Co-creating Curriculum with International Partners and Students Purpose: To co-create curriculum resources for work-integrated learning with international partners and students that reflect in their constitution the values of collaboration, intercultural sharing and respect for other people’s ways of knowing.
Developing Reciprocal Relationships
When travelling overseas, students and partners enter into relationships of exchange. Many times, these relationships take forms that students are not familiar with. These activities help students to identify and navigate opportunities for reciprocity within and beyond the scope and duration of student projects/placements.
When travelling overseas, students and partners enter into relationships of exchange. It is important for students to think about what their expectations and preconceived ideas of these relationships and their role in these prior to leaving. Students often leave with the best of intensions. Wanting to “help others that are less fortunate”, “making a difference” and “gaining international work experience and skills” are all often mentioned by students. However a growing body of knowledge asks us to acknowledge that good intensions are often embedded in processes that lead to uneven distributions of power (Hammersley, 2013, 2016; Crabtree 2008).
In preparation for their international experience it is important for students to think about the following:
What are my expectations in undertaking this international experience?
Do I perceive myself as the expert? As a provider of solutions to the organisation/community?
Am I there to learn and to gain a better understanding of the complex and relational processes of poverty, globalization and inequality?
How can my experience lead to relationships of understanding and mutual respect?
In this module we use the concept of reciprocity and relationships as guiding principles for how students can engage with partner organisations and communities. Reciprocity is reflective of a growing movement that strives for equitable relationships based on dignity, respect and joint ownership. A distinct feature of reciprocal pedagogy is that all participants are viewed as teachers, learners, researchers, knowledge generators and administrators. This requires recognition and valuing of the multiple knowledges, perspectives and resources that each partner contributes, as well as an awareness and respect for diverse ways of doing, being and knowing. By engaging with other cultures and organisations students’ key aim should not be to change the place they are working in but often more important is gaining a new perspective of their own place in the world.
These activities have been developed to help students conceptualise and understand the different components in a relationship of reciprocity. They will help students to identify and navigate opportunities for reciprocity within and beyond the scope and duration of student projects/placements. Activities focus on the importance of valuing different knowleges and making time and space to build relationships through their individual projects and through the everyday interactions (link to methodology). We draw on partner voices who provide insights on how the build positive and respectful relationships and encourage students to think about all the activities, experiences, conversations, meals and fieldtrips as integral to the engagement process and project outcome – these may:
Exist as part of every-day life interactions
Occur within and beyond project scope (dancing, informal conversations)
Take place during the placement and beyond
This will hopefully enable good intensions, process and outcomes to be more clearly understood by all participants in the relationship. These activities can be used individually or in succession in pre-departure, in-country and re-entry stages.