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Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education

From Theory to Practice- Selected papers from the 2013 ICLHE Conference

Edited By Robert Wilkinson and Mary Louise Walsh

Higher education has seen dramatic changes in the past quarter of a century, notably in the language used for instruction. Universities worldwide are increasingly switching to English enabling them to attract a wide student population. This book presents a new collection of original papers showing how universities apply content and language integrated learning to their instructional contexts. The papers highlight the challenges of theory, policy, programme and course design, integration, and teacher and student competences. The diverse international contexts addressing not just English will be of particular interest to university teachers, educational administrators, linguists and others wishing to understand the instructional landscape of higher education today.
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Resituation: A framework for understanding the complexities of becoming a researcher in an unfamiliar context

1.  Introduction

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Abstract This paper applies the concept of “resituation” (Eraut, 2000) to the task of appreciating the complexity of the international postgraduate student experience. It reports findings from a study in which the researcher worked with international scholarship students from the Pacific, Melanesia and Southeast Asia to frame up a masters research proposal over the period of a semester and then interviewed them as their research work progressed. The students study and plan their research in the linguistically, academically and culturally unfamiliar context of a New Zealand University, but conduct it in their own culturally and professionally familiar contexts. The paper shows how these neophyte researchers needed to resituate what the personal knowledge they already possessed, with new knowledge generated from coursework and the research process as it unfolded. Resituation can be seen to represent significant transitions for the students where they need support from supervisors, teachers and advisors.

Keywords: International students; postgraduate; resituation

Much research has focused on appreciating the challenges that international students studying in unfamiliar contexts face in undergraduate study in which they undertake coursework and where academic requirements are relatively explicit. This research often focuses on the language challenges and is supported by a wealth of studies investigating how students can best be prepared to meet such challenges. Studies in this domain can be deemed to fit within the purview of English for Academic Purposes, but have also been initiated by ICLHE scholars.

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