The Experiential Teaching of Berlin— Theoretical Reflections and Best Practices from a Study Abroad Site
Keywords:Experiential teaching, Study abroad, Berlin, Germany, Intercultural learning, Education Abroad
This article revisits approaches to experiential teaching of the city as conducted in various courses of a study abroad program in Berlin, Germany. While the processes of the students' intercultural learning take on many different facets, the article focuses on the cultural manifestations of Berlin and their intercultural and experiential teacher-student mediation in and outside the classroom. With a joint interest in holism, authenticity, and problem solving, the synthesis of experiential education and intercultural teaching yields a worthwhile perspective of thinking about the city as a study object (Brennan, 2007; Lutterman-Aguilar, 2002; Itin, 1999). Based on the analysis and interpretation of qualitative interviews conducted with study abroad educators, the article taps into their experiences of teaching the city against the backdrop of intercultural dynamics. After theorizing about an experiential education of the city and the role of the actors involved in it, the article describes ways of navigating cycles of experiential learning and discusses best practices of teaching the city by means of experiential education. Since these practices do not exhaust the potential of experiential education, the article also serves as a plea for more experiential teaching of the city.
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