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Adult Third Culture Kids teaching in International Schools and the role they can play in helping others adapt to a multicultural environment . Outline. Who are they? What sorts of characteristics/experiences do they share? Dilemmas felt by some International teachers
I grew up in a Yellow countryBut my parents are Blue.I'm Blue. Or at least, that is what they told me. But I play with the Yellows.I went to school with the Yellows.I spoke the Yellow language.I even dressed and appeared to be Yellow.Then I moved to the Blue land.Now I go to school with the Blues.I speak the Blue language.I even dress and look Blue.But deep down, inside me, something's Yellow.I love the Blue country.But my ways are tinted with Yellow.When I am in the Blue land, I want to be Yellow.When I am in the Yellow land,I want to be Blue. Why can't I be both?A place where I can be me.A place where I can be green.I just want to be green.
(Bhabha, 1994; Jameson, 1991)
Through interaction, both the dominated and the dominating change.
do they share?
TCKs live in a “jumbo jet culture, where pint-sized travellers flash their passports in exotic airports, or smoothly exit in chauffeur-driven airport limousines or embassy cars”(Pascoe 1993)
(Rader and Sittig 2003)
Childhood Identity: lack of clarity as to ‘who they are’, where they ‘belong’, where is ‘home’
“Home is where we are living together as a family at the moment; our nationality is Canadian” (Pascoe, 1993); family home in Canada acts as base to which they return during vacations and between assignments
an inability to connect with their home-country peers, which makes them feel like a "fish out of water" in their own country (Quick, 2010).
some degree of “confused loyalties” to the nation, a “painful awareness of reality”, and an “ignorance of the home culture” (Pollock and Van Reken, 2009, p.90, 94 and 96).
“A life filled with high mobility - TCK's know an airport better than most people”
“Traveling is a way of life - many holidays are taken outside the home country”
“Politically astute - TCK's tend to read the newspaper and watch the news more often than other children.“
“They are great debaters. They are often aware of the background of political decisions and implications for the people concerned.”
“Speak more than one language - often 3 or 4. English may be one language they function in, but they can think and feel in several.”
“Prefer to socialise with other TCK's as they enter adulthood - often become expatriates themselves.”
“Privileged lifestyle - their socio-economic lifestyle tends to be higher due to the expatriate status offered by some companies or the advantages of relocations (eg. they have access to helpers, drivers, club memberships and money).”
“Converse well with adults.”
“Culturally astute/cross-culturally enriched, less prejudiced.”
“More welcoming of newcomers into a community.”
“Educational achievers - a high percentage will attend university and obtain advanced degrees.”
“Live more in the present/live more for the moment”
“Make great culture bridges - they have multiple frames of reference.”
“Excellent observers of other people - often TCK's become too observant and sensitive”
“Establish relationships quickly - they cut through many of the initial levels of diffidence when forming relationships.”
“More mature in their social skills.”
“Adapt quickly to unfamiliar countries and people.”
When you abandon your own cultural habits and values in order to accept the new country totally.
The ambition is to become accepted as a part of the majority culture
‘For language minority children, the aim of second language instruction may be assimilationist and subtractive.
For example, the teaching of English as a second language in the United States and in England often aims at rapidly integrating minority language groups into mainstream society.
Assimilationist ideology … tends to work for the dominance of the second [i.e. national] language, even the repression of the home, minority language.’
‘Cultural and racial minority groups should give up their traditional ways of life and take on the … way of life [of the dominant majority].’
When you focus on keeping your own values and avoid contact with the majority culture as much as you can
“The “brits” in new Zealand are more British than the “brits” in Great Britain”
“The Swedes in Minnesota celebrate swedish traditions that real swedes have forgotten”
When you hold on to some aspects of your own culture (cultural integrity) such as central norms and values, and at the same time, try to melt in to the new cultural environment.
Adopting the values, beliefs and lifestyles of the dominant culture
Difference perhaps seen as equivalent to deficiency
cf. Cultural, educational, linguistic imperialism
‘The kids don’t usually have a problem with being multicultural.
Very often it’s the parents who have the problem!’
(EdD, Univ of Bath Summer School, July 2009)
How easy is this for adults?
A strategy where you don’t keep hold on to your original culture, nor integrate in the new culture
Isolation from both cultural groups!
Living in a non-identity
Dr Michael Davidson
Many of the characteristics of Third Culture Kids can be attributed to ATCKs. The main difference is that ATCKs make their own choices to move from their home culture.
Pollock and Van Reken (2009) list a number of positive traits of ATCKs. They
ATCKs match the criteria in many areas for employment in internationals schools, as the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) suggests:
“international teachers should have a greater understanding of intercultural perspectives, need to be competent in the internationally minded international schools, and are able to work actively with colleagues to share their expertise in this field” (ECIS 2011).
‘There is a real danger that … teachers may pathologize difference.’(Edwards et al, 2007:391)
‘When the “problem” is attributed to the students, teachers can avoid examining their own attitudes and practices’.
(Chalmers and Volet, 1997:96)
‘the way in which we all bring with us our own discourses and feelings of culture and negotiate these in communication’
(Holliday et al, 2004:xv)
But only up to a point !
Do not allow multiculturalism to weaken/threaten the mainstream culture.
Allow structural inequalities to remain.
Shokran(jazeelan) (شكر)جزيلا !