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ERIC Number: EJ879867
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0782
Re-Becoming ESL: Multilingual University Students and a Deficit Identity
Marshall, Steve
Language and Education, v24 n1 p41-56 Jan 2010
In this article, I analyze how a group of multilingual students at a university in British Columbia, Canada, go through the process of "re-becoming ESL" during their first year of university. I highlight a central contradiction. Despite bringing a diverse and rich range of languages and cultures to the university, multilingual students are regularly confronted with a deficit "remedial ESL" identity which positions their presence in the university as a problem to be fixed rather than an asset to be welcomed. This is an identity that brings back memories of "being ESL" at high school, something which many students think they have left behind on being accepted to university. However, before they can become a legitimate university student, many go through the process of re-becoming ESL, particularly when they find themselves on academic literacy courses that carry a deficit remedial ESL identity. I present data from a two-year mixed-method study of foundational academic literacy development (including data from surveys, semi-structured interviews, and samples of students' writing). I illustrate how students use languages, how students describe their identities, and how students perceive re-becoming ESL. (Contains 2 notes and 3 figures.)
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 - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada