Community of Practice: A Multicultural Classroom at the Graduate Level

By Maria Eugenia De Luna Villalón.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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This paper is a report of a qualitative work done in a course that was chosen to be my Community of Practice (Wenger, 1998) for one semester in a western Canadian University with my participation as an international exchange student as participant-observer.
The main purpose of the study is to examine through grounded theory, obtained from different data sources, how cultural differences in a multicultural Community of Practice (COP) were influencing participation and non-participation, how the negotiated relation between them were shaping dynamics, and dynamics were shaping participation and non-participation, in order that some of the COP member’s voice could be heard.
With eight members in the COP and the professor; seven cultures were represented within these nine persons. Interviews, observations, field notes, a journal, and postings were the sources from which the data were collected, analyzed, and codified. Cultural differences and participation were the main themes obtained as a result of the analyses. Participation, interaction, class organization, and a professor-centered class were further discussed as main topics that emerged from the grounded theory.

Keywords: Community of Practice, Multicultural Education, Postgraduate Level, Canadian Graduate Classroom, Education

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp.19-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.731MB).

Maria Eugenia De Luna Villalón

PhD Student, Hispanic Studies, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

I am a Mexican 2nd year PhD student in Hispanic Studies at The University of Western Ontario, Canada. I have a Teaching Assistantship position and I am a Spanish instructor in a multicultural classroom. As a Mexican teacher-student it was not common for me this kind of environment and the paper that I am submitting helped me to be aware of the cultural differences in my classroom as an instructor. I have a MA in Applied Linguistics and my research was Homeliteracy practices in four Mexican immigrant families in Canada with findings such as the use of home literacy practices as a way to maintain Spanish vitality. At this moment I am working in my dissertation proposal, my research interest is languages in contact.