It is not only about language learning

Hosted by King's College London, the Intercultural LAB was co-organised by the Circle U. Think & Do Tank, professors and pedagogical engineers engaged in developing blended learning opportunities within the alliance. The LAB brought together 15 students and staff from member universities during the Multilingualism Week held in London. 

Participants of the Intercultural LAB at King’s College London.

Exploring Intercultural Concepts

The three-day workshops on intercultural skills were intended as a complementary training for Circle U. students who attended the online language courses at King's College. It was the first initiative of hybrid learning also extended to academic and other professional services staff. The LAB was designed and delivered by Dr. Donata Puntil and Dr. Kyriaki Koukouraki of King's College London.

Through interactive exercises and the creation of a mini-project, the participants had the opportunity to explore the concept of intercultural competence, its link to their personal lived experiences, the importance of objects in intercultural encounters, along with the skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to be interculturally competent in a globalised world. The professors shared concepts such as embodied Interculturality, positionality; belonging as a fluid movement across cultures, times, places, identities, communities as well as the use of art-based methodologies in developing intercultural competencies.

– It was truly an honour and pleasure meeting such excellent students and members of staff from the Circle U. Alliance and to discuss with them topics such as intercultural competence, cultural self-awareness and positionality, stated Dr. Kyriaki Koukouraki.

Intercultural Competence as Global Citizenship

During the sessions, the group further discussed the definition of global citizenship in connection with interdisciplinarity in the context of higher education. This idea refers to moving across and between disciplines and communities of practice and how this process is shaped by individuals and their cultures. Intercultural education through an international curriculum aims to empower learners to see the world through the lens of others, develop empathy and the critical skills to understand the drivers that shape their disciplines by challenging different frames of reference. With this respect, it is ever more important today to encourage reflexivity to connect positively with cultural others.

– Teaching the Intercultural LAB was a wonderful and refreshing experience for me; I really enjoyed working with international members of staff and students from different Circle U. universities. Having participants from a variety of backgrounds, ages, genders and approaches to learning ad teaching in the context of Higher Education was a perfect blend to discuss, live and experience intercultural encounters. I would like to thank the organizers of the LAB and above all, the participants who, with their comments, suggestions and ideas, made the three-day experience a very powerful and embodied intercultural journey, concludes Dr. Donata Puntil.

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Published Sep. 23, 2022 1:02 PM - Last modified Sep. 28, 2022 2:29 PM