NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1107382
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0729-4360
Complaints and Troubles Talk about the English Language Skills of International Students in Australian Universities
Haugh, Michael
Higher Education Research and Development, v35 n4 p727-740 2016
International students have continued to be the focus of simplistic stereotyping in media discourse where they are frequently identified as one of the forces behind declining academic standards in Australian universities. Their English language skills, in particular, have continued to be the focus of debate both in the mainstream media and in higher education research and policy. It is argued in this paper, however, that such debates do not sufficiently acknowledge the moral and affective complexity of the so-called "English problem" amongst international students in Australian universities. Drawing from an analysis of small group interviews with international students, domestic students and university staff, the beliefs and experiences of various parties about the English language skills of international students are examined. A key finding from this analysis is that the English language skills of international students, and their concomitant interactions with others, can be the object of both complaints and troubles talk. These complaints or troubles can be either ratified or resisted by those participants. The difficulties international students may experience in using English thus have complex moral and affective consequences. The way in which the so-called English problem in Australian universities is generally couched as one of objective, measurable deficiency on the part of international students arguably neglects the moral and affective complexity of the difficulties facing international students. This neglect leads, in turn, to an impoverished understanding of the English language capabilities of international students.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Brazil; Chile; China; India; Iran; Japan; Russia; South Korea; Taiwan; Thailand
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A