Prepared to engage? factors that promote university students’ engagement in intercultural group work


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Intercultural group work (IGW) —a collaborative approach to learning in which students from diverse cultural or national backgrounds work together— holds promise as a pedagogical tool to enhance university students’ learning and to develop key competences that enable them to adapt flexibly to a rapidly changing and highly interconnected world. However, the presence of multiple cultures does not automatically result in intercultural collaboration. More insights are needed regarding which factors hinder or encourage students to engage actively in IGW.
This research shows that group-related factors (trust in the group, group formation, group diversity) and language proficiency are less important for engagement in IGW than individual student-related factors (personality, intercultural competence, self-efficacy, perceived costs and benefits). Students who are equipped, feel equipped, and see the value of IGW will apply themselves to the group work both behaviorally and cognitively. Student are equipped when they are interculturally competent. Students feel equipped when they have confidence in their own abilities to contribute effectively to the IGW. Students determine the value of intercultural group by weighing the intercultural benefits they perceive against the negative emotions they are experiencing. These results imply that educators can promote students’ engagement in IGW by (1) actively supporting students in developing intercultural competences, (2) building students’ self-efficacy for IGW, (3) reducing the emotional cost students are experiencing, and (4) increasing the intercultural benefits. For IGW to be valuable, both educators and students will need to invest time and effort.
Originele taal-2English
KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
Toekennende instantie
  • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
  • Hofman, W, Supervisor
  • Jansen, Ellen, Supervisor
Datum van toekenning2-sep.-2021
Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
StatusPublished - 2021


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