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Rethinking education through self-study: an international doctoral student’s narrative

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Abstract

This paper adopts a narrative approach to how I employ self-study as a way to examine and reexamine my own learning experiences and develop a critical consciousness of education as an emerging educational researcher in the United States. The narrative self-study unravels my struggle as an international doctoral student and my awakening to educational inequity by constantly challenging my previous understanding through critical reflection. The paper discusses the importance of using self-study to understand education in a broader context, step out of isolation, and connect with other educational researchers for a change to occur. The conclusion highlights the need for international doctoral students to understand their own agency and become educational researchers and full human beings. © 2018

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... This study was part of a larger research project with Asian international doctoral students learning in the United States. At the time of the research, I was also an international doctoral student and conducted the research with an aim to understand how international doctoral students addressed various barriers and worked towards our PhD completion (Li, 2018). Stacy (pseudonym) was one of the research participants and her story offered an abundance of details about how language and culture worked together in her professional growth. ...
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https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/K8TMFMQUYNBQP99FEQSB/full?target=10.1080/15348458.2021.1972804 Situated on the broad landscape of international education and informed by theories of language, culture, and identity trajectory, this longitudinal narrative study unravels an Asian international doctoral student’s story of living and learning in the United States. Using narrative as the research method and form of representation, the paper unfolds her early struggles, agency, and professional growth in her doctoral journey of examining and reexamining language and culture in her life and research. It illustrates how this former EFL teacher constantly negotiates her inner conflicts concerning language and culture and gradually considers herself a legitimate English speaker and an emerging scholar in international education. The discussion highlights the importance of personal agency and collective identity in an international doctoral student’s professional identity construction. It also emphasizes the significance of embracing cultural and linguistic diversity in international education.
... al., 2018), international students' study anxiety (Khoshlessan & Das, 2017), and the challenges international students face during their higher education in the US (Rao, 2017). However, concerning international doctoral students, there has been little discussion of equity of access (Li, 2018;Madge et. al., 2015) and what this might mean in the international context. ...
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Aim/Purpose: In our reflexivity in this duoethnographic study, we aimed to identify and elicit the authentic voices, thoughts, and experiences of international students from China and Cameroon to explore international education equity’s complexities through the internationalization of curriculum in doctoral programs at U.S. institutions. Background: Many studies have addressed the need for education equity in terms of gender, age, and socioeconomic status. However, few studies have explored the complex tensions of international education equity for international graduate students as they relate to the internationalization of the curriculum in doctoral programs in the context of neonationalist political rhetoric. Methodology: A duoethnographic method was utilized to create dialogic narratives and provide multiple perspectives on a variety of topics across disciplines and forms of practices of one’s life history to act and give meaning to actions. As two researchers and international doctoral students from China and Cameroon, we conducted interviews and discussions to maintain an ongoing dialogue debriefing our experiences. Contribution: By focusing on the experiences as international doctoral students, this duoethnographic study encourages readers to recognize how different cultures, experiences, and needs reinforce and influence one another and the importance of ensuring education equity for international doctoral students’ success. Findings: Three elements of international education equity were defined as authentic inclusion, differentiated teaching strategies and assessments, and individualized resources including but not limited to financial and cultural resources. Four prominent themes emerged related to international education equity for international doctoral students: (1) academic support related to teaching and learning strategies, assessments, language support, and mentorship; (2) financial support related to university funding and employment opportunities; (3) administrative support related to staff/faculty/community training on intercultural competence and training related complexities of visa status for international doctoral students; and (4) community support in the context of geopolitical tensions. Recommendations for Practitioners: The findings highlight the need for research universities to address international doctoral students’ concerns, develop and innovate practices to ensure international education equity, and help international doctoral students to study in a safe and welcoming environment. Recommendation for Researchers: The findings suggest further critical research into the rationale of the difficulty in international education equity and the impact of equity in the curriculum and learning spaces of higher education through exploring the similarities and nuances between international doctoral students from China and Cameroon. Impact on Society: These findings aim to ensure international educational equity and to build a welcoming environment for international doctoral students through collaboration among education providers, policymakers, and the community. Future Research: Future research may use international educational equity to explore diverse international doctoral students’ experiences, needs, and challenges in studying at U.S. research universities, and how those experiences, needs, and challenges shift their mobility.
... The findings from this data analysis support the potential value of integrative seminars in occupational therapy education, and the insights gained may be helpful for occupational therapy educators who desire to implement integrative seminars into their curriculum design. It may be particularly relevant and beneficial for doctoral level occupational therapy programs to incorporate integrative seminars as a strategy to increase the rigor in promoting autonomous learners and critical thinkers, traits decidedly expected from doctoral students (Brodin, 2016;Li, 2018). The integrative seminar shows promise as a student-centered, evidence-based approach that engages contemporary occupational therapy students and provides them with a safe space for developing skills in self-directed discovery and critical thinking for lifelong learning. ...
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Cortazzi, M. (2001). Narrative analysis in ethnography. In P. Atkinson, A. Coffey, S. Delamont, J. Lofland, & L. Lofland (Eds.), Handbook of ethnography (pp. 384-394). Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage.
The decrease of percentage of college students from rural areas is a big problem
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Cao, W. (2012, September 24). The decrease of percentage of college students from rural areas is a big problem (in Chinese). Retrieved from http://theory.people.com.cn/n/2012/0924/c49369-19091284.html