Critical English for Academic Purposes: Theory, Politics, and Practice

By Sarah Benesch | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
Building Community With Diversity: A Linked EAP/Anthropology Course

Distinguishing immigrant and international students as separate populations is a way to highlight differences between permanent residents who study in their adopted countries and temporary residents who earn degrees and return to their home countries. Awareness of possible disparities in the goals and backgrounds of the two populations has led to an increase in research on immigrant students who receive less attention than international students (Bosher & Rowenkamp, 1998; Harklau, Losey, & Siegal, 1999). However, the research reveals the difficulty of this type of sorting. One obstacle is that the multiple identities of students in both groups defy neat categorization. For example, Harklau, Losey, and Siegal (1999) find that immigrant students in the United States begin their schooling at different levels—elementary, junior high, or high school. Some may be highly educated on arrival; others have experienced interrupted schooling in their native countries. Their families come from various class backgrounds. Some have strong literacy skills in L1 and others do not. Their literacy skills in English also vary.

Nor are international students a uniform group. As Leki (1992) points out, some plan to get degrees and return home, while others seek permission to get an education abroad as a way to emigrate. Another distinction is that those from privileged backgrounds may be seeking an interesting adventure by studying abroad, yet those from more disadvantaged backgrounds may be pursuing economic opportunities not available at home.

Despite these findings, pointing to the complicated and overlapping identities of all non-native speaking students, resident status continues to be used as a means of classification in many U. S. colleges. An unanticipated effect of this sorting is that it has bolstered efforts to segregate immigrant

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