Giving a broader perspective using culturally varied examples.

In conversation with: Christopher Barnatt, Chris Ennew, Nicola Pitchford. Produced: November 2009; Duration: 4 minutes : 28 seconds.

Chris Ennew:
When we come to content, clearly, you could talk to a physicist who's going to say, well, you know, the laws of physics are the same round the globe, by and large and I'm quite comfortable with believing that. When you come to social sciences and humanities, and you know, indeed, perhaps, some of the life sciences, then the situation is rather different, and, you know, quite naturally, if I'm teaching marketing, what is it that I'm familiar with? Well, I know the environment in Europe, I know the big European companies, I know what they do, I know what the key trends and challenges are, I naturally going to tend to talk about those when I give examples and illustrations and use case studies. And, you know, I find I've got to work quite hard to stop myself doing that, and saying, No, go and look at different areas of the world, get different examples, you know, it's all very well talking about the problems of an aging population and what it means for firms in Europe, but actually, if you're in India, it's exactly the opposite problem. And so, if you maintain a very Euro or even UK centric focus, I think what you teach starts to lose resonance for different groups of students.

Chris Barnatt:
I teach a lot about technology and organisation so you've got to be aware, for example, technology development is very different in different parts of the world. Students will come from Japan having a very different experience of what they expect to work to students from Africa or the UK or the States. So you're very careful your examples are as international as you possibly can be because the world is not as we sort of see in the press, the same level of technological development.

And that inevitably means when you put courses together you actually make sure you look at international resources more. I mean I find for example, it might have been in the past I would look for news stories of relevance to my area from the BBC site, now I'll still do that but I'll also look on CNN and I'll look at some of the Chinese news sites and translate them back and that gives you a very different perspective on the world because whereas actually what we think we know about international affairs is often quite strongly tainted by the cultural filter if you like of the people giving us that information.

Nicola Pitchford:
I tend to have questions that I ask the students as I go along. So, I might say something or other like, you know, if you were advising, you know, Gordon Brown on how literacy should be taught in this country, what would you tell him? you know, on the basis of what you've know, of what we've known, what we've discussed, what do you think are the things that should be done in schools? And, you know, I would get students to think about that in other contexts as well, so, you know, we might be talking about something like the spelling structure of a language and to sort of say, you know, languages differ in how letters map on to sounds, and we'll talk about different sorts of languages there. You know, what kind of educational implications would that have, you know, for teaching of learning to read in languages where it's very transparent for example Greek, where each letter maps consistently on to a single sound? How would that change? So, you know, just trying to broaden the issues out to a much wider perspective and get them to think, get the students to think about different countries, different applications of the work rather than what's going on here.

Chris Barnatt:
I think one aspect I think about quite a lot is when I'm doing ethics related to technology. So for example I'll teach part of a module looking at potential Eulogistic Engineering as a sort of future driver of technological change and there you can make quite nice comparisons between what's happening in the United States where GM crops are in the foreground, a lot of GM crops we grow very little but GM human research in America is very narrowly based, a little bit more with Obama but still quite frowned upon. You look at China they're spending of 1% of GDP on human related genetic engineering. So bringing those examples in is quite helpful in terms of the general syllabus but particularly when you've got students in the room who are from these countries you can make that a debate much more live.

Short paper

Towards international 'graduateness' asks the question "what does it mean to "internationalise" the curriculum?" and tries to offer some broad principles for doing so, by paying brief attention to some important contributions from the literature on the subject. An important related question is "internationalisation for who?" and highlights the concern that such development benefit both home and international students, and also staff within the university.
... more from Towards international 'graduateness'.

More scholarly interpretations of the theoretical basis:

... all Internationalisation short papers

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