Communication challenges in a multicultural learning environment

Penny Singh (1) , Renitha Rampersad (2)
(1) Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa , South Africa
(2) Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa , South Africa


Culture is an intricate concept, with many different classifications. Simply put, "culture" refers to a group or community with which we share common experiences that shape the way we understand the world. Each of us is shaped by many factors, and culture is one of the powerful forces that influence our lives. This paper offers a critique of problems experienced in multicultural learning environments and explores factors that inhibit intercultural communication. In addition, this paper highlights current psychological and cultural issues which are relevant to contemporary life in South Africa.

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Penny Singh (Primary Contact)
Renitha Rampersad
Author Biographies

Penny Singh, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa

Prof. Penny Singh, educator and Head of the Media, Language and Communication Department at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). At the DUT, students from diverse language, race and cultural backgrounds are taught in English. I have been teaching in a multicultural and multilingual environment since 1992 and I have a keen interest in researching and addressing the education challenges that diversity poses to my students and to members of staff in my department.

Renitha Rampersad, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa

Dr Rampersad is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Marketing, Retail and Public Relations in the Faculty of Management Sciences at the Durban University of Technology in South Africa. Dr Rampersad has a DPhil in Communication Science from the University of Zululand. Her dissertation, Corporate Social Investment and HIV/AIDS in South Africa, presented the results of an analysis of corporate social investment and HIV/AIDS programmes in South African corporations. She has in addition to this; published articles related to this topic and has presented at various national and international conferences. Current research includes HIV/AIDS and Corporate Social Investment and Cross-cultural Communication Challenges

Singh, P., & Rampersad, R. (2010). Communication challenges in a multicultural learning environment. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 10(2), 1–09.

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