This study investigated how a Multi-Layered Autobiography Project impacts the intercultural competence for undergraduate students, many of whom were aspiring teacher candidates in the United States. For purposes of this project, the concept of “culture” was adapted from West and Turner’s (2018) definition: the norms, behaviors, standards, values, etc. shared by a group of people, and passed along to later generations. Investigators deemed that “culture” was composed of numerous microcultures among a smaller group of human beings (with their own language, communication strategies, behavior rules, and expectations), who are bonded together by similar experiences, values, characteristics, organization, membership, location, or histories. Based on prior research findings, the results were expected to support the position that cultural self-knowledge is a necessary step to increasing intercultural competence. The Multi-Layered Autobiography Project was implemented in an undergraduate general education course, Human Relations in a Multicultural Society, at a medium-sized public university in the Midwest region of the United States. The project fostered development of: (1) knowledge, (2) experience, (3) coaching or mentoring, and (4) self-reflection. The assignments in the Multi-Layered Autobiography Project included: an interview with a family elder, a personal diversity story, a cultural partnership interview, a service-learning experience at a culturally diverse organization, and an autobiography paper. Investigators used the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Version 3, as a tool for quantitative data analysis because of its reliability and validity. The analysis of pre- and post-instruction data gathered from undergraduate students enrolled in the semester-long course indicated a statistically significant improvement in participants’ intercultural competence, according to scores for their Developmental Orientation and Cultural Disengagement.
Elementary and Literacy Education Department
International Journal of Multiculturalism
Sandell, E., & Bersh, L.C. (2022). Impact of a multi-layered autobiography project for transforming intercultural competence among pre-service teachers. International Journal of Multiculturalism, 3(2), 12-34. DOI: 10.30546/2523-4331.2022.3.2.12
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