Objectives: Academic staff have noted that culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) students have faced difficulties during their studies and in adapting to workplace experiential learning.
Method: To explore this issue, three focus groups were held to identify the barriers to learning faced by CALD students and to develop strategies for CALD students, academic staff and workplace supervisors to assist in the students' academic progress and skill development. The three focus groups represented academic staff: CALD students and placement supervisors in courses where workplace supervision was a requirement of the course.
Results: The barriers to learning were identified as difficulties with English language communication skills, including reading, writing and verbal skills; course content that was too local; extra time not being allocated to academic and placement staff to allow for the greater time commitment required for CALD students; large tutorial groups; social isolation; discriminatory assessment, and lack of awareness of existing support services for academic staff dealing with international students.
Conclusions: Strategies suggested to help assist CALD students to learn included conducting introductory sessions on Australian culture for CALD students; having additional and smaller tutorial groups; having academics spend time with individual CALD students; incorporating international issues into the course content and assessment; providing support and assistance for academic staff teaching CALD students, and organising experienced CALD students to mentor their less experienced peers. Implementing the strategies suggested would require greater resources to be committed to CALD students, which may be difficult given competing demands within the university for limited financial resources.
Field of Research
130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified