Scaffolded Fieldwork Research Projects: An Australian Approach to Study Abroad
Keywords:Study abroad, scaffolded assessments, Australia, Engagement, Transculturation, Transcultural awareness
Research into university study abroad programs suggests that while students may have some experience of local culture(s) and practices, they may be achieving no more than a superficial understanding of the host society. Alternatives to the standard study abroad models are thus essential to encourage students to engage more deeply with the host society. Research on study abroad programs argues for additional interventions and the provision of close supervision and mentoring to students. Given these arguments, this paper examines a scaffolded assessment model, designed for students at an Australian university in an international studies program established 26 years ago, and intended to enhance their learning during their compulsory year of study abroad. Through ongoing academic supervision and the design of a scaffolded fieldwork research project on aspects of the host society, we argue, the students have the potential to develop key skills such as transcultural awareness, engagement and capacity for working with diversity.
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