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What Works? Intercultural Groupwork in the Common Core

Jointly organised by CETL and Common Core

Details of the workshop:
Date : 15 May, 2017 (Monday)
Time : 12:45pm – 2:00pm (Light refreshments will be provided.)
Venue : Room 321, 3/F, Run Run Shaw Building (Main Campus), HKU
Speaker : Dr. Tracy Zou (CETL) and Prof. Gray Kochhar-Lindgren (Common Core)

Abstract
Rated as both the ‘best and the worst learning experiences’ by both students and lecturers, groupwork is a complex matter. What, then, about intercultural groupwork? Doesn’t this complicate the matter even further? Students could, of course, potentially develop their cultural competence and gain multiple perspectives about each other and the subject matter, but the issue is how can we actually make it work its best for everyone?

During this workshop, we will explore together how we might make intercultural groupwork creative, energetic, and effective. A number of good practices identified from 15 Common Core courses, as well as those from the scholarly literature, will be shared.

Speakers
Dr. Tracy Zou is an assistant professor in the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) at HKU. She has been engaging in the development and promotion of effective university teaching and learning on a number of topics, for example, groupwork, assessment, and internationalisation of teaching and learning. She has also been involved in groupwork research at both course and curriculum levels.

Summary of the workshop

The joint workshop was opened by Prof. Grahame Bilbow, Director of the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, who emphasized that intercultural engagement was a key element of the University’s strategic goal on internationalisation. This was followed by the remarks by Prof. Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, the Common Core Director, on the importance of embedding intercultural groupwork in the Common Core Curriculum.

The workshop contained two intercultural group tasks facilitated by Dr. Tracy Zou. The first task was to explore five culturally-related practices on New Year’s Eve while the second task was to design assessment for the first task. The two tasks encouraged exploration in the following aspects: (1) how to create intercultural learning opportunities that can leverage student diversity and the accompanying cultural capital and students’ experiences? (2) how to assess intercultural groupwork?

Good practices identified in the literature and a number of Common Core courses were also shared. One useful model (Ramburuth & Welch, 2005) highlighted was about a holistic approach on developing cross-cultural competence, which involved four stages: knowing the diversity in the class; preparing students for intercultural groupwork through developing their awareness of self and others; designing intercultural groupwork, and connecting students through sharing and discussion.

How the intercultural groupwork could be assessed was also briefly discussed. Two rubrics (Teamwork Rubric and Intercultural Knowledge and Competence Rubric) developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities were shared in the handouts.

Finally, participants were invited to discuss in groups and provide input on good practices of groupwork design and assessment for the Common Core. We are grateful to their generous contribution of great ideas. The collective input can be found here: