Internationalising Australian secondary education

English, Rebecca M. (2012) Internationalising Australian secondary education. PhD thesis, Griffith University.


This thesis presents the findings of a case study of international students who enrol in Australian secondary schools. Specifically, it focuses on the ways that staff in three schools and two international colleges position Eastern Asian international students through discourses of cultural difference. It draws together the Discourse Historical Approach to Critical Discourse Analysis with the work of Basil Bernstein and Pierre Bourdieu. The study finds that groups of students are positioned positively or negatively depending on their relationship to the dominant discourses of the Australian school. Australian students, while rarely mentioned, were positioned positively. By contrast, the Eastern Asian international students were positioned negatively in relation to the privileged discourses of Australian schooling. These discourses reflected the cultural capital that was valued in the schools. In particular, the cultural capital of active and willing engagement in competitive sports and being rough, rugged and an ‘ocker’ were privileged at the schools. International students from Papua New Guinea, and a few Eastern Asian students who behaved as ockers, were positioned positively because they realised cultural capital that was valued at the schools. By contrast, the students who were unable to be positioned through these discourses, because they did not realise cultural capital that was valued, were not viewed favourably. As a result, the data showed that there was a hierarchy of positions at the schools that were constructed in staff accounts. The analysis of data suggests that only some students are positioned favourably in Australian schools. The students who were already able to construct privileged Australian school discourses were positioned positively. The data suggest that the majority of the Eastern Asian students were represented through negative discourses because they did not realise cultural capital that was valued at the schools. Findings of this study may assist schools to identify international students who may experience their Australian school education negatively. The findings may also contribute to assisting staff to better engage with international students.

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ID Code: 61416
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Refereed: No
Keywords: International students, Secondary schools, Cultural Capital, Recognition and Realisation, Discourses of culture
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Secondary Education (130106)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Educational Administration Management and Leadership (130304)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Griffith University
Deposited On: 18 Jul 2013 04:29
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2013 09:19

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