Evaluating Double Loop Learning of Cultural Competencies

By Steven Henderson, Maria Tabuenca-Cuevas, Rosalyn Baldonado Eder and Gabriele Abermann.

Published by The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities

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There are many definitions of cultural competence; Fitzgerald (2002) identifies cultural general competence as more of a context-bound, practice-based, awareness, knowledge, attitude and skills concept. Deardorff (2009) defines intercultural competence in terms of its outcome: "the effective and appropriate behaviour and communication in intercultural situations, which again can be further detailed in terms of appropriate behaviour in specific contexts (appropriate behaviour being assessed by the other involved in the interaction).” The SKILL2Eprogramme is designed to assist a European international placement student become culturally competent – not only an important educational goal in its own right but also a necessary condition to obtaining benefit (or indeed completing) the placement period. It consists of a number of interventions including pre-departure assessment and training, cultural mentoring, a reflective diary and a final assessment. At an early stage in the design of SKILL2E it occurred to the academics that intercultural competence was a special case of double loop learning. Rather than simply learn a series of isolating routines that reduce the turbulence of intercultural incompetence, double loop learning is essential for the development of the learning skills that lead to higher levels of competence. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate and reflect upon the way that the SKILL2E project is based on the design of a double loop for the acquisition of cultural competences with learning loops which provide the participants with the framework for seriously reflective practice through diary writing which is key to the learning process.

Keywords: Reflection, Double Loop Learning, Intercultural Competence, International Work Placements

The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp.41-60. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 471.321KB).

Prof Steven Henderson

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Business, Sport and Enterprise, Southampton University Solent, Southampton, UK

Steven trained as an economist at the University of Kent at Canterbury. He worked at Toronto Dominion Bank until Black Monday 1987. Senior Researcher at Consumers' Association. Steven's main teaching interests include Strategic Management, Research Skills, Critical Management and PhD Supervision.

Dr. Maria Tabuenca-Cuevas

Associate Professor, Departamento de Innovacion y Formacion Didactica, Universidad Cátolica San Antonio, Alicante, Alicante, Spain

Assistant Professor at the Department of Education, Universidad Cátolica San Antonio, Murcia, Spain.

Rosalyn Baldonado Eder

Project coordinator and researcher for SKILL2E; Acting Head of Operations, International Office, Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Austria

Lecturer and Acting Head of Operations in International Office, Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, PhD candidate at the Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Educational Science, University of Fribourg (Switzerland).

Dr. Gabriele Abermann

Vice Rector, Information Technology, Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Salzburg, Austria

Professor of English at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences in the degree programme Information Technology and Systems Management, Vice Rector from 2011-2013, Head of International Office and Coordinator of the SKILL2E Project.