University of Newcastle of Australia Manages Acculturation Predicaments Essay Sample

University of Newcastle of Australia Manages Acculturation Predicaments Pages
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Research Report

Abstract

Schools are often composed of people with differing backgrounds and beliefs and thus schools could provide a breeding ground for diversity. (Jackson 1997). Also, as mentioned earlier certain schools have their own sets of sagas and myths they uphold which in turn provides a great deal in terms of developing a school culture.

These myths impart within those who are affiliated to a certain school a certain bond which the members could relate into. (Beare et al, 1991). Uniforms and logos are also one of the most powerful instruments in terms of making one’s school identity known. Proper leadership also plays an important role in maintaining a school culture and thus school teachers and principals are expected to be good leaders. Thus the decision makings of both the principal and the school teachers alike play a significant factor in upholding the culture of a certain school. (Geijsel et al 2002).

            Consequently, school cultures vary from one culture to another. As mentioned in this paper school culture in a way is more like the philosophies or beliefs being uphold by a particular school. The history, logos and other certain materials used by the school could contribute a great deal to what the school culture would be like.

            In the light, as a teacher one is expected to conform and uphold the norms and cultures of the school you are affiliated to and thus a teacher must ensure that his students would always uphold those cultures in order not to ruin the school’s image. A welcoming and supportive staff would also be necessary in terms of being able to adapt easily to the culture being uphold by a certain school and also as had been shown on this paper Australian teachers experiences a great deal of stress due to the large amount of expectations expected out of them. A teacher who could pursue the betterment of his profession could easily relate that positive factor to his student and thus the upholding of teaching profession is necessary. This research was able to analyze the predicaments brought upon by acculturation.

Introduction

            The immense rise of international education has greatly extended its scope not only in the domineering country of America but in the ranges of other countries as well.  Because of these qualifying reasons, hopeful students are aimed with an echelon of enthusiasm in venturing into such opportunity for that instance.  In the light, several charitable school in Australia has adopted the “International Exchange” concept in the academic realm hence giving students from other countries the chance to get a degree of their choice or upon application with the help of sponsoring bodies and other sort of scholarship programs which are commonly vested to those which are honored with the said program[1].

            Furthermore, because students from other countries venture into the new environment of the school which they happen to enroll to, the possibility of students to encounter problems with the sudden change of environment has been noted to be that which results in various feelings and emotions.  As stressed in psychology, the personality of a certain individual is a manifestation of the kind of upbringing by which one has been raised, the kind of family that he or she has, the beliefs instilled by the people around that individual and the influence which may have triggered various traits and characteristics.  Aside from that, the ability and the capability of the person to be able to adjust to the intrinsic and extrinsic demands of the society may also be manifested by the kind of environment that he or she has been placed[2].

             During the 20th century, Australia has experienced numerous changes in the educational system, thoroughly extending their scope in the “educational trade” arena hence making a “melting pot” of cultures mounting up the number of students undertaking the ‘exchange’ schema.  Consequently, on the later part of the aforementioned era, Australia experienced a sudden influx of international students which altered the concept of “educational aid” into “educational trade.”

This shift began to transform Australia to being an educational service provider, especially among students from Asian countries.  Further, the Australian educational system began centering its focus towards the provision of quality education, and most importantly, “fairness of access” to students who have had a different educational and cultural experience (Atweh, 2000:84).

            Conceivably, Achieving quality of education and fairness of access will not be resolved by educational policies and standards alone.  In understanding the effect of the increasing number of students in the country, there must also be a corresponding understanding on the characteristics and dynamics involved in the daily interaction of international students in the Australian culture and society.  Such extent is considered to be a vital factor in the achievement of quality education as well as with giving importance to the general welfare of the students for that instance.  Consequently, this research will look further on how the international students in the University of Newcastle of Australia manage the challenges caused with the perception of acculturation as well as with the evaluation of the students in the aid for education.

Review of Related Literature

Basically, school culture is often viewed as “the concept that captures the subtle, elusive, intangible, largely unconscious force that shapes a school”. (Marsh). Also, school culture is viewed as a significant factor in shaping the enlarging environment of the classroom. Thus the purpose of this paper is to analyze how true is the definition given above to describe what school culture is. School culture could be viewed in terms of aesthetical as well as anthropological perspectives. Among the anthropological grounds that could be found within a school culture is the certain mixture of ethnicity, ceremonies, traditions and geographical locations. Moving to the aesthetic aspects within a school culture is the manner of how a certain personnel express his skills on the subject matters discussed on a school. (Marsh).

As can be seen from the paragraph above a school culture could be a breeding ground for diversity in that people of different religions, beliefs, cultures, ethnicity and the like could mingle together within the school. However, as in most cases within a society, there are also a group of majority and minority that could be found within a school culture. School cultures are also constantly undergoing changes. They also said that principals and teachers could cause a great deal of influence in terms of implementing school cultures.

One could easily conclude that each school differ from one another in terms of culture and thus teachers who are new to a particular school often had to undergo certain adjustments in order to fit the expectations a certain school requires out of them. There are many tangible as well as intangible factors which affect a certain culture such as the philosophies, values, myths and the likes being upheld within a particular school. (Beare et al, 1991).

Schools are often composed of people with differing backgrounds and beliefs and thus schools could provide a breeding ground for diversity. (Jackson 1997). Also, as mentioned earlier certain schools have their own sets of sagas and myths they uphold which in turn provides a great deal in terms of developing a school culture. These myths impart within those who are affiliated to a certain school a certain bond which the members could relate into. (Beare et al, 1991). Uniforms and logos are also one of the most powerful instruments in terms of making one’s school identity known. Proper leadership also plays an important role in maintaining a school culture and thus school teachers and principals are expected to be good leaders. Thus the decision makings of both the principal and the school teachers alike play a significant factor in upholding the culture of a certain school. (Geijsel et al 2002).

By looking into the nature and dynamics of acculturation among international students, the most important concept that will influence all other concepts and factors of this study is the level of integration that the international students will have on the foreign culture—Australian culture and society.  Thus, in this review of related literature, using the Australian culture context, the different concepts of the study will be solidly defined and operationalized using existing relevant and significant literature on the topic of this research.

            The aforementioned phenomenon of “education trade” was a part of Australia’s thrust wherein tourism id considered as its primary ‘service export’.  With the point of mounting up the tourism verity of the country, the education trade program has as well made a valor significance with regard to families of those who were enrolled in such program add up to the ‘tourism’ entity of Australia.  Moreover, through time, the country later had an impressive increase of international student enrollees hence totally broadening up the concept of ‘education’ thus catering more degree programs and standardized education curricula paving the program get adopted with other colleges and universities for that instance[3].  It challenged various existing colleges to venture on the trade system and see to it that the quality and efficiency of the program is consistently analyzed for general welfare and benefit.

            It is given for a fact that there is an existence of a ‘third world’ country[4], and it is explicitly evident that there are students who are not able to acquire a ‘high-quality’ education because of certain circumstances—financial instability, specifically. With this, it is a ‘shining star’ to those students who are granted with the opportunity to study in an international school with a course funded by those who possess a benevolent heart.  However, there seems to be a predicament in the overwhelming approach of this program—the psychological effects it may have caused the participating subjects. With the idea that Australia is now becoming a ‘melting pot’ of Asian cultures, its educational system is also becoming increasingly engaged in a challenge for its curricula to be more culturally correct and competent despite dilemma that is seemingly arising in the issue of the students’ ability to manage the challenges of acculturation.

Teachers are important factors that make up any schools. Thus, if teachers do not acquire the supports they need in order to pursue the betterment of their profession then it would be most unlikely that they could maintain those positive attributes to their students (Sarason 1990, p. 152). However, as of the moment teachers are expected to be well-rounded in terms of their managerial availability and thus it caused many teachers to loss some of their self-esteem.

This is due to the large expectations on both principal and teachers to perform greatly for the purposes of their own schools (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Certification Authorities 2000). Shortages on teaching Staffs for Math & Sciences are also occurring within Australia and thus they have made an effort to attract newly graduates into the field of teaching (Committee for the Review of Teaching and Teacher Education 2002).

Results and Discussions

The following informants, informally interviewed, belong to the age group of 19-29 years of age; with almost all informants having a single status and all are students.  The following table illustrates the distribution of respondents who were interviewed. With the aid of proper instrumentation and through the use of scholarly data-gathering materials, the research was able to come up with qualitative and quantitative data needed for the light of this research.

Figure 1. Components of a Training Package[5]

            As illustrated in the diagram above, Australia’s opinionated and commerce leaders have been alarmed with the moribund information of the situation which international are faced in the recent times. The students who were interviewed in the University of Newcastle of Australia had been introduced to such Figure hence making them evaluate the sagacity of the effectiveness of the educational trade system which they have acquired in the new school and environment that they now have.

Out of 10 students interviewed on the effectiveness of the training package designed for their ‘benefit’ in countering dilemmas in “acculturation,” 6 out of 10 noted that they are “highly satisfied” with the attempt of the University’s aide towards the development of their holistic sense as “tourists” in the said country.

Figure 2. Asia’s Australian Education[6]

            In this illustration, it shall be strongly stressed that the Australian education trade system has gone along through the past decades.  The subjects of this research (which are a part of the graphs illustrated in the figure) gave further ideas on the ‘changes’ which they have encountered by being a ‘new-kid-on-the-block’ student, and here are the results of the interviews conducted:

Support Systems

            The informants believed that among the support that they receive as international students, it is the social support system that enables them to “survive” life in Australia.  Inevitably, social support systems are also the informants’ academic support system, since their social links also came from their academic links (Moore, 2005:342).  Those individuals or groups they consider as exclusively included in their social support system are their families which she left in her hometown thus making sure that they have constant communication to stay away form the pain of homesickness; and community groups whom they associate with through the help of the subjects and the group dynamics by which their teachers aide them so as to have interaction with the other students as well, early on as they engage in their new social environment.

  • Lyn, an Economics graduate in the Philippines, migrated to Australia after she graduated from the university to pursue her studies through the aid of “education trade.” She considered her Christian group as one of the first relations she had, as she was just establishing herself as a Photography student in her new university.  The shift from economics to photography was already a big adjustment for Lyn, and what made it more difficult for her was the realization that her fellow students have a different “psyche” than the educational crowd she became familiar and involved with.  But then she later stressed that the acculturation process came smoothly with the help of her core groups.

Thus, her transition was not just living from one country to another, but engaging herself in a field of study totally different from the course she graduated from.  The social support of she received from her Christian community, then, alleviated the level of apprehension she felt during the first 6 months of living as a student in Australia.  Eventually, academic support systems also became her social support system, as she began slowly integrating with the course she decided to take in her new university.  Out of the 10 informants, 6 of them gave the same perception.

Cultural Competency

Cultural competency, a conventional representation of “competition within individuals of different culture”—creates a significant difference in the effectiveness of an international student’s coping mechanisms in Australia.  Two informants demonstrated extreme cases of cultural competency, which, in this case, involved the student’s fast learning and acquisition of the Australian English language (Zhao, 2005:224).

  • George was a British student who previously lived in Singapore, and eventually moved out with his family to Australia two years ago. His integration with Australian culture, specifically the academic culture of his college, was “not that difficult,” since he is comfortable with the English language.  He believed that his ability to converse well in the English language became an advantage for him, as he began immersing himself with Australian culture.  Indeed, at present, he enjoys the company of both his friends and fellow students in college, engaging in sports activities and academically enjoying his role as a research assistant to the college department.
  • Andrew, a Thai student studying in Australia for three years already, had experienced difficulties integrating himself in the new culture, saying that the language barrier changed him from being an ‘extrovert’ to an ‘introvert’ individual. While in Thailand, he excelled in all aspects of his studies and was socially popular in his local college, in Australia, his popular personality changed “for the worse,” as he experienced insecurity in his inability to converse very well in English.

Challenging himself to become well-versed with the language was not a problem, he said, but the insults he “felt” when people cannot understand what he was saying made his integration more difficult than he had expected[7].  Although his transition from being an insecure international student to becoming an exceptionally high-performing student was a gradually slow process, he is now enjoying the success of the challenge he took upon himself almost three years ago.  It also helped that the academic institution he was in has a special program that provides support to international students to develop their English communication competence, both in written and verbal forms.  Both informants are presumed to have had difficulty in inculcating the ‘language’ requirement since that they have been inclined with their ‘traditional’ lingo.

Educational Practices

Anna was also a fresh graduate from college when she migrated to Australia.  From her experience, educational practice became her primary adjustment strategy to survive not only in college, but also in the new social environment she found herself in.  It is inevitable to individuals not to be a part of the “pyramid’s top mark” in the social classification.  According to her, it became hard to get along with the other students since that she had problems with the financial state of her own; it became a pitiful hindrance for her to harness her social-life.

Thus, in order to maintain her scholarship, she lived within her means, which meant she spent only for items and expenditures that were specifically indicated in her budget.  The end result, then, was that she did not have enough budget to “socialize” with her friends and fellow students; instead, most of the time, she spent her free time studying alone instead of engaging in group studies with her schoolmates in cafés, or anyplace that required additional expense on her part.

Thus, in Anna’s experience, educational practice was her coping mechanism while studying in Australia.  While her social support and network suffered, her educational support strengthened, and she eventually re-channeled this academic support as her social support and network.  Like the other 5 informants, they had to divert their hunger for socialization into a rather more simplified sense.  Moving on with the psychological state, they swallowed their pride and insecurity and instilled in their sense of rationality that they are in Australia to study and give a brighter future for their family and not to party and waste their time over activities which considerably not beneficial for their academic success.

Synthesis

Integrating these emergent themes from conversations with international students, it is evident that social and academic supports are inherently overlapping in the experiences of the students.  Moreover, help-seeking behavior is also based on these dichotomies, and behaviors can also have overlapping effects on the student’s assessment of his/her acculturation development.

Cultural competency, meanwhile, is best demonstrated through language acquisition; wherein a student’s capacity to “survive” not only in school but also in the Australian culture is dependent on his/her ability to quickly acquire the English language.  As in the experience of some informants, language acquisition is a very powerful tool that international students utilized in order to integrate fully into the Australian academic culture.  From the interviews, the general finding is that both support systems and cultural competency work together to determine the nature and dynamics of acculturation development of international students in Australia.  The sudden rise of International students is also a rise of challenge not only for the students, but for the teachers as well[8].

Presentation

Title

Analysis on How International Students in the University of Newcastle of Australia Manages Acculturation Predicaments

Research Question 

How do the International Students in the University of Newcastle of Australia manage the predicaments brought upon by the idea of acculturation and change of environment?

Research Focus

  • To determine the factors that influences the acculturation development of international students in the University of Newcastle of Australia.
  • To identify the nature of adaptation utilized by international students in the Australian culture and society.
  • To determine the dynamics of relational development of international students, both at the academic and social levels.
  • To compare certain differences in the factors influential to each international student as his/her process of acculturation.

Rationale of the Study. 

This qualitative study will provide guidance in thoroughly describing the factors that come into play in understanding the ‘model’ of educational trade in Australia.  More specifically, this study, by identifying the characteristics of international students, and looking into the dynamics involved in studying as an international student in Australia, will provide the foundation for exploring the kind of educational service that will be provided to international students.  Nevertheless, this study will explore other insights that may possibly spring from the analyses and interpretations of the conversation and series of interviews conducted on international students in the University of Newcastle of Australia.

Methodological Approach

  1. Research Design and Methods

The research is both descriptive and exploratory in data gathering, analysis and interpretation using research methods for a description of the factors that involve acculturation among the international students in the University of Newcastle of Australia.  The research methods used are face-to-face interviews—informal or conversational interviews will be used because this method will enable the researcher to draw out information that would not have been mentioned or openly disclosed had the structured and formal in-depth interviews been chosen as a research method.

  1. Instrumentation

The research instrument that will be utilized in this research will be a semi-structured interview schedule.  Hence, the conversations will not be tape-recorded to maintain the informal environment of the conversations.  However, in order to record the crucial points discussed in the conversations, the researcher will take note of all the relevant and significant topics and issues discussed in the conversations.  Accordingly, the units of analyses for the study will be the international students themselves and the notes that will be generated from the conversations with the students.

  1. Sampling Scheme

The sampling technique used for this study is purposive sampling, since the individuals chosen to be “interviewed” in the study will be friends of the researcher.  Thus, since these individuals will be purposively accessed by the researcher for these interviews, this research utilized the non-probabilistic sampling through the purposive sampling technique.

  1. Data Gathering Procedure

The researcher will schedule informal meetings with the six (6) interviewees, specifically face-to-face meetings, at coffee shops nearby the interviewee’s dormitory or residence.  During these informal meetings, the researcher will set the pace of the discussion by asking general questions about the individual’s present status as an international student in Australia, going further into the specifics of his/her experience as the conversation progresses.

  1. Data Analysis Procedure

Data gained from the conversations will be put in tables and interpreted by the researcher.  These responses from the informants were grouped according to the concepts/categories formed for the study.  Typologies will used to describe the international students.  Emic typological strategy will also be employed since the categories will be formed only after all the data is gathered.

Preliminary Findings

            School cultures vary from one culture to another. As mentioned in this paper school culture in a way is more like the philosophies or beliefs being uphold by a particular school. The history, logos and other certain materials used by the school could contribute a great deal to what the school culture would be like. As a teacher one is expected to conform and uphold the norms and cultures of the school you are affiliated to and thus a teacher must ensure that his students would always uphold those cultures in order not to ruin the school’s image.

            A welcoming and supportive staff would also be necessary in terms of being able to adapt easily to the culture being uphold by a certain school and also as had been shown on this paper Australian teachers experiences a great deal of stress due to the large amount of expectations expected out of them. A teacher who could pursue the betterment of his profession could easily relate that positive factor to his student and thus the upholding of teaching profession is necessary. This research was able to analyze the predicaments brought upon by acculturation.

Six (6) informal interviews with international students in Australia identified important concepts relevant and significant to their acculturation development.  These important concepts include the provision of social and academic support systems and achievement of cultural competency as primary factors that influence the level of acculturation among University of Newcastle of Australia’s international students.  It has been noted that integrating these emergent themes from conversations with international students, it is evident that social and academic supports are inherently overlapping in the experiences of the students.

Moreover, help-seeking behavior is also based on these dichotomies, and behaviors can also have overlapping effects on the student’s assessment of his/her acculturation development. Cultural competency, meanwhile, is best demonstrated through language acquisition; wherein a student’s capacity to “survive” not only in school but also in the Australian culture is dependent on his/her ability to quickly acquire the English language.  As in the experience of some informants, language acquisition is a very powerful tool that international students utilized in order to integrate fully into the Australian academic culture.  From the interviews, the general finding is that both support systems and cultural competency work together to determine the nature and dynamics of acculturation development of international students in Australia.

Bibliography

Atweh, B. (2000). Sociocultural research on mathematics education: an international   perspective. NJ: L. Erlbaum  Associates, Inc.

Chapman, A. (April 2006). “Quality, identity, and practice in offshore university programmes: issues in the internationalization of Australian higher education.” Teaching in Higher Education, Vol. 11, No. 2.

Crossley, M. (2003). Comparative and International Research in Education: Globalisation, Context and Difference. London: Taylor  & Francis.

Eisenchlas, S. (2003). “Teaching intercultural communication in the university setting: an Australian perspective.” Intercultural Education, Vol. 14, No. 4.

Hawthorne, L. (2004). “A case study in the globalization of medical education: assisting overseas-born students at the University of Melbourne.” Medical Teacher, Vol. 26, No. 2.

Lin, C.  (July 2006). “Culture shock and social support: an investigation of a Chinese student organization on a US campus.” Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, Vol. 35, No. 2.

Lo, F. (2001). Globalization and the Sustainability of Cities in the Asia Pacific region. NY: UN University.

Moore, J. (2005). “Development and initial validation of the collectivistic coping styles            measure with African, Asian, and Latin American international students.”  Journal of Mental Health Counseling, Vol. 27, No. 4.

Olivas, M. and C. Li. (2005). “Understanding stressors of international students in higher education: what college counselors and personnel need to know.”  Journal of Instructional Psychology, Vol. 33, No.3.

Poyrazli, S. (2004). “Social support and demographic correlates of acculturative stress           in international students.” Journal of College Counseling, Vol. 7.

Ritchie, B. (2003). Managing educational tourism. NY: Multilingual Matters.

Zhao, C. (2005). “A comparison of international student and American student engagement in effective educational practices.” The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 76, No. 2.

[1] Rey A. Gomez. “Teaching with a Multicultural Perspective.” ERIC digest.

Gomez explains that to teach with a multicultural perspective will encourage understanding and appreciation of one’s own culture, as well as others. He suggests that the use of this perspective in teaching could promote a sense of uniqueness and specialty to his own culture to the child and therefore making the child create a same sense of perspective when viewing other’s cultures. He also suggests that multicultural programs should not utterly focus on only the other’s cultures to the extent that a stereotype is created within the class. In his article, Morefield also reminds the parents of the children attending multicultural schools of the `myths’ that usually lead to the stereotype behaviors of their children toward multiculturalism.

[2] Mary Stone Hanley. “The Scope of Multicultural Education.” New Horizons for Learning.

Mary Stone Hanley, a teacher in the Teacher Certification Program of Antioch University in Seattle, explains and elaborates some of the issues concerning multicultural education and gives a brief history of the subject as well as a few suggestions for its improvement in “The Scope of Multicultural Education”. She explains the ideals and goals of a multicultural approach to education and the possible ways of achieving them through citations of works from other people and of course, from herself.  The main targets of her article are the teachers concerned in teaching multicultural groups of students. Her article can also be used to inform other people about the subject of multicultural education. She is still continuing further researches for the development of multicultural education.

[3] See www.dfat.gov.au/ani/chapter_5.html for more information on Australian Education.

[4] Third World Countries in the 21st Century.  See www.news.wisc.edu/11878.html for more details.

[5] Highlights of the Australian System — Complementing these reforms are an array of specific initiatives which, collectively, address the major economic, technological and social trends which affect vocational education and training in Australia. See www.unesco.org/…/tve/nseoul/docse/rpllsie.html for more details.

[6] Australia’s total education exports were worth $4.2 billion in 2002. Some 188 000 students – about 154 000 from Asia – attended Australian institutions here and abroad in 2000, a 15.6 per cent increase over 1999. Tertiary education accounted for nearly 60 per cent of education exports to Asia in 2000 – or about 89 000 students. One-third of these students attended campuses established in Asia by Australian universities; the remaining attended institutions in Australia. English language and vocational education made up the bulk of the remaining exports, about 29 000 and 25 000 students respectively. Some 10 000 school students from Asia studied at Australian institutions. See www.dfat.gov.au/ani/chapter_5.html.

[7] Even though he was able to utter ‘simple’ words in English, still, being in a crowd of ‘English-inclined’ individuals was hard for him.  The speed is another factor; hence it takes time to become an expert in the communication skill.

[8] Wilson, Keith. “Multicultural Education.” EdChange.

Wilson is an associate professor at the Pennsylvania State University. In his article, he gives a definition of Multicultural Education, and gives examples of the pros and cons of Multicultural Education. He cites some views from other writers to complement their views. He also gives a few suggestions on as to how a multicultural education program may succeed.

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