Entering an academic discourse community: A case study of the coping strategies of eleven English as a Second Language students

Cheryl Benz, Florida International University

Abstract

This case study follows eleven non-English speaking students as they adapt to community college, content courses. The three classes examined are required freshman classes--Humanities, Social Environment, and Individual in Transition. In order to cope with the demands of these classes, students must penetrate the academic discourse community and have effective relationships with their instructors and their peers. The results of the study are based on interviews with eleven non-native speaking (NNS) students and their instructors and on an analysis of student writing assignments, course syllabi, and exams. Three general areas are examined: (a) students' first-language (L$\sb1$) education, (b) the requirements of their content classes, and (c) the affective factors which influence their adaptation process.^ The case of these students reveals that: (1) Students draw on their L$\sb1$ education, especially in terms of content, as they cope with the demands of these content classes. (2) In some areas L$\sb1$ educational experiences interfere with students' ability to adapt. (3) The content classes require students to have well developed reading, writing, oral, and aural skills. (4) Students must use higher level cognitive skills to be successful in content classes. (5) Affective factors play a role in students' success in content classes. The discussion section includes possible implications of this data for college level English as a Second Language courses. ^

Subject Area

Education, Community College|Education, Bilingual and Multicultural

Recommended Citation

Cheryl Benz, "Entering an academic discourse community: A case study of the coping strategies of eleven English as a Second Language students" (January 1, 1996). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. Paper AAI9700487.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI9700487

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