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How educators lead the shift in pedagogy and policy to encourage international student success: An evaluative inquiry of one New Zealand tertiary institute

This thesis demonstrates why and how New Zealand-based tertiary educators can claim a leadership role in contributing to international student success. As international student populations rise rapidly within New Zealand’s tertiary sector (Education New Zealand, 2017), educators are called on to promote intercultural competencies within the now-global classroom (Huber & Reynolds, 2014). Adaptive pedagogical changes required in such an emerging learning environment fall to the educators, who have a primary role when teaching to all learner cohorts (Edmondson, 2004; Randi & Corno, 2005; Trippestad, 2015). At one institute of technology and polytechnic (ITP), as examined for this thesis, issues raised by educators were found to reflect national concerns arising alongside the increased emphasis on international education; specifically, that educators face a lack of resources provided to help manifest appropriate strategies supporting international students’ range of academic and pastoral care needs. In response to this gap, I used evaluation methodology (Davidson, 2005) to develop a framework of inquiry into how pedagogical practices at the ITP examined are shifting to accommodate student success. Four Western educational values were identified as a starting point to guide my inquiry: i) the educator leadership role, ii) experiential learning, iii) critical thinking, and iv) praxis. These values informed key evaluative questions that guided my analysis of mixed data collected from a staff survey, educator interviews, and institutional documents. Findings illuminated the tensions between educators’ pedagogical aspirations and their actual classroom situations. The findings also revealed that the process of shared, reflective practice allows educators to develop more effective strategies for facilitating international student learning. Recommendations that emerged advocate for educators to consider within their teaching practices: i) accommodation of both educational and wellbeing needs of students; ii) appreciation of the variation among learner norms; and iii) leading the shifting terms of educational delivery through continually questioning one’s relationship to the perceptions, struggles, politics, economics and success emergent from teaching international students. I conclude that ongoing dialogue informs educator action, in practice and through advising policy, to address the broader educational needs of international students and, ultimately, the global citizenry.
Type of thesis
Vail, H. (2017). How educators lead the shift in pedagogy and policy to encourage international student success: An evaluative inquiry of one New Zealand tertiary institute (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11637
The University of Waikato
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