Triple learning : The journey from student to scholar
Palmer-Clarke, Yolanda 1977-
Triple Learning: The Journey from Student to Scholar emanates from a phenomenological exploration of the lived experiences of six international graduate students studying at the University of Saskatchewan. Grounded in the knowledge of the growing numbers of students studying at post-secondary institutions, I aimed to unearth and re-present the daily lives of the selected participants to shed light on the experience of being an international graduate student. A phenomenological inquiry through in-depth and semi-structured interviews and observations, undergirded by an interdisciplinary culture, allowed me to explore their daily experiences. Exploring and airing their daily practices, though difficult, illuminated the worlds of international graduate students as they study in and negotiate communities of practice overseas. Furthermore, by examining and ventilating their stories I was able to portray and clarify the essence or meaning of being an international graduate student at a Canadian university in a new way. This research reaches into the lives of the selected students uniquely, revealing their personal and academic experiences while studying at the university. To date, such experiences have been minimally addressed by university officials and prior qualitative research. The anecdotes and reflections shared by participants bordered on and were based in lingua-cultural, social, and academic adaptations, and, ultimately, transformation. Participants were enthralled by the adaptive process of living in a new community. Being newcomers, these students viewed themselves fundamentally as outsiders within the community of practice. Yet their stories encapsulated change from being dependent “scholars to be” to becoming independent scholars. Essentially, findings pointed to the international graduate experience being similar to advancing from student to scholar. Through participation in the academic community of practice, they were learning to become independent scholars in the university. Participant accomplished the non-linear movement from student to scholar by seeking to engage in the communities of practice through situated learning and a process of triple learning. Triple learning emerged as a lingua-cultural phenomenon and was a significant finding borne of participants’ storied experiences. Qualitative data revealed that, in learning, participants were constantly weaving around and through three distinct registers of English lingua-cultures. They were negotiating the English lingua-culture acquired in their home countries, which positioned English as a formal language; that of the provincial community, which seemingly was less formal; and the academic English language specific to their area of study in the university. The academic language includes a variety of discipline-specific language skills, such as vocabulary, syntax, and discipline-specific terminology, and rhetorical conventions that allow students to acquire and develop knowledge and academic skills. These lingua cultures differed significantly, so students constantly shifted among the three to make approximations deemed appropriate for their academic purposes. A significant implication of this research is that it highlights the daily experiences of international graduate students, their perceptions, and conceptualized meanings of these experiences. Findings from this study also have implications for social learning theories and places learning as lingua-cultural in nature. In addition, an understanding of the phenomenon of being an international student can inform universities’ policy makers, recruiters, faculty members, and other staff of the daily plights and experiences of international students as they study. This knowledge has the potential to inform policies and plans to attract and retain a diverse international student body.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeJessen Williamson, Karla; Wason-Ellam, Linda; Fowler-Kerry, Susan; Stelmach, Bonnie; Makarova, Veronika; Morrison, Dirk; Maguire, M.
Copyright DateFebruary 2015
International students, phenomenology, hermeneutics, triple learning, situated learning