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Oral Academic Discourse Socialisation

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  • 1. Oral academic discourse socialisation: Challenges faced by international undergraduate students in Universiti Sains Malaysia 1 DR. OMER HASSAN ALI MAHFOODH omer@usm.my U S M , M A L AY S I A Full article can be downloaded at http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/ies/article/view/30651 ICLALIS 2013 22-24 October 2013 Promenade Hotel, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
  • 2. 2  Countries in the Asia Pacific region have witnessed a remarkable and significant development through implementing effective plans for reform and restructuring in higher education (Kaur & Sidhu, 2009).  China, Malaysia, and India are developing strategies to attract students and to export educational programs and institutions (Altbach & Knight, 2007: 294).
  • 3. 3  International students in Malaysian higher education institutions  It is expected that the international students in Malaysian institutions of higher education will reach 200,000 in 2020 (Mahmud et al., 2010; Yusoff & Chelliah, 2010).  Students entering academic institutions have different amounts and kinds of prior experience with academic discourse.
  • 4. 4  At the undergraduate level, international students in most Malaysian universities are required to complete several activities to complete the programmes they joined. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Final examinations Tests Quizzes Assignments and Oral academic presentations
  • 5. 5  Academic discourse  forms of oral and written language and communication (genres, registers, graphics, linguistic structures, interactional patterns) that are privileged, expected, cultivated, conventionalized, or ritualized, and, therefore, usually evaluated by instructors, institutions, editors, and others in educational and professional contexts.  “discourse socialization places more emphasis on social processes, (2010:171). negotiation, and interaction” Duff
  • 6. 6  The successful performance in oral activities carried out by international students should not only judged based on students’ language proficiency.  The students’ understanding of rules and specific behaviours valued by each discipline and each institutional context should be taken into account.
  • 7. 7  Morita (2000)  Kobayashi (2003)  Zappa-Hollman (2007)
  • 8. 8  Taking into account the growing population of linguistically and culturally diverse students in Malaysian colleges and universities, understanding how these students participate in their new academic communities has become critical.  “Although the number of international students on campuses continues to increase; only a limited number of recently published studies have examined this topic in Malaysia” (Yusoff, 2012:3).
  • 9. My study 9 students’ perspectives about their participation in oral activities in university content courses.  International  The challenges faced by a group of international undergraduate students in the process socialisation of oral academic discourse. of
  • 10. 10  A qualitative approaches  Their contribution to a greater understanding of perceptions, attitudes and processes.  have been adopted lately by many L2 researchers because  place greater emphasis on contexts and interpretations of social practice (e.g., Davis, 1995; Johnson, 1992).  can provide in-depth and holistic understanding of the lived experience of undergraduate students (Duff, 2012).
  • 11. Participants 11 Participants 1 Jane Age 27 Nationality Nigeria 2 Izzy 20 Nigeria 3 Rilla 21 Iran 4 Zoe 21 China 5 Berit 22 Korea 6 Akilah 20 Thailand
  • 12. 12  Data collected employing 1. interviews, 2. observations and 3. documents collection
  • 13. RESULTS 13 content-related difficulties linguistic difficulties presentation skills difficulties
  • 14. 1. Linguistic difficulties 14  Linguistic difficulties constrained the students 1. to express complex concepts and ideas while engaged in oral academic presentations. 2. Students were not able to provide accurate and well-structured responses when they were asked.  Zoe: It is difficult for me ... new words... many things to do... so I have to check the dictionary frequently.
  • 15. 15  Thus, linguistic difficulties played a major role in the students’ socialisation of oral academic discourse.  They can be attributed: 1. students’ educational background 2. previous experience in doing oral academic presentation  As a result of this, these international students struggled to be active members in the new academic discourse community.
  • 16. 2. Presentation skills difficulties 16  How to prepare PowerPoint slides and  How to organise the content of the presentation  Researcher: Before joining this programme, did you have experience in doing oral presentations?  Jane: No, ... In Nigeria no. It is just when I came here I learnt to use PowerPoint. We never use PowerPoint for presentations in my country ... it may be used there but very few in all years of one programme.
  • 17. 3. Content-related difficulties 17  Getting content related to some of the topics  The students refer to websites more than books.  Researcher: In the process of preparing for your presentations, do you refer to books? Is it difficult to find content?  Rilla: I try to refer to books but sometime we cannot find books... So I refer to websites and the notes lecturers give to us.
  • 18. Conclusions 18  The oral academic socialisation is a complex process which is considered to be internal and interpersonal struggle for many people, especially for newcomers or novices.  This study confirms that oral academic discourse socialization is socially, cognitively, and discursively complex.
  • 19. Conclusions (cont.) 19  Lecturers and tutors in the context of the study can help the students overcome these difficulties through  Providing the students with some guidelines on how to tackle oral academic presentations.  Tailoring the tasks of oral academic presentations to suit the needs and the abilities of their students.
  • 20. Conclusions (cont.) 20  Understanding of the importance of structuring the tasks of oral academic presentations is essential to support the students in finding the appropriate content and materials for oral presentations.  Providing other forums for discussion such as group work or group projects.  Understanding strategies the students employ to overcome the challenges. This can help lecturers and tutors to provide suitable scaffolding and support to the students.
  • 21. 21 THANK YOU