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Jackie Tagg, PhD Candidate

From the student’s Perspective: Non-English Speaking Background (NESB) students moving from an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) bridging program into mainstream university study and the relevance for their academic success.

Abstract

The University of Otago Language Centre offers an EAP (English for Academic Purposes) bridging program called ‘English for Otago’ designed specifically for NESB (Non-English Speaking Background) students who wish to enter mainstream academic studies at the University of Otago. The course content covers a variety of academic skills considered necessary for NESB students to succeed in their academic studies within a New Zealand tertiary arena.

The aim of this research is to look at NESB students’ perceptions of the English for Otago bridging program course content in relation to their first year academic studies at Otago University, to find out which aspects of the course students find most useful and how they make sense of the academic skills they have learnt. There will be two phases for data gathering. Phase 1 will involve data gathering from research participants whilst they are enrolled in the English for Otago course. Phase 2 will follow the same research participants through to their first year of academic studies at the University of Otago.
It is hoped that this research will inform educators’ understanding of NESB tertiary students’ experiences of teaching and learning at the University of Otago and facilitate improved learning outcomes for students in the university bridging courses and mainstream academic programs. On a community level International students are important for both Dunedin and the University Of Otago. Quality programmes that are responsive to international students’ needs, therefore, are an extremely important factor when these students are choosing their study destination.

Supervisors

Assoc Prof Jacques van der Meer (Primary supervisor)
Dr Ruth Gasson (Secondary supervisor - retired)