosophers and poets, the very centre of civilization“ In 1908, he commented that "even now, next to India, I would rather live in London than in any other place in the world”. In 1946, he wrote : “I have never been an advocate of our students going abroad. My experience tells me that such, on return, find themselves to be square pegs in round holes. That experience is the richest and contributes most to growth which springs from the soil”.

14 Gandhi’s Gains as an International Learner From his studies – nothing; from his life experiences a great deal Isolation in an alien culture awoke him: to the spiritual strengths of his own culture (c/o Theosophical Society) the arts of campaigning through his work with the Vegetarian Movement and a constructive appreciation of the importance of performing culture. But more important was Gandhi’s construction of himself as a person capable of transcending & including both his home cultural and other cultural personae: Gandhi’s emergence as a true moral cosmopolitan. Hill, J.D. (2000) Becoming a Cosmopolitan: What it Means to be a Human Being in the New Millennium, New York, Rowman & Littlefield.

15 Gandhi’s Experience was Transformative. You never quite go home. What begins as a search for a socially acceptable mask expands into a re-evaluation of the whole person. The final product is a new way of being - forged by the fires of experience. It transcends & includes its prototypes. Gandhi’s rejection of English Diet gifted him a cause that taught the skills of organisation & contacts with London’s imaginative thinkers. Through these Gandhi learnt about English ideals & religion but most importantly about the strengths of his own.

16 Moral cosmopolitanism, the major outcome of an international education, is a breeding ground for revolutionaries precisely because it grants a perspective on what needs to be changed. Robert Burns (1786): “ O wad some Power the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us! It wad frae mony a blunder free us, An' foolish notion”. Being able, to see one’s tradition from the outside, to justify its ways both to oneself & to others, to understand both its strengths & weaknesses, is a privilege that is uniquely gifted to the international learner. The experience permanently changes those who go through it - - they become Gandhi’s square pegs.

17 Gandhi’s Messages for Effective Pedagogy Its more than play acting! The creation of social learning situations through simulation, role-playing and games is not enough. Gandhi’s learning was self-constructed in response to the learning invitations provided by direct experiential involvement ( Vegetarian Society / Theosophists). His formal education in Law achieved little. So, Gandhi’s educational message is clear: An effective pedagogy for an international student needs to involve experiential learning and be constructed around learning invitations that draw the learner into negotiated social experiences through involvement in shared projects of cross- cultural scope.

18 METACOGNITION GREAT! … but why didn’t anyone teach me this stuff about the symptoms of culture shock in 1975 when, as an international learner, I needed to know?... Are things any different today? METACOGNITION METACOGNITION


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