Adjusting to a new learning environment | 2018-01-04 |

Adjusting to a new learning environment

Protiva Rani Karmaker

4 January, 2018 12:00 AM printer

Adjusting to a new learning environment

Protiva Rani Karmaker

At tertiary-level education, students from diverse social background populate classrooms. These students have certainly individual differences based on their aptitude, attitude, or educational and social background. When they leave their home town or village and come to Dhaka or other big cities for higher education, some of them may face acculturation problem. Acculturation research is meaningfully divided into two interrelated perspectives as Psychological and Socio-cultural (Searle & Ward, 1990). The Psychological perspective on acculturation refers to the process by which individuals change psychologically. This perspective on acculturation is associated with a stress and coping framework (e.g., Lazarus & Folkman, 1984), and therefore, refers to psychological well-being and satisfaction in a new cultural context. The socio-cultural perspective on acculturation defines acculturation in terms of culture learning and social skills acquisition (Ward & Kennedy, 1999), in particular through the interactive negotiation of aspects of a new culture (Searle & Ward, 1990). Each individual is different for having different dreams, experiences of learning and capability of managing difficult situations. Even within our family members we do not get assimilation every time. An instructor instead of being bored should feel sympathetic towards this difference. This writing will focus on few practical tips to adjust in a new environment for the undergraduate learners:

Participation is considered to be not only a means but also an end in itself.  Everybody has the right to participate equally in all classroom activities. To be effective teachers and trainers, we need to have basic ideas about what we can do to encourage learning.  Since individuals change psychologically while adapting to a new environment, their responses also change.  Some learners are seen introvert and some are found to be extrovert.  Moreover, some bring with them a wealth of experiences while others may be in need of that learning experience. But it is certain that a poor learner might have some hidden potentials to overcome the rich one. Due to fear or anxiety, they in many cases cannot show all of these aptitudes. They rather remain passive and still throughout the academic year. So what should students and instructors do in such situation?

Learners can learn through knowledge sharing.  In case of achieving success in some competitive examinations, learners should accept new environment for time being positively. Otherwise, they may suffer from depression, anxiety, tension and fatigue what will in turn lag them behind. In order to motivate the learners, the instructors can promote open communication between them and the participants. Free and open communication helps in overcoming acculturation gap. Sympathetic and respectful communication acts as a buffer against psychological effects of stress. The tendency to cooperate (or not) has often been understood as a dispositional trait varying between individual (Messick & McClintock,1968). Emotion plays an important role here. As learners go through a continuous cycle of experience, reflection, thought and action, they face a gradual transformation. In this critical time of their building self-worth and confidence, or developing personal identity and common sense with learning experiences, helping role of instructors especially in case of acculturation has a great significance. New world brings new vision. Learners should not remain strict to their previous habits. Through cooperation and negotiation they can lead and learn. Both are important for ornamenting our life. It is usually opined by the great people, “If you want to stay where you are today, run faster.” So even for securing your present position, you need to run faster. For running faster, you must meet more people and know more update from them.



A happy man may appear as a successful man as sometimes happiness brings success. He or she can easily mix with people. A happy learner learns from his/her vicinity very easily. Dilemma acts as hindrances in learning from new context and also in case of being happy. Few learners may suffer from dilemma. They opt for second chance and do not study hard on the subject they have already got on the basis of their academic excellence. Instead of coping with new environment, they remain engrossed in their own world. For them, it is wise to forget few bad memories of past to start a sunny present paving the way for bright future. I will say “in some certain situations, being happy acts like an eraser of wrong memories to write down the right things”.

Each of us has a preference about how he or she learns things. If we think of our time and compare it to present one, it must reflect a difference. Students of diverse backgrounds in public and private universities negotiate and act differently. At first they do not like to talk or feel hesitation to make and mix with new friends. For some learners it lasts up to the last semester.  Thus they spend their student life amidst unhappiness and without friends. Without attachment and happiness, no beneficent idea can enter into your heart and mind. Where there are love and happiness, there exist sharing and progress.

Learning is an essential part of our life.  Just from our birth till death we learn from society.  We meet new environment very frequently. That’s why it is wise to know how to adjust in a new world for betterment.


The writer is Director & Associate Professor of English of Institute of Modern Languages, Jagannath University, Dhaka. Her email address is