2016-12-28 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: 更多范文
Study abroad refers to study or research outside one’s own country. While the definition of students studying abroad, different institutions and different countries hold different views in accordance with different focuses and their own characteristics. In the foreign country, it defines students studying abroad in pursuance of their identities, such as visa, nationality, residence and so on; while in China, it always explains students studying abroad from their purposes and behaviors of going overseas.
In this study, students studying abroad are defined as students officially register in a foreign university or intercollegiate exchange students. At the same time, for a certain country, students studying abroad refer to students going outside the territory and students coming from foreign countries. Due to the differences in translation, some countries call that kind of students as “international students”, some countries refer to as “foreign students” or “overseas students”; the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines it as “mobile students”. Although there is not a unified definition, the mentioned four words are quite similar in meanings. Moreover, in my study, the major focus is students going overseas, in order to make the research objective much more specific, this study use the concept of ESL students which means students who uses English as their second language. This study focuses on ESL students’ adaptation situation to their overseas education. Unless otherwise specified, all the mentioned words are equal to ESL students in this study.
In psychology, adaptation means individual achieves a balance between himself and social society through their own efforts. Adaptation refers to a process within which all organisms, including human beings, can get survival conditions in a certain competition environment. For one’s own survival and development, people not only adjust themselves to adapt to natural environment, but also adapt to social environment. The adaptation of people is with certain subjective initiative; besides adjusting themselves to achieve a balance between environments, they also transform the environment, improve their adaptability to the environment in the transforming process (Dictionary of Psychology, 1988).
Education adaptation of ESL students
After ESL students going abroad, in accordance with overseas educational environment, through their own efforts, they continuously adjust learning methods and learning objectives, so as to gradually adapt to the new teaching environment.
In this dissertation, it studies ESL students’ education adaptation situation, mainly focuses on that in a foreign education environment, ESL students’ learning ability, academic achievements, the evaluation of academic progress, and the confidence to complete their studies in a due time, as well as the communications with foreign teachers and foreign students.
Current researches with respect to the ESL students
2.2.1 Research situation of ESL students
With the implementation of positive policies for international students, in foreign universities, the ratio of ESL students increased gradually. In order to grasp the initiative in the international education market, to attract more overseas international students, governments, as well as education institutions that are responsible for international education actively pay much more attention to ESL students’ assessment to the quality of their domestic higher education, also they focus on ESL students’ needs in their overseas study and life, looking for the major problems ESL students face in the social and cultural adaptation, so as to provide better services for international ESL students.
In 1979 Association of International Educators in America investigated roughly 1,900 ESL students of 30 American universities, these students are from various developing countries; it also conducted researches in 1980s on the demands of ESL students with respect to their academic demanding and life demanding. These studies analyzed ESL students’ domicile of origins, their employment prospects in their domestic countries, living environments, financial aids, studying levels, self evaluation of their English levels, their genders, and all the mentioned factors’ influence on their satisfactions of their overseas study. (Lee, 1981)
In UK, in 1994 and in 2004, relevant institutions conducted two large researches on ESL foreign students nationwide. Especially investigation in 2004, the Council for International Education investigated 4,796 ESL students from 150 countries in the world, the research not only focuses on the actual conditions of ESL students when entering foreign colleges, in the mean time, it compares their major concerns before going abroad and the actual difficulties they encountered after entering the foreign universities; the research also carried out investigations ESL students accommodations, social integrations and leisure, as well as financial problems and other difficulties they had. (UKCOSA, 2004)
In Australia, Australian Education International (AEI) respectively carried out comprehensive investigations to international ESL students studying in Australia in 1997 and in 2006, the major concerns of these investigations are ESL students’ satisfactory degrees to education quality and their comprehensive evaluations. In addition, Australian Education International also carried out a series of investigations on ESL students’ academic achievements, education cost, motivation of studying in Australia, as well as their decision-making influencing factors. (AEI, 2007)
German is a non English speaking country which recruits the most foreign students, in a early time, German has already focuses on the international students issues. The Hochschul Information System (HIS) began to carry out relevant investigations to international students, collecting related data and released their results. In German, College Life and Service Center began to survey international students in the Economic and Social Situation Investigation of German students, which are conducted every three years. (BMBF, 2004) In 2005, German Federal Education and Research Department carried out the investigation, which mainly involves the current academic level of international students, their motivations of studying abroad, their living conditions in Germany, and their studying situation, and so on. (MBF, 2005)
In Japan, Newspaper of Foreign Students carried out several investigations in 1990, 1992 and 1994, focusing on the actual situations of Chinese students who studying in Japan, which involved Chinese students daily life in Japan, the most happiest and bothering things living in Japan, the evaluation of Japanese people, as well as their adaptation for Japanese life.
Researches on adaptation issues of international students
Cultural shock” encountered by ESL students
In the education circle, “culture” is a hot topic which cannot be ignored by scholars; there are a lot of definitions explaining what the culture is. Hofstede (1997: 260) defines “culture” as a collective programming of the mind; he further thinks that kind of collective makes members of a group or a category differ with another. Individuals always belong to different communities, categories and groups; however, the collective of a certain number of groups, as well as their mental programming makes nations be formed. (Hofstede, 1997: 12) Culture of nations is the most different area distinguishing one with another, which is also the most attractive topic for social scientists. Sociologist Daniel Levinson and Alex Inkeles (1969: 447) thought, these indicators listed below could judge whether individuals are qualified to a culture, that is, 1) individuals’ relations to the authority; 2) individuals’ self-understanding, such as their concept of some common concepts, and individuals’ relationship with society; 3) the way individuals choose to express their feelings and to deal with conflicts.
In order to testify the above-mentioned indicators, Hofstede’s conducted an empirical study; he investigated a large number of people who held different values from more than fifty countries worldwide. In Hofstede’s findings, he compared national cultures of China and the USA and suggested that Chinese culture and American culture are almost opposite. (1997) The differences of cultures between nations are also inflected in schools. Especially for ESL students, they have different cultural background with their teachers, which may cause problems sometimes and may affect the relationships between teachers and students, or teachers and students’ parents. (p. 216)
Other scholars, such as Sue and Zane (1985), Sun and Chen (1997), Orleans (1988), also showed great interested on foreign students. In their researches, they found that if students from a country which has different cultural background with the foreign country, how they could adjust themselves to the foreign country depends on the similarity or dissimilarity of their own country’s culture with that of the foreign country. Even if some ESL students from China get great success in a new foreign environment, they also encountered a lot of problems when they studying abroad. One of the explanations’ are the different academic settings of ESL students’ own country and that of the foreign country.
From the above, this study tries to indicate that, ESL students are inevitable to face a culture shock if they pursue further study abroad, therefore their adaptation to the new teaching and learning system and the process they adapt to fit into the new academic environment are quite important.
Learning shock encountered by ESL students
Besides the aspect of culture, there are a lot of aspects draw attentions of host countries of ESL students, such as social adjustments, psychological and academic adjustments. (Hewitt, 2002) In this study, academic adjustments are the major focus. In current researches, scholars always think English skills and learning styles are two fundamental problems encountered by most ESL students. Even it is mandatory for ESL students to pass English Test such as IELTS or TOFEL before going abroad; however, such an English test cannot guarantee they can meet the language requirements properly. (Keiley, 2003) They don’t have adequate academic language result in a lot of problems in their study, for example, they have problem to understand academic requirements, or they may have problem in writing. (Handa & Fallon, 2006) What’s worse, lack of awareness of referencing may let to plagiarism, which has already drawn a lot of attentions of researchers. (Brennan & Durovic, 2006; Leask, 2005) For ESL students, their previous learning experience and their academic achievements gained in their home country cannot transferred to host country directly, this kind of difference is easily to make them feel nervous and have an experience of “learning shock”, and feel frustration at last. (Ballard & Clanchy, 1997, p.28)
In 2006, Andrade conducted an empirical study, which investigated 58 students and focused on their adaptation, adjustment, and academic achievements as ESL students in major host countries such as USA, UK, Canada and Australia. Andrade released the reports of his study in the following several years. Amongst the major findings indicated in his study, there are four main areas, that is, domestic students’ adjustment and international students’, challenges students encountered in their adjustment, experience students’ get in the process of adjustment, as well as the support services they got. Generally speaking, from the studies of Andrade, language skills and culture adaptation are of great importance, which inevitably affect ESL students’ social adjustment and academic achievements. Besides these influence, because of poor language skills, ESL students are easily to lack confidence, also they always fear to make mistakes especially in class participation.
In these researches above, education scholars appeal to interpret ESL students’ behaviors correctly, they think universities and schools should fully understand ESL students’ challenges in the process of academic, social and emotional adaptation, in that case, the host country can give sufficient support to ESL students and meet the real needs of them.