Nov. 17, 2017

Quick Chat: Cross-Cultural Competencies

Teaching Across Borders program helps to create responsive and aware teachers with cross-cultural competencies
Associate Dean Colleen Kawalilak with TAB Students
Associate Dean Colleen Kawalilak with TAB Students

One of the stated goals of the University of Calgary’s International Strategy is to improve global and cross-cultural competencies within campus communities.

To make this objective a reality, the university struck an Internationalization Task Force on Cross-Cultural Competencies and appointed the Werklund School of Education’s Colleen Kawalilak, and the Faculty of Arts’ Florentine Strzelczyk as co-chairs.

During their time heading up the task force, Kawalilak and Strzelczyk have met extensively with faculties, schools and non-academic units at UCalgary in order to engage in dialogue, showcase initiatives currently underway across the campus, identify gaps and make recommendations.

Kawalilak and Strzelczyk found during their journeys that the Teaching Across Borders option for Bachelor of Education students aligns well with the university’s efforts.

“The WSE has taken a leadership role in advancing this agenda and TAB is one of the initiatives that supports our students in becoming more cultural sensitive, aware and responsive,” says Kawalilak, who earned her master's degree and doctorate at UCalgary.

Students who sign up for the TAB option participate in a 10 week placement during the Fall semester of their final year of the BEd program. They volunteer teach, experience a new culture and exchange knowledge regarding teacher education and teaching practice.

“After their placement, TAB students return to Canada with a greater appreciation for the experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse students in the Canadian school system,” says TAB Director Roswita Dressler, MA’08, PhD’12.

In this Quick Chat, Kawalilak and Dressler detail the many benefits of the TAB program.