Re-becoming ESL: multilingual university students and a deficit identity

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Author: Marshall, Steve


In this article, I analyze how a group of multilingual students at a university in British Columbia, Canada, go through the process of re-becoming [English as a second language] ESL during their first year of university. I highlight a central contradiction. Despite bringing a diverse and rich range of languages and cultures to the university, multilingual students are regularly confronted with a deficit ‘remedial ESL’ identity which positions their presence in the university as a problem to be fixed rather than an asset to be welcomed. This is an identity that brings back memories of...  [+] Show more

Subjects: Literacy; Culture and society; Language; Higher education; Research; Teaching and learning

Keywords: Research project; Perception; Education and training needs

Geographic subjects: North America; Canada

Published: London, England: Routledge, Taylor & Francis, 2010

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Journal title: Language and education

Journal volume: 24

Journal number: 1

Journal date: January 2010

Pages: pp. 41-56

ISSN: 0950-0782, 1747-7581 (online)

Statement of responsibility: Steve Marshall

Resource type: Article

Peer reviewed: Yes

Call number: TD/TNC 99.284

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