Learning in a different language : a multiple case study of Chinese graduate students' classroom experiences at University of Victoria




Shi, Zihan

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The purpose of this study is to illuminate and richly describe five Chinese graduate students' learning experiences in subject area classrooms in a Canadian university. Using a case study qualitative inquiry approach, the researcher conducted five individual interviews, one focus group interview and five follow-up interviews on five Chinese graduate students in the Spring 2007. The findings of the current study indicate that the participants encountered difficulty when they were learning in a Canadian university in a second language environment but also they enjoyed support at the same time. Different strategies that Chinese students employed to deal with the course work were reported. The findings also indicate that instructors played a major role in their learning process. When the instructors valued students' input and selected topics where Chinese students could contribute, students were eager to participate in classroom activities. Discussions and implications are included for both teachers and students in the field of second language learning and teaching and for university administration. In the Canadian classroom there is a need to address professional development to prepare the instructors in understanding learning experiences of second language learners.



Second language, Foreign speakers