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Effectiveness of International Exchanges on Teachers’ Cultural Intelligence Writers Eija Laitinen, Petri Nokelainen and Laura Pylväs

ABSTRACT

TIIVISTELMÄ

It seems that professional teachers in universities of applied sciences have a double role: they are at the forefront of the international activities of their institutions and at the same time they are the main responsible ones for conveying the message of intercultural competence to the graduate students. The objective of this research was to find out the effectiveness of short-term international teacher and staff exchanges to the self-evaluated level of cultural intelligence of the professional teachers. The research was implemented by using validated measurement instrument based on Cultural Intelligence Scale. The sample consists of 228 professional teachers from the three universities of applied sciences who responded to a 20-item electronic survey in 2013. The results show that international teacher or staff exchanges are not very effective in increasing teachers’ cultural intelligence. This finding is in line with the international research claiming that intercultural competence building, in addition to international experiences, requires deliberate guidance and self-reflection to turn the experience into increased professional capacity.

Opettajien kaksoisrooli ammattikorkeakoulujen kansainvälisyystoimijoina ja kansainvälisyyskasvattajina kiinnittää huomion ammatillisten opettajien vuorovaikutustaitoihin kansainvälisessä ympäristössä toimittaessa. Tämän tutkimuksen tarkoituksena oli tarkastella lyhytkestoisten kansainvälisten opettaja- ja henkilökuntavaihtojen vaikuttavuutta opettajan kulttuuriälyyn. Tutkimuksessa hyödynnettiin validoitua kulttuuriälyn asteikkoa opettajien itsearvioidun kulttuurienvälisyysosaamisen mittaamisessa. Sähköiseen 20 väittämän lomakekyselyyn vastasi 228 ammatillista opettajaa kolmesta eteläsuomalaisesta ammattikorkeakoulusta. Tulokset antavat viitteitä siitä, että lyhytkestoiset kansainväliset opettaja- tai henkilökuntavaihdot eivät ole kovin tehokkaita lisäämään opettajien kulttuurista älykkyyttä. Tämä havainto on yhteneväinen myös kansainvälisen tutkimuksen kanssa: ammatillisessa mielessä hyödyllisten kulttuurienvälisten valmiuksien kehittyminen edellyttää kansainvälisten kokemuksen lisäksi myös tavoitteellista ohjausta ja itsereflektiota.

Key words: intercultural competence, cultural intelligence, teacher, teacher exchange, intercultural training

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INTRODUCTION Importance of internationalization of higher education institutions (HEIs) is strongly reflected both in EU level and national guidance of educational institutions. Internationalization is to guarantee Europe’s economic potential to compete in world market and to contribute to peaceful societal development (e.g., Commission of the European Communities, 2010; Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, 2012). International communication competence is listed to be one of the key competences of lifelong learning (Commission of the European communities, 2006). Ministry of Education is guiding internationalization of HEIs for example through HEIs’ internationalization strategy (Finnish Ministry of Education, 2009). Based on the guidance of the authorities, HEIs have formulated institutional level internationalization strategies. Teachers at the universities of applied sciences (UAS) have a double role; in one hand they are part of the international community of their substance field promoting research and development (R&D) and on the other hand they are the main responsible ones to equip the students with competences to act in international environments. They are also facing new pedagogical challenges being responsible for teaching multicultural student groups. Despite the strive of bringing true internationalization to HEIs, the fact is that both national and international reviews regard internationalization as one of the key weaknesses of the Finnish higher education system (e.g., Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, 2015). HEI graduates seem to agree with this because they do not consider gaining enough competences related to international communication (Stenström, Laine & Valkonen, 2004). Internationalization is also strongly linked to the professionalism of teaching staff. Teacher quality and professionalism are related to capacity and willingness to be internationally active. However, the proficiency of teaching language is the only obvious requirement related to internationalization that has been officially set as qualification criteria for the UAS teachers, as other officially set qualifications are related to teachers’ professionalism in general (A352/2003).

research, parallels have been drawn and discussed between the concepts of cultural intelligence and intercultural competence. The concepts are related with similar factors in scientific inquiry and have been used in the context of professionalism. In this paper, we will answer the following research question: Do short international exchanges have significant effect on cultural intelligence of UAS teachers?

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Intercultural competence Intercultural communication is a rather new and interdisciplinary field of research with links at least to psychology, anthropology, sociology, linguistics and communication and organizational studies. Intercultural communication research is strongly determined by the definition of culture. In this research culture is understood to be knowledge, experiences, beliefs, norms, values, attitudes and shared patterns of behavior or interaction in a rather large group of people. Culture is socially learned and it guides its’ members worldviews. Culture systems are both products of individuals’ and group action, and hence culture is in constant transformation. Culture shapes members’ group identity and gives the important feeling of belonging. (e.g., Huttunen, Löytty, & Rastas, 2005.) Hofstede, Hofstede and Minkov (2010) define the process as culture software or programming of the mind.

Competence can be defined as individual capacity or potential to perform successfully (Hanhinen, 2010). However, multi-dimensional definitions of competence capture wider range of features linked to competence in time. Mulder (2014) divides approaches to define competence into three. Firstly, competence can be seen to classify the actual existing competence and the one that individual is aiming to have. Secondly, it can be integrated to professionalism and include knowledge, skills and attitudes. The third approach defines competence as a context or situation bound to expertise. In this research, competence is holistically tied to professionalism of individuals. Professional competence consists of cognitive (knowledge The aim of this research is to bring knowledge on the and understanding), functional (skills) and individual cultural intelligence of UAS teaching staff as members (attitudes and behavior) dimensions that all together of international research and development commu- contribute to meta-competence (capacity to develop nity and teachers of intercultural competences. The substantive cognitive, functional and individual comresearch focuses on the effectiveness of short inter- petencies). (Le Deist and Winterton, 2005.) national staff exchanges (max. 2 weeks) to self-evaluated intercultural intelligence of UAS teachers. The Deardorff (2006) defines intercultural competence main theoretical concepts of the study are cultural as appropriate and effective behavior and the way intelligence and intercultural competence. In this of communication that allows one to reach the goals

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set for the communication. The desired outcomes are built on attitudes, cultural knowledge and comprehension and skills. Rathje (2007) consider the concepts of effectiveness and appropriateness equivocal. However, among the many theoretical definitions (e.g., Spitzberg & Chagnon, 2009), Deardorff’s (2006) defination is based on empirical Delphi-panel where the participants represented 20 recognized intercultural communication researchers.

Both approaches are in unison that learning to improve intercultural competence or cultural intelligence is possible. Also, both schools agree that situation and context define competence or CQ needed. This means that an individual can in one situation or culture communicate very successfully but fail in another. Intercultural competence or CQ are processes in which no one can ever reach perfection. Intercultural competence and CQ are holistic concepts where knowledge, skills, attitudes and motivation are all linked Intercultural competence can also be seen as a phi- together and needed in performing well in intercultulosophy which ushers humans to become conscious ral situations, positive attitude and respect of diverof diversity of cultures and brings the respect, justice sity are seen to be starting points. (Deardorff, 2006; and strive to equity to one’s actions (Jokikokko, 2010; Earley & Ang, 2003; Van Dyne et al., 2009.) Talib, 2005). Bennett’s (1993) describes intercultural competence as a learning process from ethnocent- RESEARCH METHODOLOGY rism to ethnorelativism. Kim (2009) and Ting-Toomey (2005) take up the identity issue as a starting point for Participants intercultural competence. As for Gudykunst (2005), uncertainty management is the entry to intercultu- The electronic survey was sent to all teachers of three ral competence. On the other hand some researchers, UAS’s in Southern Finland (N=954). The response rate for example Dervin (2010) question if the concept of was of 23.9 per cent (N=228). The representativeness competence can at all capture the features really nee- of the data and the possibility to generalize the results are relatively good, as the survey covered all the eight ded in successful intercultural communication. study fields of UAS’s in both rural and urban campuses. In addition, the study also included a professioCultural intelligence nal teacher training programme (Finnish Ministry of Concept of cultural intelligence (CQ), created by Ear- Education and Culture, 2012). ley and Ang (2003), is based on enlarged understanding of intelligence (Sternberg & Detterman, 1986; The gender was distributed quite equally in the sampGardner, 1983). Cultural Intelligence means the capa- le: 133 were females (58.3 %) and 95 were males (41.7 bility to function effectively in situations characteri- %). Average age of the respondents was 50.8 years zed by cultural diversity (Earley & Ang, 2003, p. 9). (SD=8.0). Most respondents were in the age groups The researchers parallel cultural intelligence to social of 41 – 50 years and 51 – 60 years. Regarding the age intelligence, and argue that the CQ can explain why and study fields, the participants represent quite well some intelligent individuals have difficulties in adap- the population of UAS teaching staff in Finland (Finting to new cultures. Social intelligence is seen to exp- nish Ministry of Education and Culture, 2012). lain the success in social situations inside one cultural group whereas CQ is seen to result in appropriate be- The respondents were asked on how many short staff exchanges they had participated in. The teachhavior in multicultural communication. er exchanges were separated from staff exchanges, Even though the underlying theoretical assumptions which did not include teaching, for example, exchanin competence based approach and in cultural in- ges to negotiate on partnerships or participation to telligence are different, in both perceptions success seminars. The teacher exchanges were divided to factors of intercultural communication are divided participation to one exchange (n=33, 14.5 %), two to same kind of sub-areas. Behavior and actions de- or three exchanges (n=40, 17.5 %) and participation monstrate the competence or CQ in intercultural in more than three exchange (n=44, 19.5 %). Majocommunication. These skills are based on culture rity of the respondents had not participated in any specific knowledge, understanding and acceptance teacher exchanges (n=111, 48.7 %). Staff exchanges that one’s own and other’s behavior is bound to. At- were classified in the same way: participation to one titude defines person’s motivation and willingness to non-teaching exchange (n=23, 10.5 %), two or three cross-cultural communication and develop oneself in exchanges (n=42, 18.4 %) and participation to more intercultural communication (Deardorff, 2006; Earley than three exchanges (n=70, 30.7 %) and no participation at all (n=92, 40.4 %). & Ang, 2003). T U T K I M U S TA J A T U LO K S I A H A M K I S TA

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Measurement instrument

RESULTS

Self-evaluated intercultural competence of UAS teachers was measured by using the Finnish language version (Laitinen, 2014) of empirically validated Cultural Intelligence Scale (CQS). CQS is a 20-item Likert type (1=strongly disagree, 7=strongly agree) instrument based on the concept of cultural intelligence. The four factors of the scale are metacognition, cognition, motivation and behavior (Van Dyne et al., 2009; Earley & Ang, 2003).

Before analyzing the research question, we examined if age or gender were related to the self-assessed cultural intelligence. Impact of the age (N=228) was analyzed through four age groups: under 40 year old respondents (n=21, 9.2%), 41 – 50-year old (n=91, 39.9%), 51 – 60-year old (n=89, 39.0%) over 60-year old (n=27, 11.8%) teachers. Kruskal-Wall’s H-test did not show any differences in cultural intelligence between the age groups. Mann-Whitney U-test showed that cultural intelligence of females (n=133, 58.3%) Metacognition (strategy) refers to understanding on was significantly higher in all four factors than that of how one’s own and other’s behavior is culture bound. males (n=95, 41.7%). This understanding is the foundation for effective cross-cultural actions because it enables awareness, Impact of participation to short teaching and planning and strategizing as well as checking of one’s staff exchanges to cultural intelligence of UAS actions. Cognition (knowledge) is the knowledge diteachers mension of cultural intelligence. It involves knowledge structures and mental maps on societal structures, Participation to teacher and staff exchanges was dieconomic and legal systems as well as norms, values, vided to four groups: 1) participation to one teachreligious believes and interpersonal relationships in er or staff exchange (n=33; n=24); 2) participation to different cultures. Motivation (drive) includes wil- 2 – 3 exchanges (n=40; n=43); 3) participation to molingness and energy to cross-cultural interactions. It re than 3 exchanges (n=44; n=70); 4) no participation also includes person’s trust and self-efficacy to ma- at all (n=111; n=92). nage successfully intercultural communication. Behavior (action) is person’s capability to change verbal Teachers who had participated in 2 – 3 teacher and nonverbal communication style in intercultural exchanges (M=5.0, SD=.91) or to more than 3 teacher communication. (Van Dyne et al., 2009; Earley & Ang, or staff exchanges (M=5.0, SD=1.10; M=5.0, SD=.97) 2003; Livermore, 2010.) had the highest CQ mean score. On the other hand, the lowest CQ mean score was in a teacher group with The CQS has been validated with more than 1500 no participation to any staff exchange programme students in Singapore (Van Dyne et al., 2009; Earley (M=4.5, SD=1.10). Also the teachers groups with no & Ang, 2003). The Cronbach alpha of the factors va- participation (M=4.6, SD=1.19) to any teacher exchanried between .71 – .84 (p< .01) (Van Dyne et al., 2009). ge or only to one (M=4.6, SD=1.03) teacher exchange CQS has also been tested to be a valid instrument in scored low. (Table 1.) peer evaluations (Kim, Kirkman, & Chen, 2008). The motivational factor of CQS has correlated significantly Motivation was the strongest sub-scale of CQ all te(r=.32 – .35, p<.001) with three instruments created acher groups in both teacher and staff exchange parto measure intercultural adaptation (N=157) (Templer, ticipation. The highest motivation sub-scale mean Tay, & Chandrasekar, 2006). scores were with the teacher (M=5.7, SD=1.04) and staff (M=5.8, SD=.97) groups with more than 3 participations to exchange programmes. Lowest motivaStatistical analyses tion sub-scale mean scores were with teacher group Gender differences were examined with Mann-Whit- with no participation (M=5.2, SD=1.38) to any teachney U-test, which is a non-parametric equivalent to er exchanges or with only one (M=5.2, SD=1.32) or t-test. The impact of international teaching and staff no (M= 5.1, SD=1.36) staff exchanges. Cognition and exchanges and participation to intercultural trainings behavior were the CQ sub-components where all the to CQ was examined by using Kruskal-Wall’s H-test. teacher groups felt most insecurity. The lowest CQ This non-parametric test corresponds parametric F- cognition mean scores in regard to participation to tetest and it is used when there are more than two acher exchanges was with the teachers who had partigroups to be compared. The test was used to compa- cipated in one exchange (M=4.0, SD=1.32) or who had re if the groups with different numbers of participati- not participated in any (M=4.3, SD=1.35). The mean on to teaching and staff exchanges and intercultural scores of CQ cognition and motivation sub-scales of trainings differ in cultural intelligence. the teacher having participated in 2 – 3 staff (M=4.7,

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SD=.99) or to more than 3 (M=4.7, SD=1.28) exchanges were on the same level. In CQ behavior the same level was reached also by the teachers who participated more than in 3 exchanges (M=4.7, SD=1.38). In regard participation to staff exchanges, the lowest CQ

cognition was also with the teachers who had participated in only one staff exchange (M=4.1, SD=1.62). With the teachers who had the most staff exchange participation CQ cognition (M=4.7, SD=1.22) and CQ motivation (M=4.7, SD=1.37) was on the same level. (Table 1.)

TABLE 1 Descriptive statistics of influence on participation to teacher and staff exchanges on CQ of UAS teaching staff (N=228). 1 Teacher exchange (n=33)

2 – 3 Teacher exchanges (n=40)

More than 3 teacher exchanges (n=44)

No teacher exchanges (n=111)

CQS scales

M

SD

M

SD

M

SD

M

SD

1 Metacognition

4.9

1.16

4.9

1.12

5.0

1.33

4.7

1.31

2 Cognition

4.0

1.32

4.7

0.99

4.7

1.28

4.3

1.35

3 Motivation

5.3

1.15

5.5

1.04

5.7

1.04

5.2

1.38

4 Behavior

4.2

1.50

4.9

1.32

4.7

1.38

4.4

1.60

4.6

1.03

5.0

0.91

5.0

1.10

4.6

1.19

M

1 Staff exchange (n=24)

2 – 3 Staff exchanges (n=42)

More than 3 staff exchanges (n=70)

No staff exchanges (n=92)

CQS scales

M

SD

M

SD

M

SD

M

SD

1 Metacognition

4.8

1.34

4.9

1.23

5.1

1.17

4.6

1.30

2 Cognition

4.1

1.62

4.6

1.27

4.7

1.22

4.2

1.24

3 Motivation

5.2

1.32

5.3

1.21

5.8

0.97

5.1

1.36

4 Behavior

4.8

1.70

4.6

1.51

4.7

1.37

4.3

1.54

4.7

1.39

4.8

1.14

5.0

0.97

4.5

1.10

M

The only CQ sub-scale where participation in both teacher and staff exchanges caused statistical difference was cognition. This statistical difference between the groups in this dimension was statistically

significant (p=.011; p=.035). In addition, results showed statistically significant difference in metacognition (p=.022) and motivation (p=.025) sub scales to staff exchanges (Table 2.).

TABLE 2 Effect of participation to short teacher or staff exchanges or short intercultural trainings in cultural intelligence of UAS teachers (N=228). Self evalution Teacher exchange

Self evalution Staff exchange

Self evalution Intercultural training

1 Metacognition

p=.351

p=.022

p=.024

2 Cognition

p=.011

p=.035

p=.011

3 Motivation

p=.236

p=.025

p=.043

4 Behavior

p=.156

p=.144

p=.036

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DISCUSSION Based on the results, UAS teachers clearly assess that they are culturally quite intelligent. This result is in parallel with the findings of earlier research on HEI staff (Helms, 2004; Goode, 2004). However, the research implemented by using Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) instrument shows that self-evaluated intercultural competence is higher than the real level of competence. This kind of mismatch in real and selfevaluated competence can be caused by the difficulty in objective self-evaluating. The other reason can be multidimensionality of intercultural or cultural intelligence concepts. If the definition of the concept on which the measuring instrument is based, is not absolutely clear, it may cause insecurity in the evaluation process (Van de Vijver & Leung, 2009). Teacher and staff exchanges are one of the main tools for teachers’ internationalization allowing one to gain international experiences and increase intercultural competence required at work. However, our findings show that international teacher or staff exchanges are not very effective in increasing teachers’ CQ. The teachers having participated in more than 3 exchanges had the highest CQ, but statistical differences between the groups were not so many and the existing differences were rather weak. This result has at least two indications. First, if the exchanges are used deliberately as tool in intercultural competence building, the exchanges have to be many enough. Secondly, the result is very much in line with the argument of large number of researchers that intercultural competence building in addition to experiences requires deliberate guidance and self-reflection to turn the experience into increased capacity (Bennet, 1993; Kaikkonen, 2004; Vande Berge & Paige, 2009).

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Bennett (2008) claims that intercultural experience may even cause reverse development of communication competence and increase prejudices and stereotyping if the learning process is not properly integrated to cross-cultural experiencing. This statement is in the line with the result that the teachers who had participated in international exchange only one time were rather in the same CQ level with the ones who had not participated in any exchanges. The teachers who had participated the most in international exchanges experienced insecurity particularly, in addition CQ knowledge, in CQ behavior. Along with the increased international experiences, the teachers may have become more aware of the need of adequate knowledge in successful intercultural communication and the challenges related to one’s verbal and non-verbal behavior. This research has indicated some gaps in the CQ of UAS teachers. However, the fact that the teachers consider themselves motivated is an encouraging asset to keep on developing the UAS international activities and teaching staff’s intercultural competences. Based on our findings, higher education should put more focus and deliberate effort in supporting teachers’ intercultural competence building. It is important to recognize the shortcomings of the teacher and staff exchange programmes; using the exchange programmes as capacity building tools without holistic competence training integration is not effective. Also, the implementation of the training programmes should be re-evaluated regarding how to enhance teachers’ intercultural competence.

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Laws and regulations: Anon (2003). Laki ammattikorkeakouluista 351/9.5.2003

Van Dyne, L., Ang, S., & Koh, C. K. S. (2009). Cultural intelligence: Measurement and scale development. In M.A. Moodian (Ed.), Contemporary leadership and intercultural competence: Exploring the cross-cultural dynamics within organizations (pp. 233 – 254). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Writers Eija Laitinen, Project Manager, Full-time lecturer, Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK), Finland Petri Nokelainen, Professor, University of Tampere, Finland Laura Pylväs, Researcher, University of Tampere, Finland

Reference of the article Laitinen, E., Nokelainen, P. & Pylväs, L. 2015. Effectiveness of International Exchanges on Teachers’ Cultural Intelligence. HAMKinSpire -publication 2/2015. Häme University of Applied Sciences.

Editor-in-chief Dr. Janne Salminen, Vice President Layout HAMK Publications Feedback julkaisut@hamk.fi

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2/2015

HAMKinSpire 2/2015  

Effectiveness of International Exchanges on Teachers’ Cultural Intelligence. Writers Eija Laitinen, Petri Nokelainen and Laura Pylväs. HAMKi...

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