A Taxonomy for Cultural Adaptation: The Stories of Two Academics When Teaching Indigenous Student Sojourners

Jayne Pitard, Meghan Kelly


Difficult cultural encounters can impact both student sojourners and academics. In this article we present vignettes of separate experiences of an unforeseen cultural encounter in each of two groups of short-term adult student sojourners and we who taught them: One Indigenous group from Timor Leste entering Australia for a 12-week period, and one Indigenous group from Australia traveling to Greenland for a two-week period. We use a structured vignette analysis (PITARD, 2016) of each critical incident to present specific details of how these intense, unanticipated cultural experiences impacted us, the academics. Within our vignettes we see at work a process for cultural adaptation, which we have developed into a taxonomy to assist other teachers in their experiences with difficult cultural encounters to better understand what is happening as a means for stepping outside their own cultural boundaries.


cultural adaptation; academics; Indigenous students; cultural fluency; structured vignette analysis; short term student sojourners

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-21.2.3327

Copyright (c) 2020 Jayne Pitard, Meghan Kelly

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