Issues of intercultural competence

COURSE: WORK AND LEARNING

FORUM: The future of work and education

TOPICS: McLean, cross-cultural competence

McLean, G.N. (2006). Rethinking Adult Learning in the Workplace. Advances in Developing Human Resources. 8 (3),416-423.

Issues of intercultural competence

Go to my blogGo to itslearning

Dear Erin,

Your post asks interesting questions. Here is my attempt at answering them.

I also found that McLean’s article was rather generic. However, I read it as a personal account of someone’s experience and self-reflection. In other words, I believe McLean was speaking “from the heart” and was not trying to present an academic argument.

You wrote:

I found the discussion of worldviews and their influence on adult learning somewhat redundant, as I would think that for all of us who work with adult learners, it almost goes without saying that people bring with them unique experiences and perspectives that influence their learning and we should recognize and appreciate these differences.

From reading this and many of your posts, I have the impression that you are definitely at an advanced level of intercultural awareness. In the past, in another forum, I presented information on how such awareness may develop in stages and how different people would be situated at different levels of intercultural awareness and competency.

McLean’s article does not offer much in terms of analysis of such issues; it only – in my opinion – gives a personal, supportive narrative of the author’s experience. It could serve well as a key-note speech.

I agree with your comments that just “participating” in a cross-cultural experience doesn’t necessarily affect one’s intercultural competencies. That would require an approach built also on self-reflection, knowledge of meta intercultural differences, different ways of looking at cultures, etc.

Such stages of intercultural sensitivity were researched by Milton Bennett. A synopsis of his work is listed on my e-portfolio: (go to the link and scroll down to)

Milton Bennett: A developmental model of intercultural sensitivity

I have discussed these issues earlier in the program. Here are the links to my post (whichever works): (link to my e-portfolio) (link to itslearning)

McLean’s article could not possibly cover all of that and therefore remains of limited use if you are looking for comprehensive answers.

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