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    “He who has the bigger stick has the better chance of imposing his definition of reality.” Assimilation and Integration: International Students in a Second Level School.

    Malone, Anthony (2002) “He who has the bigger stick has the better chance of imposing his definition of reality.” Assimilation and Integration: International Students in a Second Level School. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    No builder of the seven great pyramids in the fourth Egyptian dynasty would have been more frustrated than the educationalist who attempted to construct a solid structure on a weak foundation. This metaphor succinctly captures the chagrin surrounding the present study. A number of works on the integration of international students in Irish education are completed but most of the important study has, to a large extent, concerned itself solely with third level. Others have been primarily theoretically driven, with little desire for ethnographic detail. There are one or two exceptions to the rule, but still there exists wide chasms in the research. Consequently, in broaching this subject, educators have either to by-pass certain complex issues or else admit dissimilar levels of ignorance. Various generalised texts on multiculturalism prevail although these are principally British or American in focus. Therefore, despite the presence of a large number of general texts a considerable volume remains to be undertaken. The “Introduction " to this study is structured in a three-fold way. The initial section will contextualise the issue of increased numbers of international students entering the Republic of Ireland. Currently we are identified as a major immigrant host culture. Socio-political and economic reasons will be proffered here in an attempt to sharpen our understanding of this relatively new status. Following this all relevant concepts and key language pertinent to the study will be tendered in an effort to make the work more accessible. The concluding section of this chapter will elucidate the aims which will be treated in chapter four of this project. Chapter Two, the “Literature Review” undertakes a careful examination of the pertinent literature. Through reference to a form of Venn diagram the chapter is firmly structured, with a style that is topic based as opposed to being chronological. Multiculturalism, as the central theme, informs all sections of the chapter, and is a useful aperture in which to adjudge the relevancy of Irish and international research banks. The primary constituents of students, parents, and teachers are explored individually, before the chapter moves inside-out, from school to society. A brief policy analysis of relevant state legislation is undertaken before the chapter concludes with a conceptual survey of writings on contemporary racist tendencies in Irish society. The third chapter, "Research Design, Instrumentation and Methodology ” traces the technical development of the dissertation from proposal stage to written report. It proceeds by framing the locus of the present research between quantitative and qualitative models. Practicalities are detailed such as site selection, informed consent, terminology and semantics, in addition to the colloquially referred to "interviewer effect. " Further methodological practise is outlined particularly with reference to the gathering and analysing of data. The processes of questionnaires and interviews is examined with key emphasis on the validity of the research and the applicability of the findings. Chapter 4, "Research Findings and Analysis ” examines the limit to which a second level school is actively recognising the diverse nature of its community. The chapter will concentrate on the views and perceptions of the various community members and take a reading of how changes in the school structures are affecting them. Questions relating to participation of international students and their parents are addressed as is the presence of an informal school policy of assimilation. To this end the presence of a cultural insularity among student peer groups is examined with copious referencing to interviews and surveys. The chapter will conclude with a study of resources and professional support among the teaching community. In the final chapter, “Conclusions and Recommendations" the research will be summarised with judgements reached and appropriate interventions suggested. Recommendations will be structured in a two-fold manner, with reference to both local and national strategies, both long and short term, succinctly elucidated. In conclusion, it is adequate to state that a brief insight into interculturalism in second level education is perhaps all that any person can expect to gain until much more general research is undertaken. Notwithstanding, if the present research should have stimulated others to question further, then the study will have fulfilled its primary objective. That being that those areas which were somewhat neglected in the recent iv past would be brought to the surface and allowed form part of the canon multicultural educational research.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Assimilation; Integration; International Students;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Education
    Item ID: 5147
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2014 14:17
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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