All over the world, current health care students come from a variety of cultural, linguistic and educational backgrounds. Their expectations and learning needs vary, yet little is known about how our current education system meets their needs.
The purpose of this study was to explore culturally diverse health care students' experiences of teaching strategies in polytechnic faculties of health care in Finland. Specifically, we aimed to compare how international students and Finnish students experience the same curriculum.
A cross sectional survey.
Ten polytechnic faculties of health care in Finland offering English-Language-Taught Degree Programmess (ELTDPs).
283 students studying nursing, public health nursing, or physiotherapy in English. Of these, 166 were international students and 112 were Finnish students.
The data were collected using a questionnaire designed specifically for this study. The survey included items grouped into seven dimensions: 1. concreteness of theoretical instruction, 2. encouragement of student activity, 3. use of skills labs, 4. variation among teaching strategies, 5. assessment, 6. interaction in the English-Language-Taught Degree Programmes, and 7. approach to diversity in the English-Language-Taught Degree Programmes.
The most positive experiences for all students were with the approach to cultural diversity and the concreteness of theoretical instruction, whereas the most negative experiences were with assessment. International students' experiences were more positive than Finnish students' in the following dimensions: encouragement of student activity (p=0.005), variation among teaching strategies (p
Around the world, student populations are internationalizing and diversifying. The purpose of this study was to research culturally and linguistically diverse nursing students' experiences in Finland. The data were collected from 27 students in four polytechnics through focus group interviews. The findings highlight the importance of concreteness in theoretical instruction. In clinical settings, language barriers and negative attitudes towards students and their cultural background lead to social and professional isolation. The findings suggest that development of culturally sensitive pedagogy requires further investigation with strong research designs. Intensified language instruction for those who need it is essential. Strategies that increase cultural competence and promote appreciation of cultural diversity in health care settings should be developed.