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Subject:

Re: academic assistance for exchange students

From:

Zola Gordy <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 29 Jan 2004 16:36:31 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (157 lines)

Well said, Nic and Susie.  Our Global Education Committee will add your comments to our materials to share across the campus.  We've been sharing insights such as these with our faculty and staff during the past few years.  Our district is part of a Midwest consortium focused on expanding educators' sensitivities to these issues.

We would like to see a presentation or a pre-conference institute at the CRLA conference in October that addresses international student needs beyond the "ESL-focus."  We need it!

Thanks,
Zola Gordy
Learning Center Coordinator
Maple Woods Community College
Kansas City, Missouri 64156

>>> [log in to unmask] 01/29/04 01:16PM >>>
I'd like to echo and expand upon Susie Robertshaw's insightful
comments. I have taught and been a student in a couple of countries
outside of the US  (Japan & Fiji, respectively) and we here at UC
Berkeley have large numbers of international students, so I have some
experience in this  realm. Reducing exchange students needs down to
mere ESL instruction or support ignores the sometimes great social
and cultural differences in tertiary education across the globe, not
to mention differences in conventions of academic work generally and
writing/literacy specifically. For instance, in many countries  in
Asia,  and some in Europe as well (and in some communities in THIS
country, actually) it would be deemed presumptuous for students to
comment on or critique  the work of professors or other professionals
(e.g. authors). Yet  many American university  assignments call for,
and instructors value,  precisely this  kind of evaluation and
critique. Notice that the challenges posed by these assignments to
international students are not merely a matter of skill in writing or
the English language;  they are a matter of competing, even
conflicting, deeply held cultural values and beliefs. On the flip
side, in Japan and other countries, appropriating the ideas and even
the exact language  of experts without citation (i.e. plagiarism by
American criteria) is perfectly acceptable. For these students the
rules of academic citation are likely to seem arbitrary and
inscrutable. In other places, Germany for example,  from what I have
been told, students are left largely to their own devices to explore
and learn course material. For these students, instructors' and
tutors' efforts to support and guide their learning may be
interpreted as intrusive or condescending. In short, while many of
the norms and conventions of academia may be widespread, some are not
and some of the differences are likely to have real and perhaps
substantial impact on exchange student learning and performance as
well as their interactions with tutors and other instructional
faculty and staff. As learning support professionals, thinking of
meeting the needs of international/exchange students narrowly in
terms of  language(ESL) is very likely to be insufficient. I would
say that we also need to become more cognizant of, and explicitly
address, the beliefs, values and cultural practices which are
sometimes unique to American academic (and local institutional)
contexts, but have become second nature to many of us who work in
them .
Best,
Nic

>Patricia Favorite wrote:
>
>>We have a large ESL population.  One of the greatest needs is for
>>writing assistance.  Be sure that you have plenty of patient writing
>>tutors on hand.  Also, train them to be tutors and not editors.  It may
>>be a temptation for some tutors to just "fix" papers for ESL students;
>>what they need is consistent teaching in how to become good independent
>>writers themselves.
>>
>We talk with our peer writing consultants about how they should be
>helping non-native speakers find their patterns of errors, then modeling
>how to correct them and then having them try to do it on their own.  So
>more active helping than with native speakers of English. The Writing
>Center also publishes which consultants like to work on late-stage draft
>issues; those ESL students could then be funneled to those grammar gurus
>when the content of their papers is finally stable.
>
>>Patti Favorite
>>Academic Support Coordinator
>>Franklin University
>>Columbus, OH
>>
>>
>>
>>>>>[log in to unmask] 01/28/04 03:09PM >>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>I have been asked to offer academic support to a small group of
>>exchange students who are enrolled in regular classes on our campus. Do
>>any of you have experience/insight about this population? ...their
>>academic needs? ...words of wisdom/caution?
>>
>I run the peer tutoring program alongside the Writing Center--and find
>that some of our frequent users are int'l. students (even native
>speakers of English) who are not used to this higher ed. culture we have
>here, with more informal relationships between students and faculty,
>more questioning of profs in class, more continuous assessment and a
>shorter time to do it all in--a semester vs. a year.  And more reading
>and writing, which can hurt the non-native speakers.  The peer tutors
>can be guides to their understanding of this culture and what it expects
>of students.
>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>Susie Robertshaw
>tutor coordinator
>Johnson Student Resource Center
>Rollins College, Winter Park, FL 32789 USA
>407 646-2652, fax: 407 646-2245
>[log in to unmask]
>find tutoring at tj's at http://www.rollins.edu/tpj/tutoring
>"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a
>habit." ~Aristotle
>
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--


Dominic (Nic) J. Voge
Study Strategies Program Coordinator
University of California, Berkeley
Student Learning Center
136 Cesar Chavez Student Center  #4260
Berkeley, CA 94720-4260

(510) 643-9278; [log in to unmask]
Spring 2004 Office Hours: Mond 2-3; Wed 9-10; Thurs 2-3; & by appointment


I remain respectful of how gradual a thing learning typically is, how
developmental, and I stay patient.--Glynda Hull

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