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Models of intercultural learning and development

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Comprises two complementary papers – Liddicoat, A. J. (2004) Internationalisation as education and Paige, R.M. (2004) The Intercultural in Teaching and Learning: A Developmental Perspective. Both papers were presented at a university-wide seminar at University of South Australia (UniSA) on 21 June 2004. Liddicoat (2004) explores the three main themes of internationalisation in the Australian context – recruitment of overseas students, internationalisation of the curriculum and internationalising students’ educational experiences through overseas exchanges – in order to understand how international education is being constructed. Two contrasting metaphors for learning are elaborated, the acquisition metaphor and the participation metaphor. It is argued that the latter explains the cultural nature of learning as a process of personal knowledge construction and meaning-making. Disciplines are similarly regarded as knowledge communities with their own language, norms etc. and it is suggested that to begin thinking about approaches to teaching a discipline conceived as a cultural construct culture itself needs to be viewed as a dynamic process involving a set of practices in which people engage in order to live their lives, understand their world and derive meaning. Cultural learning therefore involves a process of decentring from one’s own existing cultural mindset to engage in positive and creative ways with new cultural possibilities. Paige (2004) complements Liddicoat (2004) in examining intercultural teaching and learning as a developmental process. He uses Bennett’s (1993) Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) which describes a learner’s subjective experience of cultural difference as a framework for analysis. Addressing each of the alternative ways in which a person perceives and makes sense of cultural difference (ethnocentric - involving stages of denial, defense and minimisation and ethnorelative – involving stages of acceptance, adaptation and integration) Paige identifies the key developmental task for teaching and learning, teaching goals and specific learning outcomes.

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