Best Practice Teaching
Strategies for International
MEd, BA, DipTchg, Dip Ed, (Guidance Studies).
Funded By: Export Education New Zealand
• Export Education New Zealand funded this project. With their support
participants in this case study reflected on their classroom teaching and
identified best practice teaching techniques. This professional development
opportunity improves teaching quality and benefits international students.
• Special thanks to Denny Newman, Taylors College, for her English as a
Second Language (ESL) teaching expertise, time and support as co-researcher
for this study.
• Thanks to the 18 dedicated Foundation Programme teachers who shared their
teaching practice and contributed to the report findings. Also thanks to the
Language Programme staff who piloted the interview schedule.
• Mr Edmund Aldiss and Dr Carol McKenzie, Taylors College Management
Team, supervised this project. Their perceptive comments, expert advice and
encouragement were invaluable. As were the suggestions made by the
College Research Review Team (Taylors College, Melbourne Campus).
• Mariette McClement’s library skills were appreciated.
• The researcher contacted several New Zealand academics researching the
topic “international students”. Some of their research was outside the realm of
this study; however, their encouragement was appreciated.
• Finally, a special thank you to Mr Tony Cranshaw, Principal, Taylors College,
Auckland, for his educational leadership and support of the project.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 6: Discussion
LIST OF TABLES / FIGURES
Teacher-directed Strategies to Improve English Language 25
Communicative Strategies to Improve English Language 27
Range of Teaching Strategies
Teaching Strategies for Introducing a Task
Teaching Experience of Participants
Use of Group Work Across the Curriculum
LIST OF APPENDICES
Appendix 5 Sequential Questions on Calculation of Gross Profit
Appendix 6 Matching the Vocabulary to Visuals
Appendix 8 Mix and Match Activity (Economic Terms)
Appendix 9 Writing Assignment – Expository Essay – Group Writing 58
Appendix 10 Group Activity (Paragraph Writing)
Appendix 11 Chemistry Project (Vitamin C in Apple Juice)
Appendix 12 Chemistry Project (Calcium Carbonate in Eggshell)
In this case study 18 classroom practitioners teaching in a private training
establishment identified what they perceived as “best practice teaching strategies” for
international students studying on a pre-university Foundation Programme. The
students were predominantly Chinese. In an interview each teacher reflected on their
practice and discussed successful teaching strategies and their implementation in the
Teachers on a Foundation Programme face the challenge of moving students from a
more traditional book-centred learning approach where the teacher is viewed as the
“transmitter of knowledge” towards the critical learning pedagogy required at a New
Zealand university. The cultural characteristics of the learners, the context of their
learning and their motivation to enter university were all aspects that related to the
Across the curriculum, the following themes emerged as successful teaching
strategies: language development, one-to-one attention, a supportive learning
environment, variation of teaching styles and resources, clarity of instructions and
Early in the year most respondents favoured a more teacher-directed approach. Clear
explanations, the use of visuals to improve comprehension and a reinforcement of key
words helped students to understand lesson objectives, learning requirements and
assessment tasks. However, once the teachers had established a common ground of
learning they could challenge most of their students to become interactive,
participative learners. As the year progressed students actively participated in class
and engaged in meaningful “in-depth” learning. One-to-one consultation, tutorial
support and student rapport all rated as important factors for student success.
Findings suggested that a well-resourced Foundation Programme taught by qualified,
experienced teachers could ease the transition of international students from their own
cultural learning environment towards university study. Quality teaching demands
reflective practice, the need to respond to the differing needs of individual students,
the use of a variety of teaching strategies along with a healthy dose of energy and
enthusiasm in the classroom. Asian students were not viewed as “passive” learning
vessels. With clear directions, encouragement and a mix of teacher-directed and
communicative teaching strategies most international students responded well to the
demands of a Foundation Programme set at New Zealand Qualifications Authority
[NZQA] Level 3.
International Students in New Zealand
Growth in Numbers
In recent years there has been a rapid escalation in the number of international
students studying in New Zealand and this has impacted on the cultural, educational
and economic sectors of the community. The Ministry of Education Export Education
Newsletter (Issue 3) reports that in July 2002 there were over 82,000 foreign fee-
paying students studying in New Zealand across all levels of the education sector;
over 13,821 were studying at university level. These numbers have continued to
grow. Figures released by Education New Zealand on 23 March 2004 state "The
overall numbers of students coming to New Zealand surged past 100,000 to 118,684".
Although these figures fluctuate, the data indicates that in many sectors, such as
tertiary, the growth should continue.
The success of this industry must, in part, depend on the quality and value the
educators in all sectors provide for their students. World wide there is fierce
competition for international students with Australia, United Kingdom and Canada
competing for fee-paying students and it is imperative that New Zealand education
providers nurture their students and provide a positive learning experience. The New
Zealand government has acknowledged the economic, cultural and social value of the
export education industry and in February 2004 initiated a work programme (Minister
of Education, Media Statement, 2004) offering research funding to foster excellence
in this field.
This research project, “Best Practice Teaching Strategies for International Students”,
was funded by Export Education New Zealand. It explores the viewpoints of
academics who are teaching international fee-paying students on a pre-university
Foundation Programme at a private training establishment. It seeks to identify what
practical teaching strategies succeed in the classroom to help international students
move from a traditional, teacher- directed learning style to the critical pedagogy
demanded by western universities. The target group of students is predominantly
Chinese. The perspective of this research is that of teachers, not managers or
researchers, but classroom practitioners who face their classes daily seeking to answer
What are the best practice teaching strategies for international students studying on a
How can teachers implement these strategies?
How can teachers improve the performance of international students on a Foundation
Cultural Learning Differences
Ward's literature review  states, "most studies on internationalization have been
conducted from the perspective of the overseas students." In this qualitative study
teachers explain how they help their students move from a teacher and book-centred
learning culture towards a student-centred learning environment that encourages
independent, in-depth academic learning. This transition from a socio-cultural attitude
that values preservation of knowledge to a learning culture where deep understanding
and critical thinking skills are essential for academic success is problematic for many
international students. [Carroll, 2002; Chalmers & Volet, 1997; Hellmundt, Rifkin &
The learning styles and classroom behaviour of international students (mainly Asian)
have been well researched, [Ward 2001]. Works by Ballard & Clanchy,  and
Samuelowicz,  portray the students as a mainly homogeneous group of passive
learners who rely on rote learning and memorization; they lack critical thinking skills
and are not “deep” learners. More recently these perspectives that tend to stereotype
Asian students as “surface” learners, have been questioned by Biggs, , Biggs,
, Chalmers & Volet, , Hellmundt, Rifkin & Fox,  and Volet &
Renshaw, . These researchers emphasize the need for the lecturers to create a
student-centred learning environment that encourages students to ask questions and
participate in class; to actively engage in the learning process. Biggs, 
suggests that when international students perform poorly in academic tests teachers
correlate this to be the learners’ limited language ability instead of looking at how
they approach their learning. Differences in cross-cultural value systems can also
cause different expectations of student and teacher roles in Eastern and Western
settings [Cortazzi & Jin, 1997; Volet & Kee, 1993]. These differences can affect
classroom communication and student learning styles.
The review of New Zealand’s post-school education Learning for Life  noted
the need for a highly skilled adaptable labour force for successful industrialized
nations in today’s economy. New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s (NZQA) first
Chief Executive Officer believed that post-school education should be creative and
student-centred, encouraging students to use initiative and creativity [Hood, 1992].
The export education field in New Zealand also needs to prepare students for a
changing world; students need to be flexible, critical thinkers who are adept at
problem solving and independent thinking. Traditional values must be acknowledged
but teachers of international students on a university Foundation Programme have a
responsibility to teach students how to think as well as deliver content-based learning.
Rationale for Research
The National Qualifications Framework  was designed as a qualifications
system that encouraged all citizens to maximize their potential and continually
enhance their skills. Export Education New Zealand should also be aiming to enhance
the learning of international students with high quality teaching that is specific to the
student learning needs.
Fundamentally, the question is, “Can teachers create a learning environment that
fosters critical thinking skills and if so how?” This study seeks an answer to that
question. It seeks the opinions of College staff who have a track record of excellent
student results and asks them to identify and prioritize the teaching strategies that they
believe are successful in helping their students perform competently.
Classroom management is seldom an issue when teaching international students, but
there are other challenges facing the teacher. There is a need to address the students’
language development and to introduce them to a different cultural learning style. The
western intellectual tradition values analysis, reflection, hypothesizing, and
interpretation; the process of questioning is expected. Not all cultures share this
This study is based in a commercial enterprise where the students are “clients”;
however, in no way does that diminish the quality of the education product. In today’s
fee-paying student education market, client satisfaction demands high standards.
Reflective practice and the discussion of different teaching strategies can only add to
international students’ quality of learning and improve the export education product.
Identifying practical teaching techniques that assist the students’ move into an entirely
new learning culture could be valuable for all New Zealand teachers of international
The private training provider (College), based in a New Zealand city, was established
in May 2002 as a branch of a leading Australian education institute. The first college
campus was founded in Melbourne in 1920 and since that time the organization has
developed and flourished. The College is committed to providing quality educational
programmes and comprehensive pastoral care for international students. A welfare
team works with students addressing any issues that flow from adjustment to a new
culture. Classroom teachers are responsible for the learning environment within their
own classroom and the management team monitors students’ progress. The teaching
programmes meet New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) standards and all
staff abide by The Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students
English Language Programme
The College has a Language Programme that feeds students into the Foundation
Programme. The Language Programme is designed for students arriving from
overseas, who wish to study in the Foundation Programme, but whose English is not
at a high enough standard to allow them to fulfil the requirements of an academic
programme. Many of the students have studied English at school prior to coming to
New Zealand and have a sound grasp of English grammar, but are unable to
communicate effectively in English.
Whilst studying in the language school the students are taught these communication
skills at the same time as developing their formal language skills to a level where they
can achieve a 5.5 or 6.0 in an International English Language Testing System
(IELTS) equivalent test. All teachers in the Language Programme have the English
for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) teaching qualification, Cambridge
Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA), and have recently
undertaken training in an IELTS preparation teacher-training course.
As many of the students come directly from schools in Asia, predominantly China,
they have had little experience of small classes (maximum of 15 students) where
students are asked to participate in group discussions, pair work, active research and
brainstorming activities. In addition to this, many of the students are dealing with
homesickness and a degree of culture shock. It therefore becomes the task of the
teacher to help the student adjust to a variety of new situations, as very little learning
is able to take place until a student is comfortable in the new environment.
On arrival, the students are assessed using a simplified, IELTS style test, which is
divided into the four skills of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. This is
marked against IELTS descriptors and the students are allocated a teaching level and
placed in classes in accordance with this level. An indication of the amount of time a
student will be required to spend in the language school can also be determined at this
stage, on the basis that it takes approximately ten weeks to improve by one level in an
IELTS Test, [Embassy, 2004].
A shared test is administered each term and progress between levels only occurs when
a student reaches the required mark for entry to the next level. The decision to
advance a student to the next level is made by the Director of Studies [DOS], in
consultation with the classroom teacher. These decisions are based on test results in
conjunction with internal assessment results. On achieving a grade of 5.5 or 6.0 the
students are able to move into the next available Foundation Programme and
commence their preparation for university studies.
Foundation Programme Curriculum
Initially the New Zealand College Foundation Year Programme inherited a
curriculum from Australia. However, in conjunction with university subject
moderators, the curriculum has since been modified to better suit the needs of students
planning to continue their tertiary study in New Zealand. The subjects, excluding
English, are equivalent to a New Zealand Year 13 programme based on the New
Zealand Bursary curriculum. The English language programme is designed as an
initial academic writing course that concentrates on academic writing. Critical reading
is emphasized as a parallel component to expository writing. The Foundation
Programme aims to provide a bridge for international students between studies in their
home country and first year undergraduate degree programmes in New Zealand
universities. Therefore, each staff member is teaching more than just subject content;
they are responsible for the pastoral, cultural and academic transition of international
students to ensure that they are culturally acclimatized and prepared for the academic
challenges they will face in their future study at tertiary level. The College maintains
high teaching standards and a comprehensive quality management system underpins
educational policy and procedures.
Entrance to University
Successful completion of the College Foundation Programme offers entry into a range
of courses at two New Zealand universities, providing the students attain a pre-
determined level for a particular degree course and meet all the other entry
requirements for admission to that course within the university. All curriculum
approval is the responsibility of the Board of Studies whose membership includes
College management staff and elected university personnel; the university ensures
that the course content meets its stringent requirements for entrance to undergraduate
study. In addition, several other New Zealand tertiary institutes also accept the
programme and some students have gained entrance into selected overseas
Foundation Year Intakes
Each year there are three foundation programme intakes: January and September
running for 40 weeks and April, an accelerated programme, for 30 weeks. The
language entry level to the foundation programme is 5.5 IELTS or IELTs equivalent
for the January and September intakes and 6.00 IELTS or IELTS equivalent for the
accelerated programme. The age range of the students is from 16–24 years; however,
each year the programme attracts some more mature students.
Assessment on the Foundation Programme
Assessment for all subjects is based on examinations and course work; in most
subjects final examinations comprise between 70-80% of the final mark. Curriculum
modifications, examination papers and sample exam scripts are moderated by
University staff who are specialists in each nominated subject. Open communication
between foundation programme subject coordinators (Heads of Departments), the
University moderators and the College academic teaching staff ensure that students
are reaching the required standard both for entrance to university and, hopefully,
continuing success at tertiary level study. The subject coordinators, the Director of
Studies (DOS) and the Deputy Principal (DP) monitor the assessment process to
check that it is appropriate, valid, fair, and consistent for all students.
Ward’s  literature review prepared for the Export Education Policy Project of
the New Zealand Ministry of Education provided an excellent reference for this study.
In her review Ward recommended that further research be conducted that considered
the viewpoints of professional teaching staff working within the export education
Ward recommends “that institutions that are grappling with issues related to
internationalization” document their experiences. As an experienced teacher and
educational administrator at secondary and tertiary level both in New Zealand and
overseas (Pacific Islands and Asia), “grappling with issues” aptly described the
researcher’s teaching reflections and motivated her to initiate this research into the
teaching practices of others.
International Students - Passive Learners?
Research into international students studying in Western countries shows two
differing viewpoints. One school of thought sees international students as passive and
under performing learners with “study” or “language” problems as evidenced by the
work of Ballard & Clanchy,  and Samuelowicz, . In these studies the
focus is on the students’ “perceived difficulties” that need to be remedied prior to
success at a western university. This “deficit” model provides a negative, stereotyped
view of Asian students’ learning patterns [Volet & Renshaw, 1996].
Meeting the Learning Needs of International Students
This narrow view of Asian students has been challenged [Ward, 2001]. Biggs 
carried out research on Hong Kong students studying in their home countries and he
challenges the “Western misperception, the Chinese-learner-as-rote-learner” [Watkins
& Biggs, 1996, p270]. Pearson & Beasley  conducted a longitudinal case study
of international students studying at an Australian university over a 5-year period.
This case study followed the successful attempts of the researchers to enhance
students’ learning through curriculum redesign and extra learning support. The
responsibility of cultural adaptation to a different academic learning environment was
not solely the student’s. Different cultural backgrounds were acknowledged. With
curriculum redesign and teaching strategies to support language acquisition, the
success rates of international students improved. This “collaborative approach” helped
students cope with work requiring critical thinking skills and analysis.
Different Expectations of the Teacher’s Role
Cortazzi & Jin  report that due to underlying value differences Chinese and
British students have different expectations of teacher and student roles. The Chinese
student views the teacher as a role model, an authority figure to respect and obey,
whilst the British student perceives the teacher’s role as a facilitator and organizer.
These differing cultural expectations are likely to cause confusion and learning
difficulties for an Asian student learning in a western cultural environment. Ward,
Bochner & Furnham  explain the two dimensions that influence classroom
communication and interaction, these are individualism – collectivism (I-C) and
power distance (P D). Students from individualist cultures want to ‘stand out in
class’, to question, answer and debate. In contrast students from collectivist cultures
are shy and hesitant in class, unlikely to draw attention to themselves and possibly
“Collectivism is strongly related to power distance and students who are from
high PD cultures are also less likely to question and debate”.
Ward, Bochner & Furnham, , p156.
Samuelowicz  explores the perception of international students’ possible
learning problems from the viewpoint of the academic staff at the University of
Queensland. Jackson  conducts a similar study investigating the perceptions of
academic teaching staff. These researchers develop ideas for “good teaching” and
mention the use of variety in teaching strategies to encourage student interaction and
participation within a supportive teaching environment.
In Young‘s exploratory study  three communication lecturers, experienced
teachers of international students, were interviewed. The findings indicated
intercultural adaptation was “everyone’s responsibility”. Students experience “the
tensions of culture shock”, but the responsibility of adaptation lies with the lecturers
and the students. Young stated, “As more and more international students are
integrated into the classroom the nature of teaching is changing.” Although Young
gathered his data in USA the same is happening in New Zealand. Li, Baker &
Marshall  argue that both international students and teachers need to develop
cultural awareness and intercultural communication skills to resolve the “expectancy
mismatch” of learning and teaching between Asian students and New Zealand
Works by Biggs , Chalmers & Volet , Hellmundt, Rifkin & Fox 
and Ward, Bochner & Furnham  emphasize a student-centred learning
environment where students are encouraged to speak up in class and participate in
group assignment work. Rather than categorizing students as “isolated”, “non-
participating” and “under-performing” these researchers recommend teachers reflect
on their teaching practice and adapt it to suit their students’ needs. Ramburuth 
recommends “cross-cultural training programmes for staff and academic acculturation
programmes for students with a more diversified approach to classroom teaching to
meet the needs of students’ learning styles.
Li  interviewed forty Asian students at two New Zealand English language
schools. He suggests that the communicative or interactive teaching approaches of
New Zealand teachers led to Asian students’ negative learning experiences but he
does qualify his findings with the statement, “Educational quality is anchored on
teacher quality”. He stresses the importance of having trained competent teachers in
classrooms. However, despite the recognized differences in learning styles and
classroom behaviours by Asian students some researchers believe the exact nature of
the studying and learning problems of international students is still relatively unclear
[Volet & Renshaw, 1996].
Practical Strategies for Teachers
Baker  interviewed her New Zealand tertiary students at a New Zealand
Institute of Technology and developed a practical guidelines paper “a smorgasbord of
suggestions” for matching expectations of New Zealand tutors and Asian students. To
some extent her recommended practical teaching techniques are mirrored in this
study. Lee  has also identified similar practical teaching strategies for use in the
classroom. Carroll  highlights issues for teaching students from culturally
diverse backgrounds. Her practical points on safe practices in class, speaking in class,
group work and teaching western academic skills are referred to later in this study.
Howson  explores the potential conflicts that arise when international students
[mainly Asian] attend an Australian university. He suggests that lecturers need to be
more aware of specific strategies to help their international students become more
independent learners. Several of the points raised in his exploratory view emerge in
this study (clarity of instruction, development of English language competency,
strategies for understanding key concepts).
International Students on a Foundation Programme
Apart from Li  these researchers have investigated academic issues in
intercultural classrooms and the intercultural contact of international and domestic
students studying together at university level. However, this study differs, it looks at
fee-paying international students on a pre-university Foundation Programme. They
are learning in isolation with no academic contact with domestic students. Therefore,
the teaching strategies the respondents identify as successful are practised in a
different classroom environment than that of previous research. The problems the
students face are recognized but they are not compounded by the presence of
domestic students in the same classroom.
Sojourners [Ward, Bochner & Furnham, 2001] are defined as people who voluntarily
live overseas for a limited period of time. In this case they are international fee-paying
students who live and study in New Zealand for the specific purpose of gaining a
tertiary qualification. For teachers of these “sojourners” there is a distinct danger of
“spoon-feeding” students to push them up to the required standards to gain entry to
university. However, rote learning would not prepare students for independent
university study [Watkins & Biggs, 1996].
Previous research indicates that regardless of the cultural background of international
students they all do face a period of transition, and cultural adaptation, “culture
shock”, is an issue Ward . Butcher & McGrath  note the need to address
the academic, social and financial needs of students. Cultural adjustment may impede
student learning but care must be taken not to stereotype international students’
learning behaviours and “student problems”. The nature of the study programme, the
characteristics of the learner and the learning context will affect the learning outcome.
The academic environment, the patterns of classroom interaction and varied teaching
strategies can assist individual’s learning Swee Noi Smith, Miller & Crassini, 
and Biggs, . McGrath & Butcher  stress the link between social needs
and academic needs, learning institutes need to be “proactive” in their pastoral care
roles for international students. They also mention the need for professional
development of both academic and ancillary staff; training them to better meet the
specific needs of international students studying in New Zealand.
Fermen  acknowledges the social, cultural and academic challenges
international students face, particularly with writing skills. However, native English
speakers can also confront similar challenges. Therefore the teaching strategies
identified as successful with international students could also benefit other learners.
This study taps into the collaborative experience of eighteen teaching academics. The
teaching backgrounds, personalities, cultures and teaching methods will vary and add
diversity and richness to the findings. It proposes to engage teachers in conversation
to discover in the participants’ own words their views, concepts and ideas about
teaching international students as they express and understand them.
In 2003 an academic debate across the Australian and New Zealand Colleges’
campuses on the learning styles of international students sparked the interest of the
researcher. She was then teaching four foundation English classes daily, constantly
pondering the issue of how best to improve the performance of her students studying
at the College.
As part of the on-going discussion across the Tasman the New Zealand subject
coordinators chaired staff professional development meetings that identified best
practice teaching strategies for the subject areas: English, Science, Maths and
Commerce. The researcher coordinated the Foundation Programme response and
communicated the results to the Australian campuses. The conclusion to the New
Zealand meetings was:
“Reflecting on teaching practice and sharing teaching strategies across the curriculum
lays the foundation for positive professional development. The staff at the College are
drawing on their teaching talents and experience to ensure that a variety of teaching
techniques are used in the classroom. This accommodates both the different learning
styles and the ESL language needs of their students.”
[College, 2003, p3]
Late in 2003 the researcher responded to the Ministry of Education (MOE) expression
of interest for an Export Education New Zealand research project. The research topic
“Best Practice Teaching Strategies for International Students” emerged from this
earlier academic debate.
Staff meeting Foundation Programme
Following the acceptance of the initial proposal by Export Education New Zealand ,
the research project was a discussion item at a Foundation Programme staff meeting
on Wednesday 11 February 2004. Twenty-nine teaching staff and two members of the
management team were present. The Deputy Principal outlined the background to the
MOE contestable funding for export education and the researcher provided staff with
the rationale for the proposed research topic. Ethical considerations were also
summarized and discussed.
The key questions of the research were:
• What strategies do teachers on the College Foundation Programme identify as
best practice teaching for international students?
• How do teachers implement these strategies?
• How can teachers improve the performance of international students on the
They evoked rigorous debate on methodology, the definition of “success” and the
measurement of individual students’ performance. Some staff recognized the
unequal nature of students’ starting points in terms of language ability and
academic qualifications; this posed problems for effective measurement of
progress. Several staff members continued the discussion either via E-mail or
personally after the February staff meeting. Informal discussion has formed part
of the research process.
This research project had external time constraints imposed on it by Export Education
New Zealand; the project started in February 2004 and the final due date for report
submission was 23 June 2004. The researcher’s on-going reading and strong
professional interest in the topic ensured that the literature review and background
work for this project was completed within the time frame. With the time constraints
of the project a case study approach, an ethnographic study that involved direct
engagement of the participants, was selected.
This case study shows what is happening at one time, in particular classes within a
selected private educational institute. The interview was chosen as the data collection
instrument. From the findings generalizations can be formed which may relate to
other institutes of similar size within New Zealand. Themes can be identified and
patterns can emerge. The reality strength of a case study approach using ethnographic
research was a factor in the selection of the interview as a collection instrument,
The interview as a research tool had several advantages for this topic. The research
interview has been defined as:
“A two person conversation initiated by the interviewer for the specific
purpose of obtaining research-relevant information, and focused by him on
content specified by the research objectives of systematic description,
prediction, or explanation.”
[Cannell & Kahn, 1968 cited in Cohen & Manion, 1994, p271].
The presence of the interviewer to clarify, without bias, any interpretations of the
questions, plus the guaranteed return success rate, deemed it a more useful instrument
for this case study than a survey form. A qualitative approach that allows the
interviewer to actively listen to the interviewees’ stories will help to identify the best
teaching practices of a group of teachers working with international students.
The background experience of the teachers and their teacher training will define, to
some extent, the response of the interviewees. In qualitative research the
understanding of the phenomena is constructed by the society and this changes
according to groups within that society [Punch, 1998]. Therefore the research project
will be limited to the viewpoints, knowledge and understanding of a small cohort of
academic staff teaching international students at pre-university level at a private
training establishment. How the researcher views this topic and how the interviewees
relate to the researcher and co-researcher during the interview will also influence the
interview technique and the results obtained.
Kitwood’s concept of an interview as an encounter necessarily sharing the features of
everyday life, as stated in Cohen & Manion [1994, p275], accepts that no matter how
hard the interviewer tries to be systematic and objective the constraints of everyday
life will be part of the interpersonal transactions. A range of non-rational factors such
as emotions, different viewpoints, biases and interpersonal factors will intrude on the
interview. There is always the danger of an interviewer allowing a subjective
interpretation of results to damage the credibility of a research project. To guard
against this bias the researcher and co-researcher, who was present at the interviews,
tried to apply a consistent, objective approach to each of the 18 interviews. Also
before the interviews took place interview procedure was discussed with several
After the MOE approved the research project the researcher sought guidance on
ethical issues from the two College research mentors. The information sheet (Refer
Appendix 1), informed consent form (Refer Appendix 2) and the confidential
agreement form (Refer Appendix 3) were drafted, checked and revised by both
mentors. These ethical principles were followed:
• The researcher obtained informed consent from all participants and preserved
the confidentiality of the data and people involved in the study thus
minimising the risk to participants and researchers
• Truthfulness and honesty were paramount at all times to ensure the reliability
and validity of the project
• Respect for gender, cultural and social differences was shown
• Participation was voluntary and participants were fully informed about the
research question, the focus of the research and the interview objectives.
Honesty implies that the researcher will report the truth as she understands it; taking
care to reduce any personal bias from the findings.
The final draft of the informed consent and the confidentiality agreement were printed
on College letterhead to give the participants full contact details.
The characteristics of the researcher, the co-researcher (who was present at the
interviews), the characteristics of the respondents and the content of the questions
were all analysed. Careful consideration was given to the formulation of the
questions and time was spent checking the question order. The questions were
designed to seek out the respondents’ answers to the research question: “What do you
identify as best practice teaching strategies for international students?”
The interview questions were piloted with several colleagues from the College
English Language School to check for ambiguity, clarity of wording and to reduce
any possible bias the interviewers had on the topic. The research mentors also
checked the interview schedule (Refer Appendix 4). The respondents in the pilot
study found some of the questions were repetitive but the consensus was to retain the
status quo and include all the existing questions. They agreed it was a valid
The main purpose of the interview was stated on the schedule and the headings:
Teachers’ Background, Successful Teaching Strategies and Students’ Responses were
inserted. During the pilot the tapes and tape recorder were discarded; the poor sound
quality of the equipment and the intrusion of the tape recorder into the interview
process were considered a barrier to communication. The researcher decided to take
field notes at the interview instead of using a tape recorder.
The key respondents for the research were the College teaching staff. From the 29
Foundation Programme staff members (as of February 2004), 18 elected to take part
in the study after the initial staff meeting. Participation in the study was voluntary.
However, the researcher aimed to achieve a sample of teachers across the curriculum
to get a varied mix of teaching backgrounds. Of those 18, four taught Mathematics,
either Mathematics A, Statistics or Mathematics B, Calculus; four taught Commerce,
two economics and two accountancy teachers; four taught Science, two Physics, one
Chemistry and one Computer Science and six taught English language. Respondents
taught across both intakes of College students, the September intake, which finished
on 26 June 2004, and the January intake, which finishes on 3 December 2004.
All respondents were trained teachers, 17 had university degrees with a one year post-
graduate teaching qualification; one had a three year Teacher’s Diploma from the
United Kingdom. They had varied teaching experience but the majority had moved
from the New Zealand secondary school sector to work in a private educational
establishment to teach international students.
Target group of students
The respondents taught their students five times a week for one-hour lessons; an
optional tutorial was also offered. The student target group comprised 149
international students for the January 40 week programme - 89% Chinese students
and 11% other nationalities; and 320 international students for the September 40 week
programme - 87% Chinese and 13% other nationalities. Other nationalities included a
mix of Russian, Uzbekistan, Japanese, Indonesian, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Korean
and Singaporean students. These students entered the Foundation programme with a
minimum of 5.5 IELTS or IELTS equivalent, some progressing from the College
English Language Programme and some enrolling directly from other language
institutes or New Zealand secondary schools. As with most New Zealand non-
streamed mixed ability classes the students varied in their English language ability,
academic standards and motivation to study.
Prior to the interview
Prior to each interview the research rationale, the consent forms and the interview
schedule were E mailed to each respondent to allow them time to digest the
information, reflect on their teaching practice and prepare for the interview.
At the beginning of each interview, after the purpose and focus of the interview had
been clearly explained, each respondent was asked to sign a consent and
The first four direct questions referred to the respondents’ teaching background; this
initial sharing of information provided a settling-in period for both the interviewers
and interviewee. These questions analysed the teacher’s professional background;
this, plus the subjects they taught, could influence the findings. The second and third
sections were semi structured, asking open-ended questions. Section B and Section C
aimed to investigate the teachers’ perceptions of their teaching strategies, the success
of these strategies and their implementation in the classroom.
Field notes were taken at the interview; these recorded both verbal and obvious non-
verbal responses. Any points of confusion were clarified at the interview and key
points were checked for accuracy and validity prior to the end of the interview. All
quotes were recorded verbatim. Each interview was conducted in a small private room
in the College and lasted for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Immediately after each interview the researcher and co-researcher reviewed and
summarised the field notes to check accuracy and to provide a context for the
emergence of themes. The notes were systematically filed in a safe place and the
findings were confidential to the researcher and co-researcher, as agreed in the
confidentiality agreement. In the overall review process of the interviews, clusters of
meaning tracking common themes emerged. These general themes were examined in
relationship to similar themes from the earlier literature review. Unique and
individual responses were also highlighted.
At the completion of each of the 18 interviews the researcher E-mailed the
respondents and thanked them for their time, expertise and support of the project. The
consultation time of the management team was also acknowledged.
E-mail Research Group
To keep staff interested in the research project and aware of the progress an E-mail
group consisting of the researchers, the management team and the staff participants
was established; this was used for regular informative up-dates.
The research mentors acted as supervisors for this project and they were both
consulted at crucial points in the study. This was a thought provoking and worthwhile
process for the researcher. On 24 May 2004, prior to the final draft, the document was
a discussion item at the College Research Committee meeting. The feedback from this
review process was invaluable for the researcher and she acknowledges the expertise,
viewpoints and support of her colleagues from the Melbourne campus.
Gender of Participants
Eleven male and seven female academic staff members were interviewed.
Teaching Experience of Participants
There was a wide range of teaching experience with eight of the participants
registering over 18 years experience in the classroom. Seven of the staff mentioned
they had taught overseas (five in Asian countries) and four had held senior
administrative posts at secondary school level. Six teachers had also worked in
T e aching Experience of Participants
Number of Years
Eighte e n Pa rticipa nts
Qualifications of Participants
Type of Qualification
All respondents were trained teachers. Seventeen had a degree and a post graduate
teaching qualification. Four English teachers, one Commerce teacher and one
Mathematics teacher also had English for Speakers of Second Language (ESOL).
Number of Staf 1
The respondents taught across four subject areas: English language, Mathematics
(Calculus and Statistics), Science (Computer Science, Chemistry and Physics) and
Commerce (Accounting and Economics). In the interview the twelve respondents who
taught specific content-based curriculum stated they were also teachers of English
language. All respondents stressed the importance of students understanding English
before learning took place.
Changes in Teaching Approaches
Several respondents reported they had reflected on former teaching practice and now,
teaching international students, they had to reassess previous ideas about teaching.
They had trialled old methods and were now adopting new strategies. They were
obliged to “change the way they thought” about teaching and student learning and
they thought their “changed strategies” appeared successful.
“Students have the intelligence to handle content, the problem is understanding” they
need “the ability to figure out what to learn.” (Mathematics respondent). How to meet
this need was problematic. By starting with the elementary problems teachers could
move to the more complex to encourage student success. One Science respondent
reported the need to motivate students to learn by initially “giving them something
concrete to grab hold of”.
Teachers also noted that you couldn’t assume the students had a body of knowledge.
The respondents stated that once they discovered the starting point of common ground
the learning could begin. Given language was a barrier, one Commerce respondent
identified a basic level of student understanding from which to progress: “a starting
point of common ground from which to build. Accounting lends itself to sequential
learning and building knowledge and skill layer upon layer”. (Refer Appendix 5).
“The teacher must assess student understanding and proceed at a pace that continues
to reinforce understanding rather than moving on so quickly that students are left
confused” (Commerce respondent). This respondent reflects others’ opinions on the
need for a “step by step” learning process.
Successful Teaching Strategies
From this study six common themes emerged; these are listed below and each
teaching strategy will be fully explained later in the findings.
• Language Development
Teachers of all subjects recognized that weak English language skills were a
learning barrier for most students and they all devised coping strategies to address
this problem (18 respondents).
• Individual Attention
Teachers acknowledged the necessity of students receiving individual attention
• Safe and Supportive Classroom Environment
Teachers emphasized the importance of establishing a positive rapport with
students, encouragement and confidence related to success (15 respondents).
• Visual/Verbal/Kinaesthetic Learners (Variety of Teaching Strategies)
Most teachers acknowledged the need to use a range of teaching styles and
resources to meet the learning needs of individual students (15 respondents).
• Group Work
Two thirds of the participants used group work to encourage interactive student
participation (12 respondents).
• Clarity of Instruction
Several teachers stated the importance of clear and specific language use. They
spoke clearly to ensure effective communication in the classroom (11
Classroom strategies to improve the understanding of English
Teachers across the curriculum stressed the need to identify and develop teaching
resources and strategies to improve international students’ language ability.
Respondents reported that some students experience difficulty comprehending
instructions, understanding assessments and expressing their ideas and opinions in
class. The demands of subject curriculum’s set at New Zealand Qualifications
Authority (NZQA) Level 3 push students to problem solve, think critically and
synthesise information. Strength in language was seen as essential for success. Every
respondent mentioned language difficulties; it appears students experience similar
barriers understanding a Mathematics problem to writing an English essay. Teacher
comments reflect this:
“Students need help to overcome the fear of reading English” (Mathematics
“At first they have difficulty reporting back in English, getting sentences in order”
“Economics is a language; even native speakers have difficulty with it” (Commerce
“There is a need to change examples in texts to relate to students. International
students have no idea of “pancakes and pikelets” or “chips and dip” (Commerce
“Some words block understanding, function has a different meaning in Maths”
“There’s the temptation to lapse back into mother tongue” (English respondent).
Teacher-directed Strategies to Improve English Language
Number of respondents
who identified the strategy
Identify key words to read prior to lesson
Emphasise specialist words
Write key words on board each lesson
Use repetition: recap and review
Create vocabulary word lists
Use of visuals [Refer Appendix 6]
Use idiom and colloquialisms and explain them
Speak, listen, see it, write it
Design mix and match games
Administer quick quizzes
Relate examples to everyday events
Translate glossary into words they recognise
Distribute self study sheets
Design word searches
Build a battery operated vocabulary grid
Teach the use of an index
Table 1 portrays the teacher-directed strategies utilised in class across the curriculum.
They show a series of practical steps that respondents used to foster vocabulary
development in their subject areas. An initial focus on key words for each subject
was a common theme to emerge across the curriculum: “I talk about key words and
students find the meaning for homework, they are investigated prior to class and
checked in class. We read out definitions” (Mathematics/Science Respondent).
The respondents suggest that a good understanding of basic subject vocabulary is
essential if meaningful learning is to take place. This can be seen as a transition from
English language teaching to curriculum based learning. They recognised the need for
learning specialised vocabulary in their different academic disciplines. Also several
respondents talked of the need for students to read and construct their own glossaries,
then to develop these as they discovered terms in different texts.
English language teachers used key words and vocabulary lists to aid student learning
but they discouraged the use of electronic dictionaries and challenged students to find
the contextual meanings. They “tracked down interesting reading material” to help
students relate their own cultural experiences to the text. In English classes the
reading journal provided a structure for students’ independent reading and reflection
(Refer Appendix 7).
The Commerce department demonstrated initiative and technological skills with the
creation of an electronic vocabulary grid complete with flashing lights for a correct
vocabulary/definition answer (Refer Appendix 8). Classroom observations confirmed
this had high interest and novelty value for Economics students.
Communicative Strategies to Improve English Language
Number of Respondents
Active research (Refer Appendix 9)
Group work (Refer Appendix 10)
Interactive word games
Move students out of seats
Use projects and practical work (Refer Appendix 11)
Team competitions (problem solving)
Class debates and discussions
Engage, study, activate
Seating arrangements (face to face communications)
Table 2 portrays the communicative activities respondents reported they used in class
across the curriculum. These activities seek to engage the student actively in the
learning process. Respondents used these communicative activities for a variety of
reasons; vocabulary development, concept development, discovery learning, relating
theory to practice, sharing of ideas and discussion. Mathematics respondents
nominated active research; project work and pair work as successful communicative
teaching strategies in their subject. Only one Mathematics teacher and one
Accountancy teacher discussed group work. The findings showed that English
language and Economics teachers favoured a more communicative approach. Some
respondents also mentioned the need to avoid boredom and add “humour and fun” to
the learning process.
For communicative activities several respondents “shaped” the classroom furniture
arrangements for effective communication. Students were reluctant at first to move
from their seats but as the year progressed they appeared to enjoy the involvement.
Students were a diverse group culturally, socially and academically. The following
teacher comments reflect the different academic levels of the students:
“At every level a student should feel they are achieving, every student needs to feel
this to lead them to the next step. For some it is a simple step, some an intuitive leap”
“Top students given limited information could figure it out; the struggler needed a lot
of help” (Science respondent).
“In English it’s brain work and you cannot crib. There’s a vast difference in what
students can do. Some exam essays are impressive…Bursary level” (English
This necessitated teachers motivating students, who were working at different levels,
showing “a genuine interest” in all students and planning time for individual attention.
This sometimes occurred outside normal class hours. Also several respondents
reported that only by individual classroom and tutorial consultation could they judge
how much information to give the students to challenge them. It differed according to
each student’s individual ability.
All respondents offered one-to-one or small group tutorials outside of class time.
Some teachers directed specific students to attend. These were timetabled classes.
Safe and Supportive Classroom Environment
There were no gender specific differences in the pastoral care roles teachers talked
about in their classrooms, 15 respondents stressed they worked hard to maintain a
positive learning environment in their classes. These respondents mentioned the
quality of student staff relationships being a key factor to enhance student learning.
At the start of the year they learnt student names, and set clear guidelines for
classroom behaviour and assessment. They acknowledged the different cultures to
make them feel part of a group, “It’s all about creating a group that feels they want to
be there and feels they belong”. “Positive attitude”, “positive reinforcement” “setting
the class tone” and “making everyone feel part of the class” were some of the terms
teachers mentioned when discussing class environment. Several respondents stressed
the importance of using students’ names as often as possible.
The college has a pastoral care support system with the Director of Studies, the
Deputy Principal, the Nurse and the Student Services Team all playing an active role
in monitoring student welfare and achievement. However most teachers
acknowledged they had the initial responsibility for student welfare within their
subject classes. The following quote was echoed in the interviews: “There is no way
to achieve academically unless personal issues are OK.” (Mathematics respondent).
At the time or writing a mentor system teacher/student was being initiated at the
Students reported to teachers: “Students are afraid to ask questions in China.”
Therefore several respondents prioritized getting to know the student personally and
establishing a rapport based on mutual respect and understanding to develop student
confidence and encourage effective communication. Most students responded to
“minimal authority” with a “level of maturity” but a few were “torn out of home”, still
finding a sense of security and study direction.
In a friendly, supportive learning environment where students were personally
addressed by name they were:
“Encouraged to take risks” (Maths respondent)
“Trained not to expect to be spoon-fed” (English respondent)
“Told to tell how they think and believe in their own writing” (English respondent)
“Asking intelligent questions; extending learning in class and debating current issues”
“Encouraged to try, and make a mistake, rather than not try. Break the barrier of the
quest for perfection” (Maths/Science respondent)
“Reminded to ask questions if they do not understand. I always ensure questions are
followed up and satisfying answers provided.” (Commerce respondent)
Several respondents discussed the use of open-ended questioning to check
understanding throughout any given task. “Can you explain the idea back to me?” was
a common question used to test understanding across the curriculum. Students gained
more confidence in answering questions in class as the year progressed. Recognition
of their own learning produced a positive attitude towards different classroom
activities; this was demonstrated by increased participation and a greater willingness
to answer questions in some subject areas. Several respondents noted the excellence
of some of their top students; this was shown by the challenging questions they asked
in their subject area. These questions showed in-depth understanding and critical
Visual/Verbal/Kinesthetic Learners (Variety of Teaching Strategies)
The majority of the respondents discussed the need to present information in as many
ways as possible to reinforce students learning. There were no noticeable differences
across the curriculum. Teachers planned to use a variety of resources/activities within
each lesson. Table 3 outlines a variety of teaching techniques the 18 respondents used
Range of Teaching Strategies
Visuals hold interest level, help language
understanding, reinforce learning
Visuals spark creativity
Visuals establish connections
Visuals can add light relief
Visuals enhance comprehension without
the need of language
Mind maps show relationships
Talk plus visuals reinforce learning
Encourages students to look up and read
Use of realia
Relates theory to everyday life
Relates formula to real life
Fun for a change
Cultural shock – problems dramatised
Take the roles of individuals and groups in
Listening, viewing and comprehension
Links into cultural backgrounds
Provides background information
High student interest
Data show presentations
Replicates university lectures
Adds interest and variety
Allows students to note take
Stimulates interest, students want to
discover final results
Learning by doing
Relates Science to own experiences (Refer
Use of colours
Act things out
Mime a word
Use facial expression and gestures to show
Several staff noted the danger of “dull and repetitive” teaching and stressed the need
for a change in momentum within a lesson. Four English teachers discussed the use of
Engage, Study, Activate (ESA) an experiential learning strategy that could “light up
and invigorate the lesson”. Respondents noted that students appeared to respond well
to visuals; the following quote illustrates teacher responses, “Pictures shortcut the
amount of language use and speed up the learning process” (English respondent).
Several respondents mentioned the need to “get students moving” in the class. Some
of the activities listed in Table 3 were interactive and students enjoyed the active
Although respondents recognised students preferred individual work two thirds of the
respondents used group work regularly. They utilised groups for language activities,
role-plays, discussions, co-operative writing tasks, text analysis, problem solving,
games and competitions. The respondents using groups aimed to actively engage their
students in a communicative activity. Group work offers students a safe environment
to “try out ideas and make mistakes” or listen and respond to another’s viewpoint.
Several teaches mentioned the language support some students gained from other
group members; further explanations could be given. There was no set way of
organising the groups; some teachers used a numbering system to allocate groups,
some allowed students to work with friends. Teachers circulated amongst the groups
to facilitate the learning.
From initial “shyness and virtual apathy” teachers had observed growth in confidence
and leadership skills emerge as benefits of group work. In most cases teachers tended
to structure group work and clearly define group roles to ensure the workload was
shared. Later in the year co-operative learning amongst students was noted.
The following comments on group work reflect the teachers’ views:
“It works hard for cross pollination” (English respondent)
“Students need to move more and talk to others” (English respondent)
“Students vary … some do not like it out of comfort zone” (Maths/Science
“No negative pressures, divided the work, students relaxed and worked better”
“ Sometimes when I have to move the furniture, explain the group roles then explain
the actual task I feel frustrated. How much learning takes place? Then the lesson
ends” (Science respondent).
Use of Group Work Across the Curriculum
S u b j e c t T a u g h t
Figure 5 shows the number of teachers who used group work in each teaching subject.
There was a strong correlation between the use of group work and the language-based
subjects. English language and Economics teachers all used group work. One
Accounting teacher, one Mathematics/Science and two Science respondents also
nominated group work as a successful learning strategy. Six respondents did not
identify group work as a successful teaching strategy; these teachers taught
Mathematics, Accounting or Science. Several others mentioned the frustrations they
sometimes experienced setting up the groups, time to organize the physical setting
and structure the group task could stifle the learning process.
Clarity of Instruction
“Giving explicit instructions” and “speaking clearly” were common comments from
the respondents. These instructions described the activities that followed; then
questioning and communicative activities were used to implement learning. All of the
following strategies were used in conjunction with concept-check questions to ensure
that students understood the task requirements.
Teaching Strategies for Introducing a Task
When giving instructions respondents utilised the following teacher-directed
Teaching Strategy for Introduction of
Number of Respondents using this
Talk and use the whiteboard to
Use of examples to illustrate a point
Step by step instructions
Show students exemplars
Structure the group framework
Use of personal experience to explain
Vary voice and act out a situation
Focus on one thing at a time
Use literal language
All respondents acknowledged that student success correlated to exam success; some
expressed it was a “necessary evil”. There was no room “to be permissive” with
students; they would face the reality of examinations at university. However, almost
all respondents also judged success in more subjective ways; assessing student
response or enthusiasm, noting growing student confidence and observing attitudinal
responses and affective behaviours. Several respondents reported that they rated
students’ success by the number of intelligent questions they asked, and how they
extended themselves and expressed viewpoints in their subject area. The varying
academic levels of the students complicated assessing success, there was a difference
in what students could achieve (Refer Appendix 13). “They are a diverse bunch and
they performed from different standpoints” [English respondent].
In Commerce and English classes students were able to confront opposing viewpoints
and learn to develop arguments in class debates. Having the courage to speak,
listening to others’ opinions and giving responses were noted as progressive
behaviours. Initially teachers needed to encourage “student talk time” to move
students from a passive learning state to be more involved learners. Respondents
suggested that this positive change in attitude, acquired over a year’s study in New
Zealand, better-prepared students for success at university.
In English classes the final presentations often demonstrated “a growth in confidence
and self-esteem”. One student emerged from being “shy, quiet and whispering” to a
“fluent talker giving an extraordinary power point presentation”. In these cases
success was subjective; several respondents looked at a value-added approach.
One respondent shared the story of a former student. In 2003 one shy student
graduated from the Foundation Programme to study at university in Switzerland; he
assured his teacher “he could handle it” after a year on the Foundation Programme.
He had grown in confidence. Staff deemed this as another indicator of probable
success at university.
Diversity of Teachers
All teachers create their own classroom-learning environment and develop their own
unique teaching style. The respondents interviewed in this study had different
academic backgrounds, teaching experience and personalities. Despite these
diversities the teaching strategies they identified as successful with international
students had strong similarities across the curriculum. These ranged from simple
practical strategies to more complex teaching philosophies.
Changes in Teaching Approaches
The majority of the respondents acknowledged the need to be continually reviewing
and revising their teaching practice. Experienced teachers noted the need to “rethink
teaching strategies”. Young  noted the need for change in his study. Howson
 recommends that lecturers adapt strategies to teach international students. The
target group of students, predominantly Chinese, offered the respondents teaching
challenges. The Foundation Programme offered a pathway to university and teachers
reported they worked hard because of the different academic backgrounds of the
students; some “dashed ahead” while others “plodded”. Paying attention to individual
learning needs was seen as essential.
Jackson  reports on the need for teacher reflection and staff development,
“Good teaching in courses of study is distinct from good teachers in the classroom.
Talking about good teaching can help us to be good teachers.” [Jackson, 1997, p107].
Respondents involved in this study initially discussed best teaching practice at the
College 2003 subject and staff meetings; this research project emerged from those
discussions. Teachers who elected to be part of this study thanked the researcher for
motivating them to reflect on their teaching; they found the process insightful and
beneficial for classroom practice. Further opportunities for staff professional
development could emerge from this study, where staff elaborate on their individual
teaching strategies. This sharing of professional practice both within the College and
across other New Zealand educational institutes should benefit international students;
McGrath & Butcher  mention the need for professional development in this
Limitations to Study
The choice of a case study with an interview as the data collection instrument suited
both the academic background of the researcher and the research question. A
qualitative case study, with an interview as the instrument, encourages in-depth, rich
descriptions [Punch, 1998]. The study teases out staff perceptions of successful
strategies. While these are probably grounded in experience there is no effective
measure of the usefulness of each; such a measure would be difficult to construct.
The open-ended nature of the interview questions allowed the respondents’ individual
interpretations and responses. However, there were no definitions of terms, for
example “success”, and the structure of a lesson: introduction, body and closure were
not clearly specified in the interview schedule. Therefore the definitions of success
were broad, mainly added value. Some respondents specified the different stages of a
lesson others did not. This could be seen as a limitation of the study.
Further Research Options
This is an exploratory study and, from the findings, further research options could
emerge. Matching the teachers’ perceptions to those of the students could be an
interesting development. Tracking the Foundation Programme students at university
would be worthwhile. Also the teaching strategies the respondents identify as
successful for teaching international students could be compared to those used in a
domestic classroom. Quality teaching demands careful planning, positive classroom
environment, varied resources and learning tasks to suit the needs of individual
learners. What are the differences in teaching domestic and international students?
Although all respondents acknowledged, as evidenced by Ballard & Clanchy ,
that lack of language skills was problematic in their subject this was not seen as an
insurmountable problem. The teaching staff discussed both teacher-directed and
communicative ways to address their students’ language needs within the context of
their teaching discipline. Samuelowicz  recognizes the importance of the
contextual dimension for language acquisition. Teachers constantly checked on
students’ language progress to ensure students understood the lesson objectives, basic
instructions and the learning tasks they set. This was reported as imperative for
students’ academic success. Biggs & Watkins,  stress the importance of being
able to read and understand as the first step towards high quality learning outcomes;
repetition can clarify meaning prior to deep understanding.
Use of colloquialisms
Some respondents supported Baker’s  and Lee’s  findings and realized
the need to use literal language, free from ambiguity and colloquialisms. However,
others used New Zealand idioms and colloquial expressions in their teaching and felt
they had an obligation to explain these meanings for student survival beyond the
classroom. The learning for an international student studying in New Zealand
continues beyond the classroom into the community and should not be limited to
subject curricula alone. Ward, Bochner & Furnham support this viewpoint. “The
educational environment is a microcosm of the larger society and reflects its values,
traditions and practices.” [Ward, Bochner & Furnham, 2001 p156]. Learning a second
language takes place in a wider cultural context, not only in a classroom.
In English classes, especially where students were encouraged to debate issues,
express personal opinion and formulate arguments the teachers tended to adopt a more
holistic approach to education. Several spoke of the need for “life and energy” in the
classroom, explanations of New Zealand idioms often added light relief to the
Relationship between language skills and academic success
All respondents, across the curriculum, believed there was a strong relationship
between students’ English language skills and their success. Biggs & Watkins, 
in their overview of “the Chinese learner” acknowledge this relationship. One
Mathematics respondent observed, “the language issues discussed by English teachers
over coffee match the problems Mathematics teachers face”. Students experience
difficulties with “reading a question properly and knowing examination terminology,
words like distinguish, define and explain” [Science respondent]. Ballard & Clanchy,
; Lee,  and Li, Baker & Marshall,  acknowledge that lack of
reading and comprehension skills are a stumbling block for international students’
learning. English teachers used the reflective journal to encourage student
engagement with texts. Some respondents tried to involve students in group activities
and research projects to adopt a more communicative style to their teaching. Pearson
and Beasley  report the success of small group activities in tutorials in
developing students’ confidence and skills. Others focused on more practical teacher-
directed strategies to reinforce vocabulary learning, as a pre-requisite to effective
Use of communicative language activities
There was some difference in the use of communicative language activities.
Scrivener  states, “The aim of a communicative activity is to get learners to use
the language they are learning to interact in realistic and meaningful ways, usually
involving exchanges of information.” Not all respondents utilized communicative
language activities in class, especially in Mathematics and Accounting. The nature of
the subject content may direct the teaching style and it is acknowledged that teacher
practice is personal.
To some extent the teacher-directed strategies the respondents utilized in class
reinforce the stereotype of Asians as surface learners [Ballard & Clanchy, 1984;
Samuelowicz, 1987]. However, teachers acknowledged that clarity of instruction and
task understanding were crucial factors before meaningful learning could take place.
[Biggs, 1996; Li, Baker & Marshall, 2002 and Young, 1998]. Students could not cope
with higher levels of thinking; problem solving, critical thinking and synthesis of
information until they clearly understood the task requirements. Once a common
ground of understanding was established then students were involved in their
learning, asking questions and seeking feedback [Chalmers & Volet, 1997 and
Hellmunt, Rifkin & Fox, 1998]. They were moving towards student-centred learning
utilizing “deep approaches” to learning [Biggs, 1996]. In this case study the teachers
responded to their students’ needs and adapted their teaching approaches; the learning
institute fostered quality education. This contrasts to Li’s  comments on teacher
quality in two New Zealand English Language schools.
Discussion of wider issues
One respondent noted that “the students’ cohort of knowledge was limited” and
believed English teachers had a responsibility to provide “enrichment”, a wide based
more liberal education to broaden the students’ background knowledge. Historical,
political and social issues could be discussed in class to encourage students to form
opinions, defend their own ideas and listen to others’ viewpoints. Building on
students’ personal experience “starting where they are at” and relating it to personal
or social issues was effective. Butcher & McGrath  stress the link between
academic and social issues. Allowing students to explore their ideas within a safe
classroom environment could support troubled students. Commerce teachers also
challenged students to read and discuss current commercial issues from the
newspaper. Dhanaraj  recommends similar techniques.
Use of relevant examples
Commerce respondents stated that international students had a disadvantage when
investigating the New Zealand economy, their economies differed from New
Zealand’s and both the textbooks and the newspapers referred to examples beyond
their realm of understanding. To counter this they changed the examples and models
to make them relevant to students’ experience. In English, Science and Commerce
using relevant readings, often linked to Asian culture, proved to be successful. One
respondent noted that in Science a focus on food experiments for project work
stimulated student interest. They produced excellent results. Tapping into a common
ground of knowledge and using relevant examples was seen as worthwhile. Pearson &
Beasley  noted the benefits to South East Asian management students when
staff developed materials that were relevant to students.
Commerce respondents noted that as the year progressed more able students relished
the opportunity to question the teacher using comparative, relevant economic
examples from their own country as discussion points. “I measure students’ success
by the questions they ask, intelligent questions, they extend themselves, apply
learning in class debating current issues” (Commerce respondent).
Reading ability can limit or increase a student’s success rate. This study was limited
to the perceptions of the academic teaching staff (18 respondents). Time factors did
not allow tracking the students they taught. Further research that links IELTs results
with student examination success could clarify the language ability and examination
success rate of international students. However, all the English teachers included in
this study (6 respondents) believed IELTs testing had limitations as a true measure of
student’s language acquisition. Preparing an international student for university study
was seen as a complex on-going learning process.
Several respondents reported that students liked accessibility to staff on a one-to-one
basis to discuss their ideas and formulate their opinions. Carroll  reports the
need for “safe practice and feedback” and suggests that in a situation where students
feel “safe and respected” their confidence will grow. Cortazzi & Jin , Volet and
Kee , Samuelowicz  have all reported that international (Asian) students
are not encouraged to ask questions or critically analyse text in their home countries.
The Chinese student from a Power Distance culture sees the teacher as a role model to
respect and obey [Cortazzi & Jin . The findings of this study support Swee Noi
Smith, Miller, Crassini,  and Biggs’s  evidence that not all Chinese
learners are surface learners. They can be self-motivated and reflective in an
“educational environment where meaningful learning is emphasized ”. A supportive
student-centred environment is crucial to encourage students to take risks and make
mistakes [Hellmundt, Rifkin & Fox, 1998]. Growing confidence with language was
linked to more active student participation in class.
The College offered weekly tutorial support by specialist teachers for all classes.
These tutorials were used by respondents for individual feedback on assessments,
recap and review or extension activities. Staff commented on the progress of students
who regularly attended their tutorials. Pearson & Beasley  note similar
improvements in the results of university management students with the provision of
extra learning support classes directly related to their course.
Monitoring student response, giving feedback and adjusting teaching to suit student
needs should be the role of a professional educator [Jackson, 1997]. Samuelowicz
 suggests that students seem “unwilling or unable to use feedback to improve
their subsequent work”. However, the English teachers in this study believed the
practice of process writing using personal feedback was beneficial to their students.
One English respondent stated that with three drafts of a piece of writing there was an,
“immense difference, you could see the benefits of the teaching.”
Safe and Supportive Classroom Environment
Whilst several respondents acknowledged many international students were “passive
learners” showing “shyness and virtual apathy”, teachers accepted the challenge of
providing stimulating learning experiences for these students.
Several respondents believed that within a safe, supportive student-centred learning
environment students did ask questions seeking knowledge and clarification. In
Commerce students “want to know why”; they tended to compartmentalise
knowledge more than “Kiwi students”. It was satisfying for a teacher to “challenge,
elucidate and demonstrate” learning; a well-prepared teacher who gave the students
confidence was openly appreciated by her students. Hellmundt, Rifkin and Fox 
argue that lecturers who re-examine their own practice to be more inclusive of their
students in the classroom encourage student participation. The teachers’ perspectives
from this Foundation Programme support this argument. “Overall, learning is
interactive, co-operative and reflective. These provide the frame within which
competition, individual effort and achievement occur. “[Jackson, 1997, p105].
Respondents spoke of working hard initially to set the “tone and atmosphere” of their
classrooms. They also noted the importance of individual recognition of students and
pastoral care; “even acknowledging a student by name on the stairs gives them a
positive boost”. Studies by Chalmers & Volet , Hellmundt, Rifkin & Fox
 and Watkins & Biggs  also place an emphasis on lecturers creating a
student-centred learning environment. However, there are differences. This particular
research project focuses solely on the academic staff’s perspectives of international
students’ learning at a New Zealand private training establishment’s Foundation
Programme. The personal responses of the teachers to the needs of students in their
classes (sizes from 12-25) may not be applicable in a formal open lecture situation at
a large university, although Jackson  does recommend tertiary lecturers become
managers of student activities, facilitating their learning.
Variety of Teaching Strategies
Variety in lesson presentation
Professional staff reported on the danger of “dull and repetitive” teaching and the
need to retain “their honesty as a teacher”. They did this by implementing a variety of
teaching strategies in the classroom each lesson. They “entertained and taught”, they
acted scenarios, they motivated students with games and competitions, used realia in
their teaching, encouraged discovery learning, related scientific formulas to real life
situations and incorporated multi-skilled classroom activities into their teaching to
reach the visual, aural and kinaesthetic learners.
Several respondents mentioned the need for a “change in momentum“ in the
classroom. “At first the students hated getting out of their seats … the ends must
justify the means, the response is great if the task is engaging” (English respondent).
These respondents mentioned the positive response of their students to competitions
and games within the classroom; they added a “fun aspect” to learning. To a certain
extent some teachers used a variety of teaching techniques to avoid both teacher and
student boredom. Some staff noted the need for repetition and to present information
in as many ways as possible, even “to recycle vocabulary”. However, the “spark” of
student interest in response to a variety of communicative learning activities within a
lesson served to motivate teachers to keep their lessons “snappy” and the students
Several respondents noted the students’ lack of study skills and incorporated these
into their teaching at foundation levels. They used listening exercises and note-taking
skills; they modelled brainstorming and mind-mapping using colour and visuals to
capture students’ interest. Baker  notes the value of “visual clues” as prompts
for student learning. College staff clearly explained the value of these methods and
related them to future use at university. Pearson & Beasley  report on the need
for collaborative learning support programmes for international students at university.
Samuelowicz  found small group work required structure and role definition.
The respondents who used group work in their classes faced similar difficulties.
“Groups started with disruption and excitement. Instructions needed to be
clear. Students did ask, “What are we doing?” Eventually the purpose of group
activity was defined. Presentations were mainly teacher-directed.” (English
However, two thirds of respondents saw the value of group work. It allowed students
to work at their own pace, within the security of a group the less able could grow in
confidence whilst the more able took leadership roles. Pearson & Beasley 
report similar findings.
Resistance to Communicative Teaching Strategies
The Foundation teachers across the curriculum also sought to overcome resistance to
the more “communicative” approach they adopted in their teaching. They aimed to
move students from receptive to participative learners and tried to “create an
environment for students to ask questions and make mistakes” (Math/Science
respondent). With their enthusiasm, sensitivity towards individual students and
efforts to develop student rapport they gradually broke down most student reluctance
to participate in class activities. They concentrated on students and their learning
[Jackson, 1997]. Within the context of their classrooms the international students
were actively engaged in the learning process [Biggs, 1996; Chalmers & Volet, 1997;
Hellmundt, Rifkin & Fox, 1998; Swee Noi Smith, Miller & Crassini, 1998].
The nature of a private training establishment is results-oriented. The management
defines success as the number of students who gain entrance to university and student
satisfaction. Student surveys are part of the quality management system. However,
this study is based on the perspectives of 18 academic teaching staff. Although all
respondents did recognise the importance of the assessments and examinations, as a
pre-requisite for university entrance, they also observed subjective measures of
success. They rated personal growth, enthusiasm for a subject, and effort and class
participation as indicators of success. Subjective observations are hard to quantify but
whether a student’s success was rated as an A+ in an assignment or an intelligent
answer to a question a genuine feeling of empathy and concern for their students came
through in the interviews. This could be viewed as a limitation to the study, but the
integrity, ethics and professionalism of the teachers provided a worthwhile
information source for reliable data collection.
This case study reflects the perspectives of 18 academic staff teaching fee-paying
international students at a private training establishment. The target group of
students, pre-dominantly Chinese, were studying on a pre-university Foundation
Programme which correlated to Level 3 on the New Zealand Qualifications
Framework. University staff, in the specific teaching areas, moderated the subject
curriculum, examinations and student scripts. The viewpoints expressed are limited to
the teachers’ responses to the interview schedule. The research questions asked
classroom practitioners to identify best practice teaching strategies for international
Teachers involved in this study did not accept the deficit model of Asian students
being mainly negative, stereotyped and static learners in their classrooms. Once
teachers had established a common ground of learning they could challenge most of
their students to become interactive, participative learners in the classroom. The
respondents’ definition of interactive learners varied. For some it was students’ in-
depth responses to questioning, and abstract conceptualising from concrete examples.
For others it was a “noisy interactive classroom” where students were exchanging
ideas, having fun, listening to other’s viewpoints and formulating their own opinions.
Over two-thirds of the participants identified active research and group work as
successful teaching strategies with international students.
Whilst all participants recognised the difficulties Asian students had with language
they did not see this barrier as insurmountable. Each teacher designed subject specific
language activities, either teacher-directed or communicative to suit the learning
needs of their students and their own personal teaching style. Teachers reported the
need to teach language within the context of their subject. The diversity of the
students, culturally (cultures other than Chinese were acknowledged), academically
and their attitude to study was recognised. The nature of the teaching subject also
affected the nominated teaching strategies, with the Maths and Accounting teachers
adopting a more teacher-directed style.
However, all teachers stated they tried to move their students from a power distance
(PD) model to an individualism-collectivism (I-C) model. They did not see
themselves as solely “transmitters of information” and each teacher perceived their
role as facilitator or manager of the students’ learning. They aimed to move them
from being passive learners to participative learners within their classrooms. The
move towards independent student learning was progressive. Respondents reported
an initial resistance to communicative teaching activities but once students understood
the purpose of the activity and related this to their study and assignment work
meaningful learning took place.
However, the pace of this learning varied according to students’ ability and
motivation. Respondents reported that a few students lacked motivation and were not
prepared to do the initial groundwork. In contrast more able students “leapt ahead”
and often surprised and delighted their teachers with their in-depth understanding and
knowledge often staying after class to challenge the teacher’s viewpoints.
Practical teacher-directed strategies for language acquisition, one to one student
consultation, a positive learning environment, a variety of activities within a lesson,
group work, communicative activities and clear instructions for setting lesson
objectives and assessments all emerged as common themes in this study. Student
rapport was also deemed important. The dedication, hard work and caring attitudes of
the respondents towards their students came out during the interviews.
The findings of this study suggest these teachers reflected on their own practice and
recognised the need to adapt their teaching style to meet the cultural and learning
needs of international students. Instructions needed to be clear, vocabulary reinforced,
and several teachers mentioned a step-by-step approach, a consolidation of learning.
In the initial stages of learning the students required a more teacher-directed
approach; however, as the year progressed they all endeavoured to use a more
communicative teaching approach to engage their students in meaningful learning.
They helped their students’ transition from being passive surface learners to
independent learners able to cope with the critical learning pedagogy. This transition
was progressive and students’ success rate varied according to personal factors,
academic ability, background and motivation. The Foundation Programme allowed
students a settling-in period, a chance to adapt to a different learning style in a
Baker, T. . Practical guidelines for matching the expectations of New Zealand
tutors and Asian students. School of Business and Communication, Wellington
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Ballard, B. & Clanchy, J. . Study abroad: A manual for Asian students.
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Biggs, J. . Western misperceptions of the Confucian–heritage learning culture.
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Biggs, J. . Why & how do Hong Kong students learn? Using the study process
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Butcher, A. & McGrath, T. . The needs of international students in New
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Carroll, J. . Suggestions for teaching international students more effectively.
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Trevaskes, T. [eds]. P 39-51. Language Australia. Melbourne.
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Howson, K. . Teaching international students: an exploratory view. New
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Research Project: Export education/Best practice teaching strategies
• The researchers involved in this project are Alison McCallum & Denny Newburn.
They are carrying out interviews at Taylors College Auckland for an MOE funded
Export Education research project:
Successful teaching strategies that assist international students moving from a
teacher-directed learning culture to tertiary study in a New Zealand context.
• The researchers' work address and phone number are: Taylors College, 75
Karangahape Road, Auckland, 09 306 2600
• They are asking you to take part in an interview expected to last about 1/2 an
hour. The interview will be audio taped and transcribed. During the research the
tapes will be stored without any names on them. At the conclusion of the research
the tapes will be wiped.
• At any stage you have the right to decline to take part. Also you have the right not
to answer any particular question. You are free to withdraw at any time and ask to
have information supplied by you excluded from the study.
• In order to maintain anonymity and confidentiality no names or identifying
characteristics will be used in writing up the findings.
• This research project will be supervised by two senior management members of
Taylors College staff (Australia/New Zealand) to ensure ethical standards are met.
Research Project: Export education/Best practice teaching strategies
I have read the information sheet and have had the details of the research project
explained to me. My questions have been answered to my satisfaction and I
understand that I may ask further questions at any time.
I also understand that I am free to withdraw from the study at any time and to decline
to answer any particular questions.
I understand that any information gathered in the course of the research project is
confidential and that neither my name nor any identifying information will be used or
I agree to provide information to the researcher on the understanding that my name
will not be used without my permission. (The information will be used only for this
I also understand that I have the right to ask for the audiotape to be turned off at any
time during the interview.
I agree to participate in this research project under the conditions set out in the
Research Project: Export education/Best practice teaching strategies
No personal details will be revealed; participants' confidentiality will be respected at
The research will be conducted in an ethical and professional manner.
This agreement is binding both during the research process and after the research is
I understand that I may request a copy of the final research report.
This research project investigates the topic:
Successful teaching strategies that assist international students moving
from a teacher-directed learning culture to tertiary study in a New
The main purpose of this interview is:
• to identify what practical teaching strategies teachers on Taylors
Auckland Foundation Year (TAFY) identify as best practice
teaching techniques for international students
• to discover how these strategies are implemented in the classroom.
What is your teaching experience?
qualifications do you have?
What is your teaching subject?
What teaching strategies do you identify as being most useful for
improving the performance of international students?
Why do you use these particular teaching strategies?
How do you implement these teaching strategies in your classroom?
How do you help your students to become independent, academic
How do your students respond to the identified teaching strategies?
How do you measure your students' success?
What examples can you give to illustrate students’ success?
SEQUENTIAL QUESTIONS ON CALCULATION OF GROSS PROFIT:
Students know how to calculate profit for a service enterprise
Net Profit = Revenue – Expenses
Objective: Students to gain an understanding of how to calculate profit for an
enterprise that trades in goods.
Show students a product recently purchased, eg a pair of sunglasses.
Teacher: How much do you think I paid for these sunglasses?
Students’ responses to Question 1
Variety of answers.
Student’s accepted response: $50.
Teacher: Do you think the shopkeeper bought the sunglasses at this price?
Student’s accepted response: No
Teacher: Suggest a price which the shopkeeper may have bought the sunglasses.
Student’s accepted response: $20
Summarise for students the formula
GROSS PROFIT = SALES – COST OF GOODS SOLD
Teacher : Calculate the Gross Profit for the sunglasses:
Student’s accepted response:
Gross Profit = SALES – COST OF GOODS SOLD
$30 = $50 - $20
Term to learn:
The percentage of the cost price that the shopkeeper adds to calculate the selling
Teacher: Calculate the Mark-up % in the above example
Student’s accepted response: 150%
Teacher: Give the formula by which Mark-up % can be calculated
Student’s accepted response:
Gross Profit x 100
Cost of Goods Sold
Matching Vocabulary to Visuals
Put these into the right chronological order
a. Boga sleeps on the verandah
b. Ikenas starts to like Boga
c. Her father feels proud- like a master
d. “I’m going to be a hermit forever!”
e. Boga regrets agreeing to an arranged marriage
f. Her brothers beat her
g. The dance is cancelled
h. Ikena realises Boga might not be happy
i. Boga arranges for Ikena to go to the YMCA
j. Ikena has been crying
k. Ikena’s mother tricks Ikena into coming home
l. Boga can’t stay “forever”
Match the word to the picture
1. A cave
2. A verandah
3. An aisle
4. An alter
5. A soloist
6. A choir
7. A clumsy boar
8. A spirit
The Reading Journal
What is it?
This is a series of self-directed pieces of analytical writing.
It allows you to use material that interests you as a starting point for your thinking and
It is all collected in one place so that the student can build up a file of writing which
will demonstrate the growth and evolution of their thinking and writing during the
course of the year.
Hopefully by doing this you will improve your
• Essay writing
What do I do?
• What is the point of view of the writer?
• What is the main purpose of this article?
• What is the audience for this piece?
• What words are new or used in a way that is new to you?
What should I write?
• Date of publication/viewing
• Source (newspaper, book, film)
• A brief summary of the main idea
• Any new vocabulary words and their meanings
• Your own response to the topic: reflect, review, criticize
How shall I present it?
If it is an article cut it out and attach it to your writing.
Write clearly and lay out in a way appropriate to the material being reviewed.
How often should I do this?
I expect this to be done once a week and I will endeavor to collect it in for
checking twice per term.
Mix and Match Activity (Economic Terms)
Match the economic terms to the definitions (used with or without the novelty aid of
the flashing light for the correct answer.)
Good, service or resource produced to satisfy needs and wants. Commodities can be traded in a
Commodities that are bought and sold in markets.
Goods that are scarce and can be had only at a high price. Consuming an economic good will
have an opportunity cost.
Inputs are those things used in production processes which are transformed into economic
goods and services
Using resources, processing them in some way and bringing into existence goods and services.
The study of how scarce resources that have alternative uses can be allocated to satisfy people's
unlimited wants. A science concerned with those aspects of social behaviour and those
institutions that are involved in the use of scarce resources to produce and distribute goods and
services to satisfy human wants and needs. see scarcity.
Every time one is forced by scarcity to make a choice, one is incurring opportunity costs. These
costs can be measured in terms of best alternative foregone
Goods that are abundant and, as there is no choice involved, no opportunity cost exists if we
Basic necessities are essential to life, e.g. food, water, and shelter. Reputed necessities are those
things some people have a 'need' for, such as tobacco products for smokers. Wants are those
things that are additional to needs, and not essential for survival.
These are inputs into the production process and are costs to the business.
This is a relative term. Scarcity results when resources are limited, and human wants
are unlimited, and is the basis of the study of Economics.
Wants are those desires which are not essential to sustain life
The economic problem is the scarcity of resources in terms of the unlimited wants and needs
Generally intangible things that are frequently consumed at the same time as they are
produced such as haircuts, restaurant meals, etc.
Cloze Exercise (Economic Terms)
Fill in the gaps with the appropriate words (used with or without the novelty aid of the
flashing light for the correct answer).
The study of how _____________ resources that have ___________ uses can be allocated to
satisfy people's unlimited ______. A science concerned with those aspects of social behaviour
and those institutions that are involved in the use of scarce _________ to produce and
distribute goods and services to satisfy human wants and needs. see scarcity.
Basic ____________ are essential to life, e.g. food, water, and shelter. Reputed necessities are
needs and wants
those things some people have a 'need' for, such as tobacco products for smokers. Wants are
those things that are __________ to needs, and not essential for survival.
Wants are those things which we _________ but which are not ______________ for human
Good, or resource ___________ to satisfy needs and wants. Bulk commodities, e.g. coffee,
sugar, meat, butter are often traded in _________________ markets
Goods that are relatively ____________ and can be had only at a price. Consuming an
economic good has an _____________ cost.
The economic __________ is the scarcity of goods and services in terms of the __________
wants and needs people have.
Goods that are so ___________ that, as there is no choice involved, no opportunity ______
exists if we consume them.
things that are __________ and sold in markets.
This is a relative term. Scarcity results because __________ are limited, and human
______ are unlimited, and is the basis of the study of Economics.
Generally ________________ things that are frequently consumed at the same
________ as they are produced such as haircuts, restaurant meals, etc.
Every time one is forced by scarcity to make a __________, one is incurring opportunity
__________. These costs can be measured in terms of best ___________ foregone
Using ____________________, processing them in some way and bringing into existence
__________ and services.
These are ___________ into the production process and are costs to the business.
Inputs are those things that are used in the ____________ process which are transformed into
economic goods or services.
Costs, alternative, resources, inputs, production, scarce, alternative, wants, resources,
produced, perfectly competitive, necessities, additional, desire, essential, scarce,
opportunity, problem, unlimited, costs, bought, resources, goods, wants, intangible,
Jumbled Definitions (Economics)
Choose the correct definition.
can be allocated to satisfy people's unlimited wants. A science concerned with those aspects
of social behaviour and those institutions that are involved in the use of scarce / The study of
how scarce resources that have alternative uses/ resources to produce and distribute goods
and services to satisfy human wants and needs.
/essential to life, e.g. food, water, and shelter/ Basic necessities are. Reputed necessities are
those things some people have a 'need' for, such as tobacco products for smokers. Wants are
those things/ and not essential for survival./ that are additional to needs,
which we desire but which/ Wants are those things/ are not essential for human life.
to satisfy needs and wants./Commodities are goods produced. / are often traded in perfectly
competitive markets./ Bulk commodities eg sugar, coffee
and can be had only at a price/ Goods that are scarce. /will have an opportunity cost.
/Consuming an economic good
the scarcity of goods and services / The economic problem is / in terms of the unlimited
wants and needs people have
Goods that are abundant and,/ no opportunity cost exists if we consume them./ as there is no
Commodities that are/ in markets./ bought and sold
This is a relative term. /and human wants are unlimited,/ Scarcity results when
resources are limited,/ and is the basis of the study of Economics.
/at the same time as they are produced/ Generally intangible things that are
frequently consumed/ such as haircuts, restaurant meals, etc.
Every time one is / one is incurring opportunity costs./ forced by scarcity to make a choice,/
in terms of best alternative foregone/ These costs can be measured
Using resources,/ and bringing into existence goods and services./ processing them in some
and are costs to the business./These are inputs into the production process/
that are used in the production process / Inputs are those things / which are transformed into
economic goods or services.
These worksheets try to teach Economics as a language, based on the assumption that
the students are demonstrably successful as language learners (Commerce
Writing Assignment III – Expository Essay - Group Writing
Reconstructing the Lost Tribe (Version 3)
“Inside the vocabulary and grammar of any language are many clues about
the values and life styles of the people who use it.”
Bearing this quotation in mind imagine that some explorer has arrived back in your
country and before he dies leaves the following notes about a lost civilization:
Using these notes as clues
• reconstruct a believable country.
• Try to be as detailed as possible.
• Use your imagination but always base your ideas on inferences drawn from
• Give the country a name … and name as many other aspects as possible.
Notes from the Journals of Capt. Abel Cookman
Dated April 1st 1769
Three dominant geographical terms, designating “tall mountain”, “coral reef” and
Many words for ocean, and several for fresh water including “spring”, “stream”
Dozens of terms for fish, including five for “big fish” and several for “the one that
Several words for children, some of which translate as “eldest child”, “intelligent
child”, and “youngest child”
Seven terms to describe the stages of life up to puberty, only one term to describe
adulthood, and four for old age
The word for sex translates as “to plant a taro”
Terms for woman are synonymous with “wife and mother”
Terms for man are synonymous with “leader and father”
Twenty words for types of oral communication, but no word for book
Many words for war, including words meaning “avenge”, “raid”, “reclaim”,
“pillage”, and “pay back time”
Nine words for musician and dancer
Terms for praise translate as “swift revenger”, “helmsman”, “old wise one”,
“fruitful vessel” and “fish finder”
Words designating hen, pig, dog and rat. These are also words of praise.
Several words for storm and earthquake, no words meaning “snow” or “ice”
Several words for leader but all are plural and masculine
Nine words meaning entertainment
No words for building, but several meaning shelter
Two terms to describe race – “the local people” and “the outsiders”
No words for money, but words translating as “market place”, “barter”, “gift” and
No words meaning individual ownership
Write an essay in which you characterise the society that uses this language
As you analyze the characteristics of the language, you will be reconstructing a
culture. Obviously, because the data are limited, you will have to make a few
educated guesses (inferences). Any conclusions you reach will only be guesses so it is
best to qualify them with terms such as: “Perhaps”, “possibly”, “one might conclude”,
“the evidence suggests”
Examine and group the data; look for patterns
Draw inferences, depending only on the data given
Cite evidence to support these inferences:
Be sure to base all your conclusions on the linguistic evidence provided
Do not draw inferences that you don’t support with specific examples
Be sure to use all the data
Explain your line of reasoning – how and why the data lead to the inferences you
Your purpose here is to explain why you have made the inferences you have and
to back up your inferences with facts drawn from the language list
Consider giving a name to aspects of this civilisation- such things as the land, the
people, the food etc. This will help focus your sentences.
While you are at the initial stages of this project you will work in groups. Working
out the meaning of the clues by discussion and comparison of ideas.
At the end of this period each group should compile an Interim Report based on your
understanding of the premises.
The next stage must be done individually as this is to be assessed individually and it is
primarily a test of writing skills.
The project should be up to about 1000 words long and should be written under these
o Geography and Location
o Social organisation (Family)
o Social Organisation (Political)
o Cultural and economic description
There can be a map and pictures to aid the presentation of this project but these will
not gain specific marks… so don’t spend too much time. Remember we are interested
in your writing and thinking skills.
What is crucial for success is that you, as the reporter-writer, assume that:
You have not seen this tribe and have no first-hand evidence of it
You will also assume that your reader does not have a copy of this assignment
It is up to you to cite all the specific evidence (the terms given in the list) to justify
*Readings: Before writing your essay, read the two given articles for a fuller
understanding of the relationship between language and culture.
The Lost Tribe
1. There are thousands of languages in the world today. To find out which ten
languages are spoken by the most people, go to
http://www.sil.org/ethnologue/top100.html. How does this research help you
understand or know more about the diversities of languages and cultures in the
world? Discuss this idea within your group.
2. Explore http://www.friesian.com/egypt.htm to learn the pronunciation of some
ancient Egyptian language. Based on what you discover on this site, provide a
brief description of the terms ideogram and pictogram.
Read the introduction on the Bemba language and Cherokee on the site
http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/rbeard/grammars1.html, which has some grammars
of different languages on the Web. How has this activity helped you understand the
connection between grammar, language and culture?
Group Activity (Paragraph Writing)
General Aim Paragraph construction
Specific Aim Paragraph for a theme essay based on prescribed
Materials Worksheet showing different parts of a paragraph.
(Example shown below)
Instructions arrangements Students are divided into groups of four.
The students sit facing each other and choose their roles in the
Specific tasks may be as follows:
1. Develop a topic sentence
2. Think of two supporting ideas
3. Identify a reference from the text to support
each of the ideas
4. Write a suitable concluding sentence
5. Write the complete paragraph
6. Be the spokesperson for the group and read out
the paragraph in class.
Total time: 20minutes
At the end of 20 minutes, the students take turns to read out paragraphs developed by
As an additional activity, the groups get a chance to comment on each other’s work.
to the students.
Analysis of Vitamin C in Apple Juice
1 Write the structural formula for vitamin C. What chemical reactions does it
undergo? How do isomers of vitamin C differ?
(No more than half a page)
2 Find out why we need to have a regular intake of vitamin C. What do we
need it for?
(No more than half a page)
3 At a supermarket, find some processed foods that contain vitamin C. List
some ‘good’ sources.
(No more than half a page)
1. Organise the preparation of 0.01 molL-1 iodine solution and starch indicator.
2. Select two different apple juices to analyse.
3. Collect the materials and equipment that you require for carrying out the titration
on the attached page.
4. Repeat the titration to get three concordant results. Write up the experiment in
your own words under the headings:
Sources of Error
State - what your project is about
- what you had to find out
- how you did the project
- what you found
- conclusion (do your results agree with the accepted values?)
The project will be marked as follows:
Conclusion and Sources of Error(4)
Analysis of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) in Apple Juice
The equation for the reaction of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) with iodine is:
Note: 1 mL of o.o1 molL-1 iodine solution is equivalent to 1.722 mg ascorbic acid
1. Use a pipette to measure accurately 40 mL apple juice into a titration flask. Add
10 mL 2 molL-1 sulfuric acid. Add 1 mL starch solution
2. Rinse and fill a burette with 0.01 molL-1 iodine solution
3. Titrate the juice with iodine until a violet blue colour is obtained
4. Repeat to obtain 3 concordant resultsCalculate the concentration of vitamin C in
molL-1 and in grams in 100 mLRepeat steps 1 to 5 with the other sample of juice
5. Comment on the results obtained from the two different samples
Analysis of Calcium Carbonate in Eggshell
1. Calcium carbonate occurs naturally in many forms such as limestone and marble.
What are they? Where are they found?
(No more than half a page)
2. What uses do we have for calcium carbonate? (No more than half a page)
3. Find out how eggshell is formed. What percentage of a hen’s eggshell is calcium
carbonate? (No more than half a page)
3. Prepare 250mL 1molL-1 solution of NaOH. Make a standard solution of oxalic
acid to standardise the NaOH solution. Use phenolphthalein indicator.
4. Crush your sample of eggshell to a fine powder.
5. Titration method: You are supplied with a 1molL-1 solution of HCl.
Weigh accurately 1g eggshell into a titration flask. Add accurately
(using pipettes) 30mL 1 molL-1 HCl. When the reaction is complete,
titrate the excess HCl with the standardised NaOH solution. Use methyl
6. Repeat the titration to get three concordant results.
7. Titrate 30mL HCl without the eggshell. This is called a blank titration.
8. Repeat to obtain 3 concordant results.
9. The ‘blank titre – sample titre’ gives the amount of HCl that reacted with
11. Write up the experiment in your own words under the headings:
Sources of Error
State - what your project is about
- what you had to find out
- how you did the project
- what you found
The project will be marked as follows:
Conclusion and Sources of Error (4)
Oral presentation (5)
Analysis of Calcium Carbonate in a Naturally Occurring Sample
The equation for the reaction of calcium carbonate with hydrochloric acid is:
1. Crush your sample that contains calcium carbonate to a fine powder.
2. Weigh out 1 g of your sample into a titration flask and dissolve it in 30 mL 1.0
3. Rinse and fill a burette with the standardised NaOH solution.
4. When the reaction is complete, titrate the excess HCl with 1 molL-1 NaOH. Use 3
drops of methyl orange indicator.
5. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to obtain three concordant results calculated by steps 6 and
6. Carry out a blank titration by titrating 30 mL of the HCl solution with NaOH.
Do this in duplicate.
7. Use ‘blank titre – average sample titre’ to calculate the amount of acid that
reacted with calcium carbonate.
8. Calculate the percentage of calcium carbonate (mass in 100g) in your
10. Note: When concentrations are as high as 1 molL-1, solutions should be well
mixed before use each day.
[ ] Lacks Effective
[ ] Unbalanced
[ ] Does not achieve
Well constructed paragraphs [ ]
Punctuation and spelling
Grammar and syntax