Understanding informal learning among international students through their brokering practices
Lee, S. (2017). Understanding informal learning among international students through their brokering practices. In R. Barnard & J. Field (Eds.), TESOLANZ Journal Special Edition. CLESOL 2016 Conference Proceedings (Vol. 25, pp. 13–27). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand: TESOLANZ.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12014
While informal learning is recognised as an important part of academic learning, the significance of learning outside the prescribed curriculum has been largely overlooked in the literature on international students. The purpose of this study is to better understand the informal academic learning practices of international EAL students through the concept of brokering. In this study, brokering practices are defined as academic help-seeking social interactions outside the formal curriculum. Examples of brokering interactions include translating academic-related information or making explicit the requirements of an academic task. This paper is based on an ethnographic study involving ten international EAL students at a New Zealand university. Students were interviewed regularly over the period of one academic semester. Based on initial findings, the article details the characteristics of peer and non-peer brokers. Brokers were chosen because they had prior experience or recognised expertise in particular academic areas. At times, they were also chosen because they could communicate in the students’ native language. It is hoped that understanding the different types of brokers will allow institutions to develop more effective strategies in supporting international students’ academic needs.
This is an author’s accepted version of an article published in the journal: TESOLANZ Journal Special Edition. © 2017 copyright with the author.
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