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A study into the challenges faced by transnational education students (TNE) upon integration into advanced STEM practical classes through investigation of the oral learning environment

Cranwell, P. ORCID:, Li, D., Page, E., Whiteside, K. ORCID: and Woodcock, A. (2021) A study into the challenges faced by transnational education students (TNE) upon integration into advanced STEM practical classes through investigation of the oral learning environment. In: Dippold, D. and Heron, M. (eds.) Meaningful Teaching Interaction at the Internationalised University Moving From Research to Impact. Routledge, London, 234. ISBN 9780367350888

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There are a number of potential implications from the findings of this study. Language, namely knowledge of technical vocabulary and receptive difficulty with oral communication, was found to be a major barrier to interaction between, and therefore integration with, cohorts during laboratory work. This suggests that the way in which TNE-students are prepared for study in the UK should be reviewed. Despite the fact that the TNE-students are taught in English in China, there may be an argument for more intensive, discipline-specific vocabulary input and development of listening skills. In order to ensure interaction, and subsequent integration, between student cohorts, mixed nationality pairings should be considered when designing laboratory or similar workshop activities. However, this is a sensitive and complex part of the programme structure, thus changes should be carefully considered. One possible way to facilitate greater interaction and subsequent integration between the two cultural groups might be to explore whether the principles of ‘compassionate group work’ could be applied to the laboratory setting. This technique was developed and embedded within assessment at the University of Hertfordshire by Gilbert (2016a, 2017) to promote diversity and inclusion. In this work, students’ individual, observable demonstrations of compassion were credit-bearing in some modules. The rationale was that when people feel socially safe in task-focussed groups, their thinking processes are able to concentrate on task rather than on the evolutionarily determined priority of (social) defence mechanisms. Students were trained in compassion-based micro skills for task focussed, face-to-face student group work in a short workshop at the beginning of the module and then gave a seminar in which their compassion skills were assessed. It was shown that credit for compassionate behaviours appeared to positively motivate students to attempt compassionate group management, regardless of their ethnic or national status (Gilbert 2016b; Gilbert et al. 2018). It may be possible to adapt the original model as used for seminar work to the oral environment of the laboratory.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > International Study and Language Institute (ISLI)
Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
ID Code:97019


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