Crossing Borders: Academic Service Learning as a Pedagogy for Transnational Learning

By Loshini Naidoo.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper examines the implications of an academic service learning program “Crossing Borders” on transnationalism and the internationalization of higher education. For individuals coming into Australia from other cultural and linguistic backgrounds, education arguably plays an especially significant part in the negotiation and construction of their understandings of Australian culture and identity. Transnational students are encouraged to disregard standards and norms developed in their home country and adopt those of the host country. This process is clearly complex since cultural norms and beliefs are embedded into the student and thus putting these aside is difficult. As a result, cultural differences exist in the student-lecturer relationship. Transnational students tend to be more reluctant to question the opinions of a lecturer as this is a position of authority. Students coming from cultures where study is very much teacher-led may find the transition to an academic environment with a strong emphasis on independent learning difficult. Using Bourdieu’s theory of social capital and cultural reproduction as a conceptual framework, this study explores the role of the “Crossing Borders” program in enabling transnational learning communities generate and sustain empowering knowledge networks. Such insight might inform educators and policy makers at some point in the future so that other transnationals will benefit from an increased understanding of the challenges and opportunities involved in crossing cultures. Further benefits of transnational education are that it helps in the development of university involvement with other nations and also provides the opportunity for cross-cultural experiences for domestic students.

Keywords: Academic Service Learning, Cross Cultural, Pedagogy, Social Capital, Cultural Capital

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp.139-146. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 547.160KB).

Dr. Loshini Naidoo

Lecturer, School of Education, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Dr. Loshini Naidoo is a lecturer in sociology in the School of Education at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. Her academic areas of interest include social justice, cultural diversity and difference and pedagogy and globalisation. Her current research is related to issues of globalisation and localisation and she was one of the Chief Investigators into a recent study of globalisation, westernisation and Sino-Australia education reform and a chief investigator on a project related to teaching literacies to refugee students in Western Sydney secondary schools. She is also the international student coordinator in the School of Education and is concerned with the English literacy and acculturation concerns of transnational students.

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