Researching Intercultural Communication in a UK Higher Education Context

Turner, Joan and Hiraga, M. K.. 2012. Researching Intercultural Communication in a UK Higher Education Context. In: Martin Cortazzi and Lixian Jin, eds. Researching Intercultural Learning. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 117-134. ISBN 9780230321335 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

In this chapter, we undertake four different kinds of analysis towards an understanding of intercultural communication in action. The action is situated in a context where intercultural encounters are common, namely contemporary higher education. Furthermore, the intercultural encounters are discipline specific. They take place in one-to-one tutorials in fine art, in a UK institution. The lecturers are British and the students are Japanese. In the first place, the tutorial interactions are analysed in terms of the tutorial as genre; secondly, certain recurring exchange types within the tutorial are isolated as examples of what we call epistemic principles, namely those underlying principles which motivate teaching and learning in the discipline. Thirdly, and following on from the discourse analytic perspective of the students’ behaviour, students’ own accounts of why they were behaving as they were, and how they understood the tutorial interactions, are explored in a number of retrospective, semi-structured interviews. The stimulus for those interviews were video-recordings of the students’ own tutorials, which had taken place one year earlier, and they were carried out in Japanese. This afforded a fourth kind of analysis, namely the extent to which the students had adapted to or resisted, not only the interactional norms of the tutorial, i.e. behaving like students in a UK context, but also the disciplinary norms which lay behind those interactions. In this final analysis, two students are adopted as case studies, and it is principally, but not exclusively, data from their tutorials and retrospective interviews, which fuel the discussion throughout the chapter. Those two case study examples were specifically chosen for their different degrees of commitment to the expectations of their UK institutional context, and differing levels of engagement with the underlying epistemic principles.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies
Research Office > REF2014


November 2012Published

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Date Deposited:

21 Nov 2012 15:35

Last Modified:

26 Jun 2017 10:59


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