Presentation on theme: "Exploring students’ group work needs in the context of internationalisation using a creative visual method A.M. Cox Information School, University of Sheffield."— Presentation transcript:
Exploring students’ group work needs in the context of internationalisation using a creative visual method A.M. Cox Information School, University of Sheffield P. Chiles and L. Care School of Architecture, University of Sheffield
Starting point 1: Chinese students’ experience in the UK Anecdotally we notice them sitting and working apart Only 15% of Chinese students have UK friend (UKOSA, 2004) Avoid assumption of unitary, “other” Chinese student (Clark and Gieve, 2006) or recreating a problem in the research
Culture shocks Drinking and party culture among students; dress codes; food and drink (Philo, 2007; Tian and Lowe, 2009) Academic culture shock (Edwards and Ran, 2006) Marking systems Use of evidence and “unfair means” Expectation about tutor’s role Class room participation Stress on group work
Becoming enclaved Largest group of international students on campus Some cultural norms about behaviour of the group; the greater importance of networks with fellow Chinese than UK people Accommodation enclaves Time zone Use of QQ or a weibo not Facebook and Twitter
Students prefer group work with co-nationals Why? Cultural-emotional connectedness Language Pragmatic reasons Negative stereotypes UK students feeling “swamped” and exhibit “passive xenophobia” (Peacock and Harrison 2009) Why do we still use group work intensively? Enriches the group work experience Cultural agility is a good learning outcome for ethical/citizenship reasons and employability “Completion of collaborative learning activities in culturally diverse small groups is a highly complex, socially and emotionally demanding experience” (Kimmel and Volet, 2010, p.3)
Starting point 2: Space and place Spatial design and use embody structural features of HE A lecture theatre or seminar room embodies assumptions about how learning will take place University as mass institution Hidden curriculum is visible (Costello 2000)
New learning spaces Information Commons concept “Flexibility, comfort, sensory stimulation, technology support and decentredness” (Chism 2006)
HOW WOULD YOU ENHANCE CAMPUS DESIGN TO PROMOTE EFFECTIVE GROUP WORK?
Method of our study Participants given material to design a small model of good group work space Written reflections Focus group Participants were iSchool students from China and home students Why “creative methods”? Appropriate to spatial question Language skills less central Can explore emotional and controversial issues safely Model making must be understood as a process of representation – requires analytic method May produce anxiety around design skill
Findings No stark contrasts in the representations Natural light Pleasing aesthetically
Anxiety control and task focus Chinese students Simplicity = stress free “My ideas come about making people peaceful and calm[ed] down especially for groups of four people [or] above. This is because when more students get together, they tend to talk [about] something else rather than their work. Therefore, simpl[e] colours and furniture are used, which may cause less distractions.” UK students Task focus “The idea here was [...] you just had different sorts of spaces for different points of time of group work. So you might obviously need to get around a table. It might be to break out or you just go and relax. [...] If one was doing a long session where you were getting together and then going off individually. [...] Or people just need to get in touch with something they have to get on with but being in a space that let’s you just get together again.” Emergence of a punitive discourse, that “privileged emotionally restrained, task focussed, competitive behaviours”(Turner 2009, p.252)
Conservative designs? Did not offer radical proposals Designs were often office-like They were not personalised, marked or owned Links to students lacking a home on campus (Cox 2012)
SHOULD WE DO MORE TO CELEBRATE DIVERSE CULTURES ON CAMPUS – AND HOW?
Reflections on the method Very narrow sample; Should have captured the discussion and process more; Would a practice-based approach (such as walking tour or shadowing) be better?
Reference and contact details Cox, A.M., Chiles, P. and Care, L. (2012) Exploring Students’ Group Work Needs in the Context of Internationalisation Using a Creative Visual Method, International Journal of Higher Education, 2 (1) ticle/view/1065 ticle/view/1065 Andrew Cox,
WHICH GROUP WORK TASKS HAVE YOU FOUND INTEGRATE STUDENTS WELL?