Creating a third cultural space: What role does intercultural communication play in PGR teaching?


  • Zhaohui Tian
  • Zi Wang



As an internationalised space, the University of Warwick has over 9500 international students and more than 40% international academic staff. Thus, intercultural encounters are ubiquitous on campus, including teaching spaces. Among all the international student groups, the Chinese student community emerges as one of the largest at Warwick. This offers a unique teaching experience for those who are involved in teaching this group at Warwick. Therefore, in this reflective piece, we draw on our own cultural experiences as Chinese PGRs teaching Chinese PGTs in a UK-based university, with the aim to reflect on the different cultural values underlying our teaching practices influenced by both Chinese and British education cultures. We also reflect on Chinese students’ learning behaviours based on our observations and how those are formed and negotiated by us as Chinese teachers/students in a multicultural communication space at Warwick. We propose the adoption of the concept of third culture teaching, a teaching practice that goes beyond either Chinese education culture or British education culture. In particular, we use two examples to discuss the relevance of intercultural considerations in PGRs’ teaching practices, one targeting the perceptions of student-teacher relationships in supervision and the other on the concept of classroom engagement. With this discussion, we make suggestions for the intercultural-related areas for PGRs to ponder upon and prepare for better teaching practices encompassing a wide range of learning needs.


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