The potential of a pedagogy for border crossing: Encouraging intercultural learning for outbound undergraduates at an Australian university

2018-11-20T03:08:14Z (GMT) by Louise Townsin

Many Australian universities provide international and intercultural learning experiences for their students, both on campus and through student learning abroad initiatives. Alongside the internationalisation strategies that provide opportunities for intercultural learning, pedagogical strategies are critical in supporting students to develop the dispositions, knowledge, and skills needed for a world with many global, shared challenges. This thesis illustrates the potential of a pedagogy for border crossing to foster intercultural learning for students who participate in international experiences as part of their university studies. Commencing in the founding year of an Australian university, and involving the first 3 outbound mobility programs that the university offered, the study was an emergent exploration utilising a bricolage methodology. The research design included a pre-intervention stage, and 2 exploratory intervention stages. Participants were 29 undergraduate students who undertook outbound mobility programs in Malaysia, Japan, and Thailand. Three further participants in the study did not travel but engaged in intercultural learning activities in Australia. Data were generated through a range of methods, with critical incidents, themes, and reflexivity used to guide the interpretation process. Drawing from a living theory approach to translate existing theories of border crossing, intercultural competence, and critical pedagogy, the study makes an original contribution to knowledge by showing the possibilities of a novel pedagogy for intercultural learning for students, outbound education professionals, and educators. The findings indicate that although the concept of border crossing is well suited to the outbound mobility context, there are several areas of concern and risk associated with a strategy of border crossing applied through intercultural interaction and communication. Nevertheless, the study suggests that a pedagogy for border crossing to support intercultural learning has the potential to not only trouble the notion of intercultural competence, but also productively use it as a base for students’ and educators’ further learning.