Crossing Borders Teaching International Students in Higher Education Dr Annie Morgan-James and Rebecca Rowntree October 23 2012
Goal 10 : Anglia Ruskin UniversityCorporate Plan 2012-2014 20% of our campus - based students are from outside the EU and we educate and equal number of students both on-site and off-site.
PRE-ARRIVAL • Buddy Scheme • International students report that one of the best sources of information is through contact with previous international students.
Buddy Scheme • In January 2011 Student Services, International Office, LAIBS and ALSS ran a successful pilot to establish a buddy scheme for new international students. As a direct result a University wide scheme was implemented for the new intake in September 2011 and January 2012. The objectives of the buddy scheme are to welcome our new international students, give them an orientation to the UK and more specifically to life as a student at Anglia Ruskin. In addition our buddies (current students) would gain valuable work experience and the opportunity to integrate with students from other cultures.
Buddy Scheme Feedback 1 • ‘It was very good experience for me cos though i make friends easily sometimes im shy at asking questions cos i dont want to seem ignorant or feel like am pestering someone. so it was good that i could call up someone especially at the beginning who didnt mind my questions and was available as much as possible to put me through on any number of topics. it helped a lot.’
Buddy Scheme Feedback 2 • ‘Very helpful and supportive in terms of how to use library resources/borrowing books, etc...and talking about being in the same module’ • ‘One of the major problem with the scheme is countries or areas with limited internet services. it actually reduce my contact because during my buddy scheme i was in an area were internet service is fluctuating’ • ‘The buddy allotted to me contacted me only once and I don't even know who it is. Buddy's need to help the people in consistentcy.’ • ‘it would be help full if the "buddy mate" could explain more about studing in the university, by telling how to gather information ...’
Buddy Scheme Feedback 3 • ‘My buddy was quit nice, she made me to fall in love with the Anglia Ruskin University while awaiting my visa approval; she, as well encourage and enlighten me on the nature of studying in the UK,at the same time, provided a listening ear to my complaints. On arrival, she was there to attend to me and gave me necessary guidelines. I did like to participate in the forth coming one!’ • ‘Buddy scheme is fantastic’
PRE-SESSIONAL • Pre-sessional courses allow students direct entry to degree studies. We offer pre-sessional courses for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. These courses provide students with a combination of English language advancement and Academic skills and language. The academic English focus of the courses will include work on how to write and research for an extended essay, presentation skills, listening and note-taking, seminar skills and academic vocabulary. The English language focus of the courses will be on grammar and the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. • Meet your tutor
Induction According to Evans et al. (2009): • For domestic students, the transition to university can be exciting, unfamiliar and challenging. For international students it is all that and more. Much is unfamiliar to a new international student: the culture, the environment, the climate, and usually the language. The challenges are numerous and the learning curve is steep. Most universities recognise this and offer a variety of support services, the most common of which is new student orientation.
Perception • ‘In most existing literature, Chinese learners of English are portrayed as reticent and quiet in class. They are reluctant to participate in classroom activities; they hardly volunteer replies; they seldom answer, let alone initiate questions; even if they answer, they give brief replies; they seldom speak up about their opinions even if they have one; and they hold back from expressing their views’ (Cortazzi and Jin 1996; Jackson 2002, cited in Xie, 2009:10).
Passive students? • Jude Carroll (2005) put it more vividly when she explained: • ‘One reason why international students are frequently characterised as passive and silent in lectures is that they are using every ounce of their energies in trying to keep up with what is happening.’
Different Styles 1 • ‘In Western Universities, lecturers have very different roles from their counterparts elsewhere in the world. Students may, in some cases, be able to ask only quick questions at the end of the lecture as another class waits to enter the room. After that the teacher disappears into an office and shuts the door, which carries a notice restricting access to office hours.’
Different Styles 2 • In China and Vietnam, by contrast, students can approach university teachers outside class, not only regarding study-related matters but also about personal issues
What’s the problem? How can we help? • First, I’m really worried how to get well along with my tutors. Although my IELTS is 6.5 and I have already known more than 5000 words, I don’t know how to appropriately express myself and to be polite. I’m afraid I will do something wrong because of my ignorance. • I’ve no confident to communicate with each others, especially native speakers, because I am very hard to catch up their words. • My biggest concerns are ability to understand books written in English, and some lecture speak too fast so maybe I can’t understand fully.
What’s the problem? How can we help? • Time management because Western study style different to Asian study style. • To make sure about my academic writing whether will be efficient enough or not. • Worry about my dissertation that someone jokes me. • I’m a bit worried about the terminal examinations, I don’t know the form of our exams. And I think maybe writing essays would become the other difficult part for me. I really need a period of time to get used to writing this kind of texts.
What’s the problem? How can we help? • My biggest concern is conversation. Joining discussions is still difficult issue for me, including to understand other students talking quickly, to arrange my opinion and response correctly. I need more practice, if you could; I would like you to make time to consult. • The first one I really worried about is making new friends here. Most of the time we cannot use English as well as our mother language so it is a little bit difficult to communicate with other student, like having a group talk.
What’s the problem? How can we help? • My major is media studies which is a discipline made up of multi-information processing, editing and mass-media research. I felt that the most difficult part is to get to know the real media application in our daily life. It is not easy to do academic research out of university. I’m really worried about how to start my own academic research in the field of media studies.
Facilitate 1 • In addition, Chan (1999:302) put forward some sound advice regarding encouraging participation: • ‘To facilitate participation, it is important to allow them the opportunity to define their roles at the outset, provide unambiguous instructions as well as allow students more time to think about the topics under discussion. Long silences in the classroom may not be indications that students are refusing to participate, but that they may be thinking about the answers and require more encouragement from tutors’
Facilitate 2 • In a study that compared tutor and student perceptions Robertson et al (2000:101) made the observation that there was a lack of understanding on the part of lecturers as to the language limitations of overseas students: • ‘As a start, a simple acceptance by lecturers that they could assist overseas students by speaking more clearly and slowly ought to be part of the shared learning process. Best practice in teaching demands effective communication; to this end staff should take responsibility, as well as students, for improved learning outcomes.’
Making lectures accessible • Students record lectures • Power point available on VLE prior to lecture • Define any specialist vocabulary or jargon • Explain relevant background to help comprehension of key aspects • Summarise the important information at certain stages during the lecture • Conclude by summarising main points and highlighting ‘take home’ messages
Opportunities for group work in seminars • Spend time creating a safe learning environment • Classroom contract • Make expectations about preparation for and participation in seminars clear • Give international students enough time to formulate their answers • Ensure that students of the same nationality are not sitting together • Briefly summarise the discussion from time to time
Encouraging good academic practice • Clear explanation and examples of the importance of referencing • Tasks that require analysis and evaluation of texts so that focus is on critiquing rather than comprehension • “Rather than focus on what the students should not do in terms of plagiarism, I try to focus on what they should be doing.” Academic tutor in Teaching International Students: Strategies to enhance learning. Sophie Arkoudis. • Referral to study skills
Where to find support • Study skills – Upskilling • - Drop-in sessions • - Library workshops • International Office • Counselling service • Student support
Case Studies 0verview • Esra: English with Academic Skills • Emily: BA Fashion Design • Nadia: BA English Language Studies • Leon: BA English Language Studies • Jemma: PhD Children’s Book Illustration • Science and Technology closed group
Through the short period of time I have attended at Anglia, I have improved my English language and gained the knowledge and confidence I need to pursue my life as a Master’s student. All this was given in an amazing environment and with great faculty support. Esra: (KSA): MSc Health Promotion
The pre-sessional helped me to speak English and mix with other students; we can’t do this in China. Also, the academic English and vocabulary was very helpful for assignments. The language centre staff are warm-hearted and very helpful. Emily: (BUU): BA Hons Fashion Design (Yr 3) Sem. 2 • 6-week pre-sessional • language • Completed Fashion Show as • Fashion Design Module
Pre-sessional Upskilling Buddy The pre-sessional course helped me to get familiar with the British education system, to know new friends and tutors and get used to Cambridge life. In the Upskilling the teacher explained how to write an academic essay from thinking about a topic to bibliography. All of this equipped me with the fundamental skills and knowledge for further studies. Reflecting on my personal development, I consider that my skills and competencies have developed significantly this year. Finishing a 10,000 word dissertation is a challenging task for a non-native speaker just living in Cambridge for 10 months. Nadia:(BIGC): BA English Language Studies, MA TESOL
Pre-sessional Drop-ins Upskilling Buddy At Anglia, I have met many professional teachers. They were not only teaching me knowledge, but also how to study by myself, how to study with English, and how to learn about the UK. The most important thing I have learnt is the way to pursue and verify truth, which is really serious in academic atmosphere. There should not be plagiarism: people need to be respected and referenced for their contribution. Being a buddy was a good way to meet new students, and help them to know about Anglia. Leon: (GUFS): BA English Language Studies
Upskilling As an international student, academic English is very important for my research. The Upskilling classes helped me to improve my skills. They have taught me English as well as academic culture. Moreover, I try to overcome and improve myself whenever I find my weakness related to my research. In this way, I believe I can convert my weaknesses into my strengths. Jemma: PhD Children’s Book Illustration
Tailor made ESP course 2 semesters Working alongside S & T lecturers Close liaison with Faculty Similar with HSC: MSc Physiotherapy Science and Technology closed group
References • Arkoudis, S. (2009) Teaching International Students: Strategies to enhance learning. CSHE. The University of Melbourne. • Carroll, J. & Ryan, J. (2005) Teaching International Students: improving learning for all, London: Routledge. • Andrade, M. S., Evans, N. W., & American Council on Education. (2009) International students: Strengthening a critical resource. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Education. • http://www.cshe.unimelb.edu.au/resources_teach/teaching_in_practice/docs/international.pdf • Murphy, P. (2011) Raising awareness of the barriers facing international students in the UK and the need for two-way adaptation. Paul Murphy. Glasgow International College. • http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/internationalisation/Issue5_Murphy • Lewis, M and Reinders, H., All Alone in the Crowd. The Times Higher Education Supplement, 05 July 2005.