TITLE: HOW GOAL-SETTING TECHNIQUES HELPS INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN COPING UP WITH CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN AUSTRALIA.
Globalisation encompasses the coming together in education (Held et al., 1999). The aspect of globalisation and international studies is prominent within Australian schools, with international students coming from all over the world with different cultural background to study in Australian within Australian culture (Erlenawati Sawir, 2005). The new environment is accompanied with cultural differences. Cultural sensitivity is a very vital and key issue as it influences the stay, study and academic performance of international students in various ways (Charles and Steward, 1991). According to Rajab et al. (2014) cultural differences and cultural unfamiliarity affect goals, feelings, motivation and belief of students or any individual in new cultural environment. For international students to succeed they is need for adaptation and/or finding a way to cope with this differences and achieve their goals. One of the ways through which international students can adapt to these cultural differences in Australian schools is goal setting technique (Info Study Team, 2015).
The goal setting theory has been well developed in company context as a means of improving employee performance. The performance of workers in any business organisation or any working environment is influenced by goal setting technique, with a corresponding increase in performance when goal setting technique is well implemented (Locke and Latham, 2002). When goals are specific, and difficult but attainable individual perform better (Lunenburg, 2011).
According to Info Study Team (2015), setting of goals posses as a challenge to students, creates a strong bridge between the student and their end goal and give students a sense of control over his/her end results. This can help students deal with cultural differences and achieve their objectives.
Due to the fact that Australian school harbour a large number of international students, with different cultural differences, coupled with the fact that these cultural differences post as limitation and affect their academic performance, they is need to need to develop appropriate methods through which they can cope with these differences. This research aims to determine how Goal-Setting theory can be used by international student to adapt to these cultural differences in Australia.
There is increase in the amount of international student coming from all over the world from different cultural backgrounds to study in Australia (Asialink, 2004). These cultural differences pose a problem to international students as it affect their performance. As a result there is need to determine how international students can cope with these cultural differences. One of the methods through which they can cope with these cultural differences is Goal setting technique.
Performance of international students is important to Australia as it hope to attract more international student. This performance is influenced by cultural differences. Determining how goal-setting technique can be used to cope with this cultural difference will help to international students to cope with cultural differences as a result increase the academic performance of these international students and hence attract more international students to Australian schools.
Theoretical Framework and a Review of Related Studies
This study take bases from goal-setting theory (Locke & Latham, 1990), this theory states that setting goals increase performance when well implemented as it increase focus, built self confidence and create a link to goal as a result enables a person to achieve aims easily and more effectively (Idowu et al 2014). The individual must be conscious of the goal and goals must be attainable (Locke and Latham 1990). This theory is hence important to the study as it brings clearly spells out that students have to have goals and focus to guide them to attain pre set goals.
The relevance of theory is based on using goal setting technique and skill to enhance student academic performance. Psychology research have also studied learning in social context (O’Donnel, 2006), which leads to increase need to access methods that benefit students, with Goal setting technique being one of the most common methods (Ridley, 1992). Goals are specific predetermine end point or target an individual tries to achieve (Ilogu, 2005).
In addition, according to Brown and Latham (2000), setting specific, realistic and attainable goals perform higher compared to individuals without pre-set specific goals. For example Schunk (1993) carried out a research on goal setting technique on sixth graders and he found that goal-setting enhanced performance. In another study, according to Hopman and Glynn (1989), writing performance was improved in 13-year-old boys with academic difficulty when the goal setting technique was used whereby student where asked to set goal in terms of amount of words to use in their essays. Also in another research, it was found that college student in remedial writing classes increase the amount of journal they write a day as a result of setting goals on the amount of line to write each every 24 hours (Hall, 1990). Many other characteristic also influence student academic performance for example such as social class, financial need and others (Idowu et al 2014). However goal setting is a vital technique that can be used to increase academic performance in international students from different cultural backgrounds.
To determine how goal-setting techniques help international students in coping up with cultural differences in Australia.
To determine performance of international students before exposure to goal setting technique.
To evaluate the students performance after exposure to gaol setting technique.
To analyse how goal setting helps these students.
This hypothesis will serve as a guide to this research.
H: There will be a significant difference in academic performance of participants pre and post exposure to goal-setting techniques.
There is an increase in amount of international students studying in foreign countries (Held et al., 1999). Migrants student are often faced with cultural stress as a results their performance is affected (Charles and Steward, 1991). Goal setting can be used to cope with this cultural difference. Goal setting theory has been research by many researchers (Low and Patrick, 2016).
Globalisation and likewise International education is on a rapid rise in recent years. An estimated 1.7 million students according to OECD (2004) leave their home countries to study in other foreign countries. These migrations are cause by various reasons such as search for better study opportunities (Marginson and McBurnie, 2004).
Foreign education plays a vital part in Australian educational sector and Australian economy as a whole, being the third largest service sector after transport and tourism. (Erlenawati Sawir, 2005). The number of Australian foreign students in Australian universities and other higher education rose from 24,998 in late 1990s to about 219, 397 in the early 2000s (OECD, 2004). Foreign students coming to Australia are faced with change in culture and as such they need to adjust to this new culture such as language and societal values, as a result there is need focus on difficulties encountered by these students and how they can cope or overcome them (Erlenawati Sawir, 2005).
Culture consist of patterns and behaviours acquired and transmitted by symbols that are peculiar to particular group of individuals and usually represented by artefacts showing specific culture consisting of traditional values (Kroeber and Kluckhohn, 1952).
Culture is defined by John et al (2007) as cited by Yao Ma and Xi Ran (2011) as a set of values, beliefs, rules and institution that is peculiar to particular set of people. Psychologically, culture has a great and significant influence on behaviour according to Robert Serpell (1976); He explained the that culture has a marked influence on personality, motives and attitude of a person and also influences the way the person sees certain things with respect to intellectual structure and structural reasoning, way of communication and perception (Robert Serpell, 1976).
Cultural stress among international students at Australian Universities
Students studying in foreign countries are faced with a lot of difficulties in the new country due to difference in culture with respect to home countries which affects the physical and psychological wellbeing of the student and hence affect his/her academic results and performance (Ward et 2001).
These students are subject to cultural shock associated with change in cultural environment which can result in psychological stress as a result they is need to use coping strategies to cope with the stress encountered to be able to achieve their goals (Oberg, 1960).
Many factors affects the adaptation of international students to the culture of new environment, this includes status, level of education, self esteem, language proficiency, prior cross0cultural experiences and other factors such length of stay, support and information acquired, how they interact with citizens of host countries and the interaction with their original (Ward et al., 2001); interaction with original culture will slow down the adaptation (Berry, 1997). The amount of time they have spend in the new environment is one of the key aspects to adjustment and thriving of international students; as they become usually more comfortable as they become more and more acquitted with new cultural environment (Adler, 1975; Wars et al., 1998; Ward and Rana-Dueba, 1999)
The level at which these students interact with host nationals is vital in the adaptation to host culture and practices, with more interaction being associated with faster and easy understand of host culture and hence facilitate adaptation leading to better academic performance (Church, 1982 and Li and Gasser, 2005).
According to (Hofstede, 1997), there has been trials and proposal to classify and categories cultural values and characteristic, an example is the set of dimensions. Hofstede dimension put Australian and Asia culture at opposite ends of each dimension to the relative wide gap in cultural beliefs and practices; this dimension method has been implemented to determine the difficulties faced by Asian students and Australian learning facilities (Asialink, 2004).
Goal Setting Techniques
Setting goals and making plans to achieve them are very important as it will contribute to individual success, and make it easy for an individual if he or she sets difficult, specific attainable goals. These goals ensure that you make a decision how your goals change and ensure your goals vary according to what you want (Mikeal Olssson, 2011). Creating goals create a personal awareness and as a result and individual become more conscious to environmental challenges and opportunities and how to manage his or her assets (Mikeal Olssson, 2011).
The impact of goal setting on performance is function of various factors such specificity, proximity and difficult level (Bandura, 1988; Locke et al., 1981).
Goal usually incorporate standards, which enhance learning and boost performance due to greater specification, proximity of goals on the other hand increases motivation more that farfetched goals (Schunk, D. H., 1990)
Implications of goal setting theory
Under the right implementation conditions, goal setting is a powerful technique for motivation of organisation members (DuBrin, 2012). They are various suggestions for stakeholders to consider when attempting using goal setting techniques as a means of enhancing motivation and performance (DuBrin, 2012, Greenberg, 2011 and Newstrom, 2011).
Goals need to be specific: Research indicates that setting non specific goals will lead to a poor performance. Goals need to be specific. Specific goals help to bring about desirable organisational goals (Locke and Latham, 2002).
Goals must be difficult but attainable: Very easily achievable goals will not bring about any significant desirable increase in performance. Hence, importantly the goals must be difficult to attain (Lunenburg, 2011).
Must Have deadlines: Deadlines improves the effectiveness of achieving goals, as it serves as a time frame control and increase the motivational impact of goals (Lunenburg, 2011).
Importance of setting goals
Setting difficult but achievable goals is very important; it improves performance in various ways including (Team FME, 2013):
Goals ensure focus and commitment to achieve pre-set end results.
Goals lead to spirit of hard work, thrive and energy to succeed.
Goals make an individual conscious and a work according to a well structured plan of action.
Goal setting theory
Goal setting theory was developed by Professor Edward Locke, where he argued that preset goals lead to increase performance and drives intrapersonal willingness to achieve a preset objective (Locke et al., 1981). There are many goal setting methods, including 4C F, SMART and background goal setting
-4? F: This stands for Clarity, challenge, complexity, commitment and feedback.
-???R?: Mnemonic for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
-Background Gaol Setting: Working from end goal.
According to Team FME (2013), these goals setting theory methods are interrelated with each method complimenting each other. For example, the 4C F, make the goal appear in widest sense while SMART compliments 4C F, by stating the specific goal. However every of these methods has its negative and positive threats. Using two of these methods at once will produce more positive results (Team FME, 2013). Using 4C F alone will present vary wide but vague goals while SMART on the other hand will produce very clear goals but either very complex or very simple goals, combination of these methods will produce a better result while on another hand, Background goal setting method take decision based on analysis of result and feedback (Team FME, 2013).
General Model of Goal setting theory
Leaders in goal setting theory and research have incorporated aver 400 studies about goals into a theory of goal setting and task performance, according to Locke and Latham (1990). A goal is simply what an individual is consciously trying to do. “Goals, in conjunction with self-efficacy often mediate or partially mediate the effects of other potentially motivating variables, such as personality traits, feedback, participation in decision making, job autonomy, and monetary incentives” Locke and Latham (2006).
Goals affect individual and increase performance, and according to Locke and Latham (1990), goals direct attention and action. Furthermore, challenging goals mobilize energy and hence increase efforts and persistence. Goals motivate individuals to succeed, and finally, motivation can cause satisfaction and further motivation (Lunenburg, 2011).
Summary of literature
Based literature search, a high amount of work has been done on multiculturalism among universities with students from different parts of the world and cultural background. Also much work has been done on goal setting theory in business and industrial settings, which have provided positive results. Work has also been done on cultural differences and adaptation of foreign students in Australian culture, with various means and method of adaptation studied. But however literature is lacking when it comes to methods through which international student can cope with cultural differences encountered in Australian schools. This research aims to study how the goals setting method can be used by foreign students to cope with cultural difference between origin culture and Australian culture in Australian learning environment.