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Can the goldfish see the water? A critical analysis of ‘good intentions’ in cross-cultural practice

Abstract
We claim to hold values that our students are responsible and autonomous adults whose success in our courses is best facilitated by our understanding of and respect for their specific backgrounds. We wish to be judged on these values by feedback provided by our students and those with whom we work. However, how well, if ever, are we able to ‘see the water,’ the cultural conditioning that leads us to act in ways that seem supportive of our students to us, but may be perceived differently by them? In this paper, we present conflicting evidence around perceptions of our practice. We discuss where things have gone well, and where interventions have possibly been traumatic for the recipients. We question whether, and how, our practice cross-culturally can be safe. We challenge ourselves and others to think carefully about our responsibilities to our students, whether our privileged positioning obliges us to share and if so, how that sharing can occur in ways that validate and equally respect the values of those with whom we work.
Type
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Series
Citation
Ferguson, B. & Ferguson, P. (2010) Can the goldfish see the water? A critical analysis of ‘good intentions’ in cross-cultural practice. Paper presented at 8th ALARA World Congress: Participatory Action Research and Action Learning, Melbourne, Australia, September 6 – 9, 2010.
Date
2010
Publisher
Action Research and Action Learning [ALARA]
Degree
Supervisors
Rights
© 2010 The Authors