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  1. Thanks, Shyam, for your congent commentary. In considering my commentary on the needs of international students in western universities, I agree with you that my statements may seem black and white, while ignoring nuances. I taught in Africa for a couple of years and have worked extensively for decades with undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world, especially Asia. While it is true that some overseas universities have Americanized or base their educational philosophies on values other than the ones I cite in my article, my almost universal experience is that the most common problems of international students are not language but educational culture.

    In particular, the West’s lack of valuing of traditional knowledge (as seen, for example, in our diminishing of memorization as a strong academic skill) is problematic for the majority of my international students who have worked with knowledge as content rather than as tool. They are critical thinkers, but have not been encouraged to challenge assumptions of teachers or other scholars, or problem-solve with academic knowledge. We in the West lack a capacity to assimilate large amounts of knowledge, to our detriment. Those not from the West can do this well, but a vast number of them have not been encouraged in our strange and chaotic patterns of questioning, challenging and questing after answers in the midst of multiple options.

    That is not a matter of putting international students down but of getting at the heart of their struggles with our educational culture so that they can understand it well enough to function skilfully within it. Most Western professors will not accomodate to other educational cultures, so our international students, indeed, find themselves required to adapt to different patterns, unless, of course, they have been educated in schools that are congruent with Western educational philosophy (and those schools remain rare).

    Presumably, more nuance would take far more space than I was allowed in this article, but I do stand by its assumptions.

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