UNDERSTANDING CULTURAL DIFFERENCES & THEIR PEDAGOGICAL IMPLICATIONS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Despite research efforts to understand and enhance students’ intercultural competence in higher education, only few focus on cultural values and their implications on classroom practices. This article aimed to examine the effects of cultural values on international students’ intercultural competence and their academic adjustments. Chinese and Saudi students (N = 20) focus group revealed the means by which international students navigate their cultural values and adapt in US higher education classroom. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions of power distance and individualism/collectivism were utilized to explain the findings. The results reveal that cultural variations stem from a high-power collectivist culture dominated by pedagogical traditional classroom practices. International students face intercultural and academic adjustments to ease their transition into andragogical teaching approaches in western higher education institutions. The study proposes an instructional three-step approach that utilize pedagogical and andragogical practices to promote international students’ intercultural competence. This approach offers teachers, researchers, and policy makers a new direction in the area of higher education teaching and learning.
Keywords: Adult Education, Higher Education, Pedagogy, Andragogy, Intercultural Competence, Active Learning.