Teaching Learning And Working In Culturally Diverse Environment

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Assessment Type

Critical Essay

Word Count

1800 words




4 Days

Assignment Criteria

  1. Compare the attitudes of Australian university students engaged in the practical reality of an internationalised learning environment (Summers & Volet, 2008) and the Year 10 local students seeking an international education through the IB Diploma curriculum (Doherty et al, 2009). How would you explain these apparently contradictory attitudes? You may wish to consider factors such as different levels of schooling and instructional environments, social class, different imagined futures, and the realities of working in intercultural settings.
  2. Garcia-Prieto et al (2003) argue that diversity in work teams is sometimes detrimental and sometimes beneficial to the team performance. How do they explain this paradox?
  3. Examine how in a multicultural educational environment, the occurrence of what Ward et al call 'spiral of miscommunications' could be reduced and how. Use examples from at least two empirical studies as illustrations (e.g. Lui & Hannafin, 2010; Doherty, Mu & Shield, 2009; Summers & Volet, 2008, or others from the eReserve).
  4. Attributions, stereotypes, perceived discrimination, in-group/out-group distinction, and cultural distance are important concepts related to communication and interactions in culturally diverse situations. Select one of these concepts and one particular group of individuals involved in socially challenging encounters. Discuss in what ways that concept is important for understanding their cultural experience.

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Assignment Solution

Answer 1.

The attitudes of Australian university students engaged in the practical reality of an internationalized learning environment were different from the Year 10 local students seeking an international education through the IB Diploma curriculum. Both these studies focus on multiculturalism in respect to student's lives and how they respond to a particular change or coursework. The study by Summers and Volet particularly deals with students working together who were divided into two groups consisting of only international students and the mixed group that included international and local students. The study identified that having an internationalized learning environment for students prove to be very beneficial in the era of globalization. And researches show that students, who experience such multicultural activities, demonstrate a positive change in their development. However, literature also show that in spite of promoting the multicultural environment, in most of the cases the students belonging to different groups do not interact with each other. Similarly, in the study of Summers and Volet, a study was carried out wherein students had to work together and the results did not show positive outcomes. It was noticed that in the initial year, students interacted with each other and reflected positive outcomes, but this interaction did not continue in the next two years. It was then noticed that students who culturally mixed with each other in the first year had nothing to continue in the second and third year because they had already reached their potential during the initial year, which is also known as the ceiling effect. Further, it was also concluded that another possibility for negative or neutral results is due to the fact that many local students of Australia were never exposed to culturally mixed group like this before. Moreover, only those students who had experienced something similar in past demonstrated positive results (Summers, M. & Volet, S., 2008). Contrarily, according to the study by Doherty, Mu and Shield, students who opted for internationally educated through the IB diploma curriculum were more positive about cultural mix and believed that such education and learning can immensely improve their future. The study took into account the views of 11 students who enrolled in IB at a government school. All of them had different purposes to join this curriculum, which was not a one- dimensional practice and they all considered different factors, based upon the opinion of their family members. But all of them were positive for this program and hoped that it would result in a better future that can provide them with the opportunities to grow in the international market. Most of them had Australian citizenship but experienced culturally mix environment at least once in their lives (Doherty, C., Mu, L. & Shield, P., 2009). 

Answer 2.

Diversity in work teams is largely considered as a positive aspect because it benefits the team members by increasing the interaction between different cultures, helping to eradicate stereotypical images of different cultures, promoting respect for each other, increasing the level of tolerance towards a different community and most importantly, making an individual capable enough to work in diverse environments and increasing his/ her potential.  In the study of Garcio- Prieto et al (2003), diversity in working teams can affect a person positively and negatively both. The model of social identity theory has been considered in this study which, can help to understand the contextual and motivational conditions that can affect the social identity of an individual. Moreover, the social identity can influence the cognitive appraisals of issues and situations in a diverse team. It is important to note that cognitive appraisals can affect a team in positive and negative manner because it controls the emotions and conflicts of a diverse team. The study indicates that when cognitive appraisals are not in sync with the team members, conflict is bound to emerge. This conflict is different for each team members because of the different levels of emotions that they attach to it (Garcia-Prieto, P., Bellard, E., & Schneider, S. C., 2003). Further, the study also observes that diversity is a different experience for each team member, wherein one individual may enjoy it and praise the group and social identity that is carried by the group. However, another individual may not agree with the social identity of the group and may not find it relevant to his/ her personal opinion. For instance, in this study, an example of an African woman was provided in this regard whereby, she does not like to be identified on the basis of her gender and ethnicity. She was of the opinion that in an international setting, she feels very conscious of being labeled as a 'woman'. Moreover, she also did not like to be considered for her African (black) ethnicity. Hence, what this example shows is that every individual may not keep up with the social identity and group that he/ she works in. The group has a proper role to play, which is identified on a particular characteristic; however, the same thinking and view may not be upheld by its diverse team members. People are also conscious about how they are perceived by other teams, which may not be a positive perception or social identity. Also, the kind of competition that different diverse team has, may pose a stressful situation for the team members of the group. Therefore, because of different circumstances, differences in opinions and imbalance of social identities, a diverse work group can become detrimental for its members (Garcia-Prieto, P., Bellard, E., & Schneider, S. C., 2003). 

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