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Teaching Abroad

Teaching Abroad: International Education and the Cross-Cultural Classroom

Gordon E. Slethaug
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 228
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  • Book Info
    Teaching Abroad
    Book Description:

    Teaching Abroad addresses the question of moving abroad to teach in a cross-cultural university classroom. It discusses the recent flourishing of international education and developments in educational structures and practice, and traces the historical development of, and recent changes in, university education in China. This book explores systemic differences between communitarian and individualistic values as they affect the classrooms of the East and West, as well as in the students' emotional and intellectual sense of themselves and their education. Through research in the field and the author's own experiences in the international American Studies classroom, Teaching Abroad takes up the values of the teacher- and student-oriented classrooms and looks at creative ways to take advantage of each in terms of team-teaching, interdisciplinary inquiry, and group work. It also investigates the use of films and their adaptation from fiction in the interdisciplinary humanities classroom, and deals with various problems of assessment, including examinations, essays and plagiarism. Ultimately, the book connects these issues to the transformation of personal, familial, and national identities in this age of internationalization and cross-cultural education. Teaching Abroad will appeal to foreign-bound university teachers who are interested in the historical and cultural conditions of a country and in need of practical advice about teaching abroad. It will specially be suitable for teachers who plan to teach in China. International teachers in primary and secondary schools will also profit from this exploration of the cross-cultural classroom and intercultural communication.

    eISBN: 978-988-8052-80-6
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    About a decade ago the language historian Bill Bryson noted that, “the third edition of the American Heritage Dictionary, published in 1992, contained 10,000 words, about 5 per cent of the total, that had not existed twenty years before” (1998, 417), and he estimated that, as a result of technology and science since that time, the English language has grown “by up to 20,000 words a year” (1998, 417), far more than suggested by the 1992 dictionary.

    Besides technology and science, the expanding English language has added words related to international developments in business, politics, and education. Words such as...

  5. 1 Internationalizing Education: The Example of China
    (pp. 17-40)

    For the past decade, scholars have been writing about the impact of globalization and the changing face of business and international relations. Before 9/11, much of that research painted a positive picture of globalization, but some analysts were critical of nationalist agendas, muddled strategies, and disappointing long-term effects — as they should be in undertakings of this magnitude. In the past few years, assessment has been more balanced, but most commentators still subscribe to a positive view of the economic and political effects of globalization, even if there is a long way to go.

    Less has been said about the changing...

  6. 2 The Individual, the Group, and Pedagogy
    (pp. 41-62)

    The rapid pace of change in globalization has entailed shifts in education as well as economics and politics, and many countries, including China, are seeking new structures, areas of study, and modes of pedagogy to enhance existing systems. All educational systems have useful aspects, and the challenge is what, how, and when to introduce new elements so as to preserve the valuable features of the existing system. That China is working to integrate Western educational values into its traditional structures — from the top level of the national government to the most local of districts and from senior university institutions to...

  7. 3 The Classroom Environment: Physical, Emotional, and Intellectual Spaces
    (pp. 63-78)

    Education is the process of cultural transmission in which children learn what their society considers most important for them to understand in order to succeed as adults. As Kathleen Wilcox writes, “schools are not set up to socialize children for membership in some ideal society; they are set up to socialize children for membership in their own society as it currently exists and as it is likely to exist in the near future” (1982, 271). There is no international standard of classroom education and probably not even a single one within a particular culture or nation, although there may be...

  8. 4 The Teacher-Oriented Classroom
    (pp. 79-102)

    Institutional culture perpetuates itself, and those trained in particular organizational, disciplinary, and pedagogical forms often repeat them. As Marilyn Amey and Dennis Brown note, faculties in universities “are organized by discipline, disseminate research through discipline-based journals and conferences, and are rewarded for contributing to and expanding the disciplinary knowledge base. The next generation of faculty are trained and enculturated into their specific disciplinary model during graduate school and early career experiences, thus perpetuating and scripting future faculty in the disciplinary lens” (2004, ix). Even when new areas of study, disciplines, programs, and centers of learning develop, because of the power...

  9. 5 The Student-Oriented Classroom
    (pp. 103-128)

    Although lecturing is the foundation of the classroom and the preferred pedagogy for most teachers internationally, American educators and students state a strong preference for discussion, either as a supplement to, or a replacement of, the lecture, and think of this as the modern approach. Surveys show that American students favor seminars and discussions over lectures by a ratio of 3 to 1 (McLeish 1976, 293). It is well known that many Asian communitarian societies traditionally support thoughtful, well-prepared lectures over class discussion (Morris and Marsh 1991, 259), and it can be frustrating for transplanted teachers to discover that the...

  10. 6 Film in the Cross-Cultural Classroom
    (pp. 129-150)

    Student and teacher alike value an interesting and informative class, and courses need variety to maintain interest over the term or year. The time has passed when a textbook and a lecture would be adequate as the sole tools and methods of teaching in a classroom, although the kind and number of new tools and methods in the cross-cultural classroom depend upon the subject itself, adaptability of the teachers, and cultural expectations and possibilities.

    Reading is a tried-and-true, absolutely necessary form of learning, but students whose first language is not English may have a much harder time with the vocabulary,...

  11. 7 Assignments and Assessments
    (pp. 151-174)

    Everyday assignments and reading loads, end-of-term projects, examinations, and assessments or evaluations are of critical importance in every classroom, but these take on an added dimension in the cross-cultural classroom because teachers may have one kind of expectation drawn from their own culture and students may have different expectations from their own cultures. Such requirements need to be thoroughly considered and interrogated individually by the classroom teacher, but also be balanced by the recommendations of other teachers.

    In certain East Asian cultures, daily and weekly assignments are expected, but as they carry less weight — in terms of marks and regard...

  12. 8 Conclusion: Descent, Consent, and Cross-Cultural Affiliations
    (pp. 175-190)

    Globalization, internationalization, and transnationalism have accelerated in the last two decades, and, as noted throughout this study, the cross-cultural classroom has shared strongly in this phenomenon, enhancing simple enjoyment, facilitating teaching and learning, and aiding in the construction of identity. Opportunities for cross-cultural teaching exist in every country but are particularly well illustrated in China’s rapidly changing educational culture. Chinese education has a long and venerable history, but as existing programs have been transformed and new ones opened, curriculum requirements of faculties and colleges have changed, and universities have taken on a new character. Change at the structural level has...

  13. Works Cited
    (pp. 191-204)
  14. Index
    (pp. 205-220)