Internationalisation

Overview

Teaching at Aarhus University is becoming increasingly international: more courses and degree programmes are being taught in English, and more students and teachers come from abroad There is also an increasing need to give the students intercultural competences and a global perspective. This internationalisation of AU’s teaching constitutes a special challenge which can be met by active inclusive teaching.

  

  

Cultural and linguistic diversity

The university’s international degree programmes are often characterised by a high degree of cultural and linguistic diversity. The classes consist of students and teachers from very different backgrounds whose expectations with regard to teaching and learning vary considerably. This diversity provides the students with unique opportunities to develop their intercultural competence and the international dimensions of their field of study. The international degree programmes are also characterised by the fact that English is the language of instruction. For most students and teachers in Denmark, this is a foreign language which the students have not necessarily used in an academic context before. 

Intercultural challenges for teaching and learning

Both linguistic and cultural challenges can arise for teaching and learning in an international context. Such challenges might involve general academic competences (academic reading, writing, oral presentations), teaching and exam types, and the expectations of Danish education culture regarding independent study and cooperation between students in study or project groups. Many students from other educational cultures are unfamiliar with the obligations of group work, and students from Denmark and abroad must all learn to make use of their differences in a shared learning process.

What is good inclusive teaching practice?

In order to succeed in the internationalisation of teaching environments with mixed student groups, it is important that teachers focus on inclusion and work explicitly and in a targeted manner with the various cultural and linguistic differences that are present and the opportunities they offer. This will help you to give the students the best opportunities to achieve their learning objectives and develop their intercultural understanding and competences.

Specific ideas for intercultural teaching practice:  

  • Explain the type of exam and assessment which is involved.
  • Support the students’ general academic and subject-specific learning though small exercises relevant to the exam and (peer) feedback.
  • Explain the basic rules for group work.
  • Mix your students in groups across these differences.
  • Identify the various academic, subject-related and personal resources of your students.

Finally, it is important to focus on how different cultural and linguistic resources can be used as assets in ways which make sense in the course teaching.

You can find examples of teaching practices which we recommend in international contexts using the links on the right.    

  

Teachers should ask themselves the following questions: 

  • Who are my students – what are their general academic and personal competences and resources? Are there any gaps which I need to be aware of?
  • What are my expectations of my students?
  • How can I make my expectations clear to all my students in the best possible way?
  • How do I support the students in learning both general academic and subject-specific aspects during the teaching?
  • How do I use cultural and linguistic diversity as a resource in ways which make sense for the course and for my students?
  • What are my own strengths and challenges in the teaching – and how can I work with these? 

  

                    Further Readings

                    • Carroll, J. (2015) Tools for teaching in an educationally mobile world.
                    • Lauridsen, K. M. & Cozart, S. M. (2015) Teaching and learning in the international classroom: quality principles and lessons learned from the IntlUni project. Internationalisation of Higher Education.
                    • Leask, B. (2015). Internationalizing the Curriculum.
                    • Leask, B. & J. Carroll (2013) Learning and Teaching Across Cultures. Good Practice Principles and Quick Guides. International Education Association of Australia (IEAA).

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                    Stacey Marie Cozart

                    Chief Consultant
                    M
                    H bldg. 1483, 648
                    P +4587162938
                    P +4560704698

                      

                    Karen M. Lauridsen

                    Associate professor
                    M
                    H bldg. 1323, 418
                    P +4587165105
                    P +4524438938