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Steven R. Van Hook

Transcultural Themes Bridge Cultures
Themes and images that resonate in international classrooms.
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 by Steven R. Van Hook, PhD

Steven R. Van Hook, PhDIt can be a challenge for a teacher of international students to get them to interact beyond their seating groups, as they tend to cluster by nationality. It can also be a challenge for an instructor to effectively teach, with such a diversity of nationalities and learning styles in a common classroom.  

Research shows that certain themes and images in lesson materials can encourage interaction beyond national/cultural groupings and create a positive resonance in the room.

Likewise, other themes and images can foster dissonance in a class, such as sex, religion, nationalism and humor. While it could be useful at times to rely on discordant themes to encourage classroom interaction, instructors may find it a hazardous environment to maintain.

The video clip below briefly summarizes research that illustrates how transculturally resonant themes such as babies, animals, relationships, sports, life cycles, and water might be applied to subject matter in international and multicultural settings for more effective teaching and learning.

Transcultural Themes and Images

Steven R. Van Hook has been an educator for colleges and 
universities in the United States and abroad for more than a 
decade, teaching in traditional, online, and hybrid classrooms, 
and developing more than a dozen different courses.  

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