Lucas Center Blog

Capitalizing on Diversity in Counselor Education: An Application of the Interaction for Learning Framework

July 24, 2020  / Annemarie Connor, PhD, OTR/L  / Tags: learning, Diversity, multicultural

Chun, J., Connor, A., Alsaman, M., Urkmez, B., & Kosciulek, J. F. (2020). Capitalizing on diversity in counselor education: An application of the interaction for learning framework. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development48(3), 161-175.


This article presents a systematic, pedagogical approach to infusing multicultural interaction across curricula using the interaction for learning framework (ILF; Arkoudis et al., 2013) as a tool for exploring bias and, ultimately, promoting multicultural competence in counselor education programs. The authors provide educators with a description of the course curricula, instructional methods, student learning outcomes, and challenges from application of the ILF in a master’s-level assessment course in rehabilitation counseling. Although this article is oriented toward counselor educators, faculty across disciplines will benefit from enhancing multicultural interaction. Key takeaways for college-level educators across discipline include:

  1. Multicultural learning environments enhance cross-cultural exchanges that may help reduce cultural encapsulation and bias among students and educators (Lau & Ng, 2012).
  2. Diversity in the classroom is necessary but insufficient in the promotion of multicultural interaction; intentional course design is essential.
  3. Course design to enhance multicultural interaction can be guided by the six dimensions of the ILF (Arkoudis et al., 2013):
    1. Plan Interaction: Design relevant teaching and learning tasks and peer activities that require interaction.
    2. Create Environments for Interaction: Develop students’ confidence in interacting with other students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and provide opportunities for students to move out of their cultural comfort zones.
    3. Support interaction: Highlight benefits and develop guidelines for respectful interaction. Set up comfort zones. Take time to develop skills necessary for interaction.
    4. Engage with Subject Knowledge: Draw on different skills, learning strategies, and cultural experiences to co-construct subject knowledge (e.g, problem-based learning, case studies, data-informed critical thinking).
    5. Develop Reflexive Processes: Promote higher levels of interaction and cognitive engagement through peer feedback and assessment to enhance students’ critical thinking and reflection on their learning through multicultural interaction.
    6. Foster Communities of Learners: Use diversity as a resource for independent learning outside of the classroom.