Challenge me! Communicating in multicultural classrooms

Kühnen, Ulrich; Egmond, Marieke; Haber, Frank; Kuschel, Stefanie; Özelsel, Amina; Rossi, Alexis; Spivak, Youlia
March 2012
Social Psychology of Education;2012, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p59
Academic Journal
The current study investigated the value of Socratic classroom communication (e.g., critical debate and challenging each other on content matters) among students from various cultures (clustered into Western Europeans, Eastern Europeans and Non-Europeans) and from members of faculty at an international university in Germany. Students from Western cultures where Socratic communication had been valued in the school systems reported a greater ease of engaging in the respective communication style than did Eastern European and Non-European students. Furthermore, we assessed how strongly the faculty valued the respective kinds of behavior. The results show that overall students underestimated the extent to which Socratic communication behavior was esteemed by members of faculty. In addition, faculty members perceived themselves to be more explicit about their pedagogical principles than they were perceived by students. Finally, the easier it was for students to show Socratic classroom communication, the more academically satisfied they were and the better their grades. The results are discussed with regard to practical implications and the internationalization of universities.


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