Classroom Summer Reading Series Part III: Tips for Teaching in a Multicultural Classroom

Classroom Summer Reading Series IIIDuring the 2012/2013 school year, the Institute of International Education reported that the number of international students studying in the U.S. had reached an all-time high of 819,644 students (7 percent increase from the previous year). With more students pursuing full-time degrees in America along with an increasing amount of study abroad programs from international universities, campuses across the nation are becoming more and more multicultural.

A recent article in Inside Higher Ed gives an example of how universities are making their campuses more “internationally-friendly.” This involves creating more programs specifically designed to support international students as they integrate themselves into a new culture and lifestyle. However, while most of these programs are aimed at life outside the classroom, how can professors support multiple cultures as part of their teaching curricula?

For the third part of our summer reading series, we will look at three articles that help professors recognize the academic challenges international students may face and ways to overcome them. These articles are free to the public for a limited time.

This article explores the design and implementation of critical action research undertaken to encourage equal classroom participation. The author reports about her research project conducted in a multi-lingual and multi-ethnic class in Japan to examine practices of how she promotes oral participation to create a more equitable pedagogy. Through her project, the author and her students redefined the conventional conception of traditional oral participation practices. This redefinition enhanced student agency, creating a more meaningful pedagogical experience for all students.

Much of the current literature relating to international students at the university level provides little assistance to guide the students, instructors and host universities in their preparation for, and working with, international students. International students choose to study in the United Kingdom for a variety of positive reasons and this literature review identifies how, with planning, support and understanding, universities can provide and develop a positive experience for international students.

This study used a survey to examine the perceptions of undergraduate and graduate international students enrolled at a public university in the Midwest, regarding international students’ perspectives on how their university engages them as cultural resources, and how such engagement might impact students’ perceptions of the value they receive from U.S. higher education. The study identifies multiple areas of opportunities for the higher education community to facilitate international students’ active contributions to the university’s strategic goal of global engagement and internationalization while also positively impacting the manner in which international students perceive their higher education experience.

Stay tuned to our fourth and final part of this series where we will discuss the importance of a positive professor-student relationship.

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