Methods Of Organization Education Area With Working International Students At University


The urgency of the problem under study is determined by the need to examine the methods of forming the common education space, which provides knowledge of the educator’s competences needed when working with international students, as well as by an insufficient degree of development of theoretical and methodological approach in conducting of the educational process with multicultural background. The purpose of the article is to present ways of solving this problem, examine and improve methods of forming and establishment of the common education space when working with international students in higher educational institutions. The given purpose is relevant to teachers as well. One of the leading research methods is an in-depth interview with teachers, who work with international students, which allows to examine various issues and to uncover certain difficulties arising in the course of working with international students. The analysis of the state of knowledge of the concept of cultural sensitivity, in particularly, among teachers, the analysis of cultural characteristics of educational environment, results of the survey conducted among teachers, who work with international students, in the form of interview are presented in the article. International students are “people’s diplomats” and represent their countries in our university. After graduation they go back to their native country and share their learning experience with people of their Motherland. This is the reason why establishment of effective work with international students is an essential component in forming Russia’s image abroad.

Keywords: Methods of organization education areacultural sensitivity of a teacherinternational studentsintegration


Nowadays migration levels are growing in almost all parts of the world. There is also an upward trend in the numbers of international students in higher educational institutions.

International students are considered as migrants with a high probability of establishing permanent residence in the country of stay. This kind of tendency has occurred not only due to general migration process but also due to the growth of population of some countries with the lack of offers in the internal educational market. Young people try to find adequate in quality and at the same time affordable education abroad.

One of the ways to establish a common educational space is through a dialogue between cultures, religions, mentalities, pedagogical systems, and an awareness of the common fate of peoples from different regions of the planet (Bilalov, 2003).

In his extensive paper the Chinese professor Jin Li (Zsin, 2015) conducted a comparative analysis of the main differences between the western and eastern education systems. The teacher who uses various approaches and techniques as a conductor who needs to create a harmonious sound with the help of dozens of instruments of the orchestra is the key figure.

Our experience of holding workshops for students is backed up by activities conducted by colleagues (Abdullina, 1998) with a view to build trust in the student community. Confidence building was the purpose of these activities. Role games, debates, cultural events help students to be real, open and feeling; find more ways of expressing themselves not depending on verbal-linguistic abilities, thus expanding self-expression, as well as the circle of participants. As a result of classes, the number of interpersonal conflicts is reduced, the likelihood of developing grievances against each other and the formation of factions in the group decreases.

The experience of our colleagues turned out to be interesting for us from the point of view of the space for dialogue to build trust between the dominant and non-dominant groups. We observe such training subgroups quite often. This allows members of the dominant group to express "truth." Openness makes it possible to be heard (Gallegos, 1998). The practice of joint dinners, involving exchange of national menus from different ethnic groups, is one among many options for communication on interpersonal topics. Here you can talk about yourself and your culture, discuss common problems, frustrations, grievances (Freire, 1970).

The authors note that training is essentially a "cultural undertaking" (Freire, 1970). Indeed, it is interesting to observe transformational changes in the process of teaching by a cultural environment. The importance of introducing the subject "Culture and Knowledge" is emphasized by Sliter and others. (Sleeter, Hughes, Meador, Whang, Rogers, Blackwell, Laughlin, Peralta-Nash, 2005). However, an ongoing state support is necessary, as well. The basis of group interaction is the theory of social justice. The concept of "social justice" is aimed at the transformation of structures securing unequal distribution of social power (Sleeter et al., 2005). In our opinion, it is not possible to implement social justice in countries with a rigid vertical structure. Revealing injustice for many people is only a manifestation of "common sense" (Gallegos, 1998). Education also has an ethical nature, because teachers influence lives of others. Education either "permits" or "prohibits" active access to resources that directly affect the chances of life in classes, schools, and communities. One of the missions of education is decolonization. Political identity should be emphasized if it allows the practice of the community in the political context.

The authors Florence and Benmager (Flores, Benmayor, 1997) recognize the importance of training mature members of the community for a socio-historical perspective and providing access to accumulated knowledge and dispositions.

In our opinion, there is a need to nurture personal maturity among the student community and teachers, since in the situations of migration, which is a stress experience in itself, an exacerbation of destructive manifestations of personality takes place. Only a mature person can overcome and constructively solve "acute" situations.

It is important to accept the values of a particular community, in which all to a man assert their membership while maintaining sufficient reflective distance in order to create a product of change.

Interesting is the authors' experience, in which they consider the "multi-layered identity of students", the processes of identity formation within the academic community, and their impact on the membership integrity.

Education is seen not only as the possibility of changing the "I-identity" in achieving an individual goal, but also in achieving the "I" of the whole of its nation who fought for it. Education "equalizes" various ethnic groups. The authors studied the factors facilitating / discouraging the first-generation students (Visweswaren, 1994)

Problem Statement

Multinational and multicultural environment needs an implementation of effective methods of forming of intercultural socialization field, adaptation to new environment, formulation of clear answers to pressing issues of living, education and specific character of staying in other cultural environment, practical skills of getting accustomed to requirements of educational and social environment. Hence it is particularly important for the teachers to master relevant pedagogical and psychological competences and methods, which make interactive communication with international students and their tutors possible.

Knowledge about mentality of education area, own competent of teacher, learn of adaptation processes will be helpful in finding ways of integration.

Research Questions

In general, education is a part of culture of a country and a nation. The distinctive feature of a culture is its singularity and originality. Cultural characteristics, its universals and unique features are translated into educational process. Educator uses some universal methods of teaching, based on common recourses, methodological principles and technological capabilities of teaching activities, informing entity and methodological unity of all structural parts of modern education. Major tendencies, shaped by the process of globalization and new living conditions of people, new technologies, providing students’ access to the mankind most important scientific knowledge and cultural values, inevitably impact educational environment.

Purpose of the Study

Taking into consideration the fact that academic staff training is the most important case in the process described, the focus of this research is the study of methods of forming and establishing a common education space within a multicultural environment based on the example of training of teachers, working with international students in higher educational institution.

Research Methods

We prepared a survey questionnaire for teachers, which includes the following questions: 1. "What features are revealed when working with international students", 2. "What difficulties can be encountered when working with international students", 3. "How does the teacher cope with these difficulties", 4. "What does the teacher lack to be effective", 5. "What methods are used when working with international students", 6. "Do you notice the cues, laughter, nonverbal behavior expressing the attitude of local students to the foreigners", 7. "Is there any need to learn more about the methods of work in a multicultural environment? "; pedagogical workshops for professional development organized in the form of an open area, the so-called pedagogical workshops, were conducted at the request of teachers. Their goal is to select and typify methods for the work of a teacher with different student ethnic groups and to identify both verbal and non-verbal ways of behavior.

Experimental basis of the research consisted of the teachers of the Kazan Federal University, working with different ethnic groups students, among which there were Russian, Tatar, Chinese, Indian, Asian and African students from Chad. Research consists of three stages: at the first stage, a theoretical analysis of existing studies, methodological approaches in the philosophical, psychological and pedagogical scientific literature, thesis works on the problem, as well as the degree of study of the concept of cultural sensitivity was conducted; the problem, purpose, and research methods were stated, a plan for experimental research was drawn up.

At the second stage a survey of teachers working with international students was conducted with the method of in-depth interview.

At the third stage, educational pedagogical workshops were held to improve the qualifications of teachers. 100 teachers participated in the workshop;


The following was used as theoretical basis of the work: the theory of Professor Banks [6] on how educational institutions can develop ethnic relations and solve racial problems around the world; the theory of social justice; ethnological concept of Eurasianism by Lev Gumilev [3], according to which "ethnos is not a social but biogeographical phenomenon", helping to show the uniqueness of the educational environment of the Eurasian space, where international students are at the given moment.

Learned methods of organization of education sphere in working with international students. Cultural sensitivity of teachers was considered as an important competence when working with international students in the university.

The number of teachers interviewed, working with international students, constituted 100 people. The survey was carried out by in-depth interviews 30 minutes long. The survey revealed:

1. "Peculiarities when working with international students." Teachers noted for themselves the importance in teaching international students mental characteristics that give an understanding of behavior; knowledge of values, culture, religion, tradition. - 90%

2. The difficulties of working with international students were listed as follows.

А) Poor knowledge of the language of the host country, a non-serious attitude to the need of learning the language in the host country – 95%. The non-serious attitude, according to the teachers, is due to the fact that often for students from Central Asia consider the Tatar and Turkish languages as "neighboring".

It is noticed that in the environment of stay Russians have a more serious attitude towards learning the Turkish language than the Tatars. For the Tatars, the Turkish language is a neighboring language, the student's self-confidence leads to laziness, indiscipline.

B) In conditions of training in a closed group, where only students of one nation are present – studying with their expat community leads to cultural, linguistic, mental isolation of the foreign student. – According to the opinion of 100% of teachers:

3. How do teachers cope with the difficulties of working with international students:

А) reduce their points – 50%; Б) implement strict evaluation – 40%; В) individual approach to the student - teachers reveal the perspectives of knowledge of the language of the host country; provoke interest in the language through bringing parallels with their mother tongue; motivation for the future professional implementation associated with knowledge of the subject of study - 30%; Г) use the institution of mentoring - appoint assistants or consultants from among the best local students - 15%. Pic.3.

4. To the question "What does the teacher lack for effective work?" - 90% of the teachers answered: "knowledge of the mentality of the foreign student", "training is necessary", "knowledge of working methods with the foreign language ("poorly speaking in the language of instruction")," the number of hours for teaching the course of psychology was not enough, "during the training in the institute there was a lot of pedagogy, not psychology."

5. What methods are used when working with international students:

А) Teacher’s respect and attention to their culture, language, traditions, holidays, cooking, art, for example, the teacher's appeal to foreign students with a request to tell about their nationality - 60%.

Б) Training through the comparison of cultural norms of the host country and their homeland, bringing examples, parallels, revealing differences.

В) Reducing the psychological distance between a teacher and a student, taking into account the individual characteristics of students with the goal of forming a trusting relationship - 30% of the interviewed teachers.

This indicates that 70% of teachers are not ready for rapprochement, subject-subject interaction, and certain emotional estrangement.

To the question: "Do you notice any cues, laughter, non-verbal behavior expressing the attitude of local students to the foreigners?" - teachers denote: observations show that many students can treat badly students from the former union republics (Kazakhs, Turkmen, Uzbeks), giving them unpleasant nicknames - 25% of students.

The competence of cultural sensitiveness, necessary for the teacher, is an instrument of integration of international student into the "culture of stay", it enables empathy and assistance in external and internal difficult situations. It is one of the tools for creating a common educational space in the multicultural environment of the university.

According to the results of the second stage of the study, pedagogical workshops for professional development organized in the form of an open area, the so-called pedagogical workshops, were conducted at the request of teachers. Workshops were conducted by consultants in education accompanied by a psychologist. 100 teachers participated in the workshop.

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As a result of the training workshops, the following methods were identified and named when working with international students:

1. Open workshops are one of the most important methods of working with international students. Workshop participants can be teachers, tutors, consultants in education, and, of course, the students themselves. The open dialogue space of the workshops is an opportunity for dialogue between the teacher and students as representatives of different cultures. As a result, the psychological distance is reduced, which makes it possible for an international student to be heard, to be on an equal footing, to remove racial differences, and also provides an opportunity to obtain additional information to improve the educational process in preparing for tests and exams. The removal of the psychological distance by the teacher occurs through his interest in students' life, their culture, customs and traditions. The expected result is the trusting attitude of students to each other in the group and to the teacher; Involvement and psychological support of students in adaptation processes, not only during classes, but also during free time. For students, this should be part of the educational process and enter the curriculum in the work programs of education. During student's open workshops there is an opportunity to consider students' personal problems; Psychological support of students in the educational process and assistance in preparing for classes of the Russian language, as well as in the subjects of the specialty. In particular, it analyzes the complex life situations faced by a foreign student in the country of residence. It also considers the analysis of problems and the modeling of situations that reflect the specificity of the host environment in the field of interpersonal relations, personal characteristics, the characteristics of verbal and nonverbal intercultural interaction, as well as providing additional information necessary for participation in the adaptation processes both from the teacher and the student.

2. Setting up a common task or a series of tasks for the training group. Expected result - group cohesion of students.

3. Written and oral support of the student implemented while working with terms, key words, texts, preparing posters, thematic associations (mind map), abstracts on the topics of the curriculum, and so on. The expected result is the understanding and assimilation of new material.

4. Conducting lectures and discussions, analyzing lecture material in the group in the form of question-answer exercises, identifying "misunderstood issues" through dialogue between the lecturer and students, discussions as "prepared impromptu", using the method of "brainstorming", staging and discussion of ideas. The expected result is an understanding and a conscious assimilation of the material passed.

5. The change in the ratio of "lecture course" - seminar classes (3: 1). The expected result is a conscious mastery of the material passed, comfortable and more fluent possession of the material of the specialty.

6.Change of the form of the session - from the lecture form to group and paired forms of work, work in the forum, interactive communication between students in the group, between students and teachers. The expected result is an established, satisfying communication.

7.Application of different levels of language: everyday - spoken - literary - popular science - scientific - culturological, depending on the level of understanding and inclusion in the group. The expected result is the understanding and assimilation of new material.

Culturological level can be more difficult for an international student, as it involves a substantial and qualitative mastering of the necessary volume of culturological knowledge.


The methods of organization of the educational environment at work with foreign students are studied. It is established that the effectiveness of the educational process in higher education institutions when working with foreign students is significantly enhanced by the knowledge of the methods of working with foreign students, the knowledge of mental and cultural features that give an understanding of the behavior of foreign students, knowledge of their values, culture, religion, tradition. The ability to diagnose and cope with the complexities when working with foreign students is important. The development of a teacher's cultural sensitivity is necessary to equalize and remove national differences. Workshops for teachers and students will help create a unified educational space, will provide an opportunity to identify urgent problems and solve them systematically with the participation of a teacher, student and environment.


The work is performed according to the Russian Government Program of Competitive Growth of Kazan Federal University.


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31 August 2017

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Cite this article as:

Latypova, E. (2017). Methods Of Organization Education Area With Working International Students At University. In R. Valeeva (Ed.), Teacher Education - IFTE 2017, vol 29. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 459-466). Future Academy.