A subject-based approach to productively develop university students’ intercultural competence and dispositions for living together-in-difference

Year: 2016

Author: Townsin, Louise, Walsh, Christopher S.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In a world increasingly characterised by interdependence, we face challenges and opportunities of global proportions. The uncertainty and complexity surrounding the survival and prospering of humans and our shared planet Earth underpin the urgent need for creative, imaginative and transformative education. Internationalisation of curriculum (IoC) is viewed as central to teaching and learning processes within higher education, and IoC strategies are vital tools for preparing students to be successful and contribute to global society. Universities’ IoC initiatives undoubtedly play a crucial role in the development of students’ intercultural skills. Yet, few Australian universities design curriculum specific to the development of intercultural competence in a general sense, as well as its relevance and application to students’ discipline and our global condition. We describe an undergraduate subject that assists students to understand how to productively develop their intercultural competence. Through deliberate and intentional educational design, based upon a border pedagogy for living together-in-difference, we outline the content, learning outcomes, assessment tasks and teaching methods utilised within the subject. We argue that such a subject-based approach is not only an example of successful IoC, but a compelling illustration of how educational design works to foster mindfulness, critical reflection and awareness within individuals, culminating in dispositions that can facilitate a more just, sustainable and peaceful future for all.