Supporting Practices to Break Chinese International Students’ Language Barriers
The First Step to Facilitate Their Social Adjustment
Keywords:Chinese international students, language barrier, social adjustment, zone of proximal development
Due to the significant growth in Chinese students pursuing education abroad, there is an increasing trend for researchers to study Chinese international students’ challenges, especially the challenges in social adjustment. However, only a few studies intend to design activities or supporting practices to solve these challenges. This study, drawing upon cultural-historical theory and community psychology, provided four activities to break Chinese international students’ language barriers and facilitate their social adjustment. By conducting four trials, this study found that Chinese international students realize their English capabilities, become actively engaged in interactions, and experience positive emotions when positioned in practices that (a) provide structural guidance and active mobilization, (b) involve shared intersubjectivity and contradictions, and (c) offer support within their zone of proximal development.
Adams, W. K., Paulson, A., & Wieman, C. E. (2008). What levels of guidance promote engaged exploration with interactive simulations? AIP Conference Proceedings, 1064(1), 59–62.
Australian Government Department of Education and Training. (2016). International student numbers 2015. Retrieved Month xx, xxxx from https://internationaleducation.gov.au/research/international-student-data/pages/default.aspx
Baklashova, T. A., & Kazakov, A. V. (2016). Challenges of international students' adjustment to a higher education institution. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 11(8), 1821–1832.
Canadian Bureau for International Education. (2016). Canada’s performance and potential in international education. https://cbie.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/A-World-of-Learning-HI-RES-2016.pdf
Cao, L., & Zhang, T. (2012). Social networking sites and educational adaptation in higher education: A case study of Chinese international students in New Zealand. The Scientific World Journal, 2012, Article 289356. https://doi.org/ 10.1100/2012/289356
Cheng, H., Wei, J., & Huang, Y. (2011). Realistic choice of diversification in the postgraduate education. 2011 International Conference on Control, Automation and Systems Engineering (CASE), Singapore. https://doi.org/ 10.1109/ICCASE.2011.5997671
Clarà, M. (2017). How instruction influences conceptual development: Vygotsky's theory revisited. Educational Psychologist, 52(1), 50–62.
Dageid, W., Akintola, O., & Sæberg, T. (2016). Sustaining motivation among community health workers in aids care in Kwazulu-natal, South Africa: Challenges and prospects. Journal of Community Psychology, 44(5), 569–585.
Gong, Y., & Fan, J. (2006). Longitudinal examination of the role of goal orientation in cross-cultural adjustment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(1), 176–184. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.91.1.176
Hogg, M. A. (2007). Social identity and the group context of trust: Managing risk and building trust through belonging. In T. C. Earle. (Ed.), Trust in cooperative risk management: Uncertainty and scepticism in the public mind (pp. 51–72). Earthscan.
Huang, D., Yang, L. H., Wonpat‐Borja, A., Lam, J., Link, B. G., & Phelan, J. C. (2016). Attitudes toward judicial lenience and government assistance for individuals with mental illness: A comparison of Chinese and European Americans. Journal of Community Psychology, 44(4), 516–523.
Jackson, J. (2016). The language use, attitudes, and motivation of Chinese students prior to a semester-long sojourn in an English-speaking environment. Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education, 1(1), 4–33.
Kaǧnici, D. Y. (2012). The role of multicultural personality in predicting university adjustment of international students in Turkey. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 34(2), 174–184.
Lenzi, M., Vieno, A., Perkins, D. D., Pastore, M., Santinello, M., & Mazzardis, S. (2012). Perceived neighborhood social resources as determinants of prosocial behavior in early adolescence. American Journal of Community Psychology, 50(1–2), 37–49.
Ma, J. (2017). Cooperative activity as mediation in the social adjustment of Chinese international students. Journal of International Students, 7(3), 856-875.
May, E. M., Hunter, B. A., & Jason, L. A. (2017). Methodological pluralism and mixed methodology to strengthen Community Psychology research: An example from Oxford House. Journal of Community Psychology, 45(1), 100–116.
O'Donnell, C. R., Tharp, R. G., & Wilson, K. (1993). Activity settings as the unit of analysis: A theoretical basis for community intervention and development. American Journal of Community Psychology, 21(4), 501–520.
Sherry, M., Thomas, P., & Chui, W. H. (2010). International students: A vulnerable student population. Higher Education, 60(1), 33–46.
Swagler, M., & Ellis, M. (2003). Crossing the distance: Adjustment of Taiwanese graduate students in the United States. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 50(4), 420–437.
Tovares, A. V., & Kamwangamalu, N. M. (2017). Implications for language proficiencies and identities. In S. Canagarajah. (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of migration and language (pp. 207–227). Routledge.
UK Council for International Student Affairs. (2017). International student statistics: UK higher education. Retrieved Month xx, xxxx from https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Research--Policy/Statistics/International-student-statistics-UK-higher-education
Valdez, G. (2015a). Classroom exclusion: Perceptions of undergraduate Chinese international students studying in the U.S. (Publication No. 3703458) [Doctoral dissertation, University of Arizona ]. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.
Valdez, G. (2015b). US higher education classroom experiences of undergraduate Chinese international students. Journal of International Students, 5(2), 188–200.
Veresov, N. (2004). Zone of proximal development (ZPD): The hidden dimension? In A. Ostern & R. Heila-Ylikallio. (Eds.), Sprak som kultur: Brytningar I tid och rum [Language as culture: Tensions in time and space] (pp. 13-30). Pedagogiska fakulteten.
Veresov, N. (2010). Introducing cultural historical theory: main concepts and principles of genetic research methodology. Cultural-Historical Psychology, 4, 83-90.
Veresov, N. (2016). Duality of categories or dialectical concepts?. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 50(2), 244–256.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Harvard University Press.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1997). The problem of the development of higher mental functions. In R. W. Rieber (Ed.), The collected works of L. S. Vygotsky: The history of the development of higher mental functions (pp. 1–26). Springer.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1998a). Dynamics and structure of the adolescent's personality. In R. W. Rieber. (Ed.), The collected works of L. S. Vygotsky child psychology (pp. 167–184). Springer.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1998b). The problem of age. In R. W. Rieber. (Ed.), The collected works of L. S. Vygotsky child psychology (pp. 187–205). Springer.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1999). On the problem of the psychology of the actor's creative work. In R. W. Rieber (Ed.), The collected works of L. S. Vygotsky scientific legacy (pp. 237–244). Springer.
Waters, J., & Brooks, R. (2011). "Vive la difference?": The "international" experiences of UK students overseas. Population, Space and Place, 17(5), 567–578. https://doi.org/10.1002/psp.613
Yan, K., & Berliner, D. C. (2011). Chinese international students in the United States: Demographic trends, motivations, acculturation features and adjustment challenges. Asia Pacific Education Review, 12(2), 173–184.
Zhang, J., Yu, N. X., Zhang, J., & Zhou, M. (2017). Sense of community and life satisfaction in Chinese older adults: Moderating roles of personal and partner resilience. Journal of Community Psychology, 45(5), 577–586.
Zheng, X. (2010). Re-interpreting silence: Chinese international students' verbal participation in US universities. International Journal of Learning, 17(5), 451–463.
Zong, J., & Batalova, J. (2016). International students in the United States. Migration Policy Institute.
How to Cite
All published articles are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 Unported License.