Intervention and Support to Improve English Proficiency and Cultural Re-adjustment for International Students

John Bostock, Keith Cook

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Internationalising the curriculum involves providing students with global perspectives of their discipline and giving them a broader knowledge base for their future careers. They can be provided with a set of values and skills to operate in diverse cultural environments; skills often labelled ‘intercultural competencies’ or ‘cross-cultural capabilities’. These values, skills and knowledge are related to graduate attributes and global citizenship with an acknowledgement that graduates today will need the resilience and competencies to communicate and compete in a rapidly changing, complex global workforce and world. International students in institutions of higher education in English-speaking countries make valuable educational and economic contributions. For these benefits to continue, universities must become more knowledgeable about the adjustment issues these students face and implement appropriate support services. This presentation identifies factors that influence the adjustment and academic achievement of international students. Academic adjustment challenges are primarily attributable to English language proficiency and culture. Achievement is affected by English proficiency, academic skills and educational background. Understanding international student adjustment issues has global implications for intercultural education. Recent primary research has shown that one particular sample group of international learners arrived to begin their UK Higher Education studies with, in most cases, no significant experience of writing essays, having come from an environment which relies almost entirely upon examinations. Yet, students are expected to produce quality academic essays in order to achieve success, probably at a time when they are battling to re-adjust culturally. We will discuss some successful support interventions and implications for practice employed at Edge Hill University: • Module support and study skills • Technical writing skills o Singular/plural noun confusion o Subject-verb agreement confusion o Verb tense confusion o Confusing prepositions o Not using the subjunctive mood • The “Hidden” agenda of referencing. We found that students faced a major challenge, linguistically and culturally, in negotiating identities and power relations necessary for them to participate and be recognised as legitimate and competent members of their classroom communities. The presentation considers some of the key issues during transition and suggests some of the strategies that can help both students and academics during their readjustment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
EventSOLSTICE & Centre for Learning & Teaching (CLT) Conference - Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Jun 20146 Jun 2014


ConferenceSOLSTICE & Centre for Learning & Teaching (CLT) Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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