Strategies for improving intercultural and international learning

Felicia Zhang, Ian MacLean

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review

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Over the last ten years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of international students studying certain disciplines (such as accounting) in Australia (Davies, 2010). However, many international students graduating from these disciplines lack the requisite English language level to secure professional employment in Australia (Birrell, 2006; Davies, 2010). This trend prompted the research team to investigate issues of international students‘ integration into the academic community and their difficulties in academic study, by attempting to follow the linguistic progress and participation of 14 international students throughout first semester 2011 in a group called the University of Canberra (UC) Noodle Club. The Noodle Club is aimed at creating cultural and linguistic networks between sympathetic Australian students such as those who are learning Mandarin Chinese at the University of Canberra and international students including those from the target language culture (in this case the Chinese culture). We used questionnaires and interviews to identify factors that might influence international students‘ confidence in tackling academic tasks. Our small-scale project suggests that (i) to assist international students in their academic studies, it is necessary to adopt an in-discipline approach which builds intervention strategies within lectures and tutorials of a unit/course/subject, rather than as an adjunct; and (ii) international students‘ needs in writing essays might not be adequately met, at present, by the way tutors and lecturers mark. A new way of enabling tutors and lecturers to provide targeted feedback at the grammatical level is identified and (iii) students can be encouraged to guide themselves during the process of writing using an e-assessment tool. Findings of this project lend support to previous research on the effectiveness of an in-discipline approach to language support (Zhang, F. et al., 2010) and suggest that such an approach may improve the learning of all students in higher education, not merely international students.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Australian Technology Netwo4rk: Assessment Conference 2011
EditorsJ.D Yorke
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherCurtin University
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780646566115
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventThe Australian Technology Network: Assessment Conference 2011 - Perth, Australia
Duration: 20 Oct 201121 Oct 2011


ConferenceThe Australian Technology Network: Assessment Conference 2011


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