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Pedagogic Research The Nature of Cross-Cultural Teaching and Learning

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1 Pedagogic Research The Nature of Cross-Cultural Teaching and Learning
Dr. Alison Morrison University of Strathclyde

Overall project management: Dr. Alison Morrison, Director of Research Research Principal: Dr. Dennis Nickson, Iran Programme Manager Research Principal: Bill Johnston, Centre for Academic Practice

3 PROJECT BACKGROUND In 1999 The Scottish Hotel School (SHS) established an offshore higher education provision in Tehran Students complete a two-year diploma devised by SHS delivered by Iranian lecturers SHS personnel deliver the third year in Tehran leading to a BA Hotel & Hospitality Management degree

4 PEDAGOGIC ISSUES Quality assurance Cross-cultural dimensions
Offshore challenges Geographically volatile environment Politically charged following 1979 Islamic Revolution Current Iraq war situation

5 PROJECT AIMS Investigate the impact of cross-cultural features at a micro-level within the context of the learning & teaching environment Examine the implications of widening participation in higher education cross-culturally Analyse appropriate innovative & effective learning & teaching practices

6 PROJECT OBJECTIVES Culturally align learning & teaching approaches that achieve stated educational objectives Formulate learning & teaching strategies that explicitly recognise & address the diversity of cultural profiles Provide an evidence-based example of innovative & effective learning & teaching methods with reference to QAA frameworks

Review associated documentation: Course design Class outlines Teaching packages QAA evaluation reports Samples of student coursework Minutes of review boards etc.

Fieldwork Tehran Focus groups with the total first cohort of 38 student In-depth taped interviews with a sample of 5 of the students Focus groups with Iranian lecturers & senior staff within the educational institute

9 STUDENT EXPERIENCE ‘The induction programme in my opinion was
very good – professional and it made us think that Strathclyde really cared about us..’ ‘They taught us how to be more in control of what we learn through asking questions and being more active in and out the classroom to find out information to help our studies.’

10 STUDENT EXPERIENCE Our teacher was different from Iranian teachers..
if I wanted them to help me out of class, I could run to them with a question and they would spend time helping me to understand things’ ‘I was used to memorising the lessons and then come to the exam and just write like a parrot and this escapes from your mind very easily’

Fieldwork SHS Taped in-depth interviews with all SHS staff who had been involved in the management & delivery of the programme in Tehran Written reflections from each of these persons reflecting on the key issues & challenges they encountered following the ‘surfacing’ of trains of thought in the interview Focus group to discuss findings from two stages above & to consider implications for future

12 TEACHER EXPERIENCES ‘ of the issues is the challenge to professionalism …I was a female teaching in a very male dominated environment…personnel seem determined to undermine professionalism’ ‘There was excellent social interaction within the group which didn’t have a gendered image’

13 TEACHER EXPERIENCES ‘Using teaching materials of western origin didn’t
cause a problem, in fact the students were perhaps more interested because I was a foreign teacher rather than someone perpetuating what was happening in Iran.’ ‘It is a culture of an intelligent nation that has gone through turbulent times. There is an extremist approach to organising society but what you see now is the emergence of a generation that is questioning these values.’

Analysis, synthesis, conclusions & recommendations Currently this is on-going

15 SOME EARLY FINDINGS Professionalism in course design & practice of teaching & learning as important as staff/student cultural background Fundamental human aspects of the ‘learning alliance’ such as rapport, trust, reliability, commitment & ambition appear to have been significant in achieving a genuine breaking down of cultural barriers Attention to the practical and pedagogical features of offshore micro culture & context is crucial

The nature of critical thinking & its explicit positioning in offshore, cross-cultural teaching programmes may provide a major focus in future development of teaching & learning strategies Given the nexus of global, international, regional and local relationships represented in the discipline of hospitality management it would seem essential to develop a strong sense of cross cultural influences in teaching the socio-political dimensions of the field of study

17 EXPECTED OUTCOMES Development of teaching & learning strategies & practices that are transferable & generalisable within wider international HE environment Enhancement of learning & teaching methods within HLST subject specific areas Understanding & knowledge contribution to the nature of cross-country & offshore teaching

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