Learning from and adapting teaching for International students
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Aims and Background With the growing number of International students undertaking higher education in Australia, there is a need to understand and support these students. The School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, has International students enrolled in both undergraduate and postgraduate nursing programs. This study was funded by a Griffith University Learning and Teaching grant to explore and enhance the experiences of International students and their teachers. Methods This project used a Participatory Action Research (PAR) method, which is an accepted and validated approach to quality enhancement in Higher Education and in facilitating change (Kember & Jones, 2001). Face-to-face focus groups and individual interviews were conducted with international students to explore their experiences. Academic staff participated in focus groups and PAR cycles. Results International students felt disadvantaged as their English language proficiency and prior education experiences did not prepare them to meet the academic standards expected in Australia. During the PAR cycles, teaching staff reported that the project had heightened their awareness of the needs of international students. International students and academic staff suggested teaching and learning strategies to overcome the issues identified. These included participatory tutorials, group work with domestic students, and providing lecture notes at least a day prior to the lecture time to enable review of terminology. Conclusion The strategies identified in the PAR cycles were trialled in two undergraduate courses and one postgraduate course in Semester 2, 2010 and were evaluated positively. This project highlighted the importance of implementing varied teaching strategies to promote learning in the diverse student group. References Kember, D., & Jones, A. (2001). Reflective teaching & learning in the health professions: action research in professional education. Oxford, Blackwell Science.
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