Broadening worldview and facilitating cultural exchange in a student project with the ‘Global Friends’ programme.

Dave Sayers & Andrew Bromley
@DaveJSayers

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.10

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Short Abstract
This talk will report on a new collaboration between the module ‘English as a World Language’ (Humanities dept, English group), and the ‘Global Friends’ programme (run by Student & Learning Services). The presentation will review student feedback on this initiative, and consider its possible application in other teaching settings.

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Detailed Outline
This paper will review the results of a new initiative at SHU. In the module ‘English as a World Language’ (Humanities dept, English group), students conduct an individual research project which involves interviewing someone from a country where English is widely spoken but not as a first language. Meanwhile the ‘Global Friends’ programme is run by Student & Learning Services to facilitate socialising between British students and international students. The initiative has been to guide students into the Global Friends programme, initially as a way to find interviewees for their projects, and hopefully with a view to spurring more sustained contacts in the longer term. The presentation will review feedback on this initiative, and consider its possible application in other teaching settings.

English as a World Language is designed to introduce first-year English students to the various ways that English is used around the world. Their coursework is an individual project, designing and executing a semi-structured interview, with one respondent from a country where English is widely used. They could have simply been instructed to find someone themselves, perhaps in a public place, but that would have squandered an opportunity for sustained engagement, and deeper learning. The Global Friends programme pairs students up individually with international students, with a view to socialising in informal settings. At the very least this should make for a more conducive interview – and therefore more effective learning – but should also lead to more sustainable social relationships, and therefore a broader form of cultural learning.

The collaboration between the module and Global Friends is new, and so this presentation will be reporting on its first run, including structured feedback from the student researchers and their interviewees, and a consideration of how such collaboration could map on to other teaching.