Presentation - seameo retrac

Report
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
Impacts of Globalization on Quality in Higher Education
SEAMEO RETRAC, HCMC, June 20-21/2013
Academic Problems
Faced by Vietnamese Tertiary Students
in Australia: Insiders' perceptions
Dr. Le thi Anh Phuong
Nha trang Education College
Outline
1. Rationale
2. The study
3. Recommendations
Rationale
Increasing number of Vietnamese sts. in
Western countries.
 Numerous difficulties (Yan & Berliner, 2009)  academic
stress (Kamler & Thomson, 2008; Kwan & Tang, 1999;Warwick, 2006)  a
hinderance to their studies (Kwon, 1999).

To
explore academic problems of Vietnamese
sts and their strategies in coping with these
challenges.
The study
1 Population
2 Instruments
3 Results
4 Discussion
Population
+ 24 postgraduates: 14 F (58%) & 10 M(42%)
+ 24 to 48 yrs old (a mean of 33 yrs old)
+ 3 mths to 5 years (a mean of # 2 yrs)
+ 19 PhD (79%) & 5 Masters (21%)
+ natural & social sciences
(Computer Science, Chemical engineering, Business Administration, Accounting,
Environmental Science, Aquaculture, Agriculture & Environment, Agriculture &
Agriculture business // Education, TESOL, Applied Linguistics, and Management)
+ Seven universities
Instruments
+ A questionnaire (9 questions)
+ Six Qs. about 5 regular activities
lectures/seminars
readings
essays
dissertations
working with lecturers.
+ Seriousness ('extremely', 'very', 'moderately', 'slightly
& 'not at all')
+ Three Qs. about solutions.
Data collection
+ 1st batch: participants at a conference
in Australia (2012)
+ 2nd batch: via emails (2013)
Results
+ 22/24 respondents (92%) experienced challenges.
+ Most common problems
Problems
Rates
Dissertations
86%
Readings
86%
Lectures/seminars
82%
Working with lecturers
73%
Essays
73%
Note: obtaining research support (collaboration for
experiments)
Dissertations (86%)
Problems
Rates
Critical thinking skills
58%
Research methods
32%
Reading materials
21%
Text organization
21%
Writing dissertations
11%
Research topic
>5%
Assignment deadlines
>5%
Organizing & synthesizing information/data
>5%
Readings (86%)
Problems
Rates
Volume of reading
63%
Background knowledge
37%
Time
32%
Difficulty of readings
21%
Finding readings
16%
Reading skills
11%
Lectures/seminars (82%)
Problems
Rates
Note taking skills
44%
Class contributions
44%
Negotiation skills
22%
Understanding readings
22%
Oral presentation s
22%
Poor lecturers
>5%
Australian English, esp. accent
>5%
Essays (73%)
Problems
Rates
Writing skills
50%
Arguments
31%
Text organization
25%
Synthesis & analysis of readings
19%
Lack of adequate readings
6%
Working with lecturers (73%)
Problems
Rates
Academic knowledge
44%
Effective questions
44%
Infrequent communication
44%
Lack of face to face meetings
38%
English competence
31%
Initiatives
31%
Unhelpful lecturers
6%
Seriousness
Problems
Lectures/seminars
Rank
Rates
1
61%
2
53%
3
50%
4
47%
5
44%
22% (very) + 39% (moderately)
Readings
21% (very) + 32% (moderately)
Working with lecturers
25% (very) + 25% (moderately)
Dissertations
21% (very) + 26% (moderately)
Essays
6% (very) + 38% (moderately)
Chosen solutions
Solutions
Rates
Help from lecturers (in uni: 82%; other uni: 9%)
95%
Self reliance
86%
Help from friends
59%
Help from colleagues
14%
Help from study groups & research community
5%
Best solution: Self reliance (40%)
Reasons
-I do more reading as it helps me to understand the problem related to my research
topic and to improve relevant knowledge and English.
-I spend more time talking and discussing in class and to get more face to face
instructions from lecturers.
-Asking questions every time I don’t understand is useful. “Better stupid questions
than stupid mistakes”.
- I adjust my method of learning to get better achievements.
Notes:
Response rate (15/22, 62%)
No response rate (7/22, 32%)
Best solution: Asking for help (33%)
Reasons
+ We are friendly enough to share experiences and difficulties.
+ We have similar experience.
+ Help from friends/colleagues often comes in time and saves my time and
effort.
+ Help from senior postgraduate students from my country is the best
solution.
First, they speak my language. econd, they have studied similar or
related courses so they understand what to do to overcome problems.
+ My lecturer understands my problems and he is an expert on the field
so he knows what is necessary for me.
+ My lecturers can tell me what to do and how to do it well.
+ Active lecturers have helpful responses.
+ Advice from the supervisors is very useful.
Findings
Three main types
English proficiency
Cultural differences in academic settings
Research-related skills
English proficiency
Comments
Evidence
Well reflected in previous
studies
(Alazzi & Chiodo, 2006; Araujo, 2011;
Halic, Greenberg & Paulus, 2009; Kwan
& Tnag, 1999; Kwon, 1999; Mittal &
Wieling, 2006; Sherry, Thomas & Chui,
2010; Warwick, 2006;Yan & Berliner,
2009).
Manifested in various skills
writing, reading, note taking, oral
presentation & negotiation
Limitations of English exams
failure to respond to specific
requirements for academic purposes
Cultural differences
Comments
Unfamiliarity with Western
interactive classroom
communication (Yan & Berliner,
2009)
Unfamiliarity with conventions
in written academic English
(Wang & Li, 2008; Zhou, Frey
& Bang, 2011)
Evidence
lectures/seminars & lecturers
lack of questions, initiatives,
autonomy (Yan & Berliner,
2009), understanding of
expectations (Wang & Li,2008)
dissertations & essays
Research related skills
Comments
Evidence
Vietnamese culture of
accepting ideas from teachers
and books.
Weak in critical thinking skills
This deserves proper attention
because they are necessary for
research
Weakness in critical thinking skills
(50%)
More theoretical, rather than
research based.
Weaknesses in research methods &
relevant materials
Seriousness of problems
Data
Lectures/seminars
Working with supervisors
 more
More frequent
Face to face
Immediate thinking & response
serious
Essays or dissertations
 less
Reasons
serious
Less often
Extended period of time
More preparation
Recommendations
1. Individual preparation for overseas studies
1.1 Strong English competence for studies and research purposes.
1.2 Comprehensive understanding of social and cultural values
1.3 Research skills and passion for one’s own research.
1.4 Establishment of networks for academic and social purposes.
2.Vietnamese educators and authorities’ involvement
2.1 Adequate adjustments in education system for development of high
order thinking skills .
2.2. Higher education oriented towards research work.
Recommendations
3. Overseas universities’ responsibilites
3.1 Survey of international students’ academic needs (Wang & Li, 2008;
Zhou, Frey & Bang, 2011).
3.2 Establishment of learning communities
3.3 Seminars on cultural and academic differences (Yan & Berliner, 2009;
Zhou, Frey & Bang, 2011).
3.4 Tutoring services & lecturers’ availability for consultations (Burke &
Wyatt-Smith, 1996).
Conclusions
+ Vietnamese postgraduates' academic challenges.
+ Awareness of possible problems and solutions for studies overseas.
+ Responsibilities of Western educators & institutions in helping
international students in their studies.
+ Policies and measures for capacity building, especially at higher levels in
Vietnam.
 Further investigations need to explore lecturers' perceptions about their
students' academic challenges and what they do to help.
References
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