Creating non-traditional multicultural learning environments through cultural exchange

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Didactic teaching strategies confined to the university setting have traditionally been used to impart knowledge to learners. Experiential approaches provide opportunities for learners to have direct exposure to and active involvement in learning. Optimal learning environments for acquiring competence occur in settings where both didactic and experiential strategies are used. In addition, exposure to a variety of learning experiences provides continual opportunities for self-reflection and higher-order thinking associated with transformative learning and change. To this end, we describe a cultural exchange model between learners in the United States and South Africa. Learners are graduate students and educational practitioners in K-12 schools. The major goal of the cultural exchange is to create multicultural environments in which learners are engaged in direct cultural interactions within a different socio-cultural context. Through lived experiences, learners are more likely to challenge beliefs and assumptions and to develop critical thinking skills that are associated with personal and professional competence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-488
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Learning
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


  • Cultural exchange
  • Multicultural competence
  • Multicultural learning environment

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