November 24, 2009, by Teaching at Nottingham

Graduate qualities: transferable skills and intercultural competence

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David Clarke: “I think the thing that the best university students do in my view and what marks them out, is that they ask themselves the question continuously, What is it I need to know and how can I find it out? rather than I wonder what the teacher is going to tell me next?

“If we teach solely to content and give them the idea that they’ll go away with certain facts which would be useful for the rest of their life, I think they’re wrong, those facts won’t be useful probably in a few years’ time. So what are they going to get that’s useful for the rest of their life? And a lot of that is the transferable skills, the group work, the ability to work independently, to analyse ideas with relatively little guidance and so on and so on and I think those are traditional values of the way we’ve always taught.”

Chris Ennew: “I think the whole issue of internationalising the curriculum is an interesting one because of course, it varies hugely across subject areas and it also varies between the focus on skills versus content and I think the skills area, I’m not saying it’s easy but it is pretty generic, in that we ought to be able to look at international, internationally relevant skills across pretty much most areas of the curriculum. And there, I think, a lot of the focus is is perhaps around areas such as communication, cross cultural, inter cultural communication, but it’s also about respect, about personal interactions, personal transferable skills, about tolerance, about understanding, about team work, about being able to cross cultural divides, and I think those are all skills that we should be taking very seriously, in terms of how we deliver higher education.”

Stephanie Bridges: “I see that becoming interculturally competent can occur through, through students or individuals from different backgrounds and from different cultures, actually, not just mixing with each other but actually, talking with each other, maybe some structured learning where they, whereby they look at things from different perspectives, and from different viewpoints, maybe learn about practices of pharmacy in different countries, different cultures, and actually becoming aware of different systems, of different ideas, of different philosophies on life, if you like. And also being able to adapt and to behave differently, maybe in different situations. And I guess from a pharmacy point of view, then part of that is just being able to talk to people on different levels, you know, and we very much have to change the way we communicate, the way we act, the language we use, whether we’re talking with, let’s say GPs, other health professionals, whether we’re talking to maybe patients who are very informed, who are very well educated, who have a good understanding of their illness, whether we’re talking to patients who really are not very well educated, it’s immensely difficult to get the message across, to get them to understand why something’s important, or indeed, you know, people who don’t hear well, don’t speak our language well. There’s a whole range of, even just different ways of communicating. And part of being able to do that, I think, is understanding some of the background and some of why people react in the way they do.”

Stephanie Bridges
School of Pharmacy
David Clarke
School of Psychology
Chris Ennew
Nottingham University Business School

Extracts from interviews with staff and students about experiences of internationalisation. This video was originally published as part of PESL’s Learning from internationalisation collection. Produced November 2009.

Posted in EmployabilityInternationalisationStudents' academic development