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Career Advice

Ten principles for faculty going overseas

  1. Prepare your visit by learning about local customs. Read and speak with Canadian colleagues with overseas experience as well as colleagues from the host country.
  2. Establish rapport from the start by showing that you’re approachable and respectful of participants’ expertise and experience.
  3. If you already use humour in the Canadian context, use humour appropriately in the international environment: faculty of many cultures find it engaging.
  4. Be sensitive to the local context when using case studies.
  5. Help participants share personal experiences. Encourage them to tell their stories.
  6. Encourage active participation, but remain sensitive to the respect for authority and seniority in some countries.
  7. Use collaborative learning methods to build on the collectivist rather than individualistic culture in many countries.
  8. When people’s native language isn’t English, find a way to involve participants so that input isn’t limited to the strongest English speakers.
  9. Use a variety of teaching approaches, from teacher-centered methods to learning-centered methods.
  10. Explain the rationale for using learning-centered methods rather than only the lecture method (which many expect).

Dr. Kaufman is professor and former director of the Teaching and Learning Centre at Simon Fraser University. Dr. Wright is vice-provost, teaching and learning, at the University of Windsor.

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