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The Perception and Viability of English Corner on the American Campus

Description: International students are often under considerable pressure from language barriers, culture shock, social isolation and lack of social support in American universities. Those stressors often discourage international students as ESL learners from practicing English with native students on campus. Based on Krashen & Terrell’s subconscious acquisition and conscious learning hypothesis, Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development , Cummins’ Basic Interpersonal Communication System (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP), Horwitz’s language anxiety and Oxford’s indirect learning strategies , this study explores how international students and American students, respectively, perceive English Corner and whether English Corner could be an applicable out-of-class learning environment for international students to practice English and socialize with American students on American campuses. English Corner refers to regular meetings that English learners in Mainland China voluntarily organize in public places to practice spoken English. A survey was conducted on language learning strategies, socialization, acculturation, autonomy and English Corner among international students and native students at the University of North Texas. The questionnaires were adapted from Oxford and Nyikos’ study as to what variables affect choice of language learning strategies, Iheanacho’s study as to how international students use the Morris Library at the University of Delaware and their perception of library services and programs, and Battle’s study as to how information literacy instruction affects library anxiety among international students. The findings of this study may help American universities realize the importance of English Corner as one optimal intervention program for international students and American students. The support for English Corner may help international students improve their English learning, alleviate their language anxiety and create more opportunities for international students and native students to socialize with each other.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Hu, Jiaying
Partner: UNT Libraries