Promoting Critical Thinking through an Interdisciplinary Study Abroad Program

  • WeiWei Cai West Chester University of Pennsylvania, United States
  • Gopal Sankaran West Chester University of Pennsylvania, United States
Keywords: critical thinking, study abroad, interdiscplinary curriculum, cultural immersion

Abstract

This paper discusses the promotion of critical thinking through an interdisciplinary curriculum design using multidisciplinary faculty as well as details the implementation of an experiential short-term study abroad program in China. To achieve this educational goal of critical thinking, along with meeting the requirements specific to each course, the program was built on a framework using two interrelated approaches – theme-based interdisciplinary curriculum and cultural immersion. The theme-based interdisciplinary curriculum was constructed on three principles (the ability to pose great questions that encompassed drawing knowledge and skills from each discipline, acquiring global awareness, and developing glocal awareness). Cultural immersion was accomplished through carefully selected site visits, activities, and assignments. Students’ experiences, reflections, and applications were assessed through formative and summative evaluation.

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Author Biographies

WeiWei Cai, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, United States

WEIWEI CAI, EdD, Professor of Education, teaches at the College of Education, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, USA. She has developed numerous international programs both for faculty and students since 2001. Her research areas include global education, multiculturalism, cognitive development and ways of thinking. 

Gopal Sankaran, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, United States

GOPAL SANKARAN, MD, DrPH, MNAMS, CHES, is professor of public health and former assistant vice president for international programs at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. His professional interests include three interrelated disciplines - medicine, public health, and health promotion. His research areas include epidemiology of infectious and non-communicable diseases, transcultural health and issues in higher education. 

Published
2015-01-01
How to Cite
Cai, W., & Sankaran, G. (2015). Promoting Critical Thinking through an Interdisciplinary Study Abroad Program. Journal of International Students, 5(1), 38-49. Retrieved from https://www.ojed.org/index.php/jis/article/view/441
Section
Research Articles