Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Helen Elizabeth Bowstead

Abstract


This article is part personal narrative, part exploration of alienation. By tracing my own journey, I have been able to identify, both on a personal and a professional level, the effects (real or perceived) exclusion from a given discourse community may have. I have looked at the ways in which even one's own language can be experienced as 'foreign' and how this can affect self esteem. I have reflected on my own experiences as I return to the UK (and in particular higher education) after more than a decade abroad, and by recording the thoughts and feelings of students and subject tutors as they engage with academic tasks, I have gained an insight into what lies behind the student disengagement I encounter on a daily basis. Drawing on my own research and the work of Sarah Mann, I conclude that a more creative approach, both to the processes of teaching and assessment and models of student support in HE is needed if we are to close the gap between the 'insiders' and the 'outsiders' of the academic community and to allow an increasingly diverse student population to find their voice.

Keywords


alienation, engagement, academic discourse

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ISSN: 1759-667X