Mobile Students, Flexible Identities and Liquid Modernity: Disrupting Western Teachers’ Assumptions of ‘The Asian Learner'
This chapter re-imagines the mobile 'Asian' student to better articulate with today's context of liquid modernity, its transnational possibilities, and its challenges to notions of fixed cultural identities. The first section critiques arguments that sustain the overly essentialised discourse of 'cultural difference' and offers new ways to understand the international learner's routes. Interview accounts in which international students enrolled in preparatory courses at an Australian university reflect on their educational decisions are analysed to reveal the major investments made by these individuals to gain access to the cultural capital of English language competence and credentials. The analysis also shows how these students can both strategically take up, and disrupt the 'Asian' student position imagined for them. On these grounds, this paper alerts practitioners to the risk of unexamined cultural categories, and argues against 'one-size-fits-all' preparatory programs premised on such constraining models.
Learning and Teaching Across Cultures in Higher Education