Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (767.51 kB)

International students' academic learning in mainstream classrooms: A case study

Download (767.51 kB)
posted on 2021-12-08, 01:38 authored by Petrovic, Biljana

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.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Education

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Title

International secondary students' learning

Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Education


Gleeson, Margaret; Tait, Carolyn