07 SES 06 B, Minority Children
The number of international students in Australian schools over the last decade has been increasing as part of a wider upsurge in student mobility to the UK, Australia, North America and Europe. The ‘new’ middle class in China, Malaysia, India and South-East Asia seek to provide a cosmopolitan educational experience for their children, improve their English language skills and gain access to higher education institutions to gain competitive advantage in domestic and global labour markets (Rahimi et al 2017). Australia is third after the USA and UK and ahead of Germany in international student recruitment. Education is Australia’s third major export industry (OECD 2017).Australian government policies provide policy frames encouraging schools to recruit international students.
While there has been considerable research on international students in higher education with a focus on employability (Blackmore et al 2014), intercultural competence, academic experiences and wellbeing (Tran, 2011; Forbes-Mewett et al, 2016), aspirations and outcomes of graduates (Hao et al., 2016), less research exists on international students in schools. Most of this research has focused on why parents choose to send students to specific countries and less so students’ international educational experience.
This three Australian Research Council funded project investigates the sense of belonging and inclusion that international students feel during their time in eight Victorian and Queensland public and private secondary schools. We question the category of ‘international student’ by examining how students are positioned within specific school contexts as ‘international’ and how that positioning impacts on their sense of inclusion (Davies and Harré 1990). While there are legal requirements regarding care and attendance, being international legally requires monitoring of absences where IS names in some instances are marked with an ‘asterisk’ on rolls. But the presence of international students is less explicitly defined in the everyday social and pedagogical relations of schools (Halse forthcoming). The specificity of how international students are positioned arises from the assemblage of multiple factors in each school context:- the multicultural mix of both the international student cohort and school population, the structuring of the IS program with regard to space, pedagogical and curriculum organisation, level of resourcing, staff expertise and residential arrangements. This paper works on and over the notion of ‘international’ with regard to how inclusion/exclusion occurs through structural, cultural, discursive, temporal and spatial dimensions of schools.
Underpinning the project and explored in this paper are numerous tensions around the meanings of intercultural education and belonging often assumed in the internationalisation literature (Bash 2012; Gregoriou 2013). The paper considers what theoretical framing can provide a more nuanced understanding of international students’ experience by interrogating notions of intersectionality (Collins & Bilge2016), relational race theory (Vass et al 2018), intercultural theories (Dervin 2016, Mahoney 2017), mobility studies (Robertson et al 2017) and youth and social media studies (Cuervo and Wyn 2014 , Wyn 2015, Beavis 2013, Hannaford and Beavis 2017, Beavis 2013). As this is about identity and belonging and theorising of the self in relation to others (Lin 2007), we also consider feminist poststructuralism which informed positioning theory (Harre 2010) which is often used in mobility and globalisation studies (e.g Tran 2011). We consider issues around the digital world in which young people relate to others (family, peers and strangers) in ways that create dis/connectedness and that have ethical and social implications regarding inclusions/exclusions important for a sense of belonging. The focus is specifically on how international students are positioned in two Victorian schools and the discourses by which they are positioned and which they themselves mobilise in terms of gaining meaningful relations with their teachers and peers.
The three-year Australian Research Council study examining the sense of belonging, connectedness and inclusion experienced by international students involves case studies in 5 Victorian and 3 Queensland schools and over 150 interviews including those with key policymakers in the field of international education within state authorities. Individual members of the international student cohorts are being tracked over the three years to gain a longitudinal sense of how their experiences impact on their sense of self, relationships and choices. Given the increased use of social media informing the social relations of young people, the project is examining both face to face interactions and online connectedness and how these impact on a sense of place and belonging (Fu 2018; Kontopodis et al 2017, Beavis 2013). It considers the sorts of transnational relationships that connect international students to different people and places in both physical and on-line social spaces, and how these intersect with and are changed by students’ experiences and choices during the critical teenage and school years of Years 10-12. The study involves a critical policy analysis of the array of policies informing this trend in Australia and internationally, a thematic analysis of interview data that considers the specificity of each institutional context, and longitudinal studies of selected individual students through a narrative approach. What is different in this study is considering not only the everyday experience of the international students online but also the perspectives of the domestic students within a wider analysis of the discourses regarding the benefits of internationalisation in schools. The approach is to focus not only on student relations with peers, teachers and parents but also on the systemwide and institutional structuring of international programs, the resources available and the student and teacher voices in terms of effect.
We are arguing for a more ‘case sensitive’ approach to international students which takes into account the array of aspects impacting on their school and home life experience. This includes whether the international student cohort is from one source country, the ethnic mix of the school and how the programs are structured – whether separate or integrated. The paper will develop theoretical framing which addresses the complexity of a mix of organizational and systemic policies and contexts with everyday interpersonal relationships, aspirations, desires and belongings. One expected outcome of the study, in its second year, is to inform policymakers and school administrators regarding how to structure programs for international students in ways that encourage greater interconnectedness with domestic students. A second intended outcome is to provide guidance with regard to homestay, and recognition of how out of school activities and online environments are critical to how young people gain a sense of place and belonging. A third outcome, already in part fulfilled, is to provide feedback to specific schools on how to improve their program for international students, with particular regard to how to improve relations with homestay and families. Identify and explain the nature of intercultural relations between international and domestic students over time and their post-school decisions/plans. Finally, it will enhance methodological and theoretical approaches for understanding international students’ on- and off-line relationships with their social worlds.
Bash, L. 2012 Intercultural education and the global-local context: Critiquing the culturalist narrative. Issues in Educational Research, 22(1), 18-28. Beavis, C. 2013 Young People, New Media and Education: Participation and Possibilities, Social Alternatives 32(2) Beyond ‘Y’ and other stereotypes: Exploring the experience of youth in the 21st Century pp. 39-44 Blackmore, J., Gribble, C. Rahini M, Farrell, L. Arber. R. and Devlin. M. (2014) Australian International Graduates and the Transition to Employment, Burwood, Deakin CREFI Collins, P. and Bilge, S. 2017 Intersectionality. Polity Press. Cuervo, H & Wyn, J 2014 Reflections on the use of spatial and relational metaphors in youth studies, Journal of Youth Studies, 17:7, 901-915 Davies, B., & Harré, R. 1990 Positioning: The discursive production of selves. Journal for the Theory Of Social Behaviour, 20(1), 43-63. Dervin, F. (2016). Interculturality in education: A theoretical and methodological toolbox. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Lincoln, S. & Robards, B (2017) Editing the project of the self: sustained Facebook use and growing up online, Journal of Youth Studies, 20:4, 518-531, DOI: 10.1080/13676261.2016.1241869 Fu, Jun. 2018. "Chinese youth performing identities and navigating belonging online." Journal of Youth Studies 21 (2):129-143. doi: 10.1080/13676261.2017.1355444. Gregoriou, Z. 2013 Traversing new theoretical frames for intercultural education: Gender, intersectionality, performativity. International Education Studies, 6(3), 179-191. Halse, Christine, ed. forthcoming. Interrogating belonging of young people in schools: Palgrave. Hannaford, J. & Beavis, C. (2017) "When will the internet be connected? Digital worlds and belonging in the lives of globally mobile children." Literacy (Early View) DOI: 10.1111/lit.12123 Harré, R., & L. van Langenhove, eds. 1999. Positioning theory. Oxford: Blackwell. Kontopodis, M. Varvantakis, C. and Wulf, C. (eds) (2017) Global Youth in Digital Trajectories Routledge. Mahoney, Caroline. 2017. Young women and interculturality: A study of subjectivities: Deakin University. Unpublished thesis. Rahimi, M. Halse C. and Blackmore, J. (2017) Transnational secondary schooling and im/mobile international students Australian Educational Researcher 44: 299-321 Robertson, R. Harris, A & Baldassar, L 2017 Mobile transitions: a conceptual framework for researching a generation on the move, Journal of Youth Studies, DOI:10.1080/13676261.2017.1362101 Tran, L. T. 2011 Committed, face-value, hybrid or mutual adaptation? The experiences of international students in higher education. Educational Review, 63(1), 79-94. Vass, G Maxwell, J. Rudolph. S and Gulson, K. (2018) The Relationality of Race in Education Research. Routledge Wyn, J. 2015. A Critical Perspective on Young People and Belonging. Handbuch Kindheits-und Jugendsoziologie:1-14.
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