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ERIC Number: EJ888716
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 44
ISSN: ISSN-0729-4360
Graduating as a "Native Speaker": International Students and English Language Proficiency in Higher Education
Benzie, Helen Joy
Higher Education Research and Development, v29 n4 p447-459 Aug 2010
The current concern about low levels of English proficiency among international students who graduate from degree courses--that students' English language skills are not being developed during their higher education experience--reflects negatively on the quality of Australian higher education and its graduates. More careful selection of students and increased use of English language testing are among the solutions put forward. These debates over English language proficiency tend to construct English language as a skill that can be applied in any context and "native-speaker"-levels of language ability as essential for employment. Within such a formulation international students can only ever be defined as in deficit. Drawing on socio-cultural theories of language learning and academic literacy, alternative understandings of language proficiency in internationalized higher education are explored. Improved communication skills among graduates are likely to be achieved through a better understanding of issues beyond classroom instruction, such as barriers to social integration with native-speakers, which reveal many international students unable to access adequate levels of language experience. Without wider perspectives on the debate over English language proficiency in higher education, the many benefits of having international students in higher education institutions are obscured by negative attitudes and unrealistic expectations.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia