|dc.description.abstract||Towards an Internationalised Classroom
As Dilys Schororman argues, over the period of the last ten years, the term ‘internationalisation’ has become a buzzword in higher education and an increasingly important aspect of universities’ mission statements all over the world. Despite the frequency of the term appearing in higher education rhetoric, Schororman claims that ‘what has been less evident is a clear conceptualization of the desired nature, purpose and scope of the internationalization process’ (Schororman, 2000).
It is perhaps not surprising, then, that definitions of ‘internationalisation’ vary to such a significant extent. Mc Taggart, for example, argues that internationalisation constitutes a ‘change to make the curriculum more engaging and relevant for students from cultures different from that of the university itself’ and a ‘change to prepare students from home and other cultures to live and work in settings and organisations quite different from those of the university’s home culture’ (McTaggart, 2003). Nilsson, however, focuses to a more significant extent on creating spaces to engage students in intercultural exchange arguing that an internationalised curriculum prepares students for performing at all levels in an international and multicultural context (Nilsson, 2003). Despite the differences in theoretical approaches, most theorists concur that internationalisation constitutes a radical departure in academic pedagogy that encourages staff and students to look beyond their own cultures, values and norms and embrace the perspectives of others. This is emphasised by Schororman who defines internationalisation as ‘an ongoing, counterhegemonic educational process that occurs in an international context of knowledge and practice where societies are viewed as subsystems of a larger, inclusive world’ (Schororman, 2000). This process of change aims to encourage staff and students to develop a new way of looking at the world. In line with this, Rizvi argues that internationalisation should include values such as ‘openness, tolerance and cosmopolitanism’ and that the overall goal should be the development of what is termed as ‘culturally inclusive behaviour’ (Rizvi, 2000).
As Martin Haigh and Valerie Clifford argue so succinctly, the role of a university must be to achieve more than the production of a set of graduates who are simply able to do a job. Rather they should be producing graduates with a wide ranging set of what they term ‘graduate attributes’ and a wide range of skills which enable them to function as effective members of society (Haigh and Clifford, 2009). There is no doubt that an internationalised curriculum is a step in the right direction towards encouraging the development of the responsible, capable, compassionate, self aware and cosmopolitan citizens that Haigh and Clifford refer to and that such citizens are more effective as they are better prepared to function in today’s global society and employment marketplace. The need for internationalised curricula is particularly acute given the specific context of the School as a relatively high percentage of its 1,200 students are from the immediate surrounding geographical area and from socio-economic backgrounds where there have been relatively few opportunities for them to engage in cross-cultural activities and debate.||en_US