Why Don't They Participate in Class? A Study of Chinese Students' Classroom Participation in International Master of Education Program

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date

Fall 9-1-2020

Publication Title

Multidisplinary Perspectives on International Student Experience in Canadian Higher Education

First Page


Last Page





international, Chinese, participation


This study explores how Chinese international graduate students participate in Canadian classrooms, what factors promote and inhibit their participation, and what approaches can help to improve their participation. Eight student participants and two of their instructors were interviewed individually. Data analysis revealed that all participants appreciated the significance of classroom participation for their learning, but they were quieter than domestic students. Many factors were mentioned that possibly influenced their participation including their English language ability, differing education context and pedagogy between Canada and China, class environment, their personal work experience, part-time job commitments, personal interest, and emotional state. It is critical for instructors to distinguish and observe why their students participate less, then adjust their teaching practice in different situations to improve the participation level.