Listening to staff and students talk about the internationalisation of higher education

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Highlights from a focus group study run in 2007-8 of staff, home students, and international students in England

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Listening to staff and students talk about the internationalisation of higher education

  1. 1. Listening to staff and students talk about the internationalisation of higher education: highlights from a focus group study <ul><li>Dr Fiona Hyland </li></ul><ul><li>ESCalate, </li></ul><ul><li>Subject Centre for Education </li></ul><ul><li>The Higher Education Academy </li></ul><ul><li>New perspectives of Internationalisation </li></ul><ul><li>12 June 2009 </li></ul>
  2. 2. A Changing World: the internationalisation experiences of staff and students (home and international) in UK Higher Education Dr Fiona Hyland, Dr Sheila Trahar, Dr Julie Anderson & Alison Dickens Funded by The Higher Education Academy
  3. 4. Aims <ul><li>To explore the perspectives of students and staff on: </li></ul><ul><li>what the terms 'internationalisation' etc, mean to them, </li></ul><ul><li>the extent of internationalisation within their institution, </li></ul><ul><li>the effects on teaching and learning, </li></ul><ul><li>their challenges & successes, </li></ul>
  4. 5. Methods <ul><li>15 Focus groups in February to May 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>5 locations with participants from across UK </li></ul><ul><li>A range of disciplines e.g. Business, Engineering, Education, Sociology, Arts, English, Mathematics </li></ul><ul><li>Separate groups of international & home students </li></ul><ul><li>Topic guide </li></ul>
  5. 6. Key Challenges as perceived by staff & students in the study Student Interaction Teaching & Learning Issues Curriculum Entry Requirements for Students HEI Strategy & Staff Buy-in Internationalisation
  6. 7. HEI strategy & staff buy-in <ul><li>“ internationalisation means recruitment; it means reaching out and pulling students in&quot;. Staff </li></ul><ul><li>“ probably in a lot of cases the people who decide how many students (as many as possible) are not the people who then have to deal with them... So I think the problem is basically that the system has become too financially driven without, you know, care for the quality” Staff </li></ul>
  7. 8. Entry requirements <ul><li>Concerns about how English language tests (IELTS, TOEFL) are used, what scores are required </li></ul><ul><li>“ one person I lived with actually … it’s a sad story, because she was doing a music course, and she actually had to quit her course because she couldn’t cope. I was like ‘Well why did the University let her in?’ – I, kind of, got a bit angry… they really shouldn’t have let in if her English was so bad that she couldn’t cope with the course.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Home Student, edited) </li></ul>
  8. 9. The Curriculum <ul><li>For the international marketplace </li></ul><ul><li>Embedding internationalisation vs tagging on extra modules / case studies </li></ul><ul><li>Different disciplines, different approaches </li></ul><ul><li>Accreditation restrictions </li></ul><ul><li>Graduate attributes </li></ul>
  9. 10. Teaching & Learning <ul><li>“ Yeah, when I came to the lecture room it seems like white people sit at the back, white people, and then in the middle some like me, yellow coloured people, and then at the front, black people. And when they divide groups, just like Malaysia students will go with Malaysia students. Muslim students would like to go with Muslim students. White people will get white people together.. people are still sitting (like this) for a whole year” International Student </li></ul>
  10. 11. Teaching & Learning <ul><li>Staff suggestions: what worked for them </li></ul><ul><li>Group work was seen as challenging, but effective when encouraged </li></ul>
  11. 12. Student Interactions <ul><li>Cultural cliques </li></ul><ul><li>Language </li></ul><ul><li>HEI and degree course barriers </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural differences in socialising </li></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>Student: I guess we didn’t mention it (alcohol), because it’s so obvious, it’s just there. </li></ul><ul><li>Student … my interpretation of the word sociable is: helpful, supportive, friendly, maybe patient, things like that. It turned out to be different here. </li></ul><ul><li>Moderator what is it here, your perception? </li></ul><ul><li>Student As experienced in my hallway, it means being able to drink more than 10 pints of beer an hour. If you can do that, you’re very sociable. Otherwise, you may be intermediate. </li></ul>
  13. 14. Internationalisation at Home <ul><li>We don’t do it actually (make the effort to get to know international students). I mean that’s the problem. It’s also our responsibility to find out and we don’t actually do it, we find so many excuses, like ‘I have to do this, and this, and this’. (Home Student) </li></ul>
  14. 15. Conclusions Student Interaction Teaching & Learning Issues Curriculum Entry Requirements for Students HEI Strategy & Staff Buy-in Internationalisation
  15. 16. Generally, this is a positive report: internationalisation enriches lives <ul><li>So no matter how much I might have tried it’s only by having students from Ghana, from Nigeria, from Taiwan and from India who when they talk about (their contexts) you can begin to understand the parallels and the contrasts and comparisons and it brings a dynamic to the learning that is so real, so alive, so energised, that no textbook, no amount of me preparing to remember to say ‘oh and in Singapore it might be different, oh and in Canada they do this'. There’s no way that I could have created that. That is a very dynamic and creative element of the learning for students and for me. (Staff) </li></ul>
  16. 17. Developing intercultural competencies in international higher education communities: initiating European conversations <ul><li>A BAICE / ESCalate event </li></ul><ul><li>Tues 22 nd September 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>University of Bristol </li></ul><ul><li>Speakers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dr Hanneke Teekens </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dr Matthias Otten </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Professor Martin Haigh </li></ul></ul>
  17. 18. <ul><li>‘ A Changing World…’ Report http://escalate.ac.uk/4967 </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Developing intercultural competencies…’ </li></ul><ul><li>event, 22 nd September 2009, Bristol http://escalate.ac.uk/5749 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>

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