Category building of international students as language learners in two secondary schools

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    This paper reports on a small scale study of category building
    in the context of English language learning. The data for the current
    study is derived from the interviews with two students, one from China
    and the other from Mongolia, in two schools in Melbourne. The study
    uses Membership Categorization Analysis to give an account of identity
    by examining how categories of English language learner emerge and
    shift during the course of the interviews. The categories established by the
    participants in the two interviews were constructed around different
    attributes belonging to the category of international student. These
    emerged as a series of categorical binaries including international
    student and local student, language competence and language deficit,
    mainstream English and English as an Additional Language (EAL),
    and home country and Australia. As the participants took part in the
    interview, they moved towards accounts that integrated multiple
    viewpoints resulting in dynamically shifting categorisations. Through
    these categories, it was also possible to show how students were invited to
    display their learning and knowledge of English, and to give accounts of
    their English language development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7-28
    Number of pages22
    JournalTESOL in Context
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


    • Membership categorisation analysis
    • Identity
    • English language learning
    • International students

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