Imperial College London (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Page: 665 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-09-45476-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2022.0213
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
The increasingly international nature of Higher Education across the world pushes the need to consider how to make teaching, learning and assessment more culturally inclusive. In the UK so far the internationalisation aspect has come through decolonizing the curriculum initiatives and ensuring students are exposed to a variety of contexts via the reading that they do. While this is an excellent start, this intention should be extended to other aspects of students’ learning experience such as language overall and the language of feedback in particular.

It is widely understood that feedback is one of the most powerful tools to support student learning (Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick, 2006). Yet, as Tian and Lowe (2012) point out, limited attention amongst researchers is devoted to investigating the impact of cultural and linguistic diversity on feedback comprehension and recipience. The majority of current evidence focuses on second language or English for Academic Purposes (EAP) contexts (see for example , Bond, 2021; Hyland and Hyland, 2006), ones where teachers are more attuned to their students’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds. However, as the majority of feedback with HE disciplines happens outside of the support of EAP tutors it is important to gain perspective on how international students’ cultural and linguistic experiences affect their engagement and interpretation of feedback when they move abroad. In other words, it is important to consider an intercultural dimension to the broader discussion of feedback literacy.

This paper will focus specifically on that. Drawing on in depth interviews with 13 European STEM students the paper will explore their prior feedback experiences of feedback in their home countries and how they affect how they perceive and engage with feedback in their new contexts. It will unpack students’ conceptions of feedback that are part of their small culture and how that compares with practices they encounter in the UK. Finally it will uncover how different linguistic backgrounds affect interpretation of feedback. The focus on European students in particular is deliberate as this is the group that due to its fee status was often considered to be well aligned with ‘western practices’ and therefore not considered to need as much support as students thought to be ‘international’.

[1] Bond, Bee. (2021) Academic literacy development up close: Intermediary connections afforded by in-sessional EAP. BALL seminar: Language, literacies and learning in the disciplines: A Higher Education perspective, 8th July 2021, online.
[2] Hyland, F. and Hyland, K. (2001). Sugaring the pill: Praise and criticism in written feedback. Journal of second language writing, 10(3), 185-212
[3] Nicol, D.J., and MacFarlane-Dick, D. (2006) Formative assessment and self‐regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2).
[4] Tian, M. and Lowe, J. (2012) The role of feedback in cross-cultural learning: a case study of Chinese taught postgraduate students in a UK university. Assessment and Evaluation in HE, 38(5), pp.580-598.
Feedback, feedback literacy, language.