Sustainability, Vol. 13, Pages 10641: Comparison of Explicit and Implicit Methods of Cross-Cultural Learning in an International Classroom
Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su131910641
The paper addresses a gap in the literature concerning the difference between enhanced and not enhanced cross-cultural learning in an international classroom. The objective of the described research was to clarify if the environment of international classrooms could enhance cross-cultural competences significantly enough or if additional focus on cross-cultural learning as an explicit objective of learning activities would add substantially to the experience. The research question was defined as “how can a specific exercise focused on cross-cultural learning enhance the cross-cultural skills of university students in an international classroom?”. Surveys were conducted among international students in three leading Central-European Universities in Lithuania, Poland and Hungary to measure the increase of their cross-cultural competences. The Lithuanian and Polish classes were composed of international students and concentrated on International Management/Business topics (explicit method). The Hungarian survey was done in a general business class that just happened to be international in its composition (implicit method). Overall, our findings prove that the implicit method resulted in comparable, somewhat even stronger effectiveness than the explicit method. The study method included the analyses of students’ individual increases in each study dimension and construction of a compound measure to note the overall results. Our findings confirm the power of the international classroom as a stimulating environment for latent cross-cultural learning even without specific exercises focused on cross-cultural learning itself. However, the specific exercise did induce additional learning, especially related to cross-cultural awareness and communication with representatives of other cultures, even though the extent of that learning may be interpreted as underwhelming. The main conclusion from the study is that the diversity of the students engaged in a project provided an environment that supported cross-cultural learning, even without specific culture-focused reflections or exercises.