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Education Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 394829, 9 pages
Research Article

Building Intercultural Competence One “Patch” at a Time

1Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
2School of Cultural and Professional Learning, Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia

Received 22 May 2012; Revised 17 November 2012; Accepted 27 November 2012

Academic Editor: Bernhard Schmidt-Hertha

Copyright © 2013 Rebecca Spooner-Lane et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper describes a program called Patches that was implemented to assist a group of Australian and Malaysian pre-service teachers to enhance their intercultural competence through their involvement in a series of reciprocal learning activities. Each learning experience was considered a “patch” that eventually created a “quilt of intercultural learning.” The purpose of this study was to enhance the intercultural competence of domestic and international students through organized intercultural activities, through a series of reflective writing sessions, and mutual engagement on a common project. The effectiveness of the Patches program was analysed in accordance with Deardorff’s elements of intercultural competence. The qualitative findings indicate that both cohorts of preservice teachers showed elements of intercultural competence through participation in the program, with both groups reporting a deeper appreciation and understanding of how to communicate more effectively in intercultural contexts.