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1 Supporting the Academic Socialization of International Students on our Campuses: The Power of Social Networks by Sandra Zappa-Hollman, PhD Department.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Supporting the Academic Socialization of International Students on our Campuses: The Power of Social Networks by Sandra Zappa-Hollman, PhD Department."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Supporting the Academic Socialization of International Students on our Campuses: The Power of Social Networks by Sandra Zappa-Hollman, PhD Department of Language & Literacy Education University of British Columbia CILS Symposium, May 9th, 2008

2 2 Internationalization Multiculturalism Global Village Student Mobility

3 3 Top Host Destinations (estimated total 2.7 million students) United States 22% United Kingdom 13% France 10% Germany 9% China 6% Australia 4% Japan 4% Canada 3% Sources: Project Atlas 2007 data from partner organizations, UNESCO/OECD 2005 data and Open Doors 2007: Report on International Educational Exchange. 1000%

4 4 General Student Data (2005) Total count of all higher education students, both domestic and international: 1,010,000 Most recent total for international student enrollment: 75,200 Canada’s international student population Top countries of origin 1. South Korea 21% 2. China 16% 3. Japan 8% 4. US6% 5. France 6% 6. India 4% 7. Mexico3% 8. Germany 3% 9. Taiwan 2% 10. Hong Kong 2%

5 5 Internationalization Reactive Proactive Strategic (See work of J. Knight, 2007; survey of universities in 95 countries conducted in 2005)

6 6 Paralleling spread of study abroad programs is spread of English as an international language.

7 7 English as a Lingua Franca In: Kachru (1992). Teaching world Englishes.

8 8 Paralleling spread of study abroad programs is spread of English as an international language. A large proportion of the study abroad population will experience an aspect of their sojourn in English.

9 9 Important questions What are some of the challenges faced by international students as they become immersed in their host academic contexts? How do these students become familiarized with the new academic demands they face? How well are academic communities addressing the needs of international students?

10 10 The study

11 11 Focus: Academic literacy Participation in academic literacy activities constitutes a crucial aspect of higher education students’ lives. Becoming literate in different discourse traditions is a complex, lengthy process, particularly challenging for non-native English speakers (Belcher & Braine, 1995; Casanave, 2002; Leki, 2003; Shi & Beckett, 2002; Spack, 1997, 2004; Zamel & Spack, 2004; Zhu, 2001). Academic literacy activities usually take place in high stake situations “It is through literacy experiences that much college learning takes place (…) and is displayed.” (Leki, 2003, p. 81)

12 12 Arguably more significant than classrooms, teachers, and documents to the students and to their contexts of learning, however, are the academic relationships that L2 learners form with domestic students. (Leki, 2001, p. 39) The power of social networks

13 13 Social relationships affect students’ socialization into the target academic culture

14 14 Purpose of study To yield rich understandings Learning resources & opportunities Impact on L2 academic literacy socialization abroad

15 15 Theoretical framework Language Socialization (Duff, 2005; Ochs, 1988; Schieffelin & Ochs, 1986) Social Network Theory (Milroy, 1980, 1987; Ferenz, 2005) Understanding the complex structure of relationships. Roles of individuals within the networks in order to explain phenomena. Communities of practice (CoP) (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998) Newcomers = peripheral participants moving from partial to full participation through guidance of more experienced CoP members. The concept of “community” implies a strong/close kind of relationship. Not all social relationships are CoP-based … The lifelong process by means of which individuals--typically novices--are inducted into specific domains of knowledge, beliefs, affect, roles, identities, and social representations, which they access and construct through language practices and social interaction. (Duff, 1995, p. 508, citing Ochs, 1991)

16 16 Individual Networks of Practice (INoP) An INoP denotes all the social ties of any given individual, whether weak/strong, relevant to the phenomenon under study. Individual Node Core Ties Cluster

17 17 Research methodology Qualitative multiple-case study Length: 1 year (May 2005-April 2006) Phase 1Phase 2Phase 3 May-June ‘05 Summer term in Canada Sep-Dec ‘05 Fall term in Canada Jan-April ‘06 Spring term in Mexico Multiple data sources –Triangulation –Within and across-case analyses

18 18 Data triangulation

19 19 Study setting WCU (Western Canadian University) Canada Source: WorldAtlas.com MCMU (Multi-campus Mexican university) Mexico 2 Summer courses 5 Fall courses

20 20 Participants 22 student participants: 6 focal cases –Early 20s –First experience abroad/away from parents/family –High academic achievers (average 85% to qualify for exchange) –English proficiency (TOEFL over 550) –Represent a Mexican ‘elite’ = Privileged financial status, attend largest private university in that country

21 21 Focal participants ParticipantsMCMU degree sought (major) WCU Courses LilianaInternational CommerceCommerce Philosophy NataliaInternational CommerceCommerce Philosophy (dropped) LorenaIndustrial EngineeringCommerce NeldaCommunicationsCommerce Political Science Latin American Studies IsabelCommunicationsCommerce Political Science Latin American Studies (dropped) RaquelInternational RelationsCommerce Political Science Latin American Studies (dropped)

22 22 Overview of findings

23 23 Mismatches between MCMU and WCU academic cultures/systems - Prep-reading - Amount - Frequency - Length - Format - Frequency - Instructions - Source of content - Level of analysis - Feedback - Grading - Language-medium ReadingWriting

24 24 For me, in my mind, a 50 is like a fail. But they [roommates and friends] tell me ‘no, but a 50 is a good grade!’ And they told me that I’m not doing so badly. And I’m having trouble accepting that I’m doing okay in spite of the 50 – that that’s an acceptable grade. (Isabel, I#2: October 28/05)

25 25 Academic Literacy Socialization Parameters

26 26 An example: Liliana’s INoP

27 27 Liliana’s INoP

28 28 Liliana’s INoP Liliana Natalia Lorena Nancy Salvador Gerardo Miranda Mexican friends

29 29 Liliana’s INoP Liliana Natalia Lorena Nancy Salvador Gerardo Miranda Mexican friends Natalia Best friend Summer roommate Classmate in 6 courses Team work partner Emotional support Academic support Instructors’ qualities Classmates Comparison of academic systems Homework Exchanged resources

30 30 Liliana’s INoP Liliana Natalia Lorena Nancy Salvador Gerardo Miranda Mexican friends

31 31 Liliana’s INoP Liliana Nancy Salvador Miranda Mexican friends Salvador Emotional support Academic support: Shared summaries Studied together Shared tips Natalia

32 32 Liliana’s INoP Liliana Susan Non-Mexican friends Fall 2005 roommate Cathy

33 33 what constitutes a good grade, how much time is typically devoted to studying for exams and completing assignments, what constitute typical instructional approaches tips for maximizing benefits for class lectures, how to interpret instructor feedback and grading practices Susan & Cathy

34 34 Summary of Liliana’s INoP Two types of support Benefited more from Multiplex ties Affective Academic

35 35 L2 academic literacy socialization factors

36 36 Model that could be employed in future research exploring academic literacy from a situated, holistic perspective. The power of the social networks in scaffolding students’ academic socialization experiences.

37 37 Suggestions -Pre-departure meetings/sources of information available -Involve students in ongoing reflective practices -Remind students of available sources of assistance -Train instructional and non-instructional staff “Intercultural contact and effective communication among different cultures can only be achieved if everyone in the academic community is prepared to make it work” (Myles & Cheng, 2003, p. 259)

38 38 Given the growing diversity in the classroom as well as the increasingly international and interdisciplinary nature of academic communities, instructors as well as institutions can no longer assume that they are dealing with monolingual, homogeneous groups of learners or colleagues. (Morita, 2002, pp )

39 39 Suggestions −Awareness of linguistic & cultural diversity −Monitor students’ engagement −Bridge cognitive, linguistic, cultural gaps −Avoid certain types of tests & activities −Prepare handout −Comprehension checks −Encourage students to contact −Allow for extra time −Awareness of students’ assumptions & expectations −Variety of instructional activities −Monitor team work / allow class time −Debriefing of assessment practices −Demystify feedback process

40 40 Thank you *** Note: The study I am reporting on today was funded by a two-year SSHRC Doctoral Scholarship, and is also connected to a previous SSHRC-funded study in which I worked as research assistant to PI Professor Dr. Patricia Duff

41 41 References Belcher, D. D., & Braine, G. (Eds.). (1995). Academic writing in s second language: Essays on research and pedagogy. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Casanave, C. P. (2002). Writing games: Multicultural case studies of academic literacy practices in higher education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Duff, P. A. (1995). An ethnography of communication in immersion classrooms in Hungary. TESOL Quarterly, 29, Duff, P. A. (2005). Thinking globally about new literacies: Multilingual socialization at work. In J. Anderson, M. Kendrick, T. Rodgers & S. Smythe (Eds.), Portraits of literacy across families, communities and schools (pp ). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Ferenz, O. (2005). EFL writers’ social networks: Impact on advanced academic literacy development. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 4, Knight, J. (2007). IAU Global Survey Report on Internationalization of Higher Education. (Podcast). Available online: Kachru, B.B. (1985). Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realism: The English language in the outer circle. In R. Quirk and H. Widdowson (Eds.), English in the world: Teaching and learning the language and literatures (pp ). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Leki, I. (2001). “A narrow thinking system”: Nonnative-English-Speaking students in group projects across the curriculum. TESOL Quarterly, 35, Leki, I. (2003a). Living through college literacy: Nursing in a second language. Written Communication, 20, Myles, J., & Cheng, L. (2003). The social and cultural life of non-native English speaking international graduate students at a Canadian university. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 2,

42 42 Milroy, L. (1980). Language and Social Networks (1st ed.). Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Milroy, L. (1987). Language and Social Networks (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Morita, N. (2002). Negotiating participation in second language academic communities: A study of identity, agency, and transformation. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada. Ochs, E. (1988). Culture and language development: Language acquisition and language socialization in a Samoan village. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Project Atlas: Schieffelin, B. B., & Ochs, E. (1986). Language socialization. Annual Review of Anthropology, 15, Shi, L., & Becket, G. (2002). Japanese exchange students’ writing experiences in a Canadian University. TESL Canada Journal, 20, Spack, R. (1997). The acquisition of academic literacy in a second language: A longitudinal case study. Written Communication, 14, Spack, R. (2004). The acquisition of academic literacy in a second language: A longitudinal case study, updated. In V. Zamel & R. Spack (Eds.), Crossing the curriculum: Multilingual learners in college classrooms (pp ). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Zamel, V., & Spack, R. (Eds.). (2004). Crossing the curriculum: Multilingual learners in college classrooms. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Zhu, W. (2001). Performing argumentative writing in English: Difficulties, processes, and strategies. TESL Canada Journal, 19,


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