EXAMINING THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXPERIENCE OF FOREIGN STUDENTS IN A MALAYSIAN PUBLIC UNIVERSITY
Universiti Sains Malaysia (MALAYSIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:There has been a great influx of international students to Malaysian shores since 2001. Initially these students came to pursue postgraduate degrees and later, many others came to take up undergraduate studies. In a way, their presence has changed the landscape of the English language classrooms in the country. Universities in the country started to offer new English language programmes to cater to these students' standard of English, their language needs and learning styles and preferences. The language practitioners, mostly trained in English as a Second Language curriculum, have to incorporate English as a Foreign Language curriculum to initiate them into the language environment at the university. This study examines the English language proficiency level of these students at the point of entry, the English language skills that they are weak in and strategies employed to help them overcome their weaknesses at a Malaysian public university. Data is obtained from 50 foreign students studying English before they commence their studies in their academic disciplines, tracing their progress from the pre-course test to their performance at the end of the course. The findings reveal a disparity between their oracy skills and their literacy, specifically writing, skills. The study concludes with recommendations for a conducive language learning environment for the benefit for both the students and the educational institution.
Keywords: International students, English language programmes, language proficiency, ESL, EFL, conducive environment.