Addressing the needs of international students: a case from a russian university
Introduction The study addresses the needs of university educators in alternative, more efficient teaching techniques supported by the psychological approach.
Method The introduced method of fairy tale writing, based on the potential of Russian traditional fairy tales, encourages critical thinking, and enhances the problem solving process in the context of international students’ identification with an imaginary personality. The defense mechanisms unconsciously applied in the frame of an individual’s narration assist in interpreting their emotional state and psychological adaptation levels at a certain point in time.
Results The complexity of the adjustment process should be scrupulously considered, as the nature of individually applied defense mechanisms is dependent on the culture and contextually relevant. Fairy tale therapy gives international students a chance to negotiate identity in writing and acquire positive feelings of attachment and belonging. Instructors benefit from “hearing out” and learning about the students who, in the traditional educational setting, would reveal shyness associated with some cultural predisposition (China, Japan, and Korea).
Discussion The timely changed class instruction style and more person-centered approach can modify the situational adaptation outcomes, and long-duration observation can provide a
clearer picture of identity transition. Arrangements should be made to adequately shift emotional discontent at the critical point, and this is a task for both the local university administration and the national legislative body. The theoretical prerequisite of universalism of human emotions enables the educators to perceive the coded message in the narrators’ ‘voices’ and become mediators between international students and university administration.
Keywords: defense mechanisms, emotional state, psychological adaptation, Russian fairy tales, universal semantic primitives