Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Negotiating Socioacademic Space: The Lived Experience of International Second-Language Students in a Mainstream First-year Writing Course
by Siczek, Megan Margaret, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2014, 268; 3633219
Abstract (Summary)

This research study was situated in the policy context of the internationalization of higher education, motivated by the increased presence of culturally and linguistically diverse students in U.S. educational settings and elevated discourses related to student global engagement. It explored the lived experience of 10 second-language (L2) speaking international students enrolled in a mainstream required writing course at a private, urban university in Washington, DC. This study investigated how participants experienced and understood being a part of this required writing course, and more specifically how the thematic nature of the course mediated their experience. This research conceived of a classroom as a socioacademic space, a shared environment where course content and formal academic tasks are combined with mediated social interactions among members of the classroom community. It engaged a hermeneutic phenomenological research approach to tap into both the details of the lived experience and how it was made sense of by the participants who experienced it. Through a series of three interviews, at the beginning, middle, and end of the semester, participants revealed their sociocultural histories, the arc of the lived experience over time, and their reflection on the experience at the end of the semester.

Findings for this study were organized along four major themes: The context for mobility; Entering the first-year writing course: Hopeful but unsure; The negotiation of the FYW experience: Interactions; Reflection on the lived experience: You get what you put in. Findings highlighted the significance of interactions in socioacademic settings, as well as the strategic ways L2 students responded to both the classroom environment and the tasks it required. The course topic was also found to have a strong influence over participants' experiences, though writing clearly occupied more of their attention during the second half of the semester. The findings of this study add dimension to our understanding of this phenomenon; further develop the literature bases of the internationalization of higher education, second-language writing, and first-year writing; and have implications for future research, institutional arrangements and attitudes, and curricular and pedagogical approaches.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Casemore, Brian
Commitee: Engel, Laura, Knight, Melinda
School: The George Washington University
Department: Educational Administration and Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 76/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: English as a Second Language, Education Policy
Keywords: First-year writing, Global enagagement, Hermeneutic phenomenology, International students, Internationalization of higher education, Second-language writing
Publication Number: 3633219
ISBN: 9781321128499
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