East Asian international graduate students (EAGS) report frustration and isolation while interacting with university instructors and American classmates. Not much attention has been paid to matriculated ESL students beyond the language classroom in spite of the growing expectation of all students for verbal classroom participation in content classrooms in U.S. higher education.
The purpose of this study is to explore the perceptions of EAGS's academic oral communication needs and verbal participation in U.S. graduate courses. The two-phase design approach is applied by surveying 139 EAGS and interviewing 15 EAGS at a large Midwestern research university.
The survey findings revealed that EAGS believe that raising questions and participating in whole-class discussions are the two most frequently expected oral tasks in graduate courses. EAGS were most concerned about leading class discussions and participating in whole-class discussions. EAGS considered listening comprehension and participation in whole-class discussions to be the most important skills for academic success, and pronunciation and note-taking, the least important.
Most EAGS in the two group interviews shared similar views with their university instructors and American classmates, associating active class participation with verbal participation. At the same time, some EAGS argued that remaining silent, but attentively listening is another way to actively engage in class. Some wanted to remain legitimately silent through peripheral participation, especially at the early stages of their academic life in the U.S.
EAGS in both the survey and group interviews reported the importance for all parties–content-area university instructors, domestic students, and international students–to be aware of linguistic and cultural diversity of EAGS and to share the communication burden in order to promote EAGS's verbal classroom participation in linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms.
Several important issues and specific pedagogical suggestions for English for Academic Purposes course planning and material development have emerged from the current study. These can help better prepare ESL students with oral communication skills that they need in order to succeed in university content classrooms. The present study also provides teaching strategies for all university instructors to create more inclusive classroom environments, where linguistic and cultural diversity of EAGS is appreciated.
|School:||The Ohio State University|
|Department:||Teaching and Learning|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||East asian students, English for academic purpose, Graduate education, International students, Silence, Verbal classroom participation|
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