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ERIC Number: EJ822463
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1470-8477
Changing Identities: Intercultural Dimensions in Scottish Educational Contexts
McMillan, Kathleen
Language and Intercultural Communication, v8 n2 p119-135 May 2008
Students enter higher education with multiple identities that reflect their social, ethnic and cultural origins. Students from minority ethnic groups (as opposed to "new immigrant" or international students) straddle more than one cultural and language setting. This paper reports a Scottish study which suggests that, as university students, both dominant and minority ethnic groups encounter similar challenges in the acquisition of academic literacies. However, it appears that for some resident bilingual minority ethnic group students the development of these literacies is closely related to their English language learning experience and, consequently, this may be a factor in the adoption of surface rather than deep approaches to learning at university level. Although the students in this study identified their own strengths in oral expression of their knowledge and understanding, they lamented their weaknesses in reading comprehension as well as in writing in academic genres. The research underpinning this study indicates that several factors could account for these weaknesses including limited specialist language teaching for resident bilingual pupils and lack of training of mainstream teachers in the primary sector in the language development needs of these pupils. Later in the educational journey through school and into university, a similar failure to identify the need to help resident bilingual learners to advance from their personal "language plateaux" as a step in the development of their cognitive academic language proficiency inhibits potential growth. The paper suggests that a holistic approach to the acquisition of academic literacies across the school and university for students of all ethnicities would enhance opportunities for all who aspire to study in higher education.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Scotland)