There are various challenges inherent with motivating and engaging the learner in the 21st century higher education classroom today. One of these challenges is to ensure that we are addressing the needs of both the domestic and the international student. This is a complex balancing act that lecturers must come to terms with as the global landscape for higher education internationalisation continues to change.
The term, “international students”, is usually used to describe students who have travelled to another country for tertiary education. The most recent Australian figures show that there are now 753,000 international students and 380,000 of them are enrolled in tertiary studies.
The concern with labelling a collection of students as one group, forgoes the idea of difference and hides the level of diversity between students in the “international” group. Conversely, it also encourages an inappropriate view that Australian students are homogeneous, and different from “international” students. In fact, the reality is much more complex.
The international learner’s journey to become a student in the Australian context may be difficult due, in part, to the prior experience of learning and their motivation for studying, which will affect their expectations of a higher education. The experiences and expectations of individuals within the cohort, itself, will also vary.
With the increasing numbers of international students in Australian higher education courses, lecturers need to gain an understanding of the student’s previous learning experiences, and plan for a variety of approaches in the classroom.
The author will discuss her personal experiences with incorporating learning centred strategies to both engage and motivate the domestic and international learner in the classroom and online environment. She will also invite the audience to consider their own personal experiences and how they can implement existing and new strategies within the context of their own teaching practice.