Teaching 8KQ to non-native English speakers


Over the past year, the International Study Center has been exploring ways in which to bring the 8 Key Questions to its unique population on the JMU campus. ISC students have lower English proficiency than domestic students, so the center started their exposure by asking the students to first define the keywords of each of the questions. This was a pivotal first step as many of the responses from students were definitions such as “whiteness, light-skin” for Fairness and “care about the feelings of friends” for Responsibility. Some of these answers stem from still learning the English language, while others can be attributed to differences in cultural backgrounds. For example, Liberty means different things in a society that generally emphasizes more collectivism than individualism. Once the terms and their meanings were broken down and put in the context of their use in 8KQ Ethical Reasoning, students were better able to apply the 8 Key Questions effectively. ISC students built up to the It’s Complicated scenario by being exposed to smaller challenges and activities in their classes where the 8KQ terminology could be reinforced in linguistically appropriate ways. The ISC is very excited about the inclusion and focus on Ethical Reasoning as part of its larger program.


Involves Faculty, Involves Staff, Involves Students


JMU Campus Scope




Ongoing (Currently in existence, year round)

Existing Center/Institute/Program


Engagement Attributes

JMU Specific

Primary Focus of Program

Cultural Institutions and Programs

Begin Date


Areas of Engagement

Engaged Learning


Department or Center

On/Off campus

On campus

Academic Level of Engagement


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