Making the most of cultural diversity

Diversity is a strength of our educational environment at Oxford, evidenced by the statistics referred to below (see Oxford information). As educators, our challenge is to notice and make good use of the opportunities this diversity presents for developing alternative viewpoints and clarifying our own positions. Alternative viewpoints enhance learning and extend the boundaries of research. One key principle of good educational practice is to respect diverse talents and perspectives.

Oxford information

Citizens of foreign countries make up 41% of Oxford University’s academic staff (see Oxford Facts and Figures - Oxford International). At other HEFCE-funded higher education institutions the average for academics is only 24.4% (HESA, quoted in UCEA, 2013).

In 2012, 38% of all Oxford students were citizens of foreign countries; they represented over 140 different countries and territories. The highest number came from the USA (1,516 students), China (including Hong Kong and Macao) was the next highest (865). However, percentages of international students vary according to undergraduate or graduate status, with 61% of all graduate students and 17% of all undergraduates being from outside the UK.

24% of students offered places to commence undergraduate study in 2012 did not take A’ Level qualifications. These students come with qualifications which include, for example, International Baccalaureate, Scottish Highers, and Singaporean, American, German, French, Romanian or Australian qualifications (Oxford University, 2012). (The A’ or Advanced level is the qualification offered by a large proportion of schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.) Clearly we cannot take for granted the nature of students’ prior educational experiences.

For more information about Oxford's international involvement see Oxford: an international university. The webpage about Support for international students and staff offers information on a range of advice and services the University provides.  On the Wall of 100 Student Faces you can read a number of profiles of international students and their responses to coming to Oxford. 

The University web page for New students is aimed at all students but includes a wide range of information specifically for those coming from overseas. For example, every October the University offers new international students an Orientation Programme and further programmes are available in Hilary and Trinity terms for those who start later in the year. During the first few weeks international students may take part in walking tours and cultural awareness sessions and events for spouses and partners are also held. Pre-departure information is provided for students (by means of email, Skype, etc) helping them prepare for the transition to Oxford. Also, full-time visa advisors offer specialised advice to students before, during, and after their studies to manage and navigate the increasing complexity of visa requirements.

Colleges make a great effort to welcome all their students and help undergraduates with many aspects of life in Oxford. Most colleges have a scheme to support new undergraduates, sometimes called a college parent scheme, where experienced second-year students mentor individual first years (freshers). College support is available for graduate students too but, generally, the Department or Faculty takes the lead in induction and support for this group, especially through the supervisor in the case of research students.

Ideas and tools

Cultural self-awareness

We often speak of diversity as ‘cultural’, but it is worth considering what this means. What is ‘culture’? One way of looking at it suggests different cultures have different dominant values. Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1997) identified seven key dimensions of variation, explained in the table below.

Their words...

What it means...

1. Universalism versus particularism

Do people tend to be guided by rules or guided by relationships and circumstances?

2. Individualism versus communitarianism

Do people tend to think individuals come first or the group comes first?

3. Specific versus diffuse

Do people tend to keep personal life separate from work or allow work and personal life to overlap?

4. Neutral versus emotional

Do people tend to hide their emotions or express them?

5. Achievement versus ascription

Is there a tendency mostly to value people's achievements or mostly to value people's status?

6. Sequential time versus synchronous time

Is there a preference for fixed time schedules and planning, or for multi-tasking and flexibility?

7. Internal direction versus outer direction

Do people tend to believe individuals have the power to change things, or to believe our environment and circumstances control us?

When you encounter someone behaving in ways you didn’t expect, consider whether they might be operating from a different core value. Here are some examples which could occur in the university context.

  • A student from a culture which is more communitarian (Dimension 2 in the above table) than the dominant British culture might defer to a group’s decision much more readily, or feel uncomfortable being singled out from a group.
  • Prospective students from cultures where relationships and circumstances are more important than rules (Dimension 1) might contact you, as a prospective supervisor, to ask you directly whether you might take them on a DPhil student. In fact, a set of rules and procedures govern admissions decision-making at this University; it is not something that depends solely upon a relationship with a potential supervisor.

Culture is so engrained in us that it can be invisible and difficult to imagine a different way of being. When people don’t conform to our own taken-for-granted assumptions, we can be quite flummoxed, harsh in our judgments and even offended. The following example concerns a simple matter of time.

  • In some cultures an event advertised to start at 10.00 will start at 10.00. In other cultures, it will actually get underway at 10.15 or 10.30 (Dimension 6). Breaking unwritten cultural codes (arriving early or late, for instance) can be judged rude or disrespectful. Similar misunderstandings can emerge along any of the other dimensions of culture.

One way of developing appreciation that other people’s assumptions and values may be different is to become more aware of our own implicit cultural assumptions. Knowing such differences exist (e.g. that the student or colleague who behaves in an unexpected manner is not being deliberately rude, but they possibly just don't share your cultural expectations) will help you negotiate and agree shared expectations and, perhaps, be more flexible in your approach.

Expecting others to act in a particular way because of your perceptions about their culture can be equally problematic and could be stereotyping. To illustrate, think about a colleague whom you see as belonging to the same culture as yourself: are they different or similar to you in relation to the dimensions listed? Individual outlook and attitudes are not only affected by cultural values associated with different nationalities, but also by our language, gender, prior educational experience, religion, family heritage, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, age, race, disability, etc. In your own case, is it possible to say which of these factors has the greatest impact on your attitudes and behaviour generally? If you moved to another country, would the answer still be the same?

Strategies

Check your mindset

Us (British) and them (international) is an inaccurate notion given 41% of “Us” are international in origin. Avoid thinking this way, even if your version of Us and Them is a different one. Remember that all new students (staff too!) have to cope with things being different, even strange. People may respond to or express this discomfort in many ways. We can focus on enabling everyone to learn quickly about their new context and its expectations, no matter what the newcomer’s background is. Some students will have more difficulty than others, due largely to individual variation. An important indicator of personal respect, which will also contribute greatly to students’ comfort, is to learn their names and persist until you have learned to pronounce them correctly.

All teachers should endeavour to know enough to avoid causing inadvertent offence and should try to take advantage of all opportunities to equip their students with this knowledge too.

  • Do you ever make assumptions, either positive or negative ones?
  • How do you deal with behaviour that challenges your culturally-based view of what good behaviour is like?
  • How do you deal with different ideas about such things as meaning, authority, friendship or social roles?
  • Are you sometimes tempted to conflate language problems with lack of understanding or muddled thinking?

Be aware of where problems might occur

ExpectationsDifferent expectations may exist even at the most basic level.

The issue I’m most aware of as a tutor in dealing with [international students] is about different expectations about the kind of work they’ll do: what an essay should look like, what’s a reasonable amount of work, what the nature of the interaction with the tutor will be... they’re not totally different in kind from the issues you have with British students who also have to learn all kinds of new habits when they come to University... but they do seem... a bit different... if they’ve come from a system where what they’ve been rewarded for is something a bit different... (UK female academic in History)

Speaking out. The meanings of the same behaviours in different students may vary.

Chinese students think more than they talk. ... The tutors think that they’re not very active, or very good, but often they do know the answer, they just don’t like to show off. It’s just not part of our culture... (Chinese PGT student in Social Sciences) 

Tutors think that we don’t want to speak up. We do know the answer but we don’t want to criticise or embarrass others. (Undergraduate student)

Writing. Different conceptions of essay writing and the essay format itself may be strongly embedded, not only in national cultures but also in disciplinary ones. For example, some approaches focus on the construction of an argument whilst others emphasise questioning the terms and assumptions of the (given) title. Some cultures privilege argumentation, others knowledge. Learning to write at Oxford (390kb) is a downloadable resource which uses Lea and Street’s (2000) ideas about ‘academic literacies’ to consider the challenge to students of becoming good academic writers. The resource suggests ideas for tutors to discuss with students, helping them gain an understanding of different approaches. It may help students if they self-diagnose the approach their prior educational context has given them, enabling them more easily to understand how they should adapt, or not, to meet the requirements of specific writing tasks given to them by Oxford tutors.

Language. You may notice that the different language skills of non-native English speaking students seem incongruous, but there may be a wide variation in their attainment and facility in speaking, reading and writing.

People use a different kind of English here than back home. (1st year law student from Singapore) 

It’s a big jump at first not having spoken English at such a high level before. (1st year politics, philosophy and economics student from the Netherlands) 

My main problem is writing. ...At first I thought it was just ... language, just grammatical issues, then I realised it was about formulating ideas. Chinese education teaches you well how to describe things but it doesn’t tell you why you do that. Chinese writing is very poetical and romantic and reflective but it’s not very good at building an argument. (Doctoral candidate in Politics from China)

Tutorials. As academic discussions, tutorials have the potential for renegotiation of the power relationship of teacher and student. As the student develops the ability to form his or her own innovative ideas they move towards a position of equality with the teacher and the authority of the teacher can be questioned. Some students have never been encouraged to question the authority of teachers and find the idea contrary to their cultural instincts. This difference can be linked to dimension 5 of the model shown above. To a student from an ascriptive culture, the position and status involved in the teacher role naturally brings more weight than the achievement of a student, no matter how strong the student or the argument.

Group work. Ryan and Hellmundt’s (2005) ideas about working with mixed groups of students are discussed further in Insights from research and literature below. They stress the need for “inclusive discussions” (p4) and the recognition of every student’s “cultural capital” (Bourdieu, 1984, quoted on p3) (i.e. everyone has something of value to contribute to the debate).

An interesting approach worth considering, where possible, is deliberately to place speakers of particular languages together to enable them to reinforce each other’s understanding. For example, they could have a short discussion in, say, Spanish, in order to arrive at an agreed best way of expressing some ideas in good academic English.

When tutors set mixed groups of students to work together, reminding them to be careful in their use of language may prevent some of the difficulties which might otherwise occur. Tutor and students alike should be mindful of their use of colloquialisms, jargon, idiom and metaphor, being prepared to ask when they don’t understand and explain themselves when clarification is requested. See below for more about self-awareness in language use.

Supervision. The Learning Institute’s Research supervision website has a page on working with international students. Supervisors who take on a new student should clarify expectations on a range of aspects of the doctoral student experience. When beginning to work with an international student from a country where the norms of study are different, extra care will be needed to take nothing for granted. For example, the amount of contact with supervisor, and the expectation of receiving formal teaching (or not) in a doctoral programme, may need to be explained.

Pastoral care. Similar personal issues can be more difficult for international students to deal with because of factors such as their distance from home, the time difference, etc. Similarly, the high stakes involved in moving so far from home and investing so much in coming to Oxford may serve to amplify any academic problems international students experience. Their position may well be “failure is not an option”, not so much for intellectual as financial or other reasons.

Potentially sensitive topics. These are topics where personal beliefs come into play – they could be theological or political in nature, for example. It is beneficial to set ground rules for debate whenever such topics are addressed. Students must know that to criticise ideas is not to criticise persons. They should be taught how to discuss these matters whilst avoiding giving personal offence to individuals.

Tutors also need to consider the question of whether, by encouraging students to question things more, to interrogate authority, etc, they lead them into a position where they are at risk in their home culture. Ethical decisions have to be made here. Rather than transforming our students to a new way of being, should we merely be giving them the opportunity to experience different possible ways of thinking? It is a delicate path to tread; surely many students come to university seeking to discover ‘new ways of being’.

Social occasions. These can be difficult for international students, especially if alcohol is involved. We should not be providing reinforcement for the view, spoken by an undergraduate from China, that “All their (UK students’) social interactions are based on drinking.” A British cultural phenomenon, frequently taken for granted here, is to provide food, such as snacks or canapés, as a form of welcome to newcomers or visitors. However, this practice may disregard the preferences of other cultures. Here a Chinese doctoral student discusses college functions: “[Graduate and undergraduate student groups] do a lot but Chinese students don’t usually go because of cultural differences... Chinese people don’t eat and drink that way...” This is not to say that we should not carry on offering a welcome in our traditional way, but we should be sensitive and seek to strike a balance so that people who find such events socially awkward are enabled to feel more comfortable. Non-alcoholic drinks should always be offered and appropriate food options should be carefully considered.

Benefit from international input

Do find out where your students come from, so you can ask direct questions. Since teaching in tutorials involves asking a lot of questions and listening carefully to the responses, use every opportunity to benefit from students’ insights into specific national or cultural responses to the course material. Ask international students questions that will help you, your international and ‘home’ students alike, to “become [culturally] self-aware by getting to know how others’ cultures deal with the same matters” (Carroll, 2002, p2). Be careful, though, not to expect students to speak as representatives of their culture, particularly where this assumes all people within a group will have the same perspective or opinion.

An interesting example where learning from another culture’s approach might benefit mixed groups of students was reported to researchers investigating teaching and support for international students. It concerns the effect of culture on learning practices. It was:

mentioned that while UK students tend to leave a tutorial and go their separate ways [individualist culture?] Chinese students like to meet to discuss things before or after a tutorial [communitarian culture?] and they would appreciate it if tutors actively encouraged this. (University of Oxford ISTSPF, 2012)

Explicitly promote opportunities to understand each other’s cultures better and encourage ‘home’ students to appreciate that cross-cultural exchange, intrinsic to working with or alongside international students, brings benefits to all. Many students are motivated by the prospect of good employment after their degree. Remind them that cross-cultural competence is one of the sought after graduate skills which may enable them to achieve their aim (Edmead, 2013, p15).

Give international examples and case studies to illustrate your points – don’t be mono-cultural (Arkoudis, 2006). When offering specific cultural examples in teaching about international topics, be careful not to exclude groups represented among your students by omitting reference to them, or failing to offer them an opportunity to contribute specialist knowledge. Rees-Miller (no date), in the context of the United States, says, “Think creatively about ways of drawing upon international students’ special knowledge of their own culture and country, and elicit information from them that will be interesting and useful for the whole class. By valuing international students’ input, you are modelling important behaviour for American students.” This idea of modelling appropriate behaviour is a powerful one which tutors should continually bear in mind.

Be self-aware with regard to language

"Idiom" group of words... having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words

"Metaphor" application of a name or description to a thing to which it applies imaginatively but not literally

If you speak English with a regional or international accent, be aware of difficulties students might have in understanding you. Use straightforward language and speak clearly. Avoid jargon, idioms and colloquialisms which can add to language difficulties, and be careful with culturally specific humour (Arkoudis, 2006). Promoting understanding must outweigh other concerns when you speak. Hennebry et al (2012) remind us that “Use of metaphor in lectures has been repeatedly identified as problematic for NNS [non-native speakers of English] students because it entails a degree of culture-specific ‘common ground’” (p211). You need to be particularly mindful of this if you use a non-interactive style of lecturing where students are not easily able to ask when they don’t understand your form of words.

Activities that support students’ language acquisition and develop communication skills should be encouraged. For example, Daniels (2013) described addressing language issues by means of setting up doctoral student writing groups. These were able to promote language improvement but, most importantly, without focusing so much on correct English that it prevented students from developing sophistication in other areas, such as innovation, flexibility, independent, imaginative thinking and functioning well in a diverse group (pp45-46).

Be explicit about...

...the student-teacher relationship (How formal/informal is appropriate? Forms of address? Gift-giving?)

...the academic skills students need to succeed in the UK, i.e.

  • Expressing personal opinions
  • Paraphrasing and summarising others’ words and ideas
  • Using referencing skills and conventions
  • Analysing and evaluating arguments and positions
  • Structuring and ordering academic arguments (Carroll, 2002)

...the approach to learning you expect students to take – for example, an emphasis on critique can be difficult to take on if it’s not in your tradition. However, once it has been explained, the effect Carroll suggests here will be likely to come into play:

International students are probably willing to change – after all, they chose to come and knew things would be different – but they will not find it an easy or swift process. Formative assessment, peer review, clear and prompt feedback and lots of examples of good practice will all be welcomed. (Carroll, 2002, p1)

...how you expect students to use reading lists (Carroll, 2002). For example, is the list indicative or definitive? Are students expected to select from the list according to the essay question set? Should they read everything on the list or just core texts (perhaps marked with an asterisk)? Which texts should be read closely and which can be skimmed? The Bodleian library has this useful online reading list tutorial.

...time and deadlines. How long to spend on activities? How firm is the deadline? What happens if a deadline is missed, etc?

...assessment. For example, explain the requirements, and any specific terminology which will be used, protocols, etc.

One example I’ve come across is the way the word “discuss” is used at Oxford. The word seems to mean something specific, especially in the context of an essay, and is used as if everyone understands it, but it isn’t clear at all to many outside the system. So, if you want students to present arguments both in favour of and against a particular assertion and then to take a stand for themselves in light of conflicting evidence and opinion, then say so! If you want them to compare and contrast or to justify their position using data, then say so! “Discuss” can be read as an invitation to write anything and everything on the topic (US academic at Oxford, personal communication).

Provide support

For example:

  • Lecture recordings (podcasts) and lecture notes can help students who have difficulty following the lecture for any reason (language, disability).
  • Explain in a brief introduction where the content of a particular session sits in relation to the course (paper), etc. and to the curriculum. This explanation enables students to assimilate new material into the overall picture they are constructing of the discipline or subject area.
  • Provide glossaries, lists of definitions and key concepts. This supports learning the technical or specialist language of your discipline, for both native and non-native users of English.
  • Provide guidance to help students develop specific skills, e.g. making notes on lectures and on reading, writing in different modes, reading, etc.
  • Use online discussion boards or similar to promote discussion – the online, asynchronous, nature of this medium may make it easier for participants who find face-to-face discussion daunting (for language or other reasons). It allows them to take time to refine their wording and arguments before posting.
  • Give preparation time – for speaking in class, presenting, etc. Let students know the week before if you want them to give a presentation, especially if it’s the first time such a task is assigned. In tutorials, lectures or classes allow some minutes to prepare answers, or write down ideas and questions, so that responses don’t have to be instant. Use ice-breakers and get students to talk to each other. In some situations it would be appropriate to allow students to speak to each other in their own language before presenting an argument in English.

With some of these supports, you can remove them gradually, as you see your students no longer need them.

Resources

Designing culturally inclusive classrooms. This Flinders University resource suggests ideas to help university teachers develop awareness and understanding of their own culture and reflect on how it affects dealings with students of other cultures. It also offers ideas for evaluating and reviewing your own teaching and strategies for creating culturally inclusive learning environments. Whilst it will be most useful for teaching slightly larger groups, the ideas could readily be adapted for Oxford tutorials with just a pair of students.

This resource on Teaching International Students, is the third chapter of a handbook for faculty and teaching assistants at the University of Virginia: “Teaching a Diverse Student Body: Practical Strategies for Enhancing Our Students’ Learning” by Deandra Little (2004). It has a number of useful suggestions and advice on principles and strategies.

Janette Ryan is widely published on the subject of international students. Some of her thoughts on helping students cope appeared on the Guardian’s Higher Education Network blog in 2011: Academic Shock: Thoughts on teaching international students

their... emotional intelligence has been stripped away

Haigh (2013)

Insights from research and literature

Haigh (2013) discusses the impact of trying to live in an alien culture. The factors which contribute to the “shock” include: climate, food, language, dress, social roles, rules of behaviour, social values and cultural distance (p197). However, by far the greatest trauma he describes visitors having is “the realisation that their empathic emotional intelligence has been stripped away” and the responses to this “include high anxiety; blind panic and depression, before some form of accommodation is discovered” (pp197-198). The principal subject of Haigh’s discourse is Mahatma Ghandi and his stay as an ‘international student’ in London in the 1880s and 1890s.

In fact on his return to India, Ghandi is reported to have said he is not “an advocate of our students going abroad” for they return to be “square pegs in round holes” (Gandhi, 1946; quoted by Haigh 2013).

Nonetheless very large numbers of students find the benefits outweigh the difficulties of studying away from home, in the UK, and being subject to different cultural expectations. As an international university, which Oxford surely is with its high proportion of international staff, very numerous international students, international curricula and international partnerships and collaborative ventures overseas, it is incumbent upon the institution to facilitate the integration of staff and students, wherever they come from and whatever their own cultural norms are.

Haigh refers back to a study to which he had contributed (Clifford et al, 2010), on international academics in a British university. The researchers were surprised to find that those formally classified as international staff ceased to think of themselves as such. As settlers they were “local staff with international experience” (Haigh, 2013, p205) but this position was reached via a transition:

 

Foreign

 

International
transitioning
to local

 

→ 

Local
(formerly
international)

 

 

Local with
international
experience

Haigh interprets this route as a reflection of the classic U-curve of culture shock where newcomers move from the “excitement of everything being new”, through a period of difficulty for which they tend to blame themselves. Later the classic sufferers start to blame their hosts (“these people...”), distancing themselves from and rejecting the new culture. An upward curve begins when they start learning the “performance skills” of the new culture; this helps them to construct a new emotional intelligence. Eventually their cross-cultural awareness blossoms and they may even become “cultural hybrids”. This is highly valued as an ability to work with audiences of mixed cultures to “affect the feelings of their audience in ways they intend”. They are fluent not only in the language but in the culture of their adopted home (quotations from Haigh, 2013, 198-199; based on Pederson, 1995).

Whilst many of Haigh’s respondents began to think of themselves as local they were still frustrated to be classified as different by colleagues. One referred to this as an “identity label, which for some people... will be the only thing they think about you” and went on to assert “one thing that an international staff member definitely wants is... to be treated as normal” (Clifford et al, 2010, p11, quoted by Haigh, 2013, p206).

Maximising students’ ‘cultural capital’ “to drive learning” (p3) was the focus of a short chapter by Ryan and Hellmundt (2005). They argue that students’ prior experiences and the meanings they give to those experiences, as well as their existing understanding of their discipline, affect their expectations and their learning on arrival in a new context (p2). In order for them to learn effectively, the teacher must set up learning environments which enable students to make connections between new material and what they already know. It is all too easy for a student who has a self-image as a successful learner in his or her own cultural setting to begin to experience their education negatively if they cannot find points of connection between their prior experience and their new learning.

However, focusing solely on international students’ need to adapt, thus treating these students as being in deficit, is unlikely to provide a solution. If students from different cultures have alternative interpretations of ideas this can lead to a greater depth and breadth of learning and understanding across the group if those ideas are discussed openly and each student makes a genuine effort to understand the others’ points of view.

Promoting this interaction and inclusion, using mixed groups and inclusive discussions which allow everyone to speak up and no group to dominate, say Ryan and Hellmundt, is the role of the teacher. They should be “empathetic and sensitive” (p4) rather than strive for a detailed knowledge and understanding of every student’s cultural background or expectations.

Such an approach would lead to teachers themselves and all students being exposed to different ways of thinking, and learning to recognise and value them, thus increasing understanding all round. Teachers must take responsibility for “...providing the connections required by learners, by recognizing potential gaps in knowledge and understanding and by attempting to explicitly fill those gaps” (Ryan and Hellmundt, p3). Working and discussing in groups enables all students to continually adjust and refine their understandings in response to others’ inputs. The outcome for home students, international students and tutors alike is enriched learning and “a more complex understanding” (p4).

This approach makes it possible to avoid promoting the ‘cultural imperialism’ which would favour a single point of view and marginalise alternative perspectives.

Bibliography

Arkoudis, S. (2006) Teaching International Students: Strategies to enhance learning. CSHE, University of Melbourne, Australia. Accessed 29 May 2014.

Carroll, Jude. (2002) Suggestions for teaching international students more effectively. (OCSLD Learning and Teaching Briefing Paper). Accessed 28 May 2014.

Carroll, Jude & Ryan, Janette (2005) Teaching international students: Improving learning for all. Abingdon, Routledge.

Daniels, Jeannie. (2013) “Developing capability: International students in doctoral writing groups”. In Ryan, Janette (Ed). Cross-Cultural Teaching and Learning for Home and International Students: Internationalisation of Pedagogy and Curriculum in Higher Education. Abingdon: Routledge. Pp41-52.

Edmead, Christine. (2013) “Capitalising on a multicultural learning environment: Using group work as a mechanism for student integration”. In Ryan, Janette (Ed). Cross-Cultural Teaching and Learning for Home and International Students: Internationalisation of Pedagogy and Curriculum in Higher Education. Abingdon: Routledge. Pp15-26.

Haigh, M. (2013) “Towards the intercultural self: Mahatma Ghandi’s international education in London”. In Ryan, Janette (Ed). Cross-Cultural Teaching and Learning for Home and International Students: Internationalisation of Pedagogy and Curriculum in Higher Education. Abingdon: Routledge. Pp196-210.

Hennebry, M., Lo, Y.Y. and Macaro, E. (2012) Differing perspectives of non-native speaker students’ linguistic experiences on higher degree courses. Oxford Review of Education, 38 (2), 209-230.

Lea, Mary R. and Street, Brian V. (2000) “Student writing and staff feedback in higher education: An academic literacies approach”. In Mary R Lea and Barry Stierer (2000) Student writing in higher education: New contexts. Buckingham: SRHE and Open University Press.

Little, Deandra (2004) Teaching a Diverse Student Body: Practical Strategies for Enhancing Our Students’ Learning (2nd Edition). Accessed 29 May 2014.

Mind Tools website. Article on Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner’s Seven Dimensions. The seven dimensions of culture: Understanding and managing cultural differences. Accessed 13 February 2013.

Oxford University (2012) Undergraduate Admissions Statistics: 2012 entry. Accessed 14 January 2014.

Rees-Miller, Janie (no date) Tips for Teaching International Students. Accessed 29 May 2014.

Ryan, Janette & Hellmundt, Susan (2005) “Maximising international students’ ‘cultural capital’. In Carroll, Jude & Ryan, Janette (2005) Teaching international students: Improving learning for all. Abingdon, Routledge.

Ryan, Janette (2011) Academic Shock: Thoughts on teaching international students. Guardian Higher Education Network Blog. Accessed 29 May 2014.

Ryan, Janette (Ed). (2013) Cross-Cultural Teaching and Learning for Home and International Students: Internationalisation of Pedagogy and Curriculum in Higher Education. Abingdon: Routledge.

Trompenaars, F. and Hampden-Turner, C. (1997) Riding the waves of culture: understanding diversity in global business (2nd edition). McGraw Hill.

UCEA (2013) Higher Education Workforce Survey 2013. Accessed 29 May 2014.

University of Oxford International Students Teaching and Support Project Forum. (2012) International Students Teaching and Support Project Report. Unpublished internal University report, not available online. (The words of students and teachers quoted on this page are taken from this internal University of Oxford report, unless otherwise stated.)