What is wrong with silence in intercultural classrooms? An insight into international students’ integration at a UK university


  • SIHUI WANG University of Glasgow
  • Marta Moskal Durham University




international student, oral communication, classroom context, peer interaction


Recent research has reported a common tendency for international students to be silent in the classroom, identifying language competence and cultural difference as main barriers to participation. However, insights into the integration of international students within the classroom context remain rather limited. Grounded in the framework of Lave and Wenger’s community of practice, this paper examines the issue of silence in verbal participation of postgraduate international students of different socio-cultural backgrounds in a UK university context. Findings reveal tensions in classroom activities resulting from different perceptions and attitudes towards oral participation. Comparative analyses in different classroom communities and peer interactions were carried out to provide implications for practice to better integrate international students within educational context.


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How to Cite

WANG, S., & Moskal, M. (2019). What is wrong with silence in intercultural classrooms? An insight into international students’ integration at a UK university. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 11(Winter), 52–58. https://doi.org/10.32674/jcihe.v11iWinter.1087



Winter 2019 Special Edition