Intercultural Co-learning is a learning experience in which students from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds are not simply in the same classroom, but rather, through groupwork and projects, have meaningful interaction and deepen a mutual understanding of both others and oneself.
In doing so, creating a new sense of values. It accentuates the importance of the learner’s ownership of the study process, which makes it learner-centered and involves experiential learning that broadens the walls of the classroom. Those who are disposed to a classroom style in which the learner follows the instructions of the teacher may feel some slight hesitation or feel overwhelmed.
However, students will grow exponentially when they think in an environment that has various values and work-styles, learn the importance of taking the initiative, and espy the joy in academic growth into an independent learner.
With globalization, society will become more and more complex. To work and coexist with people who were raised in a fundamentally different environment with language and culture, one must listen to foreign ideas, understand them, and respond with original ideas.
A student must acquire the qualifications and abilities to be a global human resource. The catalyst is international co-learning, and the instigator – the practitioner.
It was in the field of Japanese education that international co-learning was introduced.
It first started with mainly international students in mind, to teach Japanese societal affairs through classroom themes that incorporate topics that have to do with timely subjects, Japanese values, and other cultures.
After a promotional project to create a network for the internationalization of Japanese universities (Global 30, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, 2011~2015), and the initiative to develop global human resources to lead the economical society (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, 2013~2017), there have been more classes in English and geared towards international students. These days, there has been cooperation between regional society and industry in intercultural co-learning, and even intercultural co-learning across oceans with other affiliated associations.
In multicultural societies like the US or Australia, research has shown that not only in the realm of academia, but the multicultural environment itself is effective for cultural understanding of both your own and others, and to communicate across cultural barriers.
In Australia, there has been a new initiative called “Finding Common Grounds” that focuses on classroom formation, and teaching methodologies concerning students from various cultural backgrounds, which has caused a sensation.
Now, even in non-English speaking country like the Netherlands or Germany, or Asian countries like Singapore or South Korea, there have been examples of it being put into practice. Please look here for more.