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Title: An ethnographic investigation of students' and parents' perceptions of their international school experiences
Author: Harrington, Philip
ISNI:       0000 0001 3532 6404
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis uses etlmographic interviews to investigate students' and parents' perceptions of an isolated international school in China and their life in the Test International School (TIS) expatriate community (TIS is a pseudonym). Due to the highly mobile and transient nature of the school population being researched, an etlmographic interview (Spradley 1979) process has been used. A group of five parents and eight international school students were interviewed several times during a six month period (a combined total of 36 interviews) in an attempt to locate their theories of education, their perceptions of life at international school and the expatriate community, and their understanding of the relative benefits/disadvantages of international life compared to their home countries. . The purpose of this research is to increase understanding of how parents and students perceive international school education and how their lives in the isolated expatriate school community affects their views and attitudes. Expatriate relocation can be demanding and though multilingual and multicultural challenges can provide enriching experiences, they can also contribute to the stresses of overseas life. It is hoped that the exploration of participants' stories will facilitate deeper understanding of the complexity of mobile expatriate life so that current teaching practices can be improved. We can see from the data many positive aspects of an international school experience, however the findings also indicate the prevalence of a passive form of cultural conflict at TIS international school, most visible between the Korean and non-Korean groups, as well as a 'bubble effect' as expatriates living in compounds become isolated from the local community, which in some cases is seen to be responsible for developing strong negative attitudes towards the host population. These two phenomena threaten the ideals of internationalism which international schools seek to promote.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available