Recognizing Culture in Experiential Education

Valerie Kurka-Recognizing Culture in EE.pdf

Abstract:
Experiential education is an intentional educational process that relies on experiential learning theory. This paper categorizes common features of experiential education and analyzes them with a cultural framework. Common features of experiential education include individual development, student-centered teaching, individual challenge and learning, challenge-by-choice, “emotional safety”, and reflection/processing activities. The features of experiential education that I have analyzed have basic cultural assumptions of high individuality, low power distance, low uncertainty avoidance, high achievement, emphasis on internal control, and possible interaction with ascriptive dispositions and masculine characteristics. These assumptions may have implications for practitioners practicing cross-culturally. In an increasingly global world and with the increasing popularity of experiential education all over the world, I suggest that practitioners should equip themselves with tools to work with a variety of participants and the awareness of biases and values in practices in order to continually accommodate diverse populations in a socially-just manner.

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