Linda Yost

Their silence set them apart: A study of international students in a mainstream composition class

Linda Yost

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2007; pp: 285
  • Advisor: Weiser, Irwin and Silva, Tony
  • Source: DAI-A 69/04
  • Subjects: Rhetoric (0681), Language Arts (0279)
  • ProQuest Document Number: 304837545
  • ISBN: 9780549564546
  • UMI Number: 3307526

Abstract:

Many universities mainstream Non-native English speakers (NNSs) into freshman writing courses. These courses, created for native speakers of English (NESs), can cause fear and anguish in NNSs who often struggle to write papers, especially research papers. Research on NNSs in mainstream writing classes shows that many are silent, non-participatory, and tend not to interact with NES peers. Researchers disagree on their placement in basic, mainstream, and sheltered writing classes. Few studies examine what happens to mainstreamed NNSs. Fewer focus on face-to-face interactions among NNSs, NESs, and their teacher in a mainstream class. This microethnography, designed to fill this gap, describes what happened to NNSs from Taiwan and Thailand who were mainstreamed into a second-semester freshman writing course at a small midwestern university. One goal of this study was to determine when and where interactions among NNSs, NESs, and their teacher occurred. Another was to compare research papers written by NNSs and NESs in a small collaborative group to determine what influence the contexts in the classroom, small group, and teacher’s office had on the content of their papers. The two NNSs, silent during class discussions, talked to two NES peers in a small group. Relationships developed among them. The NNSs interacted most often with the teacher in her office. They seemed to find interacting in the contexts in the small group and teacher’s office easier than in the context of a whole class discussion. Analysis of their research papers confirms the influence of contexts and suggests a relationship between the content of their conversations and the content of their papers.