Student Support

Cultural differences in reporting harassment

Prasuna Reddy

Abstract: As the number of international students in Australian increases, there is a greater need to understand their values and attitudes toward equal opportunity issues such as sexual harassment. The current study investigates cultural differences in student attitudes toward harassment in the Australian context. Participants included 47 Asian women students and 47 non-Asian women local students; all participants were undergraduates in major Australian universities. The results show a range of attitudes toward sexual harassment that are not entirely explained by ethnic identification. The results are discussed in light of previous research, mostly conducted in North America, showing Asian students to be more conservative in sexual attitudes and more tolerant of sexual harassment compared to non-Asian students.

Keywords: Sexual harassment, cross-cultural differences, Asian student attitudes

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Campus-Community Linkages in Pastoral Care of International Students, with specific reference to Pal

Terry McGrath and Andrew Butcher

Abstract: A research evaluation of Campus-Community Linkages (CCL) that assist the process of community involvement in the pastoral care of international students, with particular reference to Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch. An action research project commissioned by the Ministry of Education and building on previous work undertaken by the authors.

CCL were first identified at each particular site. Consideration was then given as to how they were established. Their efficacy, applicability, and universality was attempted to be measured via a range of methods. Finally, the research asked whether there were unique issues for these particular sites and, if so, how did they inform a localised response to a national export education strategy? Effects of CCL on students in each site was examined by use of focus groups of international students some of whom were essentially control groups. The views of a range of Pastoral care professionals were surveyed to gain a perspective of those working for the welfare of international students.

Keywords: pastoral care, student support, CCL, interntational students

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The use of practical teaching strategies for teaching

Gavin Sanderson

Abstract: This paper reports on research undertaken in a university department to determine if academic staff used a range of theory-based practical teaching strategies that are promoted to assist international students adjust to Australian academe and support their learning. The department has an enrolment of 50 per cent international students and is located at a medium-size Australian university that is in the planning phase of internationalising its teaching and learning activities. A ‘mixed methods’ research approach used a questionnaire and interviews to collect data from the academic staff. The results indicate that whilst a range of teaching strategies that have the capacity to benefit international students were used, the possibility exists that some staff are approaching this from a student-centred learning model that does not necessarily exhibit a well-developed cultural dimension.

Key Words: Internationalisation, Teaching International Students, Teaching Strategies, ‘Mixed Methods’ Research

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Study Tours – The time and cost effective model for an international experience

Georgina Douglas and Louisa Covalea

Abstract: There is an increasing awareness within international institutions today of the importance of an international experience for students who are about to enter our global society and economy. Student mobility programs such as traditional exchanges, work and clinical placements have long contributed to the internationalisation of teaching and learning. Now the Study Tour is an increasingly popular form of mobility chosen by both under graduate and post graduate students, international as well as local, to introduce a cross cultural perspective into their academic program. Study Tours give students a two to six weeks off-shore experience for credit and are an effective way of providing a focused view of another culture, as well as being time and cost effective.

This session is designed to illustrate how the Study Tour model contributes to socio cultural, economic and academic outcomes illustrating why it is an attractive alternative for students to the traditional exchange. A range of models current at Swinburne and RMIT Universities will be presented covering topics including academic guidelines, costings and quality assurance for Study Tours to over 20 destinations in Europe, Asia and the US. Study Tours – What are they?

Study Tours are a relatively new and increasingly popular mode of international mobility for students, along side the more conventional semester of exchange with a university’s partner institution overseas. A Study Tour can be defined as a program of study of two to four weeks (or, at the maximum, six weeks) in length where students complete a supervised academic program in intensive mode off-shore. The academic program of a Study Tour is devised according to the usual criteria for any subject in relation to its objectives, content, assessment and out-comes and is submitted through the normal academic boards for approval and registration. The subjects are usually registered as electives – and increasingly, as university wide electives. Thus, a Study Tour is not a holiday overseas with a group of persons with similar interests – although the travel involved in Study Tours is a major part of their attraction – it is a means of gaining credit for the academic program being completed within Australia in intensive mode off-shore.

Keywords: Student support, transition, academic outcomes, sociocultural outcomes, economic outcomes, study

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Ongoing academic orientation: Bridging the academic and cultural gap

Gillian O’Neill and Grant Harris

Abstract: This paper first outlines a 12 week programme of Ongoing Academic Orientation (OAO) which was trialled in the Waikato Management School (WMS) during the 2004 A and B semesters and then reports the results of a questionnaire survey given to the students who followed the programme in A semester 2004. The questionnaire had three functions: to gather data on the trial programme’s efficacy, content, timing, and length; to gain some insights into the extent to which these students were engaging with their New Zealand English-speaking environment on a daily basis; and to determine if those taking the programme had also sought one-to-one Language and Learning (L&L) help, and if so, had they found it helpful. While the majority of students found the OAO programme and the one-to-one tutorials useful, the results on their daily use of English were of concern. Hence ways of encouraging intercultural contact through conversation classes are discussed and then recommended for inclusion alongside the OAO in future.

Keywords: Acculturation, academic support

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