Skip to main content

Programme - Global Students


Global Students

10:10-11:00

The Global Student

Naomi de la Tour (IATL)

Drawing on IATL's module Global Connections, Reinvention: a Journal of Undergraduate Research, and ICUR, this session will consider what it means to be a 'Global Student' at the University of Warwick. We will discuss whether and why students are seeking a global experience at the university and to what extent they feel like global students, how IATL's activities have supported them in exploring their place in the global community, and the ways in which they articulate the meaning of 'global student'. This interactive workshop will engage with the student experience, as well as asking participants to consider their role in the University's global community.

11:10-12:00
Why is My Curriculum White?

Nia Conteh (Students' Union Ethnic Minorities Officer)
Maahwish Mizra (Students' Union Education Officer)

Warwick’s ability to host international students is both an indication of prestige and an attractive investment. Though institutions seek to market ourselves as international hubs, rich in diversity and boasting of our global alumni “footprint”, this diversity is not necessarily reflected in curricula.

Students at Warwick who have been active in developing challenges and alternatives to a “white” or Eurocentric curriculum will talk about their experiences working to diversify the curriculum through such initiatives as the Open Education Series, and address concerns that:

  1. The experiences and histories of many international students fail to be recognised. Students are expected to assimilate into Eurocentric curriculums with little intellectual freedom to reference or discuss the thinkers of their own cultures, and as a result, are expected to in essence “leave behind” the intellectual achievements of their own cultures. This can also have a real impact on home students from non-European ethnic or cultural backgrounds (as evidenced in the continuing “attainment gap” across UK universities for all other ethnic groups than White).
  2. This limited diversity of curriculums stifles academic freedom – it presents to home, Western students the history of their own civilisations at the expense of limiting knowledge of the contributions of the many intellectual giants of other cultures. This cannot be seen as worldly or global learning – learning becomes partial, one-sided and seen through a singular lens.
  3. Curriculums constructed heavily of Eurocentric material bring with them the problems of the European worldview, which has historically seen non-white cultures as savage and promoted this dehumanising ideology through intellectual material. We see the historical Othering and dehumanisation of non-European cultures and peoples in the canon: in John Stuart Mill, in Joseph Conrad, and even in Karl Marx. A historically racist Europe and West will reflect its racism in its high and low art, in its writings and mass market entertainment, in its elevated philosophies and its low-brow conversations. Racism becomes hard to escape, for it is a cultural phenomenon, and the utilisation of such material in university syllabuses becomes problematic when it is not countered by the voice of the very cultures being repeatedly dehumanised and presented as savage.
  4. To be shut out of the academy is to be considered to lack learning and education, not to be granted the honour of intellectualism and scholarship – the impliction is that those outside of the syllabus and the world of the university are not worthy of inclusion. This lack of inclusion, then, suggests that the intellects of other cultures are lacking – that it is only the European who has ever produced anything worth learning. The idea of the non-European as uneducated barbarian is cemented when the non-European is not given the opportunity to offer forth its Allama Iqbals, its Confuciuses, its Bulleh Shahs, in the arena that grants academic honour and prestige. For a young student to have no awareness of the Iqbals who wrote back to Europe’s Miltons limits that student to the belief that no other culture could produce a worthy combatant of Milton.

To conceive of something, one must see it, and if the academy offers only limited syllabuses then it risks producing alumni that are woefully partially sighted.

12.10-13:00

From Widening Horizons to Widening Participation

Cathy Hampton (School of Modern Languages and Cultures)

Transmitting the experience of global citizenship to the school classroom in a student as producer Year Abroad project.

This session will consider the impact of a student as producer project involving fifteen volunteer students who undertook to source realia (every day objects revealing something of the cultural, social, recreational and political life of the French and francophone worlds) with which to design teaching and learning materials for local schools. Having visited local schools prior to their departure in September 2013, students gathered and scrutinized diverse resources during their year abroad, and met with teachers to test out ideas, showcase material and raise questions about the needs of the pupil users (November 2014). The students are now producing packs of resources with graduated learning activities to be trialed in local schools in the summer term 2015.

This session will seek to assess the impact of the project upon both the student participants and the school recipients. We will consider the cognitive and affective processes informing the ‘culture gathering’ that took place: how did the responsibility to act as the interface between a foreign culture and their own inform these students’ own intercultural and linguistic journeys? We will assess how successful the students’ materials may be in transmitting an enthusiasm for global citizenship in the classroom as well as in providing imaginative enhancement of national curriculum language targets. Finally, we will explore current work to take the project forward by pinpointing its most beneficial outcomes and identifying a workable and manageable framework for its long-term implementation. Our intentions in this respect are to link the project with regional Routes into Languages initiatives (Routes into Languages is a national organization working to widen participation in languages, with link members in Higher Education institutions). To date we have met with its regional representative, based at Aston University, to set a series of aims, desirable outcomes, and targeted goals for the running of a new, combined project for Year Abroad students and schools teachers across a number of Midlands universities from September 2015. This new version of the project will include a regional university student training session, a handbook for students and teachers, a new digital platform for sharing resources, and, it is hoped, the involvement of key language and intercultural organizations such as the British Council, Enterprise Europe, and the French Embassy.