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ERIC Number: EJ824641
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0790
Language and Anxiety: An Ethnographic Study of International Postgraduate Students
Brown, Lorraine
Evaluation and Research in Education, v21 n2 p75-95 2008
This paper presents some findings from an ethnographic study of international postgraduate students at a university in the South of England, which involved interviews and participant observation over a 12-month academic year. One of the major themes that emerged from this research was students' anxiety over their level of English language. Although all students entered their course with a minimum level of IELTS 6, the majority felt disadvantaged by particularly poor spoken English, and suffered feelings of anxiety, shame and inferiority. Low self-confidence meant that they felt ill equipped to engage in class discussion and in social interaction which used English as the medium of communication. A common reaction to stress caused by language problems was to retreat into monoethnic communication with students from the same country, further inhibiting progress in language. Whilst some linguistic progress was made by nearly all students during the academic sojourn, the anxiety suffered by students in the initial stage must not be underestimated, and appropriate support systems must be put in place to alleviate their distress.
Multilingual Matters. 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: United Kingdom (England)