P.A.C.E. (Programs for Awareness in Cultural Education): The study of a peer education program in cross-cultural awareness at the University of Pennsylvania

Navneet Khera, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

In an environment where recent administration efforts to address the complex issues of a pluralistic society, have often been seen as attempts to stifle free speech and academic freedom, and create a 'PC' atmosphere, there was need for a student run program that would create an effective campus resource for workshops on issues across all the salient dimensions of cross-cultural communication such as gender, race, etc., where difficult but much needed dialogue could take place between students. Programs for Awareness in Cultural Education (P.A.C.E.) was founded in Fall 1993 for this purpose. The author of this study is the Program Coordinator for P.A.C.E. at the Greenfield Intercultural Center and a Lecturer at the Graduate School of Education for the Seminar portion of the program. The aim of this study was to examine: the case studies of four of the peer educators in the program, and by a program/process evaluation of both the training and implementation phases of the program, better understand the dynamic process of peer education via the development of the peer educators. The case studies elucidated the primary motivations, skills, and traits of peer educators in cross-cultural awareness. The leading motivational schema were found to be identity, environment and affiliation, empowerment, family socialization and gender roles, philosophy/ideology, career/economic progress, and critical incidents. Paraprofessional skills most important for peer educators were found to be workshop design, presentation skills, group dynamics, communicative competence and time management. The traits of an ideal peer educator in cross-cultural awareness were shown to be understanding cross-cultural interaction, self awareness, and patience. The study also revealed that awareness is a continuum and not a discrete stage, cultural education is a process and not a dichotomy of present/not present; and, that cognitive and affective methods together are most effective in training peer educators. Links between the the case studies and the larger literature, new learning, and implications for further research and practice were also discussed.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education

Recommended Citation

Khera, Navneet, "P.A.C.E. (Programs for Awareness in Cultural Education): The study of a peer education program in cross-cultural awareness at the University of Pennsylvania" (1995). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9532217.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9532217

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