- Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.
- Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.
As educators, we are facing a diversity of students in our classroom: different traits, different bias, different learning experiences, different backgrounds, and different nationalities. As the educator in an international school, how to teach global intercultural students to gain abilities to communicate and collaborate effectively as the 21st-century competencies is the critical question.
We always think that it is the most significant advantage for international school’s students to understand and handle the variety of cultures and easily get engaged in the ways of globalized learning through effective collaboration and communication with peers who come from different countries. But in reality, students are too stressful to deal with cross-cultural learning environment within the barriers from different languages and backgrounds. They separate themselves into different groups by nationalities for both school activities and leisure time. The situation is further away from the goal to foster 21st century’s creative communicator and global collaborator. The international school provides a globalized environment as an excellent vehicle which needs to be driven to the correct direction by educators’ guide. Teachers need to pave the path for students to get benefits from the learning environment to understand the diversity of cultures, express themselves creatively, communicate ideas clearly and effectively, enrich and broaden perspectives by collaborating to gain cultural synergy on learning. We need to build their confidence, trust and empathy to enjoy and benefit from the global learning model rather than suffering from overwhelming and misunderstanding.
Educational technology intervened
Face to the diverse cultural backgrounds, we need to build a bridge between students through digital technologies. Teachers can provide activities to promote students to understand each other’s differences from cultures and bias. Through these activities, students will gain a fundamental concept of diversity which can foster respect of each other’s culture and empathy on differences. With the educational technologies intervened, teachers can choose appropriate activities to improve students to know more about each other.
Digital storytelling is a powerful narrative activity for a different range of ages. Teachers can guide students to use Little Bird Tales, Shadow Puppet to create digital stories on a teacher-assigned theme with time constraints. DS will scaffold students to express their ideas effectively and clearly without pressures which allow them to practice with no-limited of time before sharing to peers and also grow up confidence in communication. Students will be motivated and get engaged to present themselves by digital tools with less stress. Teachers need to seek a deep understanding of students’ different culture and backgrounds to choose the appropriate story topics to raise their motivation.
Task-based learning through Web 2.0
Web 2.0 enables learners to create and share content through social networking in a dynamic and instantaneous manner which provide more opportunities for telecollaboration. In task-based learning, teachers face the challenges of raising awareness of intercultural learning. Teachers need to explore multiple tasks which meet students’ diverse preferences based on cultures. Students have the freedom to choose the task they are good at or feel comfortable working on and use asynchronous communication tools based on Web 2.0 such as Blog, Forum, Discussion board to share the reflections, solutions, and feedbacks. In this process, students can exchange ideas through digital platforms with which they can control their own pace without pressure and get the opportunity to open mind to the peers of other cultures with no-judgment attitude. It is also a good chance for L2 learners to get linguistic promotion from native speakers.
Teamwork learning through Web 2.0
Google Docs is a Web 2.0 technology tool that enables collaboration by creating, storing and sharing documents. Users can work on one document with others in the real-time without any limitation of location. Teachers will face more obstacles when they try to lead teamwork learning for multinational students. So in the learning process, the teacher is not only the facilitator also has a directive role. Small groups with multi-nationalities students combined teams divided into divisional roles (organizer, writer, designer, team leader… ) by the awareness of cultures is the threshold. Provide and receive ongoing feedbacks between students and teachers are essential for the success of the intercultural teamwork learning. The teacher needs to create a structure in which embraces caring, trust, empathy, and love to enhance students’ engagement and motivation to be global collaborators from online to reality to evolve into cultural synergy.
With the educational technologies intervened, intercultural communication and collaboration become more comfortable and evolve into a new form of learning meets 21st century’s competencies. For the international schools, students can utilize digital technologies to create a positive communicative and collaborative both online and real community where can help to build empathy, trust, and confidence to understand each other’s diversity. Technologies as the tool pave the way to scaffold students to get through challenges and obstacles. The administrator in the international school needs to provide ongoing PD training to help teachers have deep-dive on the understanding of different learning features based on diverse cultures. Teachers as the guidance, need to hold high awareness of intercultural learning to create a new method to accommodate the diversity of students. We need to use the globalized environment in the international school to benefit our students to be global learners who have abilities to learn from various perspectives by communicating effectively and collaborating globally not only in the digital world but also in reality.
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