Mobilities, Transitions, Transformations
INTERCULTURAL EDUCATION AT THE CROSSROADS

RICA Workshop

Lavinia Bracci - Fiora Biagi

Students taking part into Siena Italian Studies study abroad programm have the opportunity to fully immerse in the host society thanks to the EUFICCS approach, which comprises living with local families, sharing everyday experiences with other students and community members, attending courses in Italian and providing service in the host community. This experience allows them to develop high levels of intercultural sensitivity.

In the last years, faculty have been analysing and researching students' experiences and data thanks to the elaboration of the Reflective Intercultural Assessment Model (RICA) (Biagi et al. 2012) in order to measure the unique competence resulting from the use of the EUFICCS approach: Reflective Intercultural Competence, or RIC (idem). RIC is a competence gained through a structured and guided reflection process; it implies a conscious elaboration of intercultural encounters thus allowing a full engagement of the student. Reflection is a step that is necessary in developing an intercultural sensitivity and the reflective writing course provides the means for students to understand and slowly absorb the host culture in a deep and lasting way through continuous observation, comparison and reflection aimed at intercultural communication. In the reflective writing course students must submit weekly entries (concerning both their studies and their overall experience) and share them as much as possible with their peers during reflective writing sessions. These sessions represent a moment when all intercultural encounters come to light, with the aim of transforming the clash with a second culture into a more complicated but richer perspective. The goal is to develop a reflective consciousness that leads to a deeper engagement in and understanding of the host community. This process is monitored through the RICA model. The workshop we propose has the ambition of actively involving the audience as RICA practitioners who will evaluate the development of students' RIC using anonymous student journals and to which they will assign a RIC level.

Rubrics for Reflective Intercultural Competence Assessment: A Tool to Assess Learning Outcomes in International Education and Service-Learning Experiences

The session will present recent developments in the evaluation techniques used at the International Center for Intercultural Exchange, to evaluate and assess the development of Reflective Intercultural Competence in students participating in study and service-learning programs. With a brief overview of the non-traditional educational approach that is employed at the International Center, which works to develop students’ intercultural skills and deep understanding of the self and other through a commitment to service-learning and community engagement in a second culture and language, the session will illustrate the development of the RICA (Reflective Intercultural Competence Assessment) Model rubrics, to aid in the assessment of Reflective Intercultural Competence.