Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Zhou, George




This study focuses on the classroom participation performance of Chinese international students (CISs) at a Canadian university. Because CISs are coming from an education system that employs a teacher-centered pedagogy, they often struggle to acclimate to the student-centered pedagogy employed in Canadians schools, which is particularly a problem for graduate students. However, there is limited research on the subject. The current study explores how graduate CISs participate in Canadian classrooms, what factors promote and inhibit their participation, and what approaches can help to improve their participation. The researcher recruited eight CISs and two of their instructors. The method used was interviews with open-ended questions as the instrument to collect data. The analysis of the data showed that Chinese international graduate students struggle with eight key factors that shape their classroom participation: language proficiency, working experience, personality or character, part-time job commitments, self-motivation, personal interest, emotional state, and instructor’s likeableness. Therefore, it is critical for instructors to distinguish and observe why their students participate less, then adjust due to different situations to improve that participation level. The study found that instructors’ preferred methods might include comparative teaching methods, a welcoming classroom climate, and organizing activities to juxtapose with lectures. Alternately, students should be self-motivated and academically extroverted. Both instructors and students can work to improve classroom participation performance of CISs. Finally, the author discusses some limitations of this study and give suggestions for further research. Quantitative methodologies, such as questionnaire, survey and observation, should also be utilized in future research.