Mapping participation in situated language learning
Research on the international student experience in Australia has highlighted the challenges that international students face when obtaining tertiary qualifications in an Australian university [AEI. (2012). Student voices: Enhancing the experience of international students in Australia. Canberra, Australia: Australian Education International]. Specifically, international students are reported to have difficulties achieving their stated goals of making connections, forming friendships and improving their oral English language skills during their sojourn [AEI. (2013). International student survey 2012 overview report. Canberra, Australia: Australian Education International; Yates, L., & Wahid, R. (2013). Challenges to Brand Australia: International students and the problem with speaking. Higher Education Research & Development, 32(6), 1037-1050]. This paper investigates the interactions of five male Saudi Arabian international students in the local English-speaking community and considers how they participate in it. Diary records and interview conversations are used to examine the nature and extent of participation, drawing on the linguistic concept of register or analysis of situation. The findings indicate that quality interactions for the purpose of language learning are derived from casual conversations and those without pre-defined social roles which afford opportunities for identity negotiation and interactional benefits.
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