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But science is international! Finding time and space to encourage intercultural learning in a content-driven physiology unit

Etherington, S.J.ORCID: 0000-0002-6589-8793 (2014) But science is international! Finding time and space to encourage intercultural learning in a content-driven physiology unit. AJP: Advances in Physiology Education, 38 (2). pp. 145-154.

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Internationalization of the curriculum is central to the strategic direction of many modern universities and has widespread benefits for student learning. However, these clear aspirations for internationalization of the curriculum have not been widely translated into more internationalized course content and teaching methods in the classroom, particularly in scientific disciplines. This study addressed one major challenge to promoting intercultural competence among undergraduate science students: finding time to scaffold such learning within the context of content-heavy, time-poor units. Small changes to enhance global and intercultural awareness were incorporated into existing assessments and teaching activities within a second-year biomedical physiology unit. Interventions were designed to start a conversation about global and intercultural perspectives on physiology, to embed the development of global awareness into the assessment and to promote cultural exchanges through peer interactions. In student surveys, 40% of domestic and 60% of international student respondents articulated specific learning about interactions in cross-cultural groups resulting from unit activities. Many students also identified specific examples of how cultural beliefs would impact on the place of biomedical physiology within the global community. In addition, staff observed more widespread benefits for student engagement and learning. It is concluded that a significant development of intercultural awareness and a more global perspective on scientific understanding can be supported among undergraduates with relatively modest, easy to implement adaptations to course content.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: American Physiological Society
Copyright: © 2014 The American Physiological Society
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