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

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Permanent URL for this page: http://hdl.voced.edu.au/10707/25429.


Author: Marshall, Steve

Abstract:

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 being ESL at high school, something which many students think they have left behind on being accepted to university. However, before they can become a legitimate university student, many go through the process of re-becoming ESL, particularly when they find themselves on academic literacy courses that carry a deficit remedial ESL identity. I present data from a two-year mixed-method study of foundational academic literacy development (including data from surveys, semi-structured interviews, and samples of students’ writing). I illustrate how students use languages, how students describe their identities, and how students perceive re-becoming ESL.

Published abstract reprinted by permission of the copyright owner.

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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

Access item:
Publisher or alternative source

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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