Teaching Abroad

International Education and the Cross-Cultural Classroom


Gordon E. Slethaug

ISBN : 978-962-209-854-1


June 2007

228 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$350.00

Also available in Paperback HK$165.00

Teaching Abroad addresses the question of moving abroad to teach in a cross-cultural university classroom. It discusses the recent flourishing of international education and developments in educational structures and practice, and traces the historical development of, and recent changes in, university education in China. This book explores systemic differences between communitarian and individualistic values as they affect the classrooms of the East and West, as well as in the students’ emotional and intellectual sense of themselves and their education. Through research in the field and the author’s own experiences in the international American Studies classroom, Teaching Abroad takes up the values of the teacher- and student-oriented classrooms and looks at creative ways to take advantage of each in terms of team-teaching, interdisciplinary inquiry, and group work. It also investigates the use of films and their adaptation from fiction in the interdisciplinary humanities classroom, and deals with various problems of assessment, including examinations, essays and plagiarism. Ultimately, the book connects these issues to the transformation of personal, familial, and national identities in this age of internationalization and cross-cultural education.

Teaching Abroad will appeal to foreign-bound university teachers who are interested in the historical and cultural conditions of a country and in need of practical advice about teaching abroad. It will specially be suitable for teachers who plan to teach in China. International teachers in primary and secondary schools will also profit from this exploration of the cross-cultural classroom and intercultural communication.

Gordon E. Slethaug is Visiting Lingnan Professor at the University of Hong Kong and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. Formerly Chairman of English at the University of Waterloo and Director of American Studies at the University of Hong Kong, he works with the Lingnan Foundation (New Haven, CT) linking the University of Hong Kong and Sun Yat-sen University through a Transnationalism and America project that focuses on American culture, interdisciplinary methodology, and team teaching. He has recently been Senior Fulbright Professor in American Studies and English at the University of Southern Denmark-Kolding. His research interests center on cross-cultural pedagogy as well as the contemporary American novel, film, and culture. In addition to Teaching Abroad: International Education and the Cross-Cultural Classroom, he is the author of Beautiful Chaos: Chaos Theory and Metachaotics in Recent American Fiction, The Play of the Double in Postmodern American Fiction, and co-author of Understanding John Barth.

“This well crafted and richly illustrated book will be essential reading for teachers who cross cultural and pedagogical borders, either overseas or at home in increasingly internationalized classrooms. Slethaug examines ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ approaches to teaching and learning and provides invaluable suggestions for teachers on culturally sensitive pedagogy and more pluralistic curricula.” —Janette Ryan, Monash University

“Just about everyone who will teach abroad or face international students—regardless of the setting or subject—will also face the challenges that Gordon E. Slethaug explores in Teaching Abroad. How can educators better recognize and respect cultural divides that they cross? Attractive solutions come by way of carefully considered experience on three continents and reviews of related literature. International students themselves have a lot to say. Readers will be rewarded with tricks-of-the-trade to make the international classroom seem welcoming, rather than daunting, and the theoretical framework to inspire yet more innovation. Like a good class, this book leaves you not only better prepared for experience with its subject but also convinced that each individual and culture may have distinct contributions to make.” —Richard Horwitz, University of Iowa