ERIC Number: ED333731
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Transitioning from Community College ESL: An Ethnographic Perspective.
Kelley, Eileen; Sweet, Diane
A study investigated factors affecting participation, engagement, and retention of non-native English-speaking students (NNSs) in community college mainstream classes. The student sample included three classes in developmental English at a small western Massachusetts community college. Data were drawn from taped classroom observations and student and teacher interviews. Analysis focused on classroom interaction and interpersonal negotiation critical to learning but often difficult for a NNS in the college mainstream. Preliminary results indicate that NNSs are, in general, much less willing to speak aloud, share assignments aloud, or respond to teacher questions, even though they know the correct answer or have homework completed. Teachers questioned the competence of NNSs, but limited opportunities for NNS success by enforcing implicit norms of classroom participation. Teacher expectations, including negative perceptions and interactional norms unfamiliar or unknown to the student, were also found to be influential in the teacher-student relationship. Student responses to teacher attitudes include withdrawal and defensiveness. The participation and success of students in one class suggest that certain teacher behaviors played an important role, including use of multicultural course content, high expectations that were well communicated, and teaching class norms at the outset. Additional patterns emerged through the ethnographic technique of triangulation. (MSE)
Descriptors: Academic Persistence, Classroom Communication, Community Colleges, Developmental Studies Programs, English (Second Language), Ethnography, Interaction, Limited English Speaking, Mainstreaming, Second Language Instruction, Student Attitudes, Teacher Student Relationship, Two Year Colleges
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (25th, New York, NY, March 1991).