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Lecturer communication in a multicultural higher education context


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Daly, AJ and Brown, JC 2007 , 'Lecturer communication in a multicultural higher education context', paper presented at the 18th ISANA International Education Association Conference, November 27-30 2007, South Australia.

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Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


The New Zealand international education sector has seen significant growth over the last decade. Associated
with this change, New Zealand tertiary educators need to be increasingly aware of language and learning needs
of students from non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB). Certainly, language is seen as an underlying factor
influencing student socio-cultural and educational adjustment. The aim of this exploratory study was to examine
the ways in which lecturers communicate in the classroom to consider factors affecting student comprehension
of lecture content. The communication styles of four lecturers were analysed and the findings revealed that while
lecturers spoke at an average rate of speech, their utterances tended to be quite lengthy, with minimal pauses to
allow students to process complex information. Additionally, nonverbal behaviours including eye contact varied
with lecturers not always addressing all class members. Supporting the current literature, it seems that lecturing
staff are unaware of their communication behaviours and as such make little modification in the culturally and
linguistically diverse classroom. Therefore, there is a need for greater education to inform teachers of how they
may improve their communication to enhance classroom interaction and success for NESB students.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Authors/Creators:Daly, AJ and Brown, JC
Keywords: Cross-cultural communication, lecturer discourse, student comprehension
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