20 SES 09, International Students' Experiences: Key factors in higher education
Paper/Ignite Talk Session
This paper draws on original research to explore students’ learning through critical analysis of their sense of identities as they engage in the social and cultural contexts in which they used Mandarin. Through interviews with university students of Mandarin Chinese in Britain, the paper reports on their understandings of interculturality, particularly in relation to their study-abroad experience. The paper discusses how they negotiated their linguistic, ethnic and cultural identities when they studied and spoke Mandarin in China in situations in which local people perceived them as ‘English speakers’. The paper aims to discuss how students’ direct experience of speaking Chinese and the responses they received as Chinese speakers have shaped their sense of identity; and to provide in-depth analysis of factors impacting on this process of students’ learning and their understandings of identities in their study abroad period.Factors identified as having an impact on this process include the linguistic and cultural hegemony of English and hospitality. The analysis draws on Bourdieu’s notions of habitus and field and adopts a critical intercultural approach following the work of Dervin (2015), Holliday (2011)and Risager (2007).
Semi-structured interviewed were conducted with 26 students of Chinese across seven universities in Britain. Some follow-up interview questions were asked through email correspondence to prompt reflections on their earlier interview. Data was collected through the process of narrative inquiry, and was coded and analysed with regard to what they said (thematic analysis) and who said and how they said in relation to their ‘real-world’ experience (discourse analysis). This paper provides extracts from 12 interviewees and focuses on their experiences in China. Typically, a BA Chinese language degree course in British universities usually takes four years including a year studying abroad. When and where student placements are arranged in China varies according to different universities, although the majority of universities place students’ abroad period in their second year. This paper includes some of these undergraduates who talked about their study aboard experiences as well as their own personal experience in China. Some of the interview participants are postgraduates who have either had the study abroad experience through their undergraduate courses or they simply went to China by themselves.
The findings show that students struggled to preserve their distinctive sense of identity. Many of the students interviewed experienced the cultural assumptions of the Chinese people with whom they lived and met. Students were sometimes perceived as ‘Anglo-American’ English speakers. Their Chinese language identities were negotiated through the way in which the English language is perceived by Chinese people. However, their identities became more challenging as they brought their own complex identities to their learning experiences. The passé ideology of ‘Orient’ versus ‘Occident’ continues to emerge in these students’ experiences and responses, which, to some extent, reflects the contradictions and challenges within the identities of learners of Chinese. Indeed, the Chinese language is no longer perceived as being distant, especially for those interculturally aware students. If these intercultural students ‘possess interculturality arising from their biographical pathways’ (Jin, 2016: 11), representing the majority of students registering for Chinese language courses, their desire to extend their intercultural engagement could be challenged when faced with Chinese hosts who continue to perceive them as ‘western’ or essentially English or Anglo-American. This challenge is reinforced when their Chinese hosts appear to expect them to speak English, even when they come from other European countries such as Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Germany or Holland, as evidenced by the student interviews. A key question raised is whether current Chinese language courses in British universities should be aware of these issues sufficiently to incorporate aspects of identity relating to contemporary Chinese cultural and language landscapes, in order to help students prepare for their study-abroad period. Learning Chinese within an interculturally aware setting is as much about developing an identity as it is about acquiring knowledge of a language.
Casas-Tost, H., & Rovira-Esteva, S. (2009). Orientalism and occidentalism: two forces behind the image of the Chinese language and construction of the modern standard. Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 4(2), 107–121. http://doi.org/10.1080/17447140902741296 Dasli, M. (2017). Intercultural education of tolerance and hospitality. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 38(5), 676–687. http://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2015.1135308 Dervin, F. (2015). Internationalization in China: Hospitality, Encounters and Othernesses. Keynote Speech at Chinese Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2015, Held at UCL IOE on 25 and 26 June 2015 (Unpublished Work). Retrieved from http://www.cerauk.com/keynote-speech/ Holliday, A. (2011). Intercultural Communication and Ideology. London: SAGE. Holmes, P., & O’Neill, G. (2012). Developing and evaluating intercultural competence: Ethnographies of intercultural encounters. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 36(5), 707–718. Jin, T. (2016). Moving beyond ‘intercultural competence’: interculturality in the learning of Mandarin in UK universities. Language and Intercultural Communication, 1–17. http://doi.org/10.1080/14708477.2016.1259320 Lewin, R. (Ed.). (2009). The handbook of practice and research in study abroad: Higher Education and the quest for global citizenship. Li, Z. (2009). Beautiful English versus the multilingual sef. In J. Lo Bianco, J. Orton, & Y. Gao (Eds.), China and English: Globalisation and the dilemmas of identity (pp. 120–136). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. MacDonald, M. N., & O’Regan, J. P. (2012). A global agenda for intercultural communication research practice. In J. Jackson (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Intercultural Communication (pp. 553–567). London: Routledge. Mclelland, N. (2015). Teach Yourself Chinese - how ? The history of Chinese self-instruction manuals for English speakers, 1900-2010. Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association, 50(2), 109–113. Retrieved from https://historyofmfl.weebly.com/uploads/1/0/4/5/10456380/mclelland_chinese_paper_june_jclta_pre-publication.pdf Pan, L. (2015). State ideologies of English education in China. In S. Cowan, T. Jin, L. J. Cowan, & Z. Pan (Eds.), New Directions for Education in China (pp. 6–27). London: IOE Press. Risager, K. (2007). Language and Culture Pedagogy: From a National to a Transnational Paradigm. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Weiguo, Q. (2013). Dehistoricized cultural identity and cultural othering. Language and Intercultural Communication, 13(2), 148–164. http://doi.org/10.1080/14708477.2013.770864 Zhang, H. (2016). Plurilingual posters in a multilingual city: reader positioning and power negotiation. Language and Intercultural Communication. http://doi.org/10.1080/14708477.2016.1192184
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.