ERIC Number: ED350968
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Oct-16
Reference Count: N/A
International Students and American University Culture: Adjustment Issues.
This paper discusses two types of adjustments that foreign students face when they encounter university culture in the United States. The central section lists and describes four key groups of underlying principles, values, and practices in American education and discusses the reasons why these may be difficult for foreign students to understand. A discussion of the role of the first group, "individualism and competition," and its influence on grading and classroom interaction and learning notes that these qualities may be difficult for students from cultures that emphasize the group over individual experience. The prevalence of attitudes from the second group, "equality and informality" on U.S. campuses is discussed next, with attention to the way these values influence personal relations. The third group is "pragmatism and reasoning style," and it is pointed out that the U.S. emphasis on practicality and directness inclines American students toward "doing" rather than "being," and make them time- rather than process-oriented. These qualities also form American notions of learning as an open-ended pursuit in which both teachers and students are engaged and in which critical thinking skills are valued, ideas which may be difficult for students with strong oral traditions that place a high value on memorization as a key learning tool. The final value group has to do with the U.S. philosophy of education, which may introduce problems with plagiarism and concepts of knowledge ownership, as well as with the view that the final function of education is to produce well-rounded citizens. The paper closes by discussing implications for teaching and suggests seven possible classroom activities for teaching American culture. Contains 27 references. (JB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: United States
Note: Paper presented at the Washington Area Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (WATESOL) Annual Convention (Arlington, VA, October 16, 1992).