Teacher's Views Regarding the Ways in Which Intercultural Competence is Developed in an International School

Speaker: Gavin Hornbuckle
Institution: Dwight School Seoul, South Korea

This study is a mixed methods investigation of teachers' views regarding the ways in which the intercultural competence (ICC) of students is developed at an international school in Southeast Asia. A survey was administered to approximately 90 active teachers in the high school section of the school, to which forty-six teachers responded. The statistical software SPSS was used to analyze the survey data. In addition, nine teachers were interviewed and administered the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), and demographic data were gathered.

The results of the study indicate that, in the view of teachers, there are four primary ways that the intercultural competence of students is developed in their school: 1) By spending time with students of other nationalities, 2) The way in which the curriculum is taught in the classroom, 3) By a school environment that is supportive of cultural diversity and 4) By being proficient in English. Results of the IDI show that the teachers to whom it was administered had a group Developmental Score that fell within the range of low Minimization, indicating a more ethnocentric world-view, which is consistent with other studies investigating the intercultural competence of teachers in K-12 settings. Teachers whose Developmental Scores fell within Polarization focused on student nationality, culture and difference to a greater extent than those with scores in the Minimization range.

These finding indicate that teachers believe immersion in cultural difference is sufficient for the intercultural competence of students to develop, however a growing body of literature suggests that this is not the case. The IDI results indicate that teachers may not be prepared to be cultural mentors. There is a need for increased focus on intercultural competence in leadership and for professional development programmes in K-12 settings, as well as further research into the outcomes of curricular and co-curricular programmes in international schools.


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