Inclusive pedagogy

Tapping cognitive dissonance experienced by international students


  • Romi Jain The University of British Columbia





Cognitive dissonance refers to an experience of incongruity between an entrenched understanding of a phenomenon or concept and a new piece of cognition. If unaddressed, dissonance can be at the heart of international students’ unresolved dilemmas, unspoken feelings, and unshared stories, facts and experiences. In response, pedagogy needs to tap cognitive dissonance that issues from cultural diversityinduced viewpoints, cognitive perceptions, and beliefs on the part of international students, enriching and equalizing the learning environment. Within the framework of postmodernism and social constructivism, this paper offers multiple strategies for the utilization of cognitive dissonance. It is based on three data sources. First, following approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the informed consent procedure, interviews instructors at a university in a mid-West American city highlight instructors’ experiences with and strategies pertaining to engagement of dissonance. Second, the author’s first-hand experiences of dissonance in the United States have been incorporated. Third, the existing literature relevant to the study has been used. 

Author Biography

Romi Jain, The University of British Columbia

Romi Jain is a PhD candidate in education policy at Cleveland State University,Ohio, USA, and is vice president of the Indian Journal of Asian Affairs. She has been selected as a recipient of the 2017-2018 doctoral dissertation grant by the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California. Her articles on politics, education and economy have appeared in Asia Times Online, Diplomat, Eurasia Review, and IPP Review. She serves on the advisory board of Policy Futures in Education and has served as editor-in-chief of the Harvard Asia Quarterly (the Summer 2014 issue). Her articles on China have appeared in international peer-reviewed journals.


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How to Cite

Jain, R. (2019). Inclusive pedagogy: Tapping cognitive dissonance experienced by international students. Writing & Pedagogy, 11(1), 127-150.



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