Date of Award:

5-2011

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

Joanne P. Bentley

Abstract

The quest to comprehend how cultural differences can impact learning is one of those intriguing challenges that continue to beguile some scholars and educational leaders even at a time that is characterized as globalized. This dissertation is a qualitative case study about teaching to culturally diverse populations and is primarily based on the interviews of seven accountants designated as instructors and the direct observation of those instructors while teaching accounting principles to other accountants. The English language was used despite the fact that all participants, including the instructors, spoke English as a second or third language and came from diverse cultures around the world.

It brings to light how an American company (American World Trade or AWT) felt they succeeded in teaching to the diverse population of students though not purposely providing accommodations for the diverse cultural differences in the classroom. During the year 2009, AWT took the materials USU developed around the world and presented conferences in regional offices of Bangkok, Budapest, Santo Domingo, Pretoria, and San Salvador. The pilot study interviews took place at the end of 2009. This study was based on the conference that took place in February 2010 in which 16 of the 70 countries were represented.

This dissertation does several things: First, it looks at the cultural dimensions of students and instructors from 16 different countries, in an international setting, and examines if lack of knowledge about cultural dimensions and accommodating for them could interfere with learning. Second, it looks at the strategies and behaviors used by the instructors who were not knowledgeable of cultural dimensions to reveal if they were unconsciously adapting their teaching for the culturally diverse. Third, this study offers an in-depth look at several additional factors, including cultural intelligence (CQ), which could explain their ostensible teaching successes.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on February 14, 2011.

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