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The Internationalisation of Higher Education

Our point of departure is that the diversity of international classrooms should be seen as an asset. The different linguistic and cultural backgrounds of lecturers and students enrich interaction in the classroom – at least if we know how to exploit the positive aspects of it, and if we are also aware of the pitfalls that are there. If not, we may have a different situation. Let’s look at some of the issues that often occur.

Making the tacit explicit

It is always an advantage to belong to the group of those in the know, those who are familiar with how things are usually done. Unfortunately, many international students and lecturers are at a loss because they do not know what it is that they do not know. They do not have immediate access to the tacit knowledge that their Danish colleagues have, and we must therefore make the tacit explicit to them.

Levelling the playing field

In the international programmes, it is important that all students play by the same rules on the same playing field. In other words, we must avoid an us-and-them culture in the international classrooms and have all students work and work together, both when they engage in group activities in class, when they form study groups to prepare for class, or when they work in project groups for a longer period of time (half a semester, a full semester). See more about how you may level the playing field for students here.

Pedagogical & didactic issues

As it is an extra cognitive load for students to learn through their second or even third language, the lecturer must try to ease that load without compromising the academic content of a course. As it takes more to process new information through a foreign language, students need a little extra time to do so. However, there are some easy ways for lecturers to assist students in this process. If you want to know more about that, click here.

The Danish higher education system

If you are a newcomer in the Danish higher education system, you may want to read more about it or follow the links under Facts and Resources.

Linguistic issues

If you have issues with English Medium Instruction, you may want to go to the section on Teaching in English. You may also find useful links in the section with Online Language Tools.

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Revised 2012.03.30