The purpose of this study was to examine high school teacher, parent, and student views of factors influencing the development of student intercultural sensitivity at an international school in China. Evidenced by the growth of K-12 international schools around the world, an intercultural education appears to be of value to an increasing number of families. Eleven teachers, 11 parents, and 16 students, for a total of 38 participants were interviewed, through seven structured focus group interviews and four individual follow-up interviews to explore themes related to this study’s four research questions. From this qualitative study, themes emerged indicating a unique set of both individual and institutional factors converging in schools that influence the development of student intercultural sensitivity. Teachers, parents and students indicate that intercultural sensitivity is developed through significant immersion experiences and interactions with others from different cultures. Individual factors influencing intercultural sensitivity are related to parents, contact with one’s home culture, diverse friends, motivation, family intercultural experiences, second language ability and student technology use. Institutional factors influencing student intercultural sensitivity are organizational policies, natural unforced activities such as co-curricular activities, school community events, a diverse teaching staff, and student body, contact with host culture through class trips, the International Baccalaureate framework, and language classes. Findings lend support to Bennett’s (1993) Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) and that an international school environment fosters the development of intercultural sensitivity.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2019. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Deanne Magnusson. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 164 pages.
Factors influencing the ways students develop intercultural sensitivity at an international school in China.
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