International Students: Cultural and Diversity Challenges in the Classroom

Domestic Visitor Series

Room 6.05, Level 6, 111 Barry Street


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Jessica Clydesdale

Abstract:  Tertiary educators in Australia face highly diverse classrooms, where cultural and linguistic diversity often correlate with diversity in levels of preparation for university study.  The twin goals of this workshop are to review the causes and consequences of this situation from a research standpoint, and to discuss how to manage its implications in terms of practical classroom strategies.  

In the first part of the workshop, I will assess the continuing impact of international students in Australian higher education in relation to learning standards, classroom engagement, curriculum and assessment design, and the long-run best response and likely position of Australian universities. 

In the second part, I will facilitate an interactive discussion with the audience of the practical challenges arising from the diversity of cultures and preparation in classrooms, drawing from my empirical research and my practical experience teaching large and diverse classes at two Australian universities.

Bio: Dr Gigi Foster is an Associate Professor with the School of Economics at the University of New South Wales.  Her research into education, behavioural economics, and Australian policy is regularly covered in national media outlets and informs public debates. Her teaching, featuring strategic innovation, interactivity, and integration with research, was awarded a 2017 AAUT Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning.  She served on the National Economics Learning Standards working party, is the most junior female inaugural member of Australia’s National Economic Panel, and co-hosts The Economists, a national economics talk-radio program, with Peter Martin on ABC RN.