Cognitive Responses to Sociocultural Elements in Professional Graduate Programs: Two Case Studies



This article examines the sociocognitive context of two international students in academic programs in the United States. Bandura (2001) defines sociocognition as the interaction between an individual and the sociocultural elements that comprise his or her learning environment. Research in English for academic purposes has included more focus on these elements, resulting in emergent themes in the categories of workload management, success orientation, and social relationships. This study uses these categories in analysis of study logs, interviews, and documents to explore the sociocognitive responses of a student in a master of business administration (MBA) program and a student in a master of laws program during their first two semesters. The results indicate that their responses were mediated by their academic disciplines, including the teamwork requirements in the MBA program and the competitive atmosphere of the law school, as well as individual factors, including one participant's tendency to seek out classmates as study partners and the other's tendency to focus on his inner resources.