Papers & Workshops



Cross Cultural Learning Behaviour: Perceptions versus Practice


Dr Prem Ramburuth

School of International Business, Faculty of Commerce and Economics, University of New South Wales, Australia.

Tertiary classrooms in Australian higher education institutions have become extremely diverse as a result of developments in internationalisation, multiculturalism and equity and diversity initiatives. Despite this diversity, and the implications for teaching and learning, there is insufficient understanding of how students from diverse backgrounds differ in their learning behaviour, with much of the available evidence being anecdotal. This paper reports on the results of a study that investigated learning diversity in a sample of 1235 postgraduate and undergraduate students in the Faculty of Commerce and Economics at the University of New South Wales. The Faculty is highly diverse with 30% international students, mainly from Asian and South East Asian backgrounds. Through implementation of a Study Process Questionnaire, significant differences were identified between local and internationals on several dimensions of their approaches to learning. The results support some of the findings and discussion in the literature on cross cultural learning, and refute others. They serve to question aspects of anecdotal evidence relating to the learning behaviour of cross cultural students, and have implications for teaching, learning, and diversity management in tertiary classrooms.
  Presentation Format: 45 min. paper

RMIT, Melbourne, Australia

5-9 July 2000