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Emerging pluralities in the enactment of care in the postgraduate tutor-international student relationshipDespite intensified overseas competition, internationalisation remains at the heart of most universities growth strategies. Evidence suggests that the international student experience of care is distinct with context specific expectations. With a paucity of research on care in a higher degree setting this study set out to explore the incidence and enactment care in the postgraduate tutor-international student relationship. It utilised a qualitative, inductive approach, sampling fourteen participants (ten international students and four postgraduate tutors) from a single postgraduate degree programme at a post 1992 small city university. Findings indicated that the enactment of care was plural with emergent themes of mentorship, friendship and recognition of the individual. It identified that participants’ used the word care when describing their relationship but more frequently used language from which care could be inferred when analysed within an abductively bounded framework. This challenged the extant literature which had suggested that the need for care would recede as the cared for moved into adulthood. However, the way in which care was enacted was understood to be particular to the students’ postgraduate status. At the same time, the value of care appeared to be stratified with tutor actions considered less significant if they were perceived to be contractually motivated. Two key recommendations for practice arising from this research were that in the current climate of standardisation and metrification, there remained opportunities to enrich the quality of care in the postgraduate tutor-international student relationship. Secondly, creating these caring relationships with international students was plural and complex which necessitated postgraduate tutor reflexivity of their pedagogic and pastoral practice if they were to enrich the quality of care offered.
Experiences of international students studying in a UK university: how do international students studying in the UK’s Higher Education sector build academic resilience?With the ever-increasing number of international students entering the global market, many of which enrol on post-graduate Higher Education (HE) programmes in the UK, current research offers limited insight into the key role academic resilience plays in enabling international cohorts’ progression and achievement. This study aims to fill the gap by investigating how international students studying in the UK build academic resilience, contributing to the literature and informing governmental policies and university practices. Guided by Bourdieu’s seminal concepts of social capital generation and conversion, this work develops the theories of other researchers in building capital to enhance the academic resilience of students. It achieves this by adopting a qualitative interpretivist paradigm aligned to similar studies, using a longitudinal representative case study in the UK. Over a period of 42-months, 36 respondents formed four non-probability samples. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews, a focus group and questionnaire, the findings of which were analysed using grounded theory methods and supported by computer-aided qualitative analysis software. The results identify six prevalent capitals that students either generate prior to their arrival in the UK or are socially constructed with newly formed peer-groups. Notably, the emergence of neo-familial capital akin to concepts of fictive kinship offers a fresh perspective on the need to formally address the importance academic resilience has on the international student’s learning experience and progression. The findings provide insight into the sources of international students’ academic resilience and how these can change over space and time. This insight offers universities with theoretical and practical guidance on the need to embed proactive student support systems that stimulate academic resilience amongst its international students. It also informs governmental policies on attracting students from overseas as it seeks to enhance the UK’s HE offer to global markets.
The international experience: Culture, sensitivity and expectationsThis presentation discusses the international student experience at the University of Chester, covering cultural differences, and students' expectations and behaviours.
Ubuntu in adult vocational education: Theoretical discussion and implications for teaching international studentsEvidence now calls into question the efficacy and appropriateness of pedagogical practices that force international students to adapt to economically-driven and Eurocentric expectations. As a response to calls for alternative perspectives, this paper introduces the construct of Ubuntu, an African worldview prioritising ‘humanness’ and interconnectedness, and utilises it as a conceptual lens to examine the key tenets of engaging pedagogical practices in teaching international students. The findings point to three main ways that the Ubuntu perspective can manifest in teaching international students: humanness, interconnectedness, and situatedness. The paper offers new insights into how an under-researched, non-western human wisdom – Ubuntu – can be used to interpret international education practice. In doing so, it contributes to both theory building and provokes consideration of an alternative pedagogical lens. In particular, the paper draws on Ubuntu as a critical framework to challenge the conventional ways of viewing international students as the ‘other’ in ‘our’ educational system.