We have completed results from our pilot semester of curricular implementation, Spring 2017.
The first semester was a small-scale pilot: we ran two sections of the course. Eight students submitted writing for the research project, and two completed follow-up interviews. Half of the participants were international (China, Thailand, and Japan). Half of the participants were domestic (including two students with international parents).
- 6 of 8 participants showed substantive intercultural development
- Students who engaged with the curriculum developed intercultural competence or maintained an already high level of IC.
- Thus, there are students for whom this curriculum achieves its outcomes
- It turns out, there are many paths to intercultural development.
- Qualitative analysis helps us see how engagement with curriculum develops intercultural competence and writing proficiencies.
A small-scale pilot (while limiting the initial results in some ways) was helpful because it:
- allowed us to examine data recursively, necessary for the development of a solid grounded-theory coding scheme
- offered the opportunity for a deep-dive into different student profiles
- gave us a closed set of 40 reflective texts with which we could come to intercoder agreement
- directed minor curricular revisions before training more teacher-researchers to implement the curriculum the following year
We notices three key trends in our pilot data grounded theory coding:
- Critical evaluation increases across the semester, and parallels the DMIS advancement. Critical evaluation skills are instrumental for building cultural knowledge (Deardorff, 2004).
- Students have a high frequency of the prior conditions code during their first journal, demonstrating a consistent effort to draw connections between life experiences before the course and the content of the course.
- In the final course reflection, students tended to emphasize writing skills more than intercultural skills, demonstrating an awareness of the university/departmental context of the interventions.
We are currently analyzing data from Fall 2017 and Spring 2018. A whole lot more results forthcoming!