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ERIC Number: EJ975115
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jun
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1072-4303
Authentic Cultural and Linguistic Learning through Practicum in a Nursing Home
Andrew, Martin
TESL-EJ, v16 n1 Jun 2012
This study investigates the value of community experience for mediating linguistic practice and cultural learning. Learners of English as an Additional Language (EAL), both immigrants and international students, frequently report difficulties in practicing English outside the classroom (Wright, 2006). Grounded in poststructuralist social identity theory (Norton, 2000, 2009), social constructivism (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998) and imbued by insights into language socialization (Duff, 2007; Duff & Hornberger, 2008), this project identifies what students gain linguistically, culturally, and ontologically from prolonged interaction within a nursing home (known as a "rest home" in New Zealand). Four Chinese women who had undertaken a 10-hour community placement as part of a B.A. program in Auckland were asked to live on-site as caregivers. This project uses students' reflective diaries and transcripts of a focus group interview to address key questions about how the context of the rest home and the experience of volunteering impact actuating communicative practice into social learning. I conclude that authentic practice allowed the four women to apply linguistic strategies taught in the classroom, observe aspects of culture firsthand, report on language used in the homes and for what purposes, and realise they could "make a difference."
TESL-EJ. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand