Communities of practice for international students: An exploration of the role of Peer Assisted Study Sessions in supporting transition and learning in higher education
There is growing interest in understanding how international students can best be enabled to adjust to, participate in and learn within Higher Education (HE). This paper explores literature and examines findings from exploratory interviews in a UK institution in order to investigate the contribution the Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) scheme makes to this process.
Interviews with international students were analysed using Lave and WengerÃ¢â¬â¢s (1991) social-learning model, Communities of Practice (CoP), for exploring the role of PASS in supporting international studentsÃ¢â¬â¢ transition and learning in HE. Using themes of community, practice and participation, findings illuminated the role of PASS in providing international students with an intermediary CoP, providing transition support into the CoP on their course and university life. PASS facilitated their social integration with students of other nationalities, developing relationships with peers and PASS leaders, contributing to an increased sense of belonging to a community. Through the mutual engagement of attendees and leaders, students developed shared language, values and practices relating to their discipline and studying in UK HE. Established PASS leaders shared first year experiences with Ã¢â¬ËnewcomerÃ¢â¬â¢ international students, supporting their transition into UK HE culture and enabling their legitimate peripheral participation to develop further. Participation in PASS fostered studentsÃ¢â¬â¢ engagement with learning activities and independent study habits. Limitations to the study and suggestions for further research are discussed.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).