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Article

Manjet Kaur Mehar Singh

The purpose of this paper is to investigate and understand academic English language-related challenges in listening and speaking faced by English as a foreign language

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate and understand academic English language-related challenges in listening and speaking faced by English as a foreign language (EFL) international Master students enrolled in various taught Master programs in a Malaysian university from the viewpoint/lens of 16 lecturers teaching the students.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative research relied upon 16 in-depth one-to-one interview sessions with 16 lecturers teaching the taught Master programs at a higher education (HE) institution in Malaysia for data collection. Data collected were coded and categorized according to themes via qualitative analysis software, NVivo.

Findings

It was found that academic English language-related challenges in listening and speaking from the viewpoint of the 16 lecturers are such as lack of discipline content knowledge to communicate, lack of confidence in communicating orally, difficulty in understanding lectures and other oral activities in the classroom, and coping with differences in learning culture.

Research limitations/implications

This study suggests policies and programs to equip lecturers and university administrators to overcome the challenges faced by the students in their academic English language practices especially in listening and speaking to ensure meaningful academic adaptation in the current context.

Originality/value

The uniqueness of this study is that it is a retrospection of the lecturers teaching EFL and English as a second language (ESL) international Master students in taught Master programs in a Southeast Asian country. The focus of the retrospection is on academic English language-related challenges in listening and speaking faced by EFL international Master students who are currently pursuing their Master education at a HE institution in Malaysia.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

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Book part

Alma D. Rodríguez and Sandra I. Musanti

This chapter discusses the findings of a qualitative study conducted on the US–Mexico border to investigate preservice bilingual teachers’ understandings of the effective…

Abstract

This chapter discusses the findings of a qualitative study conducted on the US–Mexico border to investigate preservice bilingual teachers’ understandings of the effective practices needed to teach content in bilingual classrooms. Specifically, participants’ understandings of teaching language through content to emergent bilinguals and the role of academic language in a content methods course taught in Spanish for preservice bilingual teachers were explored. The results of the study show that preservice bilingual teachers struggled to internalize how to develop language objectives that embed the four language domains as well as the three levels of academic language into their content lessons. Although participants emphasized vocabulary development, they integrated multiple scaffolding strategies to support emergent bilinguals. Moreover, although preservice bilingual teachers struggled with standard Spanish, they used translanguaging to navigate the discourse of education in their content lessons. The use of academic Spanish was also evident in participants’ planning of instruction. The authors contend that bilingual teacher preparation would benefit from the implementation of a dynamic bilingual curriculum that: (a) incorporates sustained opportunities across coursework for preservice bilingual teachers to strengthen their understanding of content teaching and academic language development for emergent bilinguals; (b) values preservice bilingual teachers’ language varieties, develops metalinguistic awareness, and fosters the ability to navigate between language registers for teaching and learning; and (c) values translanguaging as a pedagogical strategy that provides access to content and language development.

Details

Research on Preparing Preservice Teachers to Work Effectively with Emergent Bilinguals
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-265-4

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Book part

Ester de Jong and Katherine Barko-Alva

Teachers’ ability to identify and link content and language objectives is an important skill. This chapter explores how two-way immersion (TWI) teachers with a mainstream…

Abstract

Teachers’ ability to identify and link content and language objectives is an important skill. This chapter explores how two-way immersion (TWI) teachers with a mainstream educator negotiated the shift to becoming a language-focused TWI teacher. We argue that it cannot automatically be assumed that these teachers have the knowledge and skills to attend to language issues. Specifically, our study examined how TWI teachers in three schools defined academic language and how they integrated language development into their practice through the use of language objectives. Our qualitative study features a constructivist framework using a thematic analysis of our data, which consisted of individual interviews and surveys with the teachers. Our analysis shows diverse interpretations of academic language and increased awareness of the role of language in their teaching and experienced benefits of making language objectives explicit, as teachers participated in professional development. Selecting and designing specific language-supporting activities, however, continued to be a challenge. We conclude that professional development needs to consider teachers’ different understandings and awareness of the role of language in the classroom. We also note that taking on the role of a language teacher may require a significant shift in assumptions about teaching and learning for teachers with mainstream teacher preparation and experiences and may depend on instructional context.

Details

Research on Preparing Inservice Teachers to Work Effectively with Emergent Bilinguals
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-494-8

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Article

Felix Maringe and Jennifer Jenkins

This paper examines the experiences of engaging with academic writing of international doctoral students in the schools of humanities and education at a UK university. The…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the experiences of engaging with academic writing of international doctoral students in the schools of humanities and education at a UK university. The purpose of this paper is to uncover the real accounts of international students whose cultural and language backgrounds are often marginalised and considered, not as facilitators, but as barriers to academic writing in the western context of universities.

Design/methodology/approach

Developed broadly within an interpretive post-positivistic paradigm, the study utilised Harré and van Lagenhove, 1999 Positioning theory and Goffman’s theory of Stigma to interrogate accounts of 12 students from the two schools in a year-long project involving three focus group discussions, questionnaire responses and personal reflective summaries by the students.

Findings

The paper highlights the notions of stigma associated with their foreign writing conventions and how students experience tensions and apprehensions about their ability as they painfully negotiate the new academic writing conventions of the institution. International students position themselves as vulnerable outsiders working within an ill-defined but highly valued language environment.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited to the extent that it utilises a very small number of students as its key source of evidence. However, the study was not aimed at providing generalisation as much as it sought to explore issues associated with the use of language by international studying in UK universities.

Practical implications

The study has practical implications for the professionals in HE to develop clear guidelines about what constitutes good English and to provide greater support to international students who see themselves as vulnerable outsiders in an environment which marginalises their linguistic and cultural identities.

Social implications

The study has implications for the social, cultural, and academic integration of international students in HE institutions.

Originality/value

The paper signals a need for diverse writing frameworks which seek to promote rather than silence and marginalise potentially rich sources of knowledge and understanding in an increasingly globalising world.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 29 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

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Article

Ida Fatimawati Adi Badiozaman, Hugh John Leong and Olivia Jikus

The purpose of this paper is to explore students’ perception and use of English in higher education (HE) institutions in Malaysia. In doing so, it aims to better…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore students’ perception and use of English in higher education (HE) institutions in Malaysia. In doing so, it aims to better understand the relationship between students’ perception of English and academic self-efficacy, particularly since English is used as a medium of instruction in HE institutions.

Design/methodology/approach

Approximately, 980 questionnaires were distributed to four HE institutions to explore relationships and patterns of students perceived English language proficiency and academic self-efficacy as potential variables shaping their academic performance. About 838 students participated.

Findings

The findings revealed that although students did not rate their English proficiency very highly, they placed high value on English in regards to their academic performance and job prospects upon graduation. More importantly, the findings also show that the majority of the students had high academic self-efficacy beliefs in L2, and were more accurate at calibrating their efficacy beliefs with subsequent performance in academic settings, unlike typical research findings on Asian students as generally holding lower self-efficacy beliefs. This finding was evidenced by the strong and positive relationship between perceived English language competence and academic self-efficacy in L2.

Practical implications

It is imperative that students’ academic self-efficacy beliefs be enhanced as it has been revealed to mobilise motivation and cognitive resources. It is also necessary to offer targeted support services specifically designed to further help students to improve their English academic skills.

Originality/value

In this study, rewards offered by instrumental motivation in terms of increased academic literacy and career appear to supersede the motive of identification with the L2 language community. It is likely that students in Malaysian HE institutions are becoming increasingly motivated to study due to their own visions and desires, rather than as a result of external requirements. Such findings should be capitalised since self-efficacy is predictive of academic performance.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

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Book part

María Estela Brisk, Anne Homza and Janet Smith

This chapter investigates the impact of a teacher preparation program that includes specific attention to the needs of bilingual learners on participants’ subsequent…

Abstract

This chapter investigates the impact of a teacher preparation program that includes specific attention to the needs of bilingual learners on participants’ subsequent teaching practices. Specifically, this mixed methods retrospective study examines graduates’ reports of their current teaching practices as well as their perceptions of the Teaching English Language Learners (TELL) program’s impact on these practices. Multiple-choice survey data were analyzed quantitatively to identify trends among reported practices and perceptions. Open-ended survey and interview data were analyzed qualitatively to identify interrelated themes within teachers’ detailed, first-hand accounts of their pre-service and in-service experiences. The results showed that there was variety with respect to whether particular linguistically responsive practices were routine, used occasionally, or rarely. There was also a difference with respect to whether such practices were perceived to be the result of having participated in the program. Notably, the most frequently used practices attributed to the TELL program involved teaching language (TL) to facilitate content learning. Other aspects of the teacher preparation program supported effective practices for academic content learning, but only TELL coursework and experiences facilitated practices that emphasized academic language development. These results suggest that programs created to improve the preparation of teachers to work with bilingual learners in mainstream classroom contexts must make a special effort to develop teachers’ skills in regard to language teaching, especially practices that focus on language beyond the word-level. There are limitations to the study because of the small number of participants and the fact that they were self-selected as program participants.

Details

Research on Preparing Preservice Teachers to Work Effectively with Emergent Bilinguals
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-265-4

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Book part

Katrin Böhme, Birgit Heppt and Nicole Haag

Large-Scale Assessments in Germany have shown that language-minority students as well as students with special educational needs (SEN) perform significantly less well than…

Abstract

Large-Scale Assessments in Germany have shown that language-minority students as well as students with special educational needs (SEN) perform significantly less well than language-majority students or students without SEN. This performance gap may be related to a limited accessibility of the tests. One way to test whether assessments allow all students to demonstrate their knowledge in a comparable way is the analysis of differential item functioning (DIF). In this chapter, we evaluate DIF coefficients in order to examine group-specific difficulties in reading comprehension for language-minority students and students with SEN in the German National Educational Assessment.

In the first study, we investigate the assessment of reading literacy of language-minority learners and German monolinguals from low-SES families. We found only a few items with moderate DIF and no items with large DIF. This indicates that the reading assessment was equally valid for second-language learners and German monolingual students.

In our second study, we report about the psychometrically successful development of easy and more accessible reading tasks for students with SEN. Further analyses showed that DIF predominantly occurred in items that captured contents that are not necessarily covered in literacy instruction targeted at students with SEN.

Details

Inclusive Principles and Practices in Literacy Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-590-0

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Article

Dan Wu, Daqing He and Bo Luo

This study aims to survey academic users in order to identify their needs and expectations about multilingual information processing when they interact with digital…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to survey academic users in order to identify their needs and expectations about multilingual information processing when they interact with digital libraries. The study specifically aims to determine the disparities in needs and expectations when users speak different languages.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was designed to fill in the gaps in the knowledge about academic users' multilingual needs and expectations for digital libraries. The survey questionnaire incorporates questions about different aspects of the participants' multilingual needs and expectations covering multilingual needs, the multilingual behavior, often‐used multilingual information resources, and desired functions for the multilingual services, retrieval and interfaces in digital libraries. The results are obtained through statistical analyses and clustering methods.

Findings

Overall, participants exhibited many multilingual needs during their academic activities. They often require multilingual information when they access academic databases or web information. Frequently, participants use online translation resources and tools, but they are not satisfied with the translation quality. Participants want many multilingual capabilities in digital libraries; they also want more sophisticated multilingual search interfaces. However, participants from different countries or who speak different languages show significant differences in their multilingual needs and expectations of digital libraries. This study's three user groups demonstrated clear differences in all aspects of multilinguality examined, as did the three latent groups identified through the clustering methods.

Originality/value

Few studies have examined the multilingual information process in digital libraries from the point of view of academic users. This study draws its inputs directly from real academic users from different countries and provides insights into multilinguality in digital libraries.

Details

The Electronic Library, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

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Article

Saeed Rezaei and Haniye Seyri

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the English for publication purpose practices of doctoral students in Iran. The overall objective was to explore their motives…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the English for publication purpose practices of doctoral students in Iran. The overall objective was to explore their motives, hurdles and strategies in academic writing.

Design/methodology/approach

This case study draws on a narrative inquiry to explore nine science and engineering doctoral students’ perceptions of academic publication. The data were analyzed through a hybrid process of inductive and deductive thematic analysis.

Findings

The qualitative results showed three dominant themes, namely: motives for publication, hurdles to publication and strategies for dealing with these challenges were extracted. The main sources of motives were students’ desire to publish their works for their graduation, improve their resume, satiate the universities’ evaluation system, and finally share their knowledge worldwide. Their hurdles included: political reasons, language-related problems, center-periphery priorities and the lack of academic writing instruction. In order to overcome these hurdles, the participants employed some strategies in academic writing.

Research limitations/implications

Due to qualitative nature of this study, only nine PhD students were recruited and therefore the research results are not intended to render generalizability. Besides, only narratives were employed to collect the required data. Future researchers can use surveys to collect more data.

Practical implications

The findings are discussed within English for academic purposes discourse and some recommendations are provided to alleviate the plights of non-native-English-speaking academic writers.

Originality/value

The methodology and the higher education context in which this paper was conducted are new to the literature.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

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Article

Satomi Ohnishi and Judith Helen Ford

The study aims to reveal how the students improved their academic presentation skills and the limitations to improvement with or without influences of students’ language

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to reveal how the students improved their academic presentation skills and the limitations to improvement with or without influences of students’ language backgrounds. Since the career paths of postgraduates have become more diverse in recent years, generic skills training is increasingly included in postgraduate programmes in addition to specific research training. However, PhD education generally adopts a traditional style, often relying on an individual supervisor without the inclusion of specific programmes to improve students’ generic skills. As academic presentation skills are crucial to research and are a generic skill that PhD students in science must acquire, we propose that existing student seminar programmes can be used effectively as an active training programme to improve these skills.

Design/methodology/approach

To design effective student seminars, we investigated how PhD students improved their academic presentation skills when opportunities to give regular seminars were provided and students were given detailed scores that measured performance in specific areas of presentation competency. We outline an extensive case study of 95 PhD students who presented at student seminars over a period of six years (2006-2011). Valid data of 73 students were collected, and data of 58 students were used for detailed analysis. Performance in three major factors important to presentation skills: structure, visuals and delivery, were scored for each seminar, and the scores underwent detailed statistical analysis.

Findings

Our key findings are that international students obtained better scores than Australian students for their first presentations while Australian students obtained a better score than international in for their second and the later presentations. The improvement of international students is slower than Australian students but occurs at a steadier pace. International students showed difficulty in improving answering questions.

Originality/value

This is the first time that a longitudinal study on PhD students’ development of academic presentation skills has been undertaken. Our results revealed how the students improved academic presentation skills and that the limitations to improvement depended on their language backgrounds. We discuss our findings from the viewpoint of student language backgrounds and the process of adaptation to academic culture.

Details

International Journal for Researcher Development, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2048-8696

Keywords

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