Changes in motivation and acculturation strategies: a case of Indian students at the UoB
Subject Categories::X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
University of Bedfordshire
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AbstractThe present study examines socio-cultural, motivational and mental health changes among Indian international students at the University of Bedfordshire (N=138). The main aim of the study was to achieve a better understanding how sociocultural adjustments affect international Indian students and what outcomes the process might produce. More specifically the study considers how international students’ motivation changes during the transition from the home to host cultural settings. Also, types of acculturative strategies used by the students were assessed in order to find out how they evolved over time. Finally the mental health of the students was examined during the study. To explore the motivational relationships between participants’ adjustment patterns, their types of motivational influences, such as adjustments, perceived autonomy, relatedness and competence, a single motivational theory has been chosen. It was assumed that it would help teachers and other university staff improve existing and possibly establishing new research-informed practices at the university. Consequently, it could result in greater staff understanding and in turn students’ behaviour is likely to improve and accelerate their adjustment as well as providing justified research-informed explanations. For the above reasons Ryan and Deci’s (2000) Self-Determination Theory (SDT) has been employed as the theoretical framework. As part of the framework, Berry’s (1997) and Ward’s (1996) models have been utilised to assess student’s acculturation strategies. In addition, Randolf’s (1977) instrument has been employed in order to establish how depression evolves over time and affects students. The study employed Mixed Method and the data collection involved international Indian business students at postgraduate level. A survey was conducted at the beginning and the end of an academic year to examine and establish any changes taking place. The instrument used was validated indicating Cronbach’s alpha above 0.7. As the collected data of this research is not normally distributed, this research applies the Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test. As the research design is based on a multistrand sequential typology (QUAN → QUAL → QUAN → QUAL) qualitative data from interviews and written diaries were gathered at different points for the duration of one academic year (for each cohort) and thematically analysed to provide explanations to the statistical results. Overall students reported that they had a rather positive experience at the UoB in terms of motivational and socio-cultural adjustment to the dominant culture. They reported minor issues when attempting to acculturate to the new settings; however, findings indicate that almost half of the students experienced depression over an academic year. There is a strong indication that students had clinical depression over prolonged period of time (over an academic year). Also, the data shows that even though a number of depressed male students decreased over a period of an academic year in comparison to female students, it was approximately three times more male students experiencing depression than female ones (albeit not statistically significant). Further, there was a number of students who had some negative perceptions about the dominant culture and expressed some concerns over their academic performance. Acculturative strategies used at the beginning were assimilation and integration, which went through a meaningful and significant negative change in T2 over T1. However, towards the end of the studies students showed a preference towards separation. Separation strategy significantly increased in T2 over T1, which is statistically significant. Also, in terms of motivation changes, students moved towards identified regulations, and a slight positive increase of student’s attitudes towards the factor of ‘integrated’ regulations. What is important it the fact that the students did not develop a higher level of autonomy, which is related to self-determined choices, and a condition for development of intrinsic types of motivation. The research was desirable for two reasons; once the issues were explored, the outcomes would adjust teaching and learning practices that in turn would help to improve the students’ achievements, conditions and the UoB international reputation. It is also hoped that the research would provide new insights into how motivation (Deci and Ryan, 1985; Ryan and Deci, 2000), acculturation strategies (Berry, 1997; Ward, 1996) and depression (Randolf, 1977) evolve over time and affects students. The findings indicate that international students as well as members of the university staff need to attend additional development programs in order to deal effectively with cross cultural challenges.
CitationWypych, L. (2020) 'Changes in Motivation and Acculturation Strategies: a Case of Indian Students at the UoB'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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