Philosophy of pedagogical constructivism in a polycultural environment

The educational process in a multicultural environment is provided at three levels

  1. “Person-to-person” level (face-to-face communication);
  2. “Person-to-electronic educational environment (EEE)” level (remote or mixed communication);
  • “Adaptive educational content – invariant educational content” level.

At the “person-to-person” level, as mentioned above, depending on the cultural-cognitive profile, a learning style, appropriate content, methods, discourse, monitoring and measuring materials, motivational and axiological determination can be selected. In particular, methods and techniques of interactive didactic support of students in a virtual multicultural teaching environment are of great interest. The consideration of cultural and pragmatic aspects in designing the structure, content and interface of electronic textbooks and teaching environment, implying a set of pedagogical instruments (specifics of motivation, specifics of presenting educational materials, processing, monitoring, and feedback) is of no little interest.

At the “person-to-EEE” level, consideration is given to problems of educational cross-culture in the process of remote or blended learning. It is necessary to highlight the main areas of education “smartization”:

  • developing cultural intelligence, forming and building teachers’ competence in the area of cross-cultural didactics, learning problems of the best practices with multicultural audiences;
  • systematic understanding, the constructive building of an individual educational path in EEM, adapting and using the best international practices in this area;
  • problem of an appropriate selection of multimedia technologies and teaching methods for various cultural groups;
  • role of unique features of the learning style when interacting with intelligent tutorial systems.

“Adaptive educational content – invariant educational content”. Adaptation means an adaptation of educational information, methods and monitoring and measuring materials to the specifics of a student, as well as compilation of cultural-specific elementary dictionaries on the subject (the ambiguity of terminology in different languages). The invariant content implies a compilation of universal elementary dictionaries in subjects or semantic maps.

Therefore, at the first level of the educational process, it is important to develop cultural intelligence in a multicultural environment as an ability of educational communication subjects to understand little-known contexts, and adapt to them; at the second level — EEM having a cultural intelligence should be designed; and at the third level — an adaptive, in some cases, on the contrary, an invariant educational content (elementary dictionaries of knowledge in subjects) should be formed. This multi-step approach enables us to make the knowledge transfer process in a multicultural environment more constructive.

Based on the definitions of relevant subjects of academic disciplines, their connection can be searched for. The educational experience suggests the need to search for subject domain models (either specific or abstract) allowing us to interpret the knowledge studied. Therefore, generally a problem of intersubject connections in various schools, i.e. secondary and higher, comes up. It should be noted that the concept of “interdisciplinary connection” is more general than the concept of “intersubject connections”. The latter concept is interpreted by us as a connection between the scientific knowledge subjects learned in course units. Therefore, the problem discussed in this article can be extended to the inter-subject connection of mathematics with the mother tongue. In other words, at a level of development of the invariant educational content we design an environment of quite predictable set of reactions.

While investigating the language relationship, we solve several tasks: determining the performance level (mathematics), defining an emotional component of learning (interest, sociability, goal setting), preference in decision making. Having obtained answers to these questions, we have the possibility to adjust the communication strategy in the real educational process in accordance with the strategies set out in Tables 3-5. The cross-curriculum connection is provided at a level of elementary concepts of the subjects, i.e. mathematics and mother tongue. To do this, an elementary dictionary (if possible) or a minimum first-level dictionary should be created, with a correspondence set up afterwards between them. It is known that the elementary mathematics dictionary studied in  secondary school was proposed in the paper.

The first-level concepts of a minimum dictionary can be formed in a natural way, using elementary concepts. Depending on the learning needs, it is possible to construct the following levels of concepts using from fifteen to nineteen concepts of the elementary dictionary, thereby forming the following levels of knowledge. Further on, the words from the elementary dictionary should be translated into the verbal environment native for a student through examples, thereby fixing the «islands» of stable knowledge in a learning environment new for him. This, in turn, on the one hand, entails a reduction of the stress load on a student in the learning process, and on the other hand, contributes to the study of theoretical and practical material in the new language environment.

In modern society, tutors often interact with a multicultural student’s audience in the traditional or online format. The majority of tutors emphasize the problem of constructive knowledge transfer in a multicultural learning environment as the main problems in this context, in addition to cognitive, communication and psycho-pedagogical specifics. The development of education that is receptive to cultures needs not only specialists in different subjects, but also teachers who have knowledge in the cross-cultural differences sphere.  These days training courses and programs including distance learning are mono-cultural that is not fully meet the needs of students in information society. Thereby, the main question is how to build constructive education in the cross-cultural education context. We claim that nowadays there is a necessity of training the specialists with a developed cultural intellect. In this paper we develop some ways of optimizing the education process in a cross-cultural environment.

Today multicultural student’s audience is not a rare occurrence in both traditional and online educational practices. Thereby, we conducted a survey of teachers who had a similar experience and as the result we have identified a number of specific difficulties to these types of student’s audiences that do not encounter in mono-cultural environments: different communication models in the “teacher-student” system, culturally-specific peculiarities of educational information and content representation, cognitive features and the decision-making specificity, different understandings of “creativity” concept, an ambiguous understanding of educational tasks, terminology, preferred type of test materials, etc. In this case, there is a question: how to provide the

constructive build-up of competence model in the national culture and professional polyphony framework? In other words, how

to organize a “course’s design” which is directed at the multicultural audience and provide constructive knowledge transfer? Thereby, we face with phenomenon of an educational cross-culture. In this paper we define educational cross-culture as the totality of:

  1. Tutor’s culture (national and professional).
  2. Student’s culture (national and professional).
  3. Semiotic space (of educational institute or online resource) and the discipline’s thesaurus.

Cross-cultural didactics – learning theory in a cross-cultural environment

At this stage we claim that the developments in the field of learning theory in a multicultural environment – a cross-cultural

didactics are absolutely essential. In our view, cross-cultural didactics consists of the sections that investigate:

  1. Objectives and values of ​​education in different cultural groups.
  2. General peculiarities of cognitive activity in different cultural groups.
  3. Learning styles in different cultures.
  4. Common features of teaching methods and test materials in different cultural groups.
  5. Peculiarities and problems of pedagogical discourse (in particular, academic writing) in a multicultural environment, including the online environment.
  6. Developments in the cross-cultural media didactics sphere.
  7. Issues and peculiarities of constructive knowledge transfer in a cross-cultural education environment.

Tools that facilitate the organization of constructive education process in a multicultural environment: a model of cultural-

cognitive personality’s profile and a model of cultural-relevant teacher’s intelligence.


See more: Usage of cultural assimilator for tutor «cultural intelligence» improvement

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