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Derek Burns

An individual differences approach to understanding international students’ achievement and adjustment.


Discipline/professional area

Outline of research project

The current research project investigates the potential role of metacognition, broadly defined as 'thinking about thinking' (Flavell, 1979) in international student's achievement and adjustment. Alongside metacognition, positive emotions/attributes (hope, optimism, resilience and self,-efficacy; Luthans, 2007) are also explored in this population. Currently it is unclear if metacognition and emotions impacts international student's success and adjustment in UK universities compared to home students. Adopting a socio-cognitive (Pekrun, 2006) and positive psychology framework (Fredrickson, 2001), which emphases positive/achievement emotions helps broaden individuals’ cognitive and social abilities. 

The project examines the relationship between positive emotions/attributes and metacognition, and how this contributes to international students achievement and well-being. In addition, the project also aims to look at the tutor and international student relationship, which is reportedly poor (Ryan, 2011; Sulkowski and Deakin, 2008; Yun and Berliner, 2011). This relationship will be explored in relation to how this impacts the development of international students metacognition and its consequences to international students engagement achievement, and well-being (Goldman and Goodboy; 2014; Zhang and Zhang, 2013).

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