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A pluralistic approach to multicultural group work

Visram, Z. (2020) A pluralistic approach to multicultural group work. EdD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00097048


Despite the internationalisation of higher education, which offers a multicultural space, there is little understanding as to what are the behaviours and attitudes within multi-cultural groupwork. The cultural mix of values, beliefs and behaviours of students from different cultural backgrounds participating within multicultural group-work can present many challenges leading to misunderstandings. This thesis explored to what extent group behaviour and attitudes were related to cultural expectations within multi-cultural group-work and how the benefits of multicultural group-work could be maximised. The study explored the students’ perceptions of their own behaviours and that of others within multicultural group-work. It also uncovered the challenges and the richness cultural behaviours brought to multi-cultural groupwork. To achieve this, the study took an ontological position of phenomenology. Nine students were interviewed from different cultures. A series of four focus groups were conducted, with a total of 17 students, to identify from the student voices, the key factors that could be included in a pluralistic model that embraces diversity and capitalises on the benefits of multi-cultural group-work. The main conclusions from this study were that the long-term impact of family and societal cultural expectations did subsequently appear to shape the students’ behaviours within multicultural group-work. In addition, this study found that despite the challenges experienced, the benefits outweighed the challenges. The study also identified that the students lacked certain ‘critical skills’ needed to successfully participate in multicultural group work. These were skills concerning cultural awareness, organisational and planning, negotiating and debating. There was also an inability to articulate ideas with different cultures and to speak confidently in multicultural group-work. The student voices from the focus groups gave rise to a conceptual teaching model, namely, the Awareness, Critical Skills and Ethical Dimensions Model (A.C.E), which helps to develop the ‘critical skills’ needed for multicultural group-work.

Item Type:Thesis (EdD)
Thesis Supervisor:Bilton, H. and Graham, S.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute of Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Language and Literacy in Education
ID Code:97048


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