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Does understanding culture help enhance students' learning experience?

Nadine Bianca Sulkowski (University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, UK)
Michael Kent Deakin (University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, UK)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 6 March 2009




This paper aims to discuss whether cultural conceptualisations can explain student behaviour and to discuss tactics to enhance teaching and learning in a multinational classroom.


Based on Hofstede's cultural dimensions a questionnaire was devised to test students' values associated with education, teaching and learning, ethics and aspirations. Results were triangulated with existing literature stating positions about whether culture can inform teaching and learning strategies.


There is evidence of a positive correlation between culture and learning approaches. However, institutional, social and personal factors limit the degree to which culture can inform the profiling of learning characteristics.

Research limitations/implications

Previous research has focused on students from a limited number of origins. Further studies are needed to generate deeper insights into the influence of culture on students' learning experiences.

Practical implications

In an attempt to eliminate segregation and prejudice, institutions should focus on managing diversity rather than individual cultural groups within the student body.


This paper is of value for everyone supporting culturally diverse students. It is hoped that it will stimulate further debate and lead to a review of current practices.



Bianca Sulkowski, N. and Kent Deakin, M. (2009), "Does understanding culture help enhance students' learning experience?", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 154-166.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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