Intercultural Sensitivity Training Toolkit: Augmenting Academic Engagement Patterns

Sujana ADAPA
University of New England, Australia
sadapa2@une.edu.au

Tanya HATHAWAY
University of New England, Australia
thathawa@une.edu.au

Abstract

This research paper presents conceptual strategies for developing a web-based toolkit utilising scenario-based learning to enhance students' and academics' intercultural sensitivity (IS) and further explores the feasibility of using IS training during orientation and induction into higher education to promote intercultural engagement. Pre-intervention data related to participants' study contexts, learning experiences, cultural perspectives, and perceived benefits and obstacles to intercultural engagement are gathered through reflective writing blogs and in-depth interviews. Thematic analysis is applied to identify and unpack culture-specific patterns of learning and intercultural engagement. The results inform the design of an IS toolkit; portraying experience-based and research-informed training scenarios depicting, initially, cultural stereotypes and authentic behaviours, before illustrating integrated and culturally responsive teaching strategies and learning styles. The exposure sequence progressively challenges users' values, beliefs and attitudes about teaching and learning. Post intervention, participants' perceptions are re-examined through focus groups and in-depth interviews to evaluate the effectiveness of the toolkit. Social network analysis is applied to establish intercultural competence apparent in new patterns of academic engagement, whist a phenomenographic analysis maps transformation in participants' awareness and understanding of the concept of intercultural engagement.

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