November 24, 2009, by Teaching at Nottingham

Mixing international students and home students for small group study

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David Clarke: “Talking to international students, the ones I’ve discussed this with, they are quite strongly of the view that they come to meet and mix with home students, students from other cultures, and that for a lot of them, I think, the idea that they, they seem to mix with their own fellow country men and women, or they work in groups, mix in groups of international students, is something which they don’t want and that to them is a disappointment. They fall back on that situation, I think, for various reasons. But I think it’s something which is a disappointment to them and is actually contrary to their reasons for coming here.”

Dariusz Wanatowski: “In my lab session, I purposely mix them together, and I for example, teach a third year module and last year, I was surprised that some students talk to each other for the first time. They didn’t even know each other, so that, that was very surprising for me, but I found it very, very interesting and they enjoy it, so I, I will continue doing that,”

Dariusz Wanatowski: “Well, in terms of international students, I think it definitely helps them because they can learn English, they can improve their English much better. In terms of UK students, I think it’s basically the same. I wouldn’t say that it affects the learning but definitely, it helps them to learn a bit other cultures as well so that they can find out a bit more about China or any other Asian countries. So I think, from that point of view, it is also important for students.”

Iain Coyne: “I tend to allocate and try and mix home, EU, international students together into small groups, to get the different opinions really. What else I like them to do is they can bring context from their own country into a topic area that makes it really useful, so if we’re discussing an area industrial relations, for example, some of the students from other countries are able to put it into the context of how that fits in their country and how it differs slightly in their country. And that’s, very, very useful when we’re doing discussions. Because other students wouldn’t know.”

Azi Etire: “Group work is very good. I do like group work. It gives you the chance to just get to know other people as well as contribute your part and learn from others in that group and you get the support of the whole group.”

Stephanie Bridges: “Some students have said Well, it challenges me or I see different ways of learning that I’ve not been exposed to. And because they’re having to deal with different individuals, with different characters, different language abilities, then actually, they’re forced to adapt themselves really. And to perhaps think about things in different ways.”

Stephanie Bridges
School of Pharmacy
David Clarke
School of Psycology
Iain Coyne
School of Medicine
Azi Etire
Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering
Dariusz Wanatowski
Department of Civil Engineering

Extracts from interviews with staff and students about experiences of internationalisation. This video was originally published as part of PESL’s Learning from internationalisation collection. Produced November 2009.

Posted in InternationalisationSmall groups