MULTICULTURAL TEACHING ENVIRONMENT: PROBLEMS AND SPECIFICS OF KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

MULTICULTURAL TEACHING ENVIRONMENT: PROBLEMS AND SPECIFICS OF KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

Currently a multicultural student audience is by no means an unusual occurrence. This applies both to the traditional educational format and to remote educational practices. As a result of a survey of teachers carried out by the authors, who have professional experience in a multicultural teaching environment, a number of difficulties have been identified. They are specific in particular to these types of student audiences and have no place in monocultural environments. Among these are various familiar models of communication with a teacher, specific features of presenting teaching information and educational content, decision-making, the attitude towards creative approaches in the course work, an ambiguous understanding of the academic pursuits and terminology, the preferred type of monitoring and measuring materials, etc. In this case, we face such the phenomenon of educational cross-culture. In the context of interest to us, educational cross-culture is a combination of three elements:

  1. teacher culture (national and professional);
  2. student culture (national and professional);
  3. semiotic environment (of educational institution or online resource) and thesaurus of the course unit.
Educational cross-culture

A multicultural education environment is essentially an educational cross-culture. Educational cross-culture is an environment covering a collection of heterogeneous information and pedagogical environments which are interacting in the format of educational communication and learning activity and are in a “diffuzziness” state. The original cross-culture (culture «native» to an individual) is a semiotic education, discursively expressed in the form of thesauruses and elementary knowledge dictionaries and reflecting the pragmatic specifics of educational communication processes.

In this context, it is reasonable to bear in mind the etic and emic approaches – as approaches providing a means for a both culture-specific and invariable look at the teaching process in the multicultural environment (Table 8).

Emic approach Etic Approach
Studies behavior in the “teacher – student” system within the system Studies behavior in the “teacher – student” system outside the system
Studies only one culture Studies a variety of cultures in the comparative context
Criteria are correlated with the internal system characteristics Study criteria are considered as absolute and universal

 

The method of cross-cultural study

The method of cross-cultural study in the educational process has become an “environmental” method expressed in the study of student micro- and macro-environments. Inasmuch as any study of a person’s environment is associated with the re-direction — from an individual to the environment and from the environment to an individual — in order to optimize communication processes in the multicultural teaching environment G. Hofstede’s parametric model was selected and is presented in the context of educational situations. The purpose of this article is to present possible diffusion processes in educational environments or knowledge transfer in a multicultural environment using the environment-education language, so that the teaching process may predict reactions of people from different cultural environments.

The problems of student adaptation to a foreign environment will be understandable if we are able to adjust our professional pedagogical behavior in communication when communication difficulties come up. In other words, a constructive pedagogical action minimizes culture shock and semantic distortions in the communication environment of the educational cross-culture. What does a teacher need to know for this? The answer to this question is one of the research objectives of cross-cultural didactics.

the basic provisions of cross-cultural didactics

In previous papers, the authors have formulated the basic provisions of cross-cultural didactics, including the concept of a cultural-cognitive personality and audience profile, national and professional styles of thinking, information handling, culture-specific educational discourse, etc. Depending on these parameters, an adaptive style of teaching can be selected to understand the cultural and cognitive specifics of a student and, thus, the selection of appropriate content, methods, discourse, monitoring and measuring materials, as well as motivational and axiological determination.

a cultural-cognitive profile

The tables above make it possible to construct a cultural-cognitive profile of a student (if necessary, a group) and select techniques of effective teamwork. Thus, it is possible to select a communication strategy in each subgroup of the study group. Based on these tables, the first class assignments for submission can be also done, e.g. in mathematics using the mother tongue for each student (taking into account that the Russian language is almost a mother tongue in the subgroup of students from CIS countries,).

mathematics as the first assignment for submission

The authors always selected mathematics as the first assignment for submission as a carrier of abstract knowledge with the universal semiotic system and, therefore, having the least amount of stress component in communication with students. The assignment for submission is divided into three levels of complexity; the choice is free. Only some parameters of interest to us in terms of a specific situation of the pedagogical process or research can be taken from the proposed scheme for the model.

As a result, the cultural-cognitive models of students and their teaching style can be “derived”. Let us cite as an example a quite limited and polar vision of features of the educational communication in a culturally-specific context. In practice, there can be a good many options

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