Education: Values and Expectations

Conversation Exercises

Section 2: Common Causes of Academic Difficulty

The following list of academic problems was compiled by an international student adviser at a state university, based on interviews with foreign students. For each item, first answer the question, "Is this a problem for American students?" If you respond "yes," answer the second question, "Is this problem more serious for foreign students?" Then discuss the questions after the exercise.

1. Student doesn't understand the system (add/drop, incompletes, testing, etc.).
2. Student takes too many classes.
3. Student doesn't have a good background in the subject.
4. Student has English deficiency despite an adequate score on her or his English exam.
5. Student is experiencing adaptation problems in the new culture and is homesick.
6. Student has roommate and housing difficulties.
7. Student is lonely.
8. Student does not know how to study.
9. Student is nervous about taking tests.
10. Student cheats or plagiarizes.


Discussion Questions
1. Why do students have these kinds of difficulties?
2. Which problems, if any, can be prevented?
Conversation exercises taken from Beyond Language by Levine and Adelman, Prentice Hall, 1993.