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A collaborating colleague model for inducting international engineering students into the language and culture of a foreign research environment

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3 Author(s)
McGowan, U. ; Advisory Centre for Univ. Educ., Adelaide Univ., SA, Australia ; Seton, J. ; Cargill, M.

Practitioners of research in a particular field have extensive knowledge of how to operate successfully in that field and communicate effectively with others, within the boundaries of their own language and culture. However, when it comes to inducting novice researchers into these skills, difficulties are often encountered, and more so when the novice comes from a different language and cultural background. At the same time, specialists in English teaching or cross-cultural communication aiming to prepare novices to enter such a research environment often lack access to the details of how things are really done there. At The University of Adelaide, South Australia, this situation is being addressed through a new program for international postgraduate students in their first semester of enrolment. This Integrated Bridging Program (IBP) relies on collaboration between the discipline specialist researcher and language and learning specialists and is informed by the perspectives of systemic functional linguistics (SFL). This paper presents an overview of the IBP, followed by details of its operation in the Faculty of Engineering. Information is included on outcomes of the collaboration in specific instances, and how SFL theory has been applied to develop a flexible and effective induction which is highly valued by both staff and student participants

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Professional Communication, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 3 )