When: Thursday, June 27, 2019 | 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Where: Ponderosa Commons, Room 2012, 6445 University Boulevard.
Developing critical literacy through the construction of active knowledge in intercultural communication
Culture, a widely used but perhaps little understood term, is in fact influenced by economic and political issues which create unequal relations of power between peoples. Hegemonic relationships can emerge between people who engage in intercultural communication as a result of cultural differences being over- or under-emphasized. Therefore, it is imperative that students understand the politics at work in an intercultural context and develop critical literacy. But how can educators foster learners’ knowledge regarding cultural differences in ways that challenge inequality?
In this interactive seminar, I will share the findings from a series of collaborative research investigations (e.g., Sugihara & Ohri, 2017) that have explored the construction of knowledge of cultural differences in Japanese higher education classrooms. In our conceptional framework, we broke down the concept of knowledge into three broad types: active, repetitive and passive. Active knowledge (AK) contrasts with repetitive and passive knowledge and emerges through critical intervention, reflecting and questioning past experiences, noticing the politics behind discourse, and creating new knowledge regarding cultural differences. In order to understand the concept and workings of AK, we have focused on the following research questions: 1) How does AK emerge? 2) What new knowledge do students create? 3) What kinds of resistance and contradiction do students bring to the construction of AK? Using our findings from multicultural classrooms in the Japanese universities, I explore the challenges and possibilities of promoting AK among learners.
Dr. Yumi Sugihara Yoshida is a visiting associate professor at UBC’s Institute of Asian Research and an associate professor in the Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University, Japan. She specializes in second language education (Japanese) and intercultural education.