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Intercultural Literacy and the International School

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Heyward, M (2004) Intercultural Literacy and the International School. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

In this study a new developmental model describing the nature of intercultural literacy and how it is learnt is proposed and trialled. Intercultural literacy is defined as the understandings, attitudes, competencies and identities which enable effective participation in a cross-cultural setting. As such it is presented as a crucial literacy for the globalised world of the twenty-first century. The Multidimensional Model for the Development of Intercultural Literacy is developed on the basis of theory from social psychology and international education, is checked for validity against reference groups in the field - practitioners in international schools in Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand - and is modified in the light of inputs received. The model is then trialled in the context of a case study of the Tanjung Bara International School and its community in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The case study seeks to map the school and community in terms of intercultural literacy, evaluate the school's intercultural literacy curriculum and explore the relationship between the community and school in relation to intercultural literacy learning. The broad aim is to determine the extent to which the proposed model is useful in helping to describe the case and to answer the questions posed by the case study. The case study concludes that the school and its community is predominately at a monocultural or 'distancing' level with a smaller group moving into the more positive learning stage characteristic of the cross-cultural level in the model. The community is found to have been deeply divided on cultural lines between the Indonesian and the largely Australian expatriate communities. The international school contributed to this divide through reinforcing the status of expatriates as privileged and separate. The objectives of the curriculum and non-core school programs to facilitate intercultural literacy were found to have been seriously hampered by this cultural divide, among other factors. The school was not found to have played a significant role in facilitating intercultural literacy learning in the broader community. The thesis concludes that the proposed Multidimensional Model for the Development of Intercultural Literacy is useful in this case study and is potentially useful in a wide range of contexts, particularly in international schools and their communities. It provides a tool which may assist educators in understanding intercultural literacy and facilitate the development of policy and practice including curriculum, extra-curricular programs and assessment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: literacy, education, international school
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2006
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:12
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/423
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