Creating Non-Traditional Multicultural Learning Environments Through Cultural Exchange

By Darren Clarke and Saundra Tomlinson-Clarke.

Published by The Learner Collection

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

Didactic teaching strategies confined to the university setting have traditionally been used to impart knowledge to learners. Experiential approaches provide opportunities for learners to have direct exposure to and active involvement in learning. Optimal learning environments for acquiring competence occur in settings where both didactic and experiential strategies are used. In addition, exposure to a variety of learning experiences provides continual opportunities for self-reflection and higher-order thinking associated with transformative learning and change. To this end, we describe a cultural exchange model between learners in the United States and South Africa. Learners are graduate students and educational practitioners in K-12 schools. The major goal of the cultural exchange is to create multicultural environments in which learners are engaged in direct cultural interactions within a different socio-cultural context. Through lived experiences, learners are more likely to challenge beliefs and assumptions and to develop critical thinking skills that are associated with personal and professional competence.

Keywords: Multicultural Competence, Multicultural Learning Environment, Cultural Exchange

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp.481-488. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.199MB).

Dr. Darren Clarke

Executive Director, Rutgers Graduate School of Education, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

My interest in multicultural learning has focused on the development and implementation of cultural exchange programs between United States graduate students and educational leaders and diverse countries. My domestic work includes providing professional development programs for teachers and educational leaders in the K-12 community in New Jersey. In collaboration with graduate faculty, my office conducts conferences and offers course work leading to graduate degrees.

Dr. Saundra Tomlinson-Clarke

Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

My research program focuses on multicultural training models, with a particular interest in cultural immersion as an experiential training tool for developing cultural competencies.

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