Middle Eastern Higher Education Students in the United States

A PROBLEM WITH EQUITY IN EDUCATION

 

 

Middle Eastern Higher Education Students in the United States

Middle Eastern students in the United States are the new minority which needs attention because of sociopolitical stresses such as stigma from the war on terrorism, the regional political history and the current displacement issues that these students are facing. The precedent for the war on terrorism, the September 11 attacks, were a huge influence in disrupting the little peace that Middle Eastern students had in the US. In fact, according to Ghada Quaisi Audi, “Within hours of the terrorist attacks of September 11, Americans [of] Middle Eastern and South Asian decent were targeted for acts of hate, violence, discrimination, racial profiling and economic ruin as a direct result of the heightened negative generalized media and government scrutiny of Arabs” (2008). There are many things that still prevent them from receiving a fair education, a stress-free social life and a smooth transition into the working life, such as racial discrimination and double standards in the legal system’s execution (Audi, 2008). This paper will concentrate on Middle Eastern students in the higher education system in the US. Being cast as “perpetual foreigners”, American Middle Easterners were de-Americanized and faced protestors and the transformation of the mosque as an “anti-USA symbol” (2008). The Middle Eastern higher education students in the United States suffer neo-racism, acculturative stresses and lack of support and to create the optimal learning environment, the US has to make some changes in awareness programs and education methods to include the needs of those students. Globalization is not inclusion in numbers through recruiting and enrollment, but is also integration in cultures for the best blend towards a better future for everyone.

What the public seems like they are not even interested in understanding is that politics and single discrepancies in histories do not define a whole people. Something that seriously hurt the students are rejected VISA renewals, annulation of student VISAs, and the USA Patriot Act, where many were harmed through the power that the border control was given to “detain and deport – based on little or no information – those who are believed to post a special threat”, even though many were no threat at all and were just students; even civil rights groups recognized that (2008). The foreign student tracking mechanisms that are reinforced by the act creates hurdles that these students do not need in addition to the stress of entering a new culture, achievement expectations and the expectations of neo-racism which is relevant to “skin color as well as culture, national origin, and relationships between countries” where traditional racism is only based on race (Lee, 2007).

This problem impacts equity in education severely because it is a good chunk of international students, who are a big chunk of higher education in the United States. In fact, to show the growth of this community, the Institute of International Education said in a report that since the year 2000, the number of Middle Eastern students “has more than tripled” (Haynie, 2015). The fastest growing population, surprisingly, is the Saudi Arabian student body, with over 54,000 between 2013 and 2014 alone (Haynie, 2015). In the same span, the body of Middle Eastern students “grew by 20 percent” (Haynie, 2015). In their US News article, Devon Haynie admits that even though the numbers increased, the worry that these students face increased as well before and after arrival, such as worries about safety, stereotyping, and cultural acceptance (2015). One thing that hung in the air after September 11, which places huge stress on this community and the way they are perceived, is the speech by U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Peter Kirsanow, who was appointed by President Bush. In that speech, he began a whole domino effect of disrespect to Middle Easterners by forgetting that there are many terrors committed by other ethnicities and religions and choosing to direct the pointed finger at them. He said, “they come from the same ethnic group that attacked the World Trade Center, you can forget about civil rights” and then went on to talk about internment camps for Arab-Americans in the future (2015). The most shocking part is that that this is the Civil Rights Commissioner of a country that keeps telling the world that it is a civil rights advocate. As results to this, students were not allowed to wear religious symbols – some faced suspension because of the hijab which is very sacred – like wearing a cross or a kippah.

Providing the great education that the US is higher education system is reputed for involves providing the right environment for the students to learn. This environment must be culturally accepting and understanding, since a big part of it is made up of international students who come from very different cultural backgrounds. Between 2012 and 2013, there were at 819,644 international students in the US. Among those are five basic groups: immigrants, refugees, natives, ethnic groups and sojourners – or temporary residents and each one of those faced a difficulty in the system such as insufficient English proficiency, academic burden without the resources that the domestic students have and lack of social support barriers to seeking professional help to deal with things like social stigma, mental health, financial support and other issues (Bai, 2016). Equity depends on fairness and inclusion, which means not only understanding and respecting cultures, but also socioeconomics, race, gender, disability and other factors that could inhibit the optimal transfer of education. Achievement cannot be fairly achieved if not everyone is given fair opportunity to excel.

Fair opportunity usually brings so many benefits to both the minority and the majority cultures being related to each other. For example, while the American culture brings outstanding higher education pedagogical contributions to the Asian culture, the Asian culture brings its ideologies of acceptance, peace and other Confucian beliefs to support a better environment to nurture the system of the Middle Eastern culture brings persistence to reach goals and influences a stronger psych – which helps nurture a social environment with a more solid “let’s decide and let’s do” social ethic. What stigma causes, however, is a misunderstanding of cultures and a barrier between them. As a result, there is less information shared across this barrier and both cultures, in the end, suffer (Lee, 2007).

Lee believes that there is a significant misunderstanding of the amount of information and co-curricular benefits that international students bring to the United States and instead of just seeing them as a monetary profit, the institutions should perhaps utilize the plethora of information and understand and nurture it so that everyone grows in the process. In actuality, the contribution of international students is over $12 billion annually, according to Jenny Lee (2007). However, according to Lee, this is not even the highlight of the contributions that these students give higher education! In fact, she believes that the most important factor that international students, such as Middle Easterners, contribute are broadened perspectives (2007). This exchange not only promotes the US perspective outside of the US, but also brings global and regional perspectives to the US so that their own culture grows and becomes more knowledgeable and, therefore, more powerful. The cultural exchanges provide exchange that can be even more vital than the content of a course textbook. This would increase the quality of equity in education by providing a cultural growth through positive exchanges, which are very important for “improving diplomatic relations, increasing international awareness, and furthering multiculturalism, all critical components of a thriving global society” (Lee, 2007).

This is an important issue for educators to discuss and be aware of because their job is to make an optimal learning environment for their students, and without cultural respect and acceptance, it is impossible for individuals to work optimally – in fact intolerance is the first and foremost reason that oppression happens. Universities and colleges should take it upon themselves to reinforce positive social education rather than just leave it to social and experimental learning because if they do not provide guidelines then the learning experience will be more chaotic and less efficiently organized in the working memory, where the core thinking, organizing and recalling of information happens. The more stress a thinker has that is outside of the intended thought stream, the less resources they will have allocated for thinking about it and therefore they will be less efficient problem solvers. In a cross-cultural research by Abeer A. Mahrous and another by Iulian Iancu, people from different cultures and religious backgrounds suffer stresses that reduce their performance, for example fear of social phobia and irrelevance of content (Iancu, 2011; Mahrous, 2010). Mahrous conducts her empirical study by comparing and contrasting opinions and experiences from international students and local students. She chose Middle East, United Kingdom, and United States students to analyze. While, as expected, students who were from English-speaking backgrounds were the most proficient in expressing opinions, there seemed to a pattern learning towards interactive learning from all students (Mahrous 2010). What this says is that international students from non-English-speaking backgrounds are less likely to express themselves as efficiently as native speakers, which makes it even more important to have a support system for them so that this barrier does not become too stressful. As Bai said, international students already face acculturative stress, so English proficiency, achievement expectations and wavering support are just additions to this stress (Bai, 2016). Some results of acculturative stress include what Iancu calls, “shyness and social phobia”, where not only segregation happens intrinsically between the represented cultures, but also fear of confrontation (Iancu, 2011).

The initial steps that the United States must take to help remove the stigma against Middle Eastern students are cultural awareness, a strict reinforcement of a support framework and the ease of the hold that racial profiling has on higher education students, which causes tremendous amounts of needless stress. Neo-racism and racial profiling are huge problems and they cause double standards in law reinforcement, unfair evaluation of students among superiors and peers, and gives unreasonable basis to misconceptions. Lee says, “our study revealed that students from the middle east, Africa, Latin America, and India endured far greater difficulties in U.S. institutions than students from Canada and Europe” (2007). This shows that it is no longer a problem of one race versus another, but versus a pool of races, religions, skin colors, cultures and other things that define whatever is not American under the banner of oppression and segregation. Something important happens in the conclusion of Iancu’s article that is worth mentioning is: the author strictly says that the samples used for research are not a complete representation of the population (Iancu 2011). This is something that the United States government, people, and different authoritative figures such as public speakers, celebrities and others should emphasize so that the misrepresentation of the Middle Eastern community in the US is no longer the supported misconception. When will we learn to learn from each other rather than judge one another? When will we realize that if you spend your time judging people, you will have no time to love, respect and honor them – and them in return? As an American-Middle Eastern student and peer, I hope to someday see those recommendations in action instead of just spoken about, written in papers and then forgotten about. I have high hopes for higher education in the US, but unless it becomes more supportive, there will always be severe criticisms flying around the world about its cultural intolerance and disrespect to those who do not speak English as a first language. I do not want to be de-Americanized by Americans who claim they want diversity. I want to be a part of a community of communities that are interrelated and interdependent and under one mission: excellence.

THE ACTION PLAN

 

 

Positionality Statement

 

The virtuoso educator has an outstanding ability to recognize, analyze and use research methods and results to explain and recommend solutions to educational gaps in transfer, authority and the understanding of all facets of equity in education. (Girash, 2014). With the recognition of this core to an educator, the issues of Middle Eastern students in higher education students in the United States must be addressed to maintain this professionality and unbiased abundance of knowledge to be transferred. The aim of this workshop is to explore issues and help faculty members and professional instructors in the higher education environment address those problems and prevent their growth and rooting within the United States’ higher education system through awareness and action steps.

 

With the empirically proven increase in the rates of international students in the United States, there is a growing need for researchers and educators to recognize them as a significant member of the higher education body. In 2000, the number of Middle Eastern students “has more than tripled” and between 2013 and 2014 alone, they went up by 20 percent (Haynie, 2015). In the United States, the attack on Middle Eastern students began “within hours” of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which is an unacceptable response in a higher education environment (Audi, 2008). Issues of displacement, bias, racism, discrimination, classism, and imperialism that these students face are increasing (Haynie, 2015). Among the Middle Estern Students are five basic groups that must be recognized and sympathized for: immigrants, refugees, natives, ethnic groups and sojourners (Bai, 2016). They have all suffered unaddressed insufficient English proficiency, academic burden without the resources that the domestic students have and lack of social support barriers to seeking professional help to deal with things like social stigma, mental health, financial support and other issues (Bai, 2016). The virtuoso educator should not facilitate and augment those biases nor apply them to their teaching methods because no student is to be victimized by a professional educational environment. Instead, the whole faculty must bridge those gaps and offer solutions to cognitive and social misalignment.

 

The faculty, which includes teachers and administrators, must be aware of their importance in facilitating the continuity of the higher education entity because of their important jobs in maintaining through administrative operations and supporting through elite knowledge transfer professionals (instructors). The separation of personal biases from the learning environment is vital. Faculty is critical in attracting and making the transition into, through and out of the university for students. They must recognize, forward and be sympathetic to issues as they are dealing with a body that has been subjected to much unneeded tracking and segregation mechanisms that neo-racism brought upon them because of acts and events in history that are not part of the whole group, such as scrutiny over “skin color as well as culture, national origin, and relationships between countries” (Lee, 2007). The less students are distressed, the better they will perform and the less efficient problem solvers they will be whether they continue their professional journeys within or outside of the United States (Iancu 2011; Mahrous, 2010). Their education lingers with them forever, and so does the reputation of the higher education entity. Therefore, this workshop is eminent in the betterment of higher education in the United States.

 

 

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives from this workshop include awareness, reinforcement of an unbiased learning environment, and factual knowledge regarding the target learning body, which is Middle Eastern higher education students in the United States.

 

Transfer

The participants of this workshop will be able to realize that there is a rapidly growing section of the student body that is suffering because of lack of awareness to their issues and lack of action towards addressing the ones that faculty are aware of. After this workshop, the participants will be more knowledgeable and efficient faculty members who will be able to sympathize with their Middle Eastern students and be able to provide an unbiased learning environment. The administrative faculty will be able to deal with those students in a professional, informed and comprehensive manner, while the educators will be another step towards being virtuoso professionals by being more sensitive to their students and their individual needs that vary from the traditional native student that they are more accustomed to.

Meaning

UNDERSTANDINGS

Participants will understand that:

·      Middle Eastern students are not responsible for political issues that they may or may not have biased opinions upon.

·      A professional environment is inclusive regardless of the position within the faculty of a higher education entity.

·      Middle Eastern students are a rapidly growing minority and have to be recognized for their efforts and professionality.

·      Administrative teams should be able to sympathize and aid Middle Eastern students regardless of their linguistic capabilities and the stigma that neo-racism places on them.

·      Instructors will gain an understanding of ways to facilitate the international classroom and discourage hindering issues within it.

·      Faculty members will be understand better ways to deal with and forward issues relating to Middle Eastern students.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS

·      Why are Middle Eastern students seeking higher education in the United States?

·      What are significant issues to be aware of when dealing with Middle Eastern students?

·      What can administrative faculty do to facilitate the transition into, through and out of higher education?

·      How can instructors create the best learning experience for Middle Eastern students?

·      What are some scenarios and examples of issues and how can faculty members deal with them through a sympathizing and professional framework of recommendations, advice and discipline methods?

 

 

 

 

 

Acquisition

KNOWLEDGE

·      Participants will further understand social, cultural, political, economic and religious facets of a Middle Eastern student to facilitate an elite learning experience.

·      Participants will understand ways to engage those students through relative content, flexible discussion, and peer-to-peer activities.

·      Participants will understand their important role in mediating the socio-political improvement of issues that these students face through facilitating an unbiased and knowledge-supported environment.

·      Participants will learn that their roles in classrooms and offices will affect students outside of the classroom as well by mentor-related relationships that support the students and their experiences.

·      Participants will learn that they are permanent fixtures in the cognitive framework of students they mentor or administrate.

SKILLS

The participants of this workshop series will be able to:

·      Advocate for better system that is inclusive of requirements that international students would be more comfortable performing optimally within.

·      Implement structured ethical framework to dealing with international students, such as Middle Eastern students.

·      Design lectures and campaigns for awareness of Middle Eastern studetns’ issues.

·      Understand the social, political, cultural, religious and cultural dilemmas that the students deal with in an unsympathetic environment.

·      Facilitate the systematic administration of Middle Eastern students while regarding their potential lacking linguistic proficiency.

 

 

 

Workshop Series Overview

This workshop is an effort to support Middle Eastern higher education students in the United States through reaching out to faculty members of higher education entities. It will recommend and provide a series of training workshops, lectures, exercises and readings that will help faculties address the influx of international cultures into the United States and, more specifically, towards supporting the rapidly growing Middle Eastern student body in higher education. This workshop will be broken down into three four parts: An introductory session, a session directed towards instructors, a session directed towards administrators, and a collective session that will include simulation, feedback and addressing of issues and the possible responses that would be deemed supportive to target students.

 

Workshop One: Faculty Overview for the Administrative and Educational Support of Middle Eastern Higher Education Students in the United States

 

This introductory workshop addresses the awareness towards Middle Eastern students through cultural, social, political, economic and religious overviews to address misconceptions regarding this group. The objectives covered include:

  • An understanding of the cultural differences and the need to accept different social, political, economic and religious ideologies resulting from them.
  • An understanding that harnessing and relating those differences are better than oppressing them.
  • An overview of issues regarding administrative procedures because of different educational systems and requirements as well as the recognition of different testing failures that do not address educational achievement within the Middle East.
  • An overview of issues regarding instruction issues resulting from lack of linguistic proficiency, socio-political stigma, cultural dilemmas, and other possible obstacles that Middle Eastern students face.

Collaborative Interaction:

Discussion, Q&A, and feedback preliminary session about issues to be tackled and questions about the orientation.

Workshop Two: Instructors Issues and Feedback regarding Middle Eastern Students in the Classroom and as Peers

 

The second workshop will be directed towards instructors and will provide factual information and advice regarding issues and feedback frameworks that aid the Middle Eastern students’ experience in higher education. The objectives of this workshop include:

  • Awareness of English as a Second Language speakers and their linguistic issues, which hinder them from being as fluent in reading, writing and speaking.
  • Awareness regarding stresses that the learning environment could bring into the classroom as a result of biases bleeding in from different sources, such as peers, instructors and society.
  • A definition of neo-racism and how it is not to be tolerated among faculty peers and their students because of globalization and the diversity of the modern faculty, which includes trainee and learning instructors and peers.

Collaborative Interaction:

Participants will work together in groups to put together their opinions on Middle Eastern students prior to and after the presentation and lecture. The participants, at the end, will talk about the change in their points of view after being presented with background information.

 

Workshop Three: Administration Issues and Feedback regarding Middle Eastern Students in Higher Education

 

The third workshop will be directed towards administrators and will emphasize how administration is important to facilitating the influx of international students into the higher education entities. Administrative faculty provide an introduction to the treatment that students will receive during their education, so their importance extends to shaping up the opinion about the schools and the social and professional environments to be expected. The objective of this workshop is to provide:

  • Understanding of the significance of the administrative faculty in shaping up the social and professional “first glance” to new students.
  • Understanding of how the administration is the public face of the school.
  • Awareness of the different issues that could influence Middle Eastern students’ inquiries and preferences in administrative decisions.
  • Understanding towards the prerequisite standardized testing and its irrelevance to the students’ social, cultural, political, religious and educational backgrounds – therefore emphasizing that it is not a good indication of the student because unlike the local student, they do not receive preparation for it within their education.

Collaborative Interaction:

Participants will be able to discuss the topics and examine the guest speakers for clarifications and examples of what was discussed. They will also discuss enrollment currently and what they hope to find in the future within their workplace and beyond.

 

Workshop Four: Solutions for Equity in International Inclusion in Higher Education.

 

The final workshop addresses a collective outlook for all faculty members and includes simulated issues, feedback and an analysis of how to address issues with a sympathizing and professional mindset. The objectives are:

  • To provide examples of how Middle Eastern higher education students are treated unfairly in the current system and how to improve relations through advisory guidelines.
  • To provide participants with a framework to apply in problem-solving when dealing with international students.
  • To give research-supported suggestions regarding peer-to-peer, administrator-to-student and mentor-to-student relations.
  • To provide participants with tools to expand cultural equity through inclusion.

Collaborative Interaction:

Participants will be able to discuss and put together an ideal, ethical and inclusive policy towards Middle Eastern students as well as brainstorm resolutions for future suggestions to be culturally aware of applicants and their educational standings. They will also be able to present scenarios for advice on the best approaches to resolving their issues.

 

 

Workshop One: Expanded

 

Overview

 

Workshop duration: 2 hours.

Topic: Faculty Overview for the Administrative and Educational Support of Middle Eastern Higher Education Students in the United States.

Participants: Faculties of higher education entities.

Learning goals: Faculty will be more aware of the issues that Middle Eastern students have when arriving, going through and ending their higher education in the United States. This includes cultural, social, political, economic and religious issues that can cause moral/cultural dilemmas for the students and encourage misconceptions regarding them as a group.

Introductory Speech

 

Welcome to this workshop series aimed at Middle Eastern higher education students in the United States. In this workshop, you will receive an overview of the issues as well as come current information about this segment of higher education students in the United States. The World Bank has provided a recent update to the Middle East and North African region (MENA) and their evaluation in education and development of higher education (Hoel, 2014). In Arne Hoel’s report, there is a claim that the importance and attendance of school since 1960 is four-fold what it was, and illiteracy has cut down by 50% since the 1980s (2014). These achievements only give more reason to begin to recognize this group as they are rising within the higher education community in the United States. Their contribution and participation in the American higher education system has grown by 20% between 2013 and 2014 alone (Haynie, 2015).

 

Access to higher education has increased remarkably in the past decade for MENA students as a result of increased literacy and the governmental financing towards higher education. This means, for us, that there is a rapid, supported and goal-oriented influx of knowledge seekers expecting unbiased education in the optimal environment out schools claim to have. The outcomes, however, have been challenging to the ones perceived prior to beginning or completing the educational experience because of a biased environment that is facilitated with faculty that are either unsupportive or stagnant because of lack of cultural equity (Hoel, 2014). Equal opportunity, skill mismatch, and quality of education have been some of the challenges that Middle Eastern students met in the United States as a result of low cultural diversity tolerance in the past. With current events worldwide, there is a major stress on Middle Eastern students and a stigma that results from political issues such as the crisis in Syria, the Arab Spring, and the constant regional governmental and civilian trials that plague the region (Hoel, 2014).

 

I would like to personally thank all participants for being a part of the first movement towards embracing and empowering this segment of higher education learners in the United States.

 

Participants Activity I

 

Individually or within a group, brainstorm issues into the form within your packet titled “BRAINSTORM FOR WORKSHOP ONE” that you believe Middle Eastern students could have in a higher education environment from their application process until completing their education. Providing your name is optional. Once done, hand your paper to the person on the right until all papers are collected by the representatives standing to the far right of each row. This activity will take 10 minutes.

 

Application Issues Administrative Issues
1.

2.

3.

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3.

Education Experience Issues Other Issues
1.

2.

3.

1.

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3.

 

Guest Speaker Outline

 

After the previous activity, another speech will begin to address the background information regarding Middle Eastern students. This speech will take up 45 minutes.

 

  1. Introduction: anecdote about personal experience in the United States’ higher education system.
  2. Introduction of issues
    1. Cultural
      • Because of cultural traditions and practices, there are many things that Middle Eastern students bring and take away from their higher education experience such as:
        • They bring:
          • Different outlooks towards knowledge
          • Different applications and uses of knowledge
          • A new language and culture to explore
          • Original knowledge that is relevant to their hometowns
            • This is one of the most important contributions that international students bring to the educational experience, which reinforces the fact that learning is an exchange of information between peers and mentors.
            • Interdisciplinary information exchange
          • Ethical arguments that are relevant to their upbringing
        • They take away
          • Knowledge
          • Language
          • Ethical frameworks relevant to their area of study
          • Environmental feedback which shapes the public opinion regarding higher education in the United States
          • Professional attitudes towards learning
          • Socio-cultural, political and economic opinions about the United States based on experience, research and analysis
  1. Social
    • Social stigmas as a result of political issues and opinions
      • Segregated based on being Middle Eastern
        • “terrorist”
        • “savage”
        • “dishonest”
        • “fighter”
      • Clusters
        • Middle Eastern students form clusters and stick to each other because of lack of support
        • This causes outsiders to feel suspicious when all the MENA students seek is familiarity and support. Results:
          • Violence
            1. Physical, verbal, and emotional attacks that threaten the security of the students
          • Increased stigma
            1. Think about the monster in the closet: the more you think about it/fear it, the scarier it is, when all it stands for is your own manifestation of something to fear and hate
          • Distrust
            1. Media, politics and the unknown cause it
            2. What you do not know is more likely to be dangerous?
            3. What CNN/Fox News tells us is the real image of the world?
            4. If the government has a problem with another, does this mean we have to have a problem with the opposing government’s people?
          • Out-casting
            1. The results of this are estrangement in an already foreign place. It causes distress and possible a violent need to feel safe
              1. Anguish and confusion is often misread as anger and being misleading about the true nature of questioning
  • Power in numbers
    • The current groups support each other in a network that works across the country, but it is still not enough
  1. Political
    • Government representation and the fact that students are not their own government
      • Governments are less likely to be the choices of the people in the MENA region
      • Foreign policy is not personal policy
    • Refugee/Displaced people’s problems
      • Distrust
        • We distrust them forgetting that they distrust even their own governments
        • With all the political stresses that formed stigmas against MENA people, there is no security at an individual level
          • Powerlessness and the acceptance of oppression to attain a goal
          • “I need to get this degree so that I can support my family – no matter how much my professors/deans/advisors/peers hate me.”
  1. Economic
    • Governmentally supported higher education
    • Personally supported higher education
  2. Religious
    • Although the dominant religion is Islam, much of the Middle East is a mix of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam followers
      • Mixed belief system
      • Modern Middle East student is not a fanatic as small groups portray in media
    • Moral dilemmas
      • Cheating
        • Language barriers
        • Highly challenging assignments
      • Plagiarism
        • Language barriers
          • Inability to find the words!
        • Highly challenging assignments
        • Misunderstanding of the word and what it means
        • Not realizing the extent that the United States goes to in order to eliminate plagiarism
      • Social blending
        • Policies against events and activities
          • Drinking
          • Partying
          • Others
        • Misconceptions
          1. The Middle Eastern students are not seeking education to harm Americans with it
          2. The Middle Eastern students are not seeking education to steal information
          3. The Middle Eastern students are not seeking education to tell their home governments secret information
          4. The Middle Eastern students are not seeking education to harm Americans with it
  1. Reality of the students
    1. The Middle Eastern students are seeking education for personal, professional and social growth so that they can help develop their hometowns
    2. The Middle Eastern students are struggling for the added value of higher education so that they can achieve and fulfil their religiously, socially and culturally supported need for achievement
    3. The Middle Eastern students realize the financial consequences and value them more then local students resulting in persistence and perseverance
    4. The Middle Eastern students are worthy of an unbiased education
  2. Recommendations
    1. Increase equity in cultural diversity – inclusion
    2. Promote tolerance and support of different social, political, economic and religious ideologies rather than segregate and stigmatize them – inclusion
    3. Harness differences and make them relevant to the educational journey – inclusion
    4. Do not oppress students nor imperialize their experience in any way – inclusion
    5. The importance of administration is to support the process of admission, maintenance and graduation for a positively memorable experience
      • Recognizing different requirements
      • Recognizing testing methods
      • Recognizing the failure of standardizing
      • Recognizing linguistic barriers
    6. The importance of instruction in inclusion and cultural exchange
      • Respect the exchange of ideas
      • Respect different cultures
      • Respect the different applications and interpretations
    7. There are many things to think about when dealing with Middle Eastern students
      1. Importance of openness
      2. Importance of support
      3. Importance of safety
  • Concluding remarks
  • Open Q&A session

 

Participants Activity II

 

With the previous speaker in mind, has your brainstormed list from the first activity changed? Discuss changes of opinion or added ideas. The facilitator of this activity will steer the discussion towards ideating a framework that is ethically and morally supportive of international students, mainly concentrating on Middle Easter students. Discuss possible clauses within the final product that a higher education entity might need to not only support the students, but itself legally in an environment that is becoming more aware of cultural diversity the need for expansion in education equity. (1 hour)

 

Supporting Material: In the Packet

 

Participants will receive a packet for every workshop session they attend. Within it are activity instructions, forms for the activities, writing tools, and a pamphlet which includes recommendations. For this workshop, the recommendations are as follow:

 

  • This is a video that will be recommended in the packet that participants will have. This video is to support the idea that the Middle Eastern students value education all over the world and they aim to be competitive in every aspect of this field: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbinO9BFCWg (Arnold, 2008).
  • Recommended reading: This is an excerpt that NAFSA published which shows the constructive role of international advisors in a higher education entity’s faculty in facilitating the education experience of Middle Eastern students: http://www.nafsa.org/Professional_Resources/Publications/International_Educator/Advising_Middle_Eastern_Students/ (Leggett, 2016).
  • Short reading to explain the cultural and linguistic barriers that Middle Eastern students face and an evaluation of how they respond to American living after arrival: http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED206173 (Douglas, 2016).
  • Publication from Brandeis University discussing the politics behind Middle Eastern students in higher education and how significant it is to be a part of it to the regional socio-cultural beliefs. This article also discusses prospects of higher education and problems regarding it. http://www.brandeis.edu/crown/publications/meb/MEB36.pdf (Romani, 2008)

References

Arnold, D. D. (2008, May 30). Retrieved December 14, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbinO9BFCWg.

Audi, G. Q. (2008). Challenges Facing the Arab American Community from a Legal Perspective. American Studies Journal, 52(5). Retrieved October 30, 2016, from http://www.asjournal.org/52-2008/challenges-facing-the-arab-american-community-from-a-legal-perspective/

Bai, J. (2016). Perceived support as a predictor of acculturative stress among international students in the united states. Journal of International Students, 6(1), 93-106. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.neu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.neu.edu/docview/1783942049?accountid=12826.

Douglas, M. (n.d.). Culture and Language Learning: Middle Eastern Students. Retrieved December 14, 2016, from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED206173.

Girash, J. (2014). Metacognition and instruction. In V. A. Benassi, C. E. Overson, & C. M. Hakala (Eds.), Applying science of learning in education (pp. 152–168). American Psychological Association.

Haynie, D. (2015, February 15). More Middle Eastern Students Come to the U.S., Find … Retrieved October 30, 2016, from http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2015/02/18/more-middle-eastern-students-come-to-the-us-find-surprises.

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