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Stigma, tensions, and apprehensions: the academic writing experience of international students

Stigma, tensions, and apprehensions: the academic writing experience of international students
Stigma, tensions, and apprehensions: the academic writing experience of international students
Purpose
– This paper examines the experiences of engaging with academic writing of international doctoral students in the schools of humanities and education at a UK university. The purpose of this paper is to uncover the real accounts of international students whose cultural and language backgrounds are often marginalised and considered, not as facilitators, but as barriers to academic writing in the western context of universities.

Design/methodology/approach
– Developed broadly within an interpretive post-positivistic paradigm, the study utilised Harré and van Lagenhove, 1999 Positioning theory and Goffman’s theory of Stigma to interrogate accounts of 12 students from the two schools in a year-long project involving three focus group discussions, questionnaire responses and personal reflective summaries by the students.

Findings
– The paper highlights the notions of stigma associated with their foreign writing conventions and how students experience tensions and apprehensions about their ability as they painfully negotiate the new academic writing conventions of the institution. International students position themselves as vulnerable outsiders working within an ill-defined but highly valued language environment.

Research limitations/implications
– The research is limited to the extent that it utilises a very small number of students as its key source of evidence. However, the study was not aimed at providing generalisation as much as it sought to explore issues associated with the use of language by international studying in UK universities.

Practical implications
– The study has practical implications for the professionals in HE to develop clear guidelines about what constitutes good English and to provide greater support to international students who see themselves as vulnerable outsiders in an environment which marginalises their linguistic and cultural identities.

Social implications
– The study has implications for the social, cultural, and academic integration of international students in HE institutions.


Originality/value

– The paper signals a need for diverse writing frameworks which seek to promote rather than silence and marginalise potentially rich sources of knowledge and understanding in an increasingly globalising world.
academic writing, language, stigma, tensions, apprehension, international students
0951-354X
609-626
Maringe, Felix
873a88f4-73a7-43b4-ab38-f88caf112bc4
Jenkins, Jennifer
7daf0457-86d0-4c08-af4b-79641d1f7fd0
Maringe, Felix
873a88f4-73a7-43b4-ab38-f88caf112bc4
Jenkins, Jennifer
7daf0457-86d0-4c08-af4b-79641d1f7fd0

Maringe, Felix and Jenkins, Jennifer (2015) Stigma, tensions, and apprehensions: the academic writing experience of international students. International Journal of Educational Management, 29 (5), 609-626. (doi:10.1108/IJEM-04-2014-0049).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Purpose
– This paper examines the experiences of engaging with academic writing of international doctoral students in the schools of humanities and education at a UK university. The purpose of this paper is to uncover the real accounts of international students whose cultural and language backgrounds are often marginalised and considered, not as facilitators, but as barriers to academic writing in the western context of universities.

Design/methodology/approach
– Developed broadly within an interpretive post-positivistic paradigm, the study utilised Harré and van Lagenhove, 1999 Positioning theory and Goffman’s theory of Stigma to interrogate accounts of 12 students from the two schools in a year-long project involving three focus group discussions, questionnaire responses and personal reflective summaries by the students.

Findings
– The paper highlights the notions of stigma associated with their foreign writing conventions and how students experience tensions and apprehensions about their ability as they painfully negotiate the new academic writing conventions of the institution. International students position themselves as vulnerable outsiders working within an ill-defined but highly valued language environment.

Research limitations/implications
– The research is limited to the extent that it utilises a very small number of students as its key source of evidence. However, the study was not aimed at providing generalisation as much as it sought to explore issues associated with the use of language by international studying in UK universities.

Practical implications
– The study has practical implications for the professionals in HE to develop clear guidelines about what constitutes good English and to provide greater support to international students who see themselves as vulnerable outsiders in an environment which marginalises their linguistic and cultural identities.

Social implications
– The study has implications for the social, cultural, and academic integration of international students in HE institutions.


Originality/value

– The paper signals a need for diverse writing frameworks which seek to promote rather than silence and marginalise potentially rich sources of knowledge and understanding in an increasingly globalising world.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 16 July 2014
Published date: 2015
Keywords: academic writing, language, stigma, tensions, apprehension, international students
Organisations: Modern Languages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 382881
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/382881
ISSN: 0951-354X
PURE UUID: cc267230-b825-45c6-a285-d2695dca86d0

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Oct 2015 10:34
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 21:01

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Contributors

Author: Felix Maringe

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