Crossing Borders: Academic Service Learning as a Pedagogy for Transnational Learning
The paper examines the implications of an academic service learning program “Crossing Borders” on transnationalism and the internationalization of higher education. For individuals coming into Australia from other cultural and linguistic backgrounds, education arguably plays an especially significant part in the negotiation and construction of their understandings of Australian culture and identity. Transnational students are encouraged to disregard standards and norms developed in their home country and adopt those of the host country. This process is clearly complex since cultural norms and beliefs are embedded into the student and thus putting these aside is difficult. As a result, cultural differences exist in the student-lecturer relationship. Transnational students tend to be more reluctant to question the opinions of a lecturer as this is a position of authority. Students coming from cultures where study is very much teacher-led may find the transition to an academic environment with a strong emphasis on independent learning difficult. Using Bourdieu’s theory of social capital and cultural reproduction as a conceptual framework, this study explores the role of the “Crossing Borders” program in enabling transnational learning communities generate and sustain empowering knowledge networks. Such insight might inform educators and policy makers at some point in the future so that other transnationals will benefit from an increased understanding of the challenges and opportunities involved in crossing cultures. Further benefits of transnational education are that it helps in the development of university involvement with other nations and also provides the opportunity for cross-cultural experiences for domestic students.
Keywords: Academic Service Learning, Cross Cultural, Pedagogy, Social Capital, Cultural Capital
Dr. Loshini Naidoo
Lecturer, School of Education, University of Western Sydney