After 10 or 12 years of learning English as a second language (ESL) in state government schools, most Indian Tamil ESL students' English proficiency was inadequate to meet the demands of higher education (Gargesh, 2006; “To English,” 2004) or employment (Sankary, 2009; Thiyagarajan, 2008). The current phenomenological study used interviews to explore the lived experiences of 20 adult Indian Tamil ESL students in undergraduate programs and identify reasons for the poor English proficiency to inform educational leadership. Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of perception (1958) and Heidegger's concept of hermeneutic interpretation (1962) were adopted in data analysis. After triangulation of data from the pilot study, main study, and focus group, 12 major themes were identified, nine of which were similar to previous literature and three were different. The 12 themes were: Difficulty understanding lectures and texts in English, benefits of repeated target language exposure (TLE), early ESL introduction not supported by other factors, participants' socioeconomic background restricting TLE, parents and participants' positive attitudes toward English, lack of influence of first language (L1) proficiency on second language (L2) proficiency, positive influence of intrinsic motivation, schools' socioeconomic status limiting TLE, culture-sensitive ESL curriculum rendered futile, ineffective ESL teaching methods, unsupportive teacher attitudes, and participants' recommendations for improving ESL teaching. Four themes relating to participants' socioeconomic background, school status, ineffective teaching, and unhelpful teacher attitudes could be cited as likely reasons for study population's poor English proficiency. The themes gave rise to six theories, recommendations for educational leaders, and the OPEN SESAME model for elementary school ESL teaching.
|School:||University of Phoenix|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||English as a Second Language, Educational leadership, Curriculum development, South Asian Studies|
|Keywords:||English as a second language, India, Tertiary institutions|
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