International students' academic learning in mainstream classrooms: A case study
This study sought to explore the academic learning experiences of a group of secondary international students. A number of schools provide education to international students in this country, however little attention has been paid to exploring this group of students’ academic learning. This study addressed the subject with two questions: What are international ELL students’ perspectives on their mainstream academic learning; and What do mainstream teachers report facilitate these students’ learning? I used a case study approach to examine the five students’ and four teachers’ experiences in their unique settings (Lichtman, 2013), as reported by them (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2011). I transcribed and coded the interviews. According to both teachers and students, group activities and the teachers’ scaffolding via one-to-one oral discussions or written feedback were the most productive learning strategies for students. From the perspective of Vygotsky’s (1978) concept of the Zone of Proximal Development, the students appeared to move towards independent learning through supported interactions with their peers and teachers to achieve the learning outcomes in their mainstream subjects.