Teaching and Learning across Cultures

A Guide to Theory and Practice

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Representing the fruit of a lifetime of reflection and practice, this comprehensive resource helps teachers understand the way people in different cultures learn so they can adapt their teaching for maximum effectiveness.

Drawing on extensive research and cross-cultural experience from around the world, senior missiologist and educator Craig Ott introduces students to current theories and best practices for teaching and learning across cultures. He examines five dimensions of culture's influence on teaching and learning: cognition, worldview, social relations, use of instructional media, and the environmental context. Additional topics include intercultural competence for teachers living in a foreign culture and learning style theory. Case studies, illustrations, diagrams, and sidebars help the theories of the book come to life.

Teaching and Learning across Cultures will be useful for professors and students of missions and intercultural studies as well as intercultural teachers, including development workers, missionaries, teachers of English as a second language, and cross-cultural teachers.

1. Understanding the Challenge
2. Culture and the Teaching Context
3. Learning Styles, Teaching Styles, and Culture
4. The Cognitive Dimension--Part 1: Concrete and Abstract Thinking
5. The Cognitive Dimension--Part 2: Teaching Concrete Thinkers
6. The Cognitive Dimension--Part 3: Holistic and Analytic Cognitive Styles
7. The Worldview Dimension--Part 1: The Influence of Worldview on Learning
8. The Worldview Dimension--Part 2: Teaching for Worldview Change
9. The Social Dimension--Part 1: The Influence of Social Hierarchy
10. The Social Dimension--Part 2: The Influence of Individualism and Collectivism
11. The Media Dimension--Part 1: Instructional Methods
12. The Media Dimension--Part 2: Online Learning and Culture
13. The Environmental Dimension
Works Cited


"The most comprehensive treatment of this subject from a Christian perspective that I have yet seen: an excellent in-depth examination of the issues facing cross-cultural workers. The chapters describing the use of traditional methods like stories, songs, and proverbs, and the one on teaching and learning online are by themselves worth the price of the book."

Judith Lingenfelter, professor emerita, School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University

"This book, written for Christian cross-cultural educators, is filled with valuable insights from forty years of experience, giving readers a map to navigate cultural differences and strategies to both understand and bridge cultural divides in the classroom. Analyzing cognitive, social, spiritual, and contextual dimensions in cross-cultural classroom encounters, the author provides both broad approaches and specific pedagogical applications that Christian workers should consider to help students thrive."

Mary Shepard Wong, interim associate dean, professor, and director of TESOL field-based programs, Azusa Pacific University

The Author

  1. Craig Ott

    Craig Ott

    Craig Ott (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of mission and intercultural studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, where he occupies the ReachGlobal Chair of Mission and directs the PhD in intercultural...

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