chapter  7
10 Pages

Dimming Down Difference …

BySANDRA EGEGE, SALAH KUTIELEH

The phenomenon of transnational education highlights the complex relationship between culture and educational practice. Any fi eld of knowledge contains an implicit set of cultural values that it brings to the students, and all students bring an implicit set of cultural values with them to the educational setting. The issue for transnational education is the potential clash of cultural values this entails and its impact on the learning experience. In this chapter, we discuss the related issues of cultural dominance and cultural difference. Our aim is to show that differences do not always need to be problematized. We argue that the perceived differences between cultures have less impact on teaching and learning than believed and that striving to address differences by developing culturally specifi c teaching practices is not only fraught with diffi culties but runs counter to the aims and objectives of transnational education. We demonstrate how it is possible to acknowledge cultural diversity in one’s teaching without having to work within specifi c cultural paradigms. This is based on the premise that not all differences need to be either explicitly catered for, as in local cultures, or deliberately eliminated, as with Western teaching practices.