Internationalisation and Learning and Teaching

During 2013/14 I have been involved in project work led by the Higher Education Academy, on internationalisation. A ‘learning and teaching summit’ of approximately 30 UK and international experts, held in 2013, provided the outline for the project and worked towards the development of an internationalisation framework; subsequent consultation across the sector resulted in refinements.

The outcome is ‘The Internationalisation higher education framework’ which was launched at the HEA’s Annual Conference, ‘Preparing for learning futures: the next ten years’, at Aston University.   The framework is available on the HEA’s website and is worthy of reflection.

We might at this point consider: what else we could do to internationalise the curriculum at BU? How should we prepare learners of all nationalities to contribute to a better global future? Does the curriculum and experience we provide enable all learners to make a difference to the world?

One way that Bath Spa university is considering preparing its international students is by teaching them separately for the first year, then allowing them (if they pass) to join UK students in the second year. I am not in favour of this approach. However, it proved to be the subject of lively debate on a ‘live chat’ for the Guardian HE network. I participated as a panel member in the discussion, which was titled: ‘Should academics adapt their teaching for international students?’

The live chat was about learning and teaching and internationalisation; it attracted more than 200 comments on the website, in addition to debate on Twitter (using #HElivechat). More details are available at:

I think we do need to adapt our approaches for international students but we also need to be aware that diversity goes beyond being ‘foreign’.  The aim has to be to develop (and deliver) an inclusive curriculum, where diversity is addressed in the widest sense – but this is a challenge. Perhaps the ‘inclusive curriculum’ work currently being taken forward by CEL, may go some way to developing new ideas.

If you would like to discuss any aspects of ‘internationalisation’ and learning and teaching please feel free to contact me.

Dr Chris Shiel, Associate Professor, BU