Challenging Perspectives

The opportunity for students to engage in learning experiences that expose them to a rich span of cultures helps students to reflect on and respect diverse traditions, histories and values. It also enables students to critically examine the values and assumptions behind different worldviews disseminated through mass media, literature or other sources and the challenging perspectives they entail.  Through this growing awareness and understanding of the customs, cultural practices and aspirations of diverse peoples they come to recast their concept of ‘other’ and appreciate their common values and interdependence and acknowledge their shared responsibility for addressing shared problems (Niehaus and Crain, 2013).  Furthermore, a growing body of knowledge suggests that students gain a positive conception of their potential contribution to society (Knutson-Miller and Gonzalez, 2010; Nickols et al., 2013).  In this context and with these purposes guiding our work, the Challenging Perspectives module has been developed to encourage ‘intercultural sharing and respect for other peoples’ ways of knowing’ (Lloyd, et al., 2016) with the expectation that students will develop cultural competencies and enhanced global understanding.



Lloyd, K., Bilous, R., Hammersley, L., Rawlings-Sanaei, F., Amigó, M., Coffey, E., Baker, M. and Downey, G. 2016. ‘Classroom of Many Cultures: Co-creating support curriculum with international community partners and students.’ Office for Learning and Teaching Conference 2016: Learning & Teaching 2016, poster presentation (28 April, Melbourne). 

Knutson-Miller, K. and Gonzalez, A. M. (2010). Domestic and international service learning experiences: A comparative study of pre-service teacher outcomes Issues in Educational Research, 20(1), pp. 29-38.

Nickols, S.Y. and Rothenberg, N.J., Moshi, L., and Tetloff, M. (2013). International Service-Learning: Students’ Personal Challenges and Intercultural Competence, Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 17:4, pp.97-124.

Niehaus, E. and Crain, L. K. (2013). Act Local or Global?: Comparing Student Experiences in Domestic and International Service-Learning Programs. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Fall pp. 31-40.