It is commonly believed that travelling abroad improves language abilities as well as it broadens the mind. Hundreds of NIS students visit foreign countries every year with their project work, visit language schools and prepare for a science research. To be part of this great experience, students should be successful in study, have a good level of English and participate in project work. The main destinations of students’ trips are England, the USA and some Asian countries. The project is aimed to investigate how international trips help to improve student’s academic achievement in our school.
The actuality of our project is connected with:
The globalization of today’s education
Trilingual Policy implementation within NIS schools
Emphasis on the quality of education.
According to the stated problem, the project theme is “Influence of international trips on student academic achievement at NIS Pavlodar”.
The object of the research is connection and relationship between international trips and academic achievement of NIS students.
The purpose of the research is to investigate how international trips affect academic achievement of NIS students.
The research question that can be formulated as:
“How do international trips impact the student’s academic achievement at the site of NIS school in Pavlodar?”
To address the research question, students were interviewed and later their answers were analyzed.
Internationalization of education system requires from modern students to have good language skills, especially in English language. To meet global trends and to develop such qualities as flexibility, tolerance and collaboration, NIS students visit foreign countries. Many researchers around the world emphasize that travelling abroad on academic purpose motivates learners [1, 396 p; 2, 3 p; 3, 4 p; 4 120 p]. In today’s globalized society it is of great importance to meet market needs and top University requirements. Students are expected to pass IELTS successfully and speak more than 2 languages fluently. That is the main reason of Trilingual policy implementation within NIS school in Kazakhstan. It addresses the needs of 21-st century learning as well as it focuses on improving the quality of education in the classrooms.
Many researchers believe that travelling abroad increases student motivation [1, 400 p]. Teichler in his research interviewed the students from European countries and found that international trips on academic basis gives an opportunity for self-development, allows students to gain academic learning experience in another country and boost motivation for study [1, 402 p]. Studies have shown that visiting other countries during an academic year positively influences academic achievement, it was estimated that students who have travelled abroad on academic purpose their GPA is 25 % higher than of those who do not travel [3, 10 p]. Lamb, American researcher, also states that the great majority of students regard English as either important (25 %) or very important (64 %). Many respondents of Lamb’s survey pointed out that English helps their career in the future, meet foreigners and learn about foreign countries [3, 7 p].
Recent school research has proven that modern teenagers are interested in learning a foreign language and would like to explore the culture of other countries [4, 121 p]. Moreover, many students want to get higher education in American or European universities and such trend increases students’ motivation in learning foreign languages and leads to passing such exams, like IELTS or TOEFL [2, 5 p].
It is also of great importance for Kazakhstani students to learn and improve their level of English as the majority of them would like to get education in foreign Universities. Modern teenagers of Kazakhstan are aware that language skills provide many opportunities in terms of academic study.
Mission of NIS schools is to develop 21-st century skills in their students, including critical thinking, flexibility, social skills and communication skills. With this intent, outstanding students of NIS schools are offered travelling abroad. The reasons for school trips are immersive language courses, scientific projects and leadership courses. After selection, students go abroad and gain the necessary skills. The programs are focused on student’s abilities and tailored to meet each participant’s needs. For example, many students of 9 and 11 grades of NIS Pavlodar went to Malaysia in winter 2014. The students took part in project work that was aimed to support students in further research work at the site of their school. Besides, students had a great opportunity to improve their level of English while discovering the culture and traditions of Malaysia. On their return, students were engaged in numerous school projects and science fairs. Such experience undoubtedly increased student’s motivation for further research work.
Findings of the research
To address the research question, approximately 300 students were interviewed and then their answers were interpreted and analyzed.
The survey consisted of the following questions:
- What country have you visited on academic purpose?
- How has travelling affected your school life?
All the respondents gave answers and commented on the questions afterwards. The majority of the respondents visited Malaysia on academic purposes, about 35 % of the interviewees. Many of NIS Pavlodar students visited Singapore and participated in language courses. 15 % of the respondents went to the USA to develop leadership skills and enhance language skills. Equal number of the students that is 10 % visited Russia and England to learn more about scientific projects and improve their level of English. 5 % of the respondents visited South Korea and explored more on Science (See the graph 1).
It can be concluded that students of NIS schools travel abroad annually and all school trips are aimed to help students succeed in their academic life. NIS Pavlodar was officially opened in 2013 and since its grand opening more than 200 students have travelled abroad on academic purpose.
Many students admit that school trips abroad have positively affected their academic performance. To be more specific, some options to the second question were offered to the respondents. In the survey, students should choose what was affected more after their travelling:
- Social skills
- English language level
- Academic performance
- Motivation for study
The majority of the respondents (35 %) claim that their level of English has improved significantly and they feel less stressful when they speak English. The students also added that their listening skills have progressed since they got back home to Kazakhstan.
25 % of the interviewees say that they feel more confident when they get into a new environment and do not feel too embarrassed communicating with peers and teaching staff. It can be emphasized that students’ social skills become better.
Less than a half of all respondents agree that travelling to other countries on academic purpose raises their motivation for study and academic performance. Students claim that such academic trips inspire them for further better study and participation in many school projects. Students feel more responsible for their study and want to gain more from study and strive for new achievements. In turns, such attitude positively influences academic performance and students who travelled abroad have a higher GPA on their return to school, especially in English and Science subjects (See the graph 2).
Our research has proved that academic trips positively affect student academic performance, increases motivation and level of English. Travelling abroad helps students in learning more languages and be more active in school life leading the school to further achievements. Academic trip inspires students to accept diversity in the globalizing world, be ready to explore the culture of other countries and discover the world through lifelong learning.
- Teichler, U. (2004). Temporary study abroad. European journal of education. Vol.39 pp.395–407
- Dorneyi, Z. (1990). Analysis of motivation components in foreign language learning.
- Lamb, M. (2004). Integrative motivation in a globalizing world. System, 32 (1)Pp.3–19
- Salisbury, M., Umbach, P. and Paulsen M. (2009). Going global: Understanding the choice process of the intent to study abroad. Pp.119–143