Year

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Education

Abstract

This thesis explores the nature of situated language learning; in particular, how learners of English participate in English speaking communities during an international study experience. It addresses a number of research questions to understand how one group of international students interacts with community members and the impact of their culture and identity on it, namely: How do Saudi Arabian international students participate in an overseas English study context? What opportunities are there for Saudi Arabian international students to interact and participate in English language communities of practice? To what extent are they taken up? What sociocultural factors influence the participation of Saudi Arabian international students?

The study was motivated by the desire to understand how learners negotiate their culture and identity to learn a second language whilst participating in a community of its speakers. Such a task is undertaken by international students studying in English speaking countries in order to improve their language skills, obtain higher degrees, and enjoy positive study experiences. Research indicates that English language development might not be occurring sufficiently for such students due to their lack of interaction with members of the local community. As such, this study is concerned with the opportunities that second language learners have to practise speaking the target language and the factors that influence their take-up.

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