Australian experience of culturally diverse university classrooms
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In the last twenty years, Australia has become one of the favoured destinations for international students who come to study not only English as a Second Language but also all programs at all levels including primary, secondary and tertiary as well as industry training. The internationalisation of education has attracted researchers’ attention particularly in the past ten years. One of the central issues affecting both students and teachers is the changing increasing diversity of the student population and issues associated with it. Recent research into diverse classrooms indicates the complexity of issues in secondary and ESL education or teacher training (Gearon et al. Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Classrooms. Multilingual Matters, Bristol, pp. 36-56, 2009; Lo Bianco, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Classrooms, Multilingual Matters, Bristol. pp. 113-132, 2009; Miller, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Classrooms. Multilingual Matters, Bristol, pp. 36-56 2009). However, there is a need for more research into culturally and linguistically diverse classes at a tertiary level, in order to understand their pedagogical implications for everybody students, lecturers and institutions. This chapter examines the experience of students in diverse classes at Bond University, Australia, as an example of an international tertiary institution in Australia. It also looks at a range of linguistic, educational, and cultural factors which have an impact on students’ international educational experience. It is hoped that careful analysis of students’ perceived difficulties will provide the basis for better understanding and communication between students and lecturers, and will facilitate the transition between cultures and educational systems.
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