Cultural, Linguistic, and Academic Adaptation: An Ethnographic Study of Teenage Chinese EAL Students in a UK Independent School

Su, Chunwen. 2022. Cultural, Linguistic, and Academic Adaptation: An Ethnographic Study of Teenage Chinese EAL Students in a UK Independent School. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis tells the story of four teenage Chinese EAL students’ learning journey in an independent school in London. The purpose of this study was to understand, in depth, the issues of cultural, linguistic and academic adaptation they faced as the teenage Chinese EAL students and find out how these students were supported to meet linguistic, cultural and academic challenges in their learning journey. Ethnography was adopted as the methodology in this study because it is an ideal educational tool that enables learners to describe aspects of their cultural lives, feelings, beliefs, needs and actions. This study shows that although the participants had positive expectations of UK education and considered it an alternative route to success before coming to the UK, they encountered significant challenges such as failing to form friendships with local students, encountering gaps in modes of learning, and having difficulties in studying their core subjects, as well as other issues due to cultural, linguistic and academic factors. EAL lessons were arranged by the school with the aim to improve students’ English proficiency. However, participants were concerned that the EAL classes did not correspond with international students’ linguistic needs. The teenage Chinese EAL students’ experiences of intercultural adaptation provide independent schools with significant insights into the linguistic difficulties, cultural differences, and different learning pedagogies that these students would encounter in their transition to the UK education system. The study suggests that intercultural communication and understanding should be enhanced through further development of linguistic and cultural awareness to help teachers develop a better understanding of students’ cultural differences, previous educational experiences, and their learning styles to better support young international students in their academic transition. International students especially teenagers should be given more cultural, linguistic and academic preparation and support before and after the journey begins.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00031509

Keywords:

Chinese EAL Students, Teenage Chinese Students, Cultural, Linguistic and Academic Adaptation, Intercultural Communication and Adaptation

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies

Date:

31 January 2022

Item ID:

31509

Date Deposited:

22 Feb 2022 14:52

Last Modified:

22 Feb 2022 15:04

URI:

https://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/31509

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