Your way or my way? Integrating cultural diversity into team-based learning at Royal Roads University
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Chao, Ining T.
Pardy, Michael C.
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SubjectTeaching; Learning; Education, Higher; Royal Roads University; Multiculturalism; Team learning approach in education
Royal Roads University’s classrooms are becoming culturally diverse, giving rise to new challenges and rewards for students learning on teams. Students from different cultures differ in their orientation to communication styles, time, power distance, collectivism and individualism, and task vs. relationship focus. These differences can result in conflict, and can also support success, if facilitated well. In other words, when conflicts arise in teamwork, the emphasis is on creating shared understanding and team norms. Instead of a “your way or my way” mentality for adaptation, RRU faculty and students must jointly invent “our way”. The authors further provide suggestions for modifying team-based learning by adopting an intercultural mindset supported by responsive team composition, intercultural training, teamwork-appropriate assignment design, and multi-dimensional assessment of teamwork. Making team learning valuable and meaningful in a culturally diverse but inclusive manner, with inevitable conflicts, but necessary support and tools for students and faculty to learn and grow, is the very task we need to do to create a productive team-based learning culture.
Part III: Pedagogies & Learning Designs
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