Overseas Chinese Student Agency: Academic norm, Oral Participation and Discursive Practices for Change
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Participatory practice of overseas Asian students has been much deliberated over these two decades. Recent studies on the international higher education have proposed new perspectives and analytical framework in looking at their classroom participation, which put the essentialising notion of culture and ongoing misunderstandings under attack. Among these alternative approaches, the proposal for a view on ―small culture‖ and ―academic transition‖ are useful in the exploration of student agency, as it emphasizes variation and variability and is also in line with the perspective that exerting agency is a discursive practice upon contingency. Drawing on Davies‘s (1990) view that exerting agency is conditional and requires certain resources, the current study focuses on a group of Mainland Chinese overseas students in a UK university and aims to find out what resources are available for them and how their agency is enacted considering the academic norm in the new community. It is demonstrated that overseas students with an Asian culture have developed their own value during their overseas academic engagement. They choose to mediate between their own culture and perceived norms and act upon the awareness of ―interactive others‖. Therefore, being agentive individuals, overseas students also contribute to the shaping of international education.