Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in association with Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Thailand.


EDU-COM 2008 International Conference. Sustainability in Higher Education: Directions for Change, Edith Cowan University, Perth Western Australia, 19-21 November 2008.


This paper reports the findings of a qualitative study that explores how international students from China and Vietnam in different disciplines in Australian higher education interpret and adapt to disciplinary requirements and how academics respond to the diverse needs of international students. The study employed a trans-disciplinary framework for interpreting students‘ and lecturers' practices within institutional structures. This framework has been developed by infusing a modified version of Lillis‘ (2001) heuristic for exploring students‘ meaning making with positioning theory (Harré & van Langenhove, 1999). A prominent finding of the study indicates the emergence of three main forms of adaptation, committed adaptation, face-value adaptation and hybrid adaptation (my prosed terms), that the students employed to gain access to their disciplinary practices. The findings of the study give insights into ways that a dialogical pedagogic model for mutual adaptation can be developed between international students and academics. The aim is to enhance the education of international students in this increasingly globalized environment. The model offers concrete steps towards developing reciprocal adaptation of international students and staff and implementing cultural diversity practices within the overarching institutional realities of the university.