ERIC Number: EJ1109203
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
International Student Participation in Higher Education: Changing the Focus From "International Students" to "Participation"
Journal of Studies in International Education, v20 n4 p299-318 Sep 2016
This is a conceptually oriented article which questions established notions concerning the framing of international students in Anglo-Western universities through a literature review. Focusing largely on students from Confucian Heritage Cultures (CHC), and resulting from concerns regarding their level of participation, the literature is considered to have overly represented students' English language competence and cultures of origin as causal factors. The body of the article explores the strands of this complex debate, reviewing both the literature which argues and questions the importance of English language competence, and that which proposes, challenges, problematizes, and ultimately reaffirms the view that cultural background is the dominant factor. The article argues that the literature has emphasized international students themselves, what makes them different, rather than their participation: Despite the often best intentions to the contrary, it has played to a deficit discourse, and has not always offered helpful guidance to the practice community. The article argues that the theoretical perspective of sociocultural theory, and, in particular, activity theory, offers a theorized understanding of participation and its relationship to learning often lacking in the literature, and enables a holistic understanding of participation in educational contexts. Moreover, as a motivational theory of learning, activity theory helps put into perspective the importance of such factors as language competence and culture of origin.
Descriptors: Higher Education, International Education, Confucianism, English (Second Language), Second Language Learning, Asian Culture, Foreign Students, Universities, Student Participation, Language Proficiency, Sociocultural Patterns, Cultural Background, Correlation, Learning Motivation, Language of Instruction, Student Attitudes, Cultural Differences, Western Civilization, College Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
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