Developing intercultural competence in pre-service teachers from Australia and Malaysia : insights from the “Patches” programme

Hepple, Erika (2012) Developing intercultural competence in pre-service teachers from Australia and Malaysia : insights from the “Patches” programme. In Proceedings of The 11th IALIC International Conference : Intercultural Dialogue: Current Challenges/Future Directions, International Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom.

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Developing intercultural competence in pre-service teachers from Australia and Malaysia: Insights from a Patches program. Innovative pedagogies can offer pre-service teachers the opportunity to develop their intercultural competence and take up more globalised viewpoints. One such innovation is the Patches program which brought together Malaysian and Australian pre-service teachers who were studying at the same university in Brisbane, Australia, to actively explore issues of cultural and linguistic difference. The participants were 14 Australian fourth-year pre-service teachers who were enrolled in a program on inclusive education, and 58 Malaysian pre-service teachers who had recently arrived at the university in Brisbane to commence their second year of an international education program. In peer groupings, these domestic and international pre-service teachers engaged in a series of interactive tasks and reflective writing workshops exploring intercultural experiences, over a period of ten weeks. Each element or ‘patch’ in the program was designed to build up into a mosaic of intercultural learning. The flexible structuring of the Patches Program provided a supportive framework for participant interaction whilst allowing the groups to decide for themselves the nature and extent of their involvement in a series of community-related tasks. The process of negotiating and implementing these activities formed the basis for establishing meaningful relationships between the participants. The development of the participants’ intercultural competence is traced through their reflective narratives and focus group discussions, drawing on Byram’s concept of the five savoirs. Explaining aspects of Australian culture to their newly arrived Malaysian peers, allowed the Australian pre-service teachers to take a perspective of outsideness towards their own familiar social practices. In addition, being unusually positioned as the linguistic other amongst a group of Bahasa Melayu speakers, highlighted for the Australian pre-service teachers the importance of being inclusive. For the Malaysian pre-service teachers, participation in the Patches program helped to extend intercultural understandings, establish social networks with local students, and build a sense of community in their new learning environment. Both groups of pre-service teachers noted the power of “learning directly by interacting rather than through books”. In addition to interacting interculturally, the process of reflecting on these intercultural experiences is seen as integral to the development of intercultural competence.

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ID Code: 58860
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: HERN
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 please consult the author
Deposited On: 03 Apr 2013 01:09
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2014 05:01

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