International graduate students' difficulties: graduate classes as a community of practices

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Dono: Marcos Pedroso

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Última Atualiz.: 06-11-2018 10:59

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This study explores the factors that cause international graduate students to
struggle and these students’ ways of dealing with such problems in light of
sociocultural theory, which views learning as a social and cultural act. The
findings show that graduate classes function as communities of practices in which
classmates and professors mutually engage with each other, share a repertoire and
engage in joint enterprises. The practices were not always transparent to
international students, which became a source of difficulty and often led them
to feel excluded. Peripheral participation comprised a significant part of some
students’ learning process and identity formation, but it allowed them to
participate in course-related activities as fully as they felt comfortable doing.
This study suggests a need for more sensitive and dialogical efforts by educators
in higher education to provide better learning environments for international
learners.

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