Adult Third Culture Kids • teaching in International Schools • and the role they can play in helping others adapt to a multicultural environment.
Outline • Who are they? • What sorts of characteristics/experiences do they share? • Dilemmas felt by some International teachers • How can ATCKs be supportive in International Schools?
Colours by Whitni Thomas (1991) I grew up in a Yellow countryBut my parents are Blue.I'm Blue. Or at least, that is what they told me. But I play with the Yellows.I went to school with the Yellows.I spoke the Yellow language.I even dressed and appeared to be Yellow.Then I moved to the Blue land.Now I go to school with the Blues.I speak the Blue language.I even dress and look Blue.But deep down, inside me, something's Yellow.I love the Blue country.But my ways are tinted with Yellow.When I am in the Blue land, I want to be Yellow.When I am in the Yellow land,I want to be Blue. Why can't I be both?A place where I can be me.A place where I can be green.I just want to be green.
The Third Culture Kid • TCK as a term coined by Useem and Useem in the 1950s after researching with expatriate American families in India, and then with the expatriate children on return to the USA • Other terms and sub-groupings include ‘Missionary Kids’ (MKs), Preacher Kids’ (PKs), ‘Military Brats’ • Pollock and Van Rekendescribe a TCK as "a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents' culture. “ (Pollock and Van Reken, 2009, p.13)
The Third Culture Kid • “Although they have grown up in foreign countries, they are not integral parts of those countries. When they come to their country of citizenship (some for the first time), they do not feel at home because they do not know the lingo or expectations of others - especially those of their own age. Where they feel most like themselves is in that interstitial culture, the third culture, which is created, shared and carried by persons who are relating societies, or sections thereof, to each other”[Useem, 1976]
Otherwise known as Global Nomad... <http://www.globalnomads-dc.org/>
‘Third Spaces’ (Bhabha, 1994; Jameson, 1991) C3 C1 C2
‘Third Spaces’ (contd.) ‘interstitial spaces’ ‘border crossings’ ‘ambivalence’ ‘liminality’ Through interaction, both the dominated and the dominating change.
The “Adult” Third Culture Kid • At present there are many types of international school teachers, some of them labelled as “Adult Third Culture Kids” (ATCKs) (Cottrell, 2002). • All of them, whether ATCKs, experienced international teachers (but not ATCKs), or teachers who have little to no experience working abroad, are obliged to work alongside cultural dissonance and at the same time need to promote international learning with its plurality of learning styles and values.
What sorts of characteristics/ experiences do they share?
TCK characteristics TCKs live in a “jumbo jet culture, where pint-sized travellers flash their passports in exotic airports, or smoothly exit in chauffeur-driven airport limousines or embassy cars”(Pascoe 1993) • In many respects they are privileged. Benefits of such a lifestyle include “an expanded view of the world, adaptability, cross-cultural skills, social skills, observational skills and linguistic skills” (Rader and Sittig 2003)
TCKs’ Identity Childhood Identity: lack of clarity as to ‘who they are’, where they ‘belong’, where is ‘home’ “Home is where we are living together as a family at the moment; our nationality is Canadian” (Pascoe, 1993); family home in Canada acts as base to which they return during vacations and between assignments
Some negative characteristics of ACTKs can include an inability to connect with their home-country peers, which makes them feel like a "fish out of water" in their own country (Quick, 2010). some degree of “confused loyalties” to the nation, a “painful awareness of reality”, and an “ignorance of the home culture” (Pollock and Van Reken, 2009, p.90, 94 and 96).
Some Characteristics…. “A life filled with high mobility - TCK's know an airport better than most people” “Traveling is a way of life - many holidays are taken outside the home country” “Politically astute - TCK's tend to read the newspaper and watch the news more often than other children.“ “They are great debaters. They are often aware of the background of political decisions and implications for the people concerned.” “Speak more than one language - often 3 or 4. English may be one language they function in, but they can think and feel in several.” “Prefer to socialise with other TCK's as they enter adulthood - often become expatriates themselves.” “Privileged lifestyle - their socio-economic lifestyle tends to be higher due to the expatriate status offered by some companies or the advantages of relocations (eg. they have access to helpers, drivers, club memberships and money).” “Converse well with adults.” “Culturally astute/cross-culturally enriched, less prejudiced.” “More welcoming of newcomers into a community.” “Educational achievers - a high percentage will attend university and obtain advanced degrees.” “Live more in the present/live more for the moment” “Make great culture bridges - they have multiple frames of reference.” “Excellent observers of other people - often TCK's become too observant and sensitive”
More Characteristics up for Debate “Establish relationships quickly - they cut through many of the initial levels of diffidence when forming relationships.” “More mature in their social skills.” “Adapt quickly to unfamiliar countries and people.”
Acculturation a. Assimilation b. Separation/Isolation c. Integration d. Marginalisation
a) Assimilation When you abandon your own cultural habits and values in order to accept the new country totally. The ambition is to become accepted as a part of the majority culture
Assimilationism in bilingual /multilingual education ‘For language minority children, the aim of second language instruction may be assimilationist and subtractive. For example, the teaching of English as a second language in the United States and in England often aims at rapidly integrating minority language groups into mainstream society. Assimilationist ideology … tends to work for the dominance of the second [i.e. national] language, even the repression of the home, minority language.’ (Baker, 2001:110)
‘Cultural and racial minority groups should give up their traditional ways of life and take on the … way of life [of the dominant majority].’ (Baker, 2001:403)
b) Separation or Isolation When you focus on keeping your own values and avoid contact with the majority culture as much as you can
b) Separation or Isolation Possible situations “The “brits” in new Zealand are more British than the “brits” in Great Britain” “The Swedes in Minnesota celebrate swedish traditions that real swedes have forgotten”
c) Integration When you hold on to some aspects of your own culture (cultural integrity) such as central norms and values, and at the same time, try to melt in to the new cultural environment.
Integration with the dominant culture Adopting the values, beliefs and lifestyles of the dominant culture Difference perhaps seen as equivalent to deficiency cf. Cultural, educational, linguistic imperialism
‘The kids don’t usually have a problem with being multicultural. Very often it’s the parents who have the problem!’ (EdD, Univ of Bath Summer School, July 2009) How easy is this for adults? And teachers?
d) Marginalisation A strategy where you don’t keep hold on to your original culture, nor integrate in the new culture Isolation from both cultural groups! Living in a non-identity
The role of 'identity' in culture shock and acculturation • identity as negotiated experiences where we define who we are by the ways we experience our selves through participation as well as the way we and others reify our selves. • identity as community membership where we define who we are by the familiar and the unfamiliar; • identity as learning trajectory where we define who we are by where we have been and where are going; • identity as nexus of multi membership where we define who we are by the ways we reconcile our various forms of identity into one identity; and • identity as a relation between the local and the global where we define who we are by negotiating local ways of belonging to broader constellations and manifesting broader styles and discourses
Reverse or re-entry culture shock Dr Michael Davidson November 2009
Many of the characteristics of Third Culture Kids can be attributed to ATCKs. The main difference is that ATCKs make their own choices to move from their home culture.
Pollock and Van Reken (2009) list a number of positive traits of ATCKs. They • develop strong cross-cultural skills and are adaptable; • blend in easily with other cultures; • are able to carefully observe situations, making rational decisions; • have strong social and linguistic skills; • have an expanded view of the world; • find it easy to make choices; • have fewer prejudices.
ATCKs match the criteria in many areas for employment in internationals schools, as the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) suggests: “international teachers should have a greater understanding of intercultural perspectives, need to be competent in the internationally minded international schools, and are able to work actively with colleagues to share their expertise in this field” (ECIS 2011).
‘There is a real danger that … teachers may pathologize difference.’(Edwards et al, 2007:391) ‘When the “problem” is attributed to the students, teachers can avoid examining their own attitudes and practices’. (Chalmers and Volet, 1997:96)
Playing a particular identity card ‘the way in which we all bring with us our own discourses and feelings of culture and negotiate these in communication’ (Holliday et al, 2004:xv)
The unspoken rules of liberal multiculturalism: Promote diversity… But only up to a point ! Do not allow multiculturalism to weaken/threaten the mainstream culture. Allow structural inequalities to remain.
Grazie! Ευχαριστώ! Gracias! Obrigado! 谢谢 ! Shokran(jazeelan) (شكر)جزيلا ! Merci! Cheers!