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ERIC Number: EJ1230903
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0826-435X
Challenging Deficit Constructions of the International Student Category in Canadian Higher Education
Surtees, Victoria
TESL Canada Journal, v36 n1 p48-70 2019
The trend toward internationalization on Canadian campuses has been simultaneously lauded as an opportunity for promoting campus diversity and criticized for creating a campus environment that is segregated along linguistic and ethnic lines. As a result of these tensions, students labelled as "international" have become the focus of increasing amounts of media attention. In this article, drawing on interviews with undergraduate students (n = 13) from one postsecondary Canadian institution, I examine how the seemingly neutral labels applied to diverse students, such as the category "international," operate in talk to reproduce deficit understandings of these students, particularly in regard to their English language abilities. I then provide evidence that students also construct more positive representations of international students through references to their experiences of migration and their expertise interacting with speakers of different Englishes. I offer the notion of "language brokers" as a helpful conceptual lens for interpreting this categorization and for reflecting on the contributions that international students make to Canadian higher education.
TESL Canada Federation. 408-4370 Dominion Street, Burnaby, BC V5G 4L7, Canada. Tel: 604-298-0312; Fax: 604-298-0372; e-mail:; 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: Canada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A