Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Higher Education

First Advisor's Name

Janice Sandiford

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Patricia Killian

Third Advisor's Name

Lorriane Gay

Date of Defense



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 (L1) 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 L1 education, especially in terms of content, as they cope with the demands of these content classes. 2. In some areas L1 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.





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