Soulbus

Guiding Foreign Students in Practical Placement – Sharing Ideas and Good Practices

Tag Archives: P10

3rd Kick-off meeting concluded in Zagreb

The 3rd Soulbus kick-off meeting was held in Croatia, on the 19. and 20. of November. The meeting was organized by the partner from the University of Zagreb and hosted at the Faculty for Education and Rehabilitation.

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A detail, the abbreviation of the Faculty name ERF in the Slavic alphabet from the 9th century

This is a scheduled meeting so representatives from their respective packages come together and update in person each other on how the work is progressing. A major event on the meeting was unveiling of Part A part of the e-Coach platform which is delivering the Multicultural course by our partners from the Netherlands who have been working on it since the multicultural case repository was introduced in Tartu! The WP3 partners presented the content as well as tell the story behind the development to what we have today. Our USA partners joined in to provide insight and their expertise on the topic.

The new e-Coaching looks wonderful! It is a product of creative minds that found interesting and entertaining ways to deal with the challenges that teachers and mentors working in multicultural environments face today. The content is filled with texts, stories, pictures and movie clips. And to give you a hint, here is a little preview!

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Here is a clip on how Culture is perceived by different people. Enjoy learning!

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After the presentation of the eCoaching programme and the Communication and Dissemination as well as the Exploitation plans, the HEIs and WLPs turned to their group meetings where the discussion reflected on what was heard during the two day meeting as well as how to proceed in further developing our project.

eCoach! Soon to be on a LogIn screen near you!

Meeting in Zagreb, Croatia

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Starting Wednesday, the 19th of November, begins the 3rd Kick off meeting of the Soulbus consortium. The meeting takes place halfway through the project at the University of Zagreb Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences located in Zagreb, Croatia.

Over the course of two days, the completed leg of this project will be summarized and the WP leaders will give the rest of the team an overview of the activities that have been done. To recap, Soulbus consortium is a collection of 13 higher education institutions and working life partners working together to provide a multicultural coaching programme and course for teachers and mentors. Each partner pair is based in their own country and has access to a virtual sharing platform and meetings via Skype allows for sharing of information. These face-to-face meetings offer the chance to present details and other interesting findings in the project. These meetings were held at Saxion University in Enschede (the Netherlands) and another at the Tartu Health Care College (Estonia).

The agenda for this meeting is concerned with taking a closer look at A part of Multicultural coaching programme the WP3 team has prepared based on the results of the Multicultural case repository. The programme itself is divided into parts A and B; part A focuses on the general multicultural contents and competencies while part B is more country and HEI’s professional field specific. The head of WP3 will present and explain the development process of the six indicators and how these are operationalized into charts of specific knowledge and skills to be used as evaluation criteria to tell if one has become competent. Finally, everyone will give their impressions and suggestions on how the content might be improved.

The meeting will close with the steering group and peer group meetings where partners reflect and share their experiences, feelings and thoughts on the project.

Multicultural coaching programme design

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Our activities are slowly taking shape in the form of a coaching programme that will enable you to become multiculturally competent!

In January of 2014, our WP2 partners and San Jose University designed and carried out a questionnaire. The collected information was analysed and summarized and distributed to partners in February for review. Following an analysis by each partner and taking into account the suggestions, our WP3 partners started working on building a multicultural coaching programme for the modern professional. They presented their initial thoughts at the 2nd kick-off meeting held in Tartu Health Care College in Estonia in April of 2014.

Based on the Case study repository designed in WP2,  our WP3 partners went further with research in an effort to come up with the most relevant and up to date findings. They found that Green et al. (2005) emphasized importance of cultural literacy, cross-cultural knowledge and skill in direct practice as well as knowledge about personal limitation. Campinha-Bacote (1999) defined four major elements of cultural competence: cultural awareness, cultural knowledge, cultural skill and cultural encounters. Drabble et al. (2012) included five interrelated but distinct dimensions of diversity, two already familiar (cultural knowledge and competency) and brining something new: dynamics of power, privilege and oppression; positionality and self-reflexivity and respectful partnership. Finally, their research was rounded up by Kosteljik et al. (2006) and their description of international competencies:

  • cultural empathy the ability to emphasize with the feelings, thoughts and behaviors of members of groups with a different cultural background
  • open mindedness having an open and unbiased attitude towards members of a group with other cultural norms and values
  • social initiative: The ability to make contact with people from other cultures
  • flexibility: to switch from one mode to another, depending on what is desired in a particular or appropriate context
  • self-efficacy: represents the level of confidence, which is operationalized by looking at the extent to which you ‘dare’ to lecture one hour in the English language
  • emotional stability: the ability to deal with psychological stress. In an intercultural context one is indeed confronted with different cultural and interpersonal situations that must be coped with

Cultural awareness rounds it all up; it is being aware of how your own cultural background, experiences and attitudes, values and biases influence interaction with others in your environment.

These aspects have been further developed into competence/indicator charts with categories: description, occupational roles, context, tasks and activities and results. These help in defining the indicators  and competences. This is necessary as they show the context in which these are performed as well as the necessary abilities, knowledge and skill sets. Criteria are also defined and serve for developing tests. Personal features are also included to steer and guide performance of an individual. All these put together serve to assist in developing the content for the programme.

You can see we are approaching this topic from all angles. Try something different, try multicultural competencies!

References:

Campinha-Bacote J. A model and instrument doe, addressing cultural competence in healthcare? Journal of Nursing Education 1999; 38: 181–84.

Drabble L, Sen S, Oppenheimer S Y. Integrating a Transcultural Perspective into the Social Work Curriculum: A descriptive and Exploratory Study. Journal of Teaching in Social work 2012; 32 (2).

Green, R.G., Kiernan-Stern, M., Balley, K., Chambers, K., Claridge, R., Jones, G., Kitson, G., Leek, S., Leisey, M., Vadas, K., & Walker, K. The Multicultural Counseling Inventory: A measure for evaluating social work student and practitioner self-perceptions of their multicultural competence. Journal of Social Work Education, 41(2), 191-208.

Kostelijk E, Julsing M, Versteeg A. Onderzoek Internationalisering docenten HanzeHogeschool Groningen. Groningen: Hanze Connect, 2006.

van der Woning René JA. International Competencies. A quantitative study to explore if lecturers of the Faculty of Social Work and the Faculty of Health are familiar with “International competencies” and use those competencies while lecturing. Birmingham City University / Birmingham, Saxion University / Enschede – Deventer. Master Thesis, 2013.

Meeting in Tartu, Estonia

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Today, 1.4.2014, starts the 2nd Kick off meeting of the Soulbus consortium in Tartu Health Care College, located in Tartu, Estonia. Partner representatives are joined with USA partners from San Jose University who will be providing their valuable support in designing a Multicultural coaching programme for our European colleagues for the benefit of our students and future professionals in the fields of education, rehabilitation, health and social care. This programme should help teachers and mentors relate better to students coming from other countries and cultures when teaching academia and mentoring in practical placement.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on the 1st and 2nd of April where partners will discuss the activities so far as well as provide further insight to other partners regarding action plans for work packages that follow. Also, the case study repository will be analysed in a panel discussion with every partner contributing their thoughts on what content should be emphasized in the online coaching programme. We are one step closer to our ultimate goal, providing multiculutural competencies to teachers and mentors for the benefit of our students and future professionals. It’s no joke! (regarding April fool’s day!)

What is the value of our work?

We aim to help our teachers and mentors encourage you (the students) to take an active role in developing yourselves as professionals, domestically and internationally. Different countries offer students different perspectives and approaches in their field of study and allow for creativity in one’s academic and professional work by combining knowledge into something completely new to bring back home or to your place of work for the benefit of everyone around you.

To that extent we decided to talk to teachers, mentors and students and found a discrepancy in teacher and mentor multicultural competencies as well as underlying processes and infrastructure in higher education institutions as well as practical placement institutions in different countries. This, of course, directly impacts the students learning experience at university and when doing practical placement; the way teachers and mentors relate to students is key to providing a safe and encouraging learning environment to ensure best learning outcomes for future professionals.

We aim to improve competencies of teachers and mentors to help students along so they spend less effort and time and still have a great time studying and learning new skills for their profession.

This leaves more time for travelling around and hiking a mountain peak, soaking in a different culture, sightseeing historical monuments and having a taste of the local cuisine.  This also encourages students to learn how to cope and deal with cultures different from their own, a very practical skill for later in the professional career. Putting it all on a scale, it’s a win-win situation.

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Centre for education “Goljak”, Croatia

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Centre for education “Goljak” is the 10th member of the Soulbus consortium. It is a primary school that started operation in 1946./47. for students with disabilities, victims of WWII. Today we enrol students with central (cerebral palsy) and peripheral nervous systems (spina bifida) and neuromuscular diseases. Along with providing education to students we also provide support to teachers in primary schools teaching children/youth with disabilities. We aim to provide students competencies for lifelong learning by using aides and ICT, learn compensation strategies to ensure independence, peaceful resolution of conflict, positive attitudes and building self-esteem. We also train trainees, graduates of the Faculty for Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, to work with children/youth with disabilities in their preparation for independent work.

Read in more detail in their institution description by clicking the following link:  P10_CEG_Institution info

How are we getting there?


To accomplish the vision of Soulbus, we’ve decided to network. A network is made up of suppliers, producers, regulators and distributors who bring the benefits to you. We’ve paired up a university (HEI) and a practical placement institution (WLP) and divided the roles between us to more effectively exchange communications and contribute skills, knowledge and experiences (suppliers) to designated WP teams (producers) who manage the project (WP1), prepare and analyse case studies (WP2), design and pilot multicultural programme (WP3), assure quality standards are met (WP4; regulators) while effectively communicating and disseminating (WP5&P6; distributors) Soulbus benefits to our clients- teachers, mentors and finally students. Take a look below to get an idea of our network: universities are shown as HEI’s, practical placement institutions as WLP’s and mentors, teachers and students in these institutions with their respective starting letters (MTS’s).

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We’ve decided to base Soulbus on an iterative development cycle which means we will be repeating a loop and with every turn use what we learnt earlier to your advantage .

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First, we will begin by analysing and understanding the current situation in our respective countries. Our understanding of the current situation will be summarized by a case study method into a series of papers detailing multicultural competencies by country. The details will be divulged by teachers, mentors and students. We appreciate the help of our USA partners who will use their expertise to help us prepare instruments for data collection. The papers will be compounded into  a case repository. The case repository will be used as basis to design a Multicultural coaching programme for teachers in Universities and mentors in practical placement institutions. The coaching programme will further provide guidance for E-learning module design.

E-learning is practical; unlike lectures, it is available anywhere at any time of day. It can also serve for a brush up in multicultural competencies when lectures or workshops are not available. Our USA partners will provide expert guidance all the way and we’ve decided to split it into a common and tailored module. The common module is analysed through feedback and alterations will be considered to fit the needs of particular target groups. The tailored module is designed based on the common module and conducted at national level. Feedback and experiences are collected and analysed; these are shared with the whole project team to help fine tune the programmes. Quality checks are constantly conducted to ensure quality assurance of the project and it’s results.

All of this will result in the junior partners (Estonia, Croatia and Slovenia) offering more placements for foreign exchange students while senior partners (Netherlands and Finland) will offer more placements for foreign degrees students as part of the HEI’s regular curriculum development. Lectures will be more enjoyable and informative for foreign students as they come into a culturally sensitized environment that will contribute to a successful and enjoyable academic career. Project partners will continue to exchange information and ideas long after the project has officially ended.