Going Dutch! Acculturation of Pupils aged 15 to 19 at Dutch International Schools
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This research is concerned with the acculturation of 15 to 19 year old pupils in three Dutch international schools. Teaching at an international school means working with Third Culture Kids (TCKs). For teachers it is invaluable to have knowledge regarding the acculturation of these pupils in order to understand the mindset of the international pupil. In this research these pupils' cultural dissonance is measured and analysed using the gender and power distance cultural dimensions from Hofstede (1994) and seven areas of cultural dissonance within an international school context as formulated by Allan (2002). Research was carried out at three international Dutch schools. Data was collected using a questionnaire for pupils. Data from all three schools was merged and analysed as a whole. Results from the questionnaire show evidence of cultural dissonance that relates to Hofstede's 'gender' and 'power distance' dimensions. Those pupils who identify their home country as a country that is far off the Dutch position in the Hofstdede model show more cultural dissonance than those whose home country is closer to this position. Pupils identifying the U.K. and the U.S. as their home country showed the least dissonance, suggesting that the culture of these three Dutch international schools might be described as being closest to the U.K. and U.S. national culture positions in the Hofstede model. Pupils were placed in separate categories for age, number of countries lived in and whether they had previously attended an international school. It was found that older pupils indicated a tendency to show more cultural dissonance than younger pupils. A tendency was found for cultural dissonance to decrease for pupils as the number of different countries they have lived in increased. It was found that those pupils who have attended previous international schools exhibited more cultural dissonance than pupils who have not been to a previous international school. In comparing results within these categories we also discovered a pattern emerging regarding the evidence for cultural dissonance within Allan's seven areas. Four areas showed significantly more dissonance — peer interaction, teacher/student interaction, institutional school factors and host culture.