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Mobile devices supporting international students to overcome language and cultural difficulties during study abroad

Yang, Xiaoyin (2016) Mobile devices supporting international students to overcome language and cultural difficulties during study abroad. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Sociocultural theory (SCT) emphasises the role of mediation in learning. International students find themselves in a vicious cycle, experiencing difficulties when engaging with native speakers and local environment which might provide the mediation necessary to help them gain intercultural communicative competence (ICC). Mobile technologies provide alternative mediational tools that might help students to break this cycle. This study aims to explore international students’ use of mobile devices in the mediation of difficulties encountered during study abroad. Two main research questions that need to be answered are: RQ1. What difficulties did international students report that they experienced during a one-year study abroad? RQ2. What solutions did international students report that they implemented to overcome their difficulties during their study abroad? What role (if any) did mobile devices play in dealing with students’ difficulties? Eight Chinese international students who were doing one-year taught master’s courses in the UK participated in the study. Each student was asked to keep a diary of their everyday difficulties and their solutions for four weeks. In the diary, participants were asked to record the nature of their difficulties, the situations, their solutions, and the mediational tools that they employed. Moreover, in order to explore issues raised in the diaries further and check the interpretation of the data, students were asked to attend a weekly interview. The content analysis approach was applied to examine the students’ difficulties according to a framework of ICC, and their solutions and the use of technologies, especially mobile devices, based on SCT and cognitive tools. The results indicated that the students had difficulties in every dimension of ICC, and solved the difficulties by communication, self-efforts, finding references and critical cultural thinking. Mobile devices mediated the problem solving and cognitive process as searching tools, social tools, information providers, presenting tools and capture tools.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Department of Education (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.707487
Depositing User: Dr Xiaoyin Yang
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2017 14:53
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:22
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/16544

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