Migrant Indian Students Down Under: Students and Lecturers Align Learning Expectations
This paper voices learning experiences of Indian students in a New Zealand polytechnic and describes strategies undertaken to facilitate their transition into the academic culture.
||Transition of Minority Students, Learning Expectations of Staff and Students, Culturally Inclusive Communities of Learning
International Journal of Learning, Volume 12, Issue 10, pp.231-236.
Article: Print (Spiral Bound).
Article: Electronic (PDF File; 781.218KB).
My teaching career has been divided between South Africa and New Zealand. My first twelve years of teaching art was spent in South African white secondary schools, after which I moved into the tertiary sector to teach art and history of art methodology at a university designated for Indian students. The following nine years were rich with learning about creativity, difference, culture, politics and how these intersected with teaching and learning. In 1994 I moved to New Zealand and taught secondary school art until I was able to find work at a polytechnic. For the last eight years I have worked in a staff development unit as programme leader for a teacher training programme. Induction of new staff has been another of my roles and it is in these two areas particularly that I have made contact with numerous migrant staff and students and enjoyed the opportunity to offer mentoring and support. It was in this capacity that I met my co-researcher Susan Duraisamy, who also participated in a research project I undertook on migrant women staff. Our experiences as migrants and teachers and a shared passion for supporting other migrants led us to work together on the project, 'Migrant Indian Students Down Under: students and lecturers align expectations'.
I began my teaching career in 1974 as a Tutor in Physiology, teaching medical students in India. In 1978, I moved to Nigeria and worked as a Lecturer in Physiology at the University of Ibadan, primarily teaching on the Medical and Dental progammes while also catering to other programmes, like Nursing, Physiotherapy, and Pharmacy, for twelve years. In 1990, I moved again, this time to Bayero University, Kano, in the northern part of the country which is in almost all aspects, culturally and educationally different from the south. After teaching at Bayero University for eight years, in 1998 I made the big move to New Zealand and have since then been teaching on the Nursing programme at Manukau Institute of Technology. Here, I also have the additional role of providing support to students of Indian origin in the department.
My experience across the three continents has afforded me a rich heritage of diverse cultural experiences, teaching and learning styles, and an understanding of the cultural and learning gaps. I have experienced the enormous pressure, the fear and the frustration of a new migrant in a different educational setting whose only goal is to succeed, and succeed with flying colours as he or she did back home. And it is here that I met Maureen Lewis, who had tread the same path with the same goals and the same aspiration to make a difference for new migrants at the institute.
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