Teaching and Learning across Cultures: Understanding Your Students and Helping Them to Understand You

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This paper will focus on culture and learning and explore the issue of culture together with the themes of identity, belonging and connectedness and the impact of these issues on human interaction, particularly in the school setting. The interplay of aspects of extrinsic and intrinsic culture will be considered. Culture will be presented as a means of knowing and understanding the world and a lens through which to understand and interpret the world. These issues will be considered in relation to Third Culture Kids such as migrants, refugees, and international full fee paying students who reflect modern day diasporas. The findings of Van Eken and Pollock will be used to explore the sociological impact of the TCK experience and transition. Hostede’s four dimensional model of cultural differences will form the basis of the paper in relation to intercultural competence, cultural attitudes to knowledge and classroom interactions. Underpinning the paper will be Freire’s notion of human ‘unfinishedness’ that allows reciprocal learning to take place and the fact that teaching as a relational activity must always be ethical by being conducted within a mutual spirit of respect for the dignity of each individual.


Keywords: Culture and Identity, Third Culture Kids, Cultural Differences, Cross Cultural Understanding, Intercultural Competence
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Teaching and Learning across Cultures


Helena Sobulis

Vice Principal, Preparatory - Year 12, Walford Anglican School for Girls
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Helena Sobulis has had extensive experience as a teacher and senior administrator. She has taught in Australia and the United States. Helena has played key advisory roles in Australia at State and national level as Executive Assistant to the Director General of Education and as an Education Adviser in Australian Federal politics. Currently Helena is Vice Principal of Walford Anglican School for Girls in South Australia. Helena has many years of experience working in international education. She is the immediate former chair of the Australasian Council for International Education and former Secretary of the College of Australian Educators, South Australian Branch Committee. Her previous Board memberships include Board of Governor, International Schools Association and member of the International Students Advisers Network of Australia. Helena is currently undertaking her PhD studies on the topic of Third Culture Kids.

Ref: L09P1376