A case study of intercultural communication in a multicultural classroom in the Brisbane metropolitan area

Ko, Min-Jeong (2008) A case study of intercultural communication in a multicultural classroom in the Brisbane metropolitan area. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The current global and local issues of culture such as September 11, the Bali Bombings and the “Cronulla Riots” triggered a question for the researcher: “how do primary students deal with intercultural communication in multicultural Australia in times of cultural uncertainty and complexity?” Intercultural communication studies in Australia rely heavily on those of the United States of America and the United Kingdom. For this reason, this study was planned to investigate intercultural communication in a multicultural classroom in a primary school in Australia.

The research employs an ethnographical case study methodology with data collected from observation, interview and documentation. 56 Year 7 students and two classroom teachers from two classes and the school ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher were included in the study. Amongst the 56 students, 24 students were interviewed along with the classroom teachers and the ESL teacher. School documents regarding the promotion of intercultural communication were also collected during the observation period.

The study found that differing language capacities of students and teachers have the greatest influence on intercultural communication. Language was observed to influence positive and negative intercultural communication in the classroom. The study also confirmed that the theory of Intercultural Communication Competence (Wiseman, 2002) supports the current ethos of this school’s curriculum.

Overall, the study provides a vicarious experience of intercultural communication in an Australian multicultural classroom. Intercultural communication in this particular school did not appear to be problematic. This could be due to the teachers’ endeavours to promote intercultural communication both implicitly and explicitly. In concluding, the study suggests that this school could be a model for promoting intercultural communication with a few modifications to its programs.

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ID Code: 17806
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Lidstone, John & Tambyah, Mallihai
Keywords: intercultural communication, multicultural classroom, multiculturalism, promoting intercultural communication
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 12 Feb 2009 05:14
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:52

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