Date of Award

6-27-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Sussie Eshun, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Joseph F. Marcoline, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Sharon Switzer, Ph.D.

Abstract

Given the receptivity of American colleges to international students, administrators and professors must recognize the diversity such registrants bring to campus in the form of achievement, age, gender, language, and national differences. The purpose of this study was to compare learning style preferences of international first year college students and to analyze the effects of accommodating learning-style preferences of first year international college students on achievement and anxiety levels over one semester. This dissertation focused on the identification of learning style profiles of first time visiting Japanese, Korean, and Chinese college student populations. It also assessed the anxiety and acculturation levels of these international students when they were first introduced to the American educational system which incorporated teacher facilitation and promoted student directed studies. Finally, student learning styles were assessed after a six-week summer session to see if learning styles remained the same after students were introduced to the American educational system. After the six-week summer session and two semesters, a focus group meeting with a sample population of students and a separate focus group meeting with instructors were held to confirm quantitative findings. The results of the study provide reason for an optimistic assessment of the response of Asian students to the new learning environment, as well as for a positive evaluation of the response of the instructional staff to the learning style differences of Asian students. Although the Asian students were clearly surprised by aspects of the American classroom that differed markedly from their prior learning experiences in Asia, they generally adapted quickly and comfortably. The results of the quantitative portion of the study make it clear that the Asian students did not change very much in their learning styles over the course of six weeks here, but the student responses in focus groups suggest strongly that they were able to adapt and to function quite well in learning situations that were quite different from what they had experienced in their home countries.

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