From pre-course expectations to subsequent learning experiences : a study of Confucian-heritage international students’ perspectives on an intensive English course in one New Zealand polytechnic
Choong, Lee Mui
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Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/2348
This research explores the pre-course expectations of a cohort of Confucian-heritage international students from China, Korea, Vietnam and Japan who were attending a 10-week Certificate of Intensive English (CIE) course in one New Zealand polytechnic (pseudonym Kia ora Polytechnic). The study also investigates factors influencing pre-course expectations, and whether the students’ subsequent experiences in New Zealand match their pre-course expectations. The research uses a qualitative-interpretivist methodology. The study involves face-to-face interviews with the participants and uses semi-structured questions to elicit in-depth narratives. Interview data are analysed, similar responses are categorised and reported as themes of the findings. Research findings reveal that parents paid the tuition fees and living costs of most of the participants. Most participants had not travelled out of their home countries and they expected New Zealand to be like information from tourist brochures: a country that is clean, green, safe and friendly, and they expected to be happy living and studying here They also expected quality education, good teachers, good English learning outcomes, and making friends with Kiwi people. All the participants reported that their English proficiency had progressed to a level that far exceeded their pre-course expectations. Most participants had positive experiences but were unable to make friends with Kiwi people. Coming to New Zealand entailed a lot of planning. Parents and education agents influenced participants’ pre-course expectations and they indirectly shaped participants’ subsequent experiences. Unexpectedly, most participants rejected the role of Confucianism even though the participants themselves displayed many Confucian traits. This finding implies that to assume ‘all things Confucius’ was probably inappropriate and more research needs to be done with students from East Asian heritage.