AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Learning to be students again : second language socialization of graduate students in a Canadian university

by Mi-Young Kim

Institution: University of British Columbia
Department: Language and Literacy Education
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Record ID: 2059664
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/52852


This study reports on multiple qualitative case studies of five non-native English speaking (NNES) graduate students majoring in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) in an English-medium university in Canada. The students' academic discourse socialization experiences and the ways in which they negotiated and constructed their identities in this new context are highlighted as they navigate their first academic year in a graduate program in an English speaking context, as former teachers from an English as a foreign language context. Adopting a second language socialization framework (Duff, 2003, 2007; Duff & Talmy, 2011), this study employs longitudinal qualitative data, mainly participant interviews, journals, and writing samples, to examine the challenges and variability of these students’ language socialization processes. Findings demonstrate non-conformity, contestation, and partial and multiple community memberships with progress as well as setbacks, thus revealing the complexity of the processes and outcomes of language socialization. As the students worked to reconceptualize and negotiate multiple voices and identities, their language socialization processes were largely impacted by their prior learning and professional experiences as well as by their future trajectories (Gale, 1994; Hirvela & Belcher, 2001; Shen, 1989). Findings also suggest that, along with institutional and program support, students' willingness to negotiate and invest in their new communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991) accelerated their (perceived) progress in learning as well as their academic socialization. The study suggests that NNESs, by perceiving themselves as individuals with unique needs, ideologies, and goals, can be better equipped to see themselves as multicompetent, legitimate, and full members of their graduate studies community, rather than language-deficient peripheral members (Cook, 2005; Pavlenko, 2003). The study enhances our understanding of the necessity to redefine and recognize the diverse needs, expectations, and ideologies of a growing number of international students who increasingly compose a significant portion of the student body in North American academia and the field of TESL.