Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Education

Supervisor

Dr. Paul Tarc

Abstract

Because of market-driven globalization and reduced public funding brought on by neoliberal government policies, western universities have dramatically increased international student enrolment and consequently face pressures to internationalize educational programming. Navigating international learning environments can build cross-cultural understanding and integration, leading to a more productive university community. This research seeks to illuminate how English for Academic Purposes programs in western universities prepare students from diverse backgrounds to be globally aware individuals with intercultural sensibilities that engage new and creative ways of understanding the world in relation to others.

Cosmopolitanism provides a critical epistemological frame for understanding and engaging difference in the modern world of hyper interconnectivity. It recognizes the multiplicity and subjectivity of our unique spaces-times while enabling us to imagine culture and cultural exchange relationally, historically, critically, and reflexively. A ‘relational’ cosmopolitanism lens in education positions individual identities in local, national and international spaces, while oriented to building a critical global imagination and a sense of ‘situatedness’ in the world, not confined to singular communities or nations.

This research employs a naturalistic approach to a critical analysis of themes that emerge in student narratives centered on intercultural learning experiences in the cross-cultural English for Academic Purposes classroom of a post-secondary English language school in south western Ontario. The goal is to deepen understandings of how intercultural learning is conceptualized and supported. Understanding the attitudes and behavior of international students offers insights to help close the gap between the rhetoric and reality inherent in the internationalization of post-secondary institutions.


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