Call for Participants: Workplace Inclusion Experience of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Millennial Professionals

Research project title:  Workplace Inclusion Experience of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Millennial Professionals.

We are looking for graduates who were born between 1981 and 1996, identified themselves with one or more BAME groups, and have at least two years of full-time work experience in the UK. Participants will be asked to share their perception and experience of workplace inclusion in an individual interview. This research is carried out by Minjie Cai from the University of Greenwich and Manjari Prashar from Global Readiness Training/Cranfield University. All responses to the interview questions will be kept confidentially with assurance of anonymity. Please contact Dr Minjie Cai should you wish to take part in the research interview or have someone to recommend for this project.
Researcher Contact
Dr. Minjie Cai (Principal Investigator)
Lecturer in Human Resources and Organisational Behaviour
Department of Human Resources and Organisational Behaviour
University of Greenwich
Telephone: +44(0)2083317880

Negotiating Intercultural Spaces and Teacher Identity in an Internationalised School in Shanghai

Poole, A. (2019). Negotiating Intercultural Spaces and Teacher Identity in an Internationalised School in Shanghai. Intercultural Communication Education, 2 (2), 59-70.

Adam Poole

Dr Adam Poole, University of Nottingham Ningbo, China


There is now a general acceptance that schools need to prepare students for the realities of a globalised world, which necessitates developing intercultural competence. Such an educational mandate is felt particularly keenly in internationalised schools, where the work of teaching and learning involves the negotiation of diverse cultural assumptions, practices, and identities on a daily basis. Whilst schools are in a position where they need to formulate some kind of understanding of what intercultural competence means and how it is expected to be developed with educational content and pedagogical practices, the notion of intercultural competence is perpetually contested. Critical scholars have critiqued the tendency for theorising on intercultural competence to adhere to “solid” notions of culture and assume that there is an end to the intercultural process at which point an individual will become interculturally competent. This paper, however, argues that it is important to understand the ways in which solid notions of culture surface in the lived experiences of teachers working in intercultural contexts. The paper draws on findings from a qualitative case study of international teachers’ cross-cultural experiences in an international school in Shanghai, China to highlight the ways in which individuals draw on notions of solid culture as a resource for claiming an identity position in relation to dominant cultural practices in the local context.


This paper is designed as the final installment in a series of papers that have focused on various aspects of teachers’ experiences in internationalised schools (the reader can check out another paper for discussion of the differences between international and internationalised schools, and characteristics of what I have come to call Chinese Internationalised Schools.) In my previous work, I explored teachers’ experiences of precarity and constructions of cross-cultural identities in internationalised schools in Shanghai. As part of this project, I developed a framework for analysing international teachers’ identities, by appropriating the concept of teacher professional identity, which has been understood as being comprised of professional and personal experiences. In order to capture the ‘international’ dimension of international schools as transnational spaces of education, I added a third modality, cross-cultural experiences, which was informed by the notion of intercultural competence. However, in writing this current paper, I have come to question my assumptions about intercultural competence, particularly the idea that an individual can master a certain set of skills and dispositions after which he or she will be able to negotiate any intercultural encounter. This process of questioning led me to the concept of critical interculturality, which is defined as ‘a never-ending process of ideological struggle against solid identities, unfair power differentials, discrimination and hurtful (and often disguised) discourses of (banal) nationalism, ethnocentrism, racism and various forms of -ism. Critical interculturality is also about the now and then of interaction, beyond generalisations of contexts and interlocutors (Dervin, 2017, p. 2).

The paper develops my previous work by drawing together the concept of teacher professional identity construction with critical interculturality. In contrast to most studies on international schools which tend to focus on expatriate educators, this paper also draws upon data from a local teacher, Daisy who taught the IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) English. Previously, I had focused on Daisy’s identity development (see ‘I am an Internationalising Teacher’) in isolation, but this paper places her voice alongside other expatriate teaching staff. For me, Daisy has become a significant figure in my research. She is representative of numerous Daisies in internationalised schools who are often not recognised as international educators, due to contracts that label them as ‘local-hires. Even though the paper set out to focus on the expatriate experience, it is her voice that is the most significant.

The paper found that Daisy was the most interculturally competent of all the participants despite being the youngest and least experienced. This was attributed to her familiarity with Chinese and English culture and her linguistic ability in both languages. As she was habituated to the local context, she could utilise her solid identity as a foundation on which to develop new hybrid identities that incorporated aspects of both Chinese and western education. The paper proposes that schools should utilise teachers like Daisy as cultural mediators. Exploring cultural differences with a cultural mediator enacts the very processes of being intercultural, such as being interactive and reflexive. There are also a number of other advantages of utilising mediators like Daisy for facilitating the development of interculturality. Cultural mediators add an affective dimension to the intercultural process, which is often missing from your average workshop and training sessions on interculturality, which tend to be rushed and often abstract in nature. Because mediators like Daisy are able to decentre and combine different cultural perspectives, they also model and scaffold the intercultural process for monocultural teachers, who may approach intercultural interactions from the perspective of solid frames of reference.


Despite being cast as the antagonist, solid identities and ethnocentrism still have a part to play in the development of critical interculturality. For example, the findings suggest that at the level of lived experience, culture is both solid and fluid. Hybridity is not just related to fluid identities, but also the co-existence and interpenetration of fluid and solid identities. Daisy, for example, positioned her teacher identity in relation to a former identity as a ‘teacher-centred educator’. Moreover, this former identity could be described as the bedrock on which Daisy constructed her present identity as an ‘internationalising teacher’ and an emerging identity as a ‘real international teacher.’ On the one hand, culture and cultural identity is not something that exists independently of individuals but is embodied and instantiated by individuals through interaction (culture as process) and is therefore hybrid in nature. On the other hand, culture is utilised solidly as a frame of reference by individuals and is therefore perceived to be solid in nature (culture as product). It is also necessary to caution against the polarisation of liquid and solid identities by viewing liquid as positive and therefore desirable and solid as negative and therefore undesirable. Solid identities are not inherently ‘wrong’ or counterproductive. Rather, they are necessary for developing intercultural identities. Furthermore, solid identities also play a psychological role in bolstering professional identities that are perceived to be under threat and developing greater resilience and a positive sense of self in terms of self-efficacy.

The paper also problematises the notion of critical interculturality as ‘a never-ending process’ by arguing that it minimises the importance of the relevance of cultural knowledge and cultural identities in the here and now. It has to be asked to what extent individuals can be critically intercultural without bringing these ‘solid’ frames into play. Given the salience of solid notions of culture and related cultural identities, it is important to understand how solid notions of culture and identity become intertwined in intercultural encounters. As the paper argues, solid notions of culture take on particular significance for teachers of different national backgrounds who might see themselves as representing particular educational cultures and use claims around culture and identity to advance their own pedagogical agenda or to resist change.

Author’s work

Poole, A. (2019). International Education Teachers’ Experiences as a Global Educational Precariat in China. Journal of Research in International Education, 18(1), 60-76.

Poole, A. (2019). ‘I am an internationalising teacher’: A Chinese English teacher’s experiences of becoming an international teacher. International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, 21(1).

Critical interculturality

Dervin, F. (2017). Critical interculturality: Lectures and notes. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Author’s short bio: Adam Poole (Ed.D, University of Nottingham, China) is a practitioner-researcher currently based in Shanghai, China. He teaches IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) English A and B at an Chinese Internationalised School in Shanghai, and has recently defended and passed his doctoral thesis, which was undertaken with the University of Nottingham, Ningbo. Adam has published a number of articles on international education and the funds of knowledge/identity approach in international peer-reviewed journals, including Mind, Culture and Activity, Research Journal of International Education, Culture and Psychology and The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher. His research interests include international teachers’ experiences in international schools, teacher professional identity, and developing the funds of identity concept. Adam can be reached at and via his profile page at Research Gate.


Migration experiences and career formation among European academics in China


Daniel Nehring

Dr Daniel Nehring, East China University of Science and Technology, China

This study explores experiences of transnational migration and career formation among European academics at Chinese universities. On the one hand, it adds to a growing literature on academic mobilities and the consequences of transnational mobility for academic career paths. On the other hand, it contributes to incipient debates on China as a migration destination. In these contexts, it focuses on the experiences of European nationals, educated to PhD level, who are directly employed at universities in mainland China. The study considers these academics’ motivations for coming to work in China, their experiences of academic labour at universities in the country, including both Chinese public and international universities, the ways in which they form networks and collaborate with colleagues both in China and abroad, and their decision-making regarding possible long-term permanence in China. Moreover, it looks at the ways in which foreign academics’ experiences of personal life in China and of the Chinese migration infrastructure, including issues such as visas and residence permits, banking and finance, and access to health insurance and social welfare systems, influence their migration decisions.

This study is currently in an early stage. It involves qualitative multi-methods research, drawing on Adele Clarke’s Situational Analysis (Clarke, Friese and Washburn, 2018). Specifically, it comprises in-depth interviews with European academics employed at Chinese universities, expert interviews with representatives of relevant European organisations in China, and the analysis of Chinese migration and higher education policy, as relevant to foreign scholars. The main stage of fieldwork will begin in September 2019.

For further information about this project, I can be reached via e-mail at For more on my research profile, please see

Author Bio

Daniel book 1Dr Daniel book 2Daniel Nehring is Associate Professor of Sociology at East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai. His research concerns transformations of personal life under conditions of globalisation and rapid social change. In this context, he pursues two lines of research. One is concerned with experiences of transnationalism among the highly mobile highly skilled. In this context, he has conducted research on Chinese-Western transnational families in China and in the UK, and he is currently in the very early stages of a new project on Western academics of migration and career formation in China. Second, his work is concerned with the transnational production, circulation and consumption of psychotherapeutically informed discourses and practices of personal life. He is a founder and convenor of the international academic network Popular Psychology, Self-Help Culture and the Happiness Industry, and he is currently working on the Handbook of Global Therapeutic Cultures (Routledge, 2020) and a research project on the commodification of mindfulness medication. He is the author of five books, including Therapeutic Worlds (Routledge, 2019) and Transnational Popular Psychology and the Global Self-Help Industry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), and his work has been published in international journals such as Consumption Markets & Culture, Modern China, and Sexualities.

Navigating the educational pathway: Lifelong learning, Citizenship, Intergenerational dynamics and transcultural negotiations of immigrant Chinese in Luxembourg

Wu, Jinting. (2019). Transnational strategies and lifelong learning in the shadow of citizenship: Chinese migrants in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 38(1), 88-102.

Wu, Jinting. (2019, online first). Navigating the educational pathway: Intergenerational dynamics and transcultural negotiations of immigrant Chinese in Luxembourg. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education.


Dr Jinting Wu, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

These two articles are based on nine months of ethnographic study I carried out in 2012-2013 on schooling, community, and transnational strategies of Chinese immigrants in Luxembourg. The larger study examines the contested roles of education/learning in the family strategies and intergenerational dynamics of Chinese migrants, and highlights their pragmatic struggles and creative agency in navigating a Eurocentric citizenship regime.

In an article recently published in the International Journal of Lifelong Education, I draw from theoretical concepts on citizenship, coloniality, and lifelong learning to examine different modalities of learning and transnational strategies among three groups of Chinese migrants – temporary workers, visa overstayers, and restaurant owners. In analyzing their pragmatic struggles, creative agency, and unending hopes for better lives, the paper illustrates how they engage in what Aihwa Ong (1996) calls the dual process of self-making and being made, vis-à-vis the Eurocentric citizenship regime, knowledge hierarchies, and exclusionary labour market.

The first group “temporary workers” refers to those who entered the country without legal permission and live in precarious conditions. The second group “visa overstayers” refers to those who due to various circumstances stayed past the expiry of their visa permits. Compared to these two highly invisible and illegalized groups, the third group “restaurant owners” are successful business entrepreneurs who have gained financial stability and settled down as naturalized European citizens. The three groups represent the various modes of learning and transnational practices by which Chinese migrants negotiate the global cycle of coloniality and inequality.

In Luxembourg, there has been a shift from a permissive immigration policy motivated by the need for industrial labour, to a more restrictive policy to protect social and economic wellbeing of Luxembourgian citizens. Despite the country’s high immigrant ratio, a restrictionist citizenship regime persists to favor high-skill white Europeans (Valentova & Berzosa, 2012). In the context of transnational migration, the normative agenda of lifelong learning tacitly frames immigrants’ dilemmas in terms of deficit and lack, as remediable through continual learning. It, however, ignores the new forms of vulnerabilities associated with the move to a new country and the needs for social protection against linguistic, education, employment, and legal challenges (Guo, 2010, p.159). In addition, immigrants’ prior learning and experience are often devalued or undervalued such that the prospect of a better life is often reduced to downward social mobility (Wagner and Childs, 2006).

The article highlights how Chinese migrants’ efforts at language learning, skill improvement, and possible integration were rendered invisible, impossible, and even punishable in the ethno-cultural and linguistic hierarchies that delegitimize migrants’ multiple ways of being and knowing. Nevertheless, Chinese immigrants crafted their own transnational life with hope, creativity, and resilience: at times they transacted with “snakeheads,” overstayed visas, borrowed IDs to wire money or register for language classes, or contemplated a foreign marriage, with the hope of perhaps eventually settling down and feeling at home. Their modes of learning are driven by practical needs for getting by, obtaining legal recognition, managing trying circumstances, and making a home away from home. The paper argues that lifelong learning needs to be understood anthropologically as continuous cultural, social, and legal encounters. Until these embodied forms of learning and being are fully comprehended, the Eurocentric citizenship regime will continue to produce racial, cultural, epistemological divides and perpetuate the global cycle of inequality.

The second article, recently published by Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education, examines a central question: what roles does schooling play in the intergenerational dynamics and transcultural negotiations among immigrant Chinese in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg? Drawing upon Bourdieu’s (1984,1986) theorization of capital, I offer an ethnographic account of how immigrant Chinese exhibited particular cultural orientations and social ties – alternative forms of cultural and social capital— that helped them gain collective wellbeing yet also produced intergenerational and cross-cultural tensions in childrearing and schooling.

Nicknamed “the heart of Europe,” Luxembourg has witnessed a lengthy historical influx of immigrants, guest workers, and asylum seekers as a center of global mobility, offering an effective lens for examining the complex landscape of immigrant education. With foreign-born inhabitants approaching half of its total population, Luxembourgish society faces a major challenge of social integration and equity. Understanding Chinese educational adaptation and school-family relations becomes a pressing issue for educators, policymakers, and researchers.

In this paper, I use “immigrant Chinese” specifically to refer to those in catering businesses or owning small shops, who constituted the overwhelming majority of the Chinese population in Luxembourg at the time of the research. My sample consists of restaurant workers originally from Qingtian, a county in Zhejiang Province of China known for its rich emigration history, as well as their children born in Luxembourg and enrolled in secondary schools at the time of the study. Qingtian people are known for their entrepreneurship in specialized, small-scale family businesses and transnational kinship network which, through a “chain migration,” allows established immigrants to help newcomers with employment and social support. This migratory pattern reinforces strong kinship ties and delayed gratification, obliging even children to shoulder family responsibilities at early ages.

As I illustrate in this paper, the widespread criticism of the “restaurant problem and pressure problem” – that Chinese children contributed labour to family restaurants and were under parental pressure to achieve academic success – is in fact part of immigrants’ social and cultural resources in response to the challenges and deprivation of the host country. On the one hand, Chinese parents were keen on transmitting the value of discipline and hard work as imperative for immigrant survival. They blamed complacent teachers and their pleasure-seeking children for falling short of their sacrifice and expectations. On the other hands, second-generation youth were aware of the importance of education as the anchor of Chinese overseas wealth, yet anxious of their own marginalization in constantly juggling academic double standards and multiple achievement ideologies. Both generations faced a unique set of challenges, including an early sorting system of the schools, a complex linguistic landscape, a time-consuming catering life, and negative stereotypes held by the society.

As this study demonstrates, immigrant-specific social and cultural resources – as reflected in familism and high academic aspirations (even pressures) –are both a source of empowerment (alternative forms of capital allowing Chinese immigrants to compensate for lack of support and recognition in the host country) and a source of constraint (when not sufficiently understood by the schooling system and when producing stereotypes and intergenerational conflicts). Enhancing educational equality requires a more nuanced understanding of alternative types of social and cultural capital among immigrant families, as well as a strength-based, rather than deficit-oriented, view of culture in relation to teaching and learning (Ngo & Lee, 2007). On the other hand, it is important not to romanticize ethnicity and culture as rooted and unchanging, but take into account dynamic negotiations through intergenerational and cross-cultural encounters. This paper calls for culturally responsive schooling in order to better understand immigrants’ multi-pronged challenges, resources, and aspirations in negotiating educational inequalities.

Author Bio

Book coverDr Jinting Wu is Assistant Professor of Educational Culture, Policy and Society. She is an educational anthropologist with an interest in philosophy and cultural studies. Her research often deploys ethnographic field methods to critically investigate relationships among schooling, society, and culture; it also examines educational policy shifts both as lived experiences and as reflecting the larger spheres of cultural ideation, social (re)production, nation building and globalization. Recent projects have involved study of rural minority education, child disabilities and special education, immigrant youth and families, and educational meritocracy on the global stage. Prior to joining the GSE faculty, she worked as Assistant Professor at the University of Macau (SAR, China) and was a postdoctoral fellow of educational sciences at the University of Luxembourg. Jinting is author of Fabricating an Educational Miracle (SUNY Press, 2017 AERA Division B Outstanding Book Recognition Award; The Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award).


Confucius stands on the London eye- an auto-ethnographic study

Jinjin Lu (2019) Confucius stands on the London eye- an auto-ethnographic
study, Ethnography and Education, 14:1, 51-64, DOI: 10.1080/17457823.2017.1387067

Helen Jinjin Lu

Dr Jinjin Lu, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China

In my recent paper (2019), I used an auto-ethnographic study to see how Confucianism has had a profound influence on Chinese learners’ academic achievements, moral education and education for citizenship. The paper is based on a BBC documentary that leads me to reflect on Chinese education. The documentary sought to investigate what would occur when Western learners undertake Chinese Confucian-based learning. In this article, my personal reflections on the content and messages of the documentary are interwoven with reflections of the teachers and others involved in the documentary. I begin this auto-ethnographic account by reflecting on my cultural upbringing in China and the influence that Confucianism had on my own early learning experiences. Selected diary entries show my identities within a unique Confucian cultural framework.

Chinese learners’ learning styles, motivation and self-regulation have been significantly discussed in relation to Confucianism. More specifically, in a large number of previous studies, the research findings revealed that Chinese learners followed a rote learning process with heavy memorization. For example, Chan (1999) claimed that Chinese students’ learning styles were still very much influenced by Confucianism, which is dominated by rote learning. Similarly, Kennedy (2002) explored Chinese students’ learning styles and found that they were accustomed to learning passively and mechanically because they lack the confidence to participate in the delivery of different learning modes. The lack of motivation remains a common problem in Chinese students’ knowledge transition (Dörnyei and Ryan 2015). Recently, Li and Chang (2015) noted that there was a positive effect on Chinese learners via learning English by adopting a rote learning method, and they argued that the Confucian influence appears to be the only explanation for the students’ rote learning in China. In terms of Chinese learners’ development of self-discipline and self-regulation, Heng (2015) used an auto-ethnographical approach to find a ‘hybridofnuancedculturalmeaningsunderneaththeself-regulatedlearningexperiences in the Chinese context’ (132). Heng’s (2015) research indicates that Confucianism has had a significant influence on the development of her self-regulation in the learning process in her junior high school years.

From a psychological perspective, the ‘educational stress’ phenomenon has been common in the Chinese context. It results in a high risk of mental disorders and may influence students’ peer and family relationships (Sun 2012). Stewart (2014) used surveys and pictures to illustrate how busy Chinese secondary school students were in Shanghai. He expressed concern about Chinese students’ health and wellbeing. In recent years, with the increased number of Chinese students in Western universities, an increasing number of researchers are paying attention to international students’ academic stress, language deficiency and mental health status. In a more recent study, Chen et al. (2015) and his colleagues found that cultural mismatch may lead to many problems among Chinese international students. In this case, investigating the unique culture of Chinese Confucianism is essential because it provides opportunities for Westerners to enhance their understanding of Chinese learners’ characteristics and cultural heritage (Nuyen 2002; Wang 2006; Gutierrez and Dyson 2009; Woods and Lamond 2011; Dennehy 2015). Confucianism has a close relationship with Chinese culture in traditional education. Confucianism refers to the ‘teachings of Confucius and his disciples’ (Lin 2010, 71). The core value of the Chinese cultural system is derived from Confucian ideas (Chan 1986), which have had a significant influence on teaching and learning for many years in China. Students are taught to maintain harmonious relationships with others, adhere to hierarchical structures and focus on hard work (Lin 2010). It is generally believed that ‘Confucian teaching emphasized personal morality, correctness of social behavior and harmony of interpersonal relationships’ (Lin 2010, 307). Because Confucianism, Chinese culture, and Confucian ideas are linked, some scholars (Luan 1994; Yu2008) have even stated, ‘Confucianism does represent Chinese culture, Confucian moral tradition represents Chinese moral tradition and education in Chinese tradition necessarily means education in the Confucian tradition’ (122).

In this research, I used auto-ethnography as a research method to show how my early learning process was influenced by Confucianism. By using this method, both readers and I will obtain a deeper understanding of the unique Chinese culture and its long-term influence in school and at home. Also, I used a range of forms of data to analyzing personal experience (Ellis, Adams, and Bochner 2011; Creswell 2013). This research method has also been used in my other recent articles (2018, 2019). Compared with other research methods, auto-ethnography provides an opportunity for researchers who could be engaged in the field. This does not mean that the stories told are similar to fiction. For me, it is just the opposite because ‘The categorization of the auto-ethnographer’s personal accounts into general themes and by-themes provides an easy, clear, and concise way of grouping the qualitative personal data into intelligible categories and making sense of them’ (Philaretou and Allen 2006, 68).

My auto-ethnographic essays are not only for assisting myself to improve my cultural identity but also to show my experiences enacted though my auto-ethnographic writing that stimulates my audience to reflect upon their educational experiences and the connected underlying cultural meanings, utterances and life experiences in a comparative context.


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Author Bio

Dr Jinjin Lu completed her PhD in the Faculty of Education at the University of Tasmania in Australia. She was a full-time research fellow in Charles Sturt University between 2015–2017 in Australia. Currently, she is an Associate Professor in the School of Foreign Languages at China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), China. Her research interests are in language education, digital technology and cultural studies. She can be contacted at