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Embedding international and intercultural perspectives in teaching and learning

Embedding international and intercultural perspectives in teaching and learning: Rationales and implementation

Project Aims

Internationalisation has become a strategic imperative for higher education institutions in the UK and beyond, yet institutions frequently struggle to formulate a coherent understanding of internationalisation within the educational domain. Whilst internationalisation is often conceived at a broad level as “the process of integrating an international, intercultural, or global dimension into the purpose, functions or delivery of post-secondary education” (Knight, 2003:02), what this actually means in terms of internationalisation-related learning goals, curriculum and pedagogy, is often unclear, or subject to various (and frequently conflicting) interpretations. Even when staff support the notion of internationalisation as a general concept, lack of clear theoretical rationale for internationalizing the curriculum tends to mean that curricular adaptations fail to transpire, or are implemented in an atheoretical manner (Leask, 2016). It is therefore of key importance that institutions are able to offer:

1) a clear and accessible account of key theoretical rationales for internationalizing the curriculum and
2) concrete examples of attempts to internationalise the curriculum across the disciplines.

This project aims to investigate and highlight how key staff within the institution have gone about the process of internationalising the curriculum at the module level. The aim here is not simply to create superficial descriptions of ‘best practice’, but to achieve an understanding of how teaching staff conceptualise ‘internationalisation’ in the learning domain, how they embed internationalisation learning goals within module design, and how these goals are instantiated within the formal curriculum (e.g. weekly topics, selected readings, lecture slides). The project will also look at how teaching staff take into account the diversity of the student body when planning and delivering content, as well as how they engage the linguistic and cultural diversity in the classroom to enhance learning outcomes. Thus, the project will aim to highlight the relationships between pedagogical rationales and pedagogical practices vis-à-vis internationalisation of the curriculum.

Project Activity

1. A thorough literature review on different theoretical perspectives on internationalising the curriculum across the disciplines.

2. In-depth interviews with 1-2 staff in each of the three faculties at the University, each of whom has developed an explicit orientation towards internationalisation of the curriculum at the module level. Whilst previous research reveals that internationalisation of the curriculum tends to be more prominent within the humanities and social sciences, we will aim to capture innovative work being done in each of the three faculties at Warwick.

3. Focus group interviews with students who have taken the relevant modules within the current or prior academic year. We will aim to provide plentiful quotes from participants in order to capture the value of learning, as well as the challenges and successes experienced by staff and students when engaging with internationalisation of the curriculum.

Project Team:

Troy McConachy

Sophie Reissner-Roubicek

Claire O'Leary

Jennie Mills

Jo Angouri