Constructing intercultural competence through intersubjective ...

Constructing intercultural competence through intersubjective ...

Constructing intercultural competence through intersubjective cultural mediation Vivien Xiaowei Zhou Nick Pilcher Edinburgh Napier University 1 Introduction Literature: intercultural competence (ICC) and reflection The context of the study: An ICC module Description of data: students coursework

Data analysis (work in progress) Some reflections on using reflection in intercultural education 2 Literature: intercultural competence (ICC) ICC is often conceptualised with a focus on efficiency or outcome, (Rathje, 2007), e.g. the ability to effectively and appropriately interact in an intercultural situation (Perry & Southwell, 2011, p. 453). Research in ICC has long been focusing on the question What constitutes ICC?. The development of ICC models, e.g. Bennett, 1986; Byram, 1997; Deardorff, 2006 ... listing attributes and dispositions desired for intercultural interactions,

such as critical cultural awareness, respect, tolerance, openness, and flexibility. 3 Literature: intercultural competence (ICC) Such attribute-oriented ICC models offer structural frameworks that can be conveniently translated into intercultural curricular guidelines, but they are often criticised for ... their essentialist representation of human difference being overly individualistic and pay little attention to the inter, dialogical and co-constructed aspects of ICC (Dervin, 2011) construing ICC as attributes that can be acquired through intercultural interaction as a neutral transactional encounter (Dervin, 2016, p. 74) directing peoples attention away from sites of struggle over voice and positioning (Collier 2015,

p. 10) and the perplexing and unstable realities, which are located in historical forces, contextual contingencies, and unbalanced power relations (Dervin, 2016; MacDonald & ORegan, 2014). 'ICC'... essentialised as a desirable state of being, a stable 'destination and a palpable and knowable 'thing'. 4 Literature: intercultural competence (ICC) 'ICC'... essentialised as a palpable and knowable thing that is oriented towards a stable state of being, definitive finalisation. COMPLETED finished, closed-off, finalized [zaveren] and its noun zaverennost [completedness, finalization] its antonym nezaverennot [inconclusiveness, openendedness] This implies not just completed, but

capable of definitive finalization. Dialogue, for example, can be zaveren (as in dramatic dialogue) it can be laid out in all its speaking parts, framed by an opening and a close. A dialogized word, on the other hand, can never be zavereno: the resonance or oscillation of possible meanings within it is not only not resolved, but must increase in complexity as it continues to live. (Bakhtin & Holquist, p.426) 5 Literature: reflection in intercultural education As scholars search for more holistic, transformative approaches to intercultural education which go beyond fact-based contentcompetences, they begin to draw on the notion of self-contemplation [as a path to true and complete (self) knowledge] expressed in terms such as self-scrutiny, self-monitoring,

reflexivity, reflection as a crucial skill in developing students awareness of their own cultural assumptions and openness towards difference and thereby, their ICC. both as a learning strategy and as a learning goal vis--vis ICC Blasco (2012) 6 Literature: reflection in intercultural education Some examples Carefully designed and sequenced intercultural education, which incorporates critical reflection and experiential learning in an international setting, can nurture the traits and attributes most commonly associated with ethical intercultural

communication (Jackson, 2011) (Existing ICC) studies do not examine and evaluate the role of thought processes introspection, self-reflection, and interpretation. The result (of the present study) of both reflection-in-action and post-action-reflection through journal writing, show how (students) achieved greater knowledge of Self and Other through their willingness, openness, and motivation to engage with a Cultural Other. (Holmes and ONeill, 2012) 7 The context of the study: An ICC module Learning outcome: to engage in reflective dialogue with your own intercultural learning experience Learning activities and assessment: - Students will work in small groups and produce a written work proposal

and an oral group presentation. - Each student will keep a learning journal throughout the group work process to record their individual reflections. - Each student will complete a portfolio (assessed) that consists of their reflections on three aspects of their group work experience: a) b) ; and c) how their own intercultural competence developed (or not evidently developed) through their group work process, with reference to their learning journals, commentaries, they have received from at least two critical friends on their learning journals. 8 The context of the study: An ICC module Hoping for ?

Maybe something like this? 9 Description of data: students coursework Purposefully-written and dialogically-shaped text, including: in-situ journals post-hoc reflections An example 10 Data exploration (work in progress)

Student 1: post-hoc reflections Reading the journal as an external observer, I can argue that the individual at the end of the experience is a different person more conscious and aware, showing higher levels of ICC than before, due to less certainties and fixed beliefs but more openness to others perspectives and willingness to reflect. However, arguably, ICC is not a competence which can be acquired and then taken for granted, but rather a long-life and ongoing process. I started to ask myself more questions, developing and increasing my initial curiosity, but gradually avoiding statements as truth claims, and through this avoidance thereby presenting a more complex, dynamic and flexible vision of the reality. 11

Data exploration (work in progress) Student 2: in-situ journals In my opinion, this entire module has the risk to increase our stereotype towards a nation culture as an essentialist. Instead, the class should spend more time to make more slides on specific intercultural communication skills. When talking about a situation whereby two group members, ostensibly from a Hofstedian rigid culture, this student raised concerns about the accuracy and presentation of the writing of the group task - This is definitely a challenge to my patience as a Chinese who possesses less concerns about the details of our job, what we concerns more is the relationship between your partners, guanxi in short. Therefore I chose to calm down and listen to their opinions humbly. Thus I started confusing that whether the group work has increase my intercultural

competence or it strengthen my stereotype of a specific culture. 12 Data exploration (work in progress) Student 3: post-hoc reflections the authors perception of diversity is purely rooted in theory, but it is not representative or real world dynamics, as pointed out by the critical friend. However, the author is aware of this shortcoming the authors realisation of his mistake comes through in the choice of words such as failure, incompetence, usefulness. While unsuccessful, there are traces of the elements forming

intercultural praxis, especially in terms of inquiry and reflection, if not yet framing and positioning. Mindfulness is not fully achieved, as the author is sticking to his guns, failing to look at the situation from another perspective. 13 Data exploration (work in progress) Student 4: Written in Week 2, I like facts and I do not like endless discussions about something, which can be or not be without no sense. Maybe this can be traced back to Hofstedes cultural dimensions maybe to the specific and diffuse dimension. However, all I know is that it is frustrating if only get these vague answers. I am seriously questioning the purpose of this class. The same goes for the journal I have no idea

what she wants to hear and what I am supposed to do. Motivating myself to write this anyways is hard. Its moments like this I regret that I didnt sign for [the marketing course]. Written in Week 9 (in-situ) the design of the training was actually really funny, everyone was really motivated and it was the first time that we enjoyed having only vague guidelines. This freedom meant we were able to be creative. 14 Some reflections on using reflection in and for intercultural education The subject of ICC, too often discussed in a decontextualize vacuum, is challenged vis--vis (constructed) realities: e.g. time [where on the

journey a person is, and how it never ends], personality [whether someone may be more inclined towards large or small culture], strategy [whether one reinforces categories about the Other] Reflexivity, a universal human ability that functions in the same way in relation to the same basic self, and with the same beneficial effect, in whatever context? (Blasco, 2012) 15 Some reflections on using reflection in and for intercultural education Blasco (2012) argues that current uses of reflection in and for intercultural education tend to be grounded in a Cartesian concept of self, a centred, stable and self-directed subject that can at once observe and transcend its inner realms,

functioning as its own inner cultural consultant. Blasco (2012) makes a plea for caution: - be critical of this notion of a self-accessible and self-transcendable self (a subject of intense debate in philosophy and epistemology) in intercultural education. - Reflexivity is not automatically transformative. - We need to ask what we really mean by self and other (are these and their relationship stable?) and what forms this self-consultation take. 16 Where does this take us? Thank you. [email protected] [email protected]


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