What influences student intercultural communication in multinational classrooms: Issues of language, identity, representation and resistance

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Description of Activity

Student identities in classrooms, the ways they see and represent themselves shape how they communicate, what they communicate about, how they communicate with others and how they communicate about others. Hence, identity, representation, culture and difference are all central to understand student integration in an international classroom. The research attempts to answer the following questions:
1)Do cultural differences facilitate or obstruct student discussion in classrooms? Are cultural differences contributing to culture integration or culture separation in student discussions?
2)Do the stereotypes of ‘Asian learners’ and their ‘Confucius heritage culture’ challenge the representations of that ‘race’?
3)Are there possibilities for resistance to ‘mainstream/popular/host culture’ and connection with the others in multicultural environment?
In contemporary society, different knowledge systems compete in diverse settings. As a result, there is more critique, argument and debate and so less stability in knowledge and communication. Under the pressure of globalization, meanings become highly contested and negotiated. Hall (1997) has put it,’ meaning floats. It cannot be finally fixed’. We then begin to see communication as a culture negotiation (Holliday et al, 2004) though we are not all positioned equally in this dialogue, as is evident when we consider representations of ‘race’ (Hall, 1998, 1997). However, for example, with the rising power of China in the world community and Chinese as an increasing popular lingua franca, is ‘culture negotiation’ happening in our international classrooms? Is there evidence of how cultures change and transform, meet and merge, clash and crystallise into distinct and sometimes hostile factions and contain competing representations, interests and voices in an international classroom?
The research challenges the traditional view that languages and cultures are major barriers to intercultural communication but argues the importance of understanding the role of identity, representation and resistance in intercultural communication in classroom setting.
Period18 Nov 2017
Event titleBALEAP PIM-Intercultural Communication and EAP
Event typeConference
LocationNottingham, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational