The primary goal of this study is to review the experience of English language to non-English speaking freshmen students. Therefore, the theoretical framework guiding this study will examine the challenges non-English speaking freshmen face both in and out of their classrooms. English is considered to be the most extended language in the world. This has been acknowledged for several decades, and people around the world are familiar with the language.
Review of Related Research
English is the most common language in the United States, and it is used in most if not all schools in the United States. For the non- English speaking freshmen, their expectation to comprehend class content quickly usually face obstacles due to their language barrier (Aud, Susan, et al 2014). In most cases, these students are unable to communicate effectively when compared to English-speaking students. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education, English Language Learners are more than 9% of the student population in the U.S as of the year 2011-2012(Aud, Susan, et al 2014). This means an estimated 4.1 million students need language support services so that they can be able to achieve academically.
The study used the observational method, where English Language students were tested for the language proficiency using a battery of assessments. The National Assessment shows a disparity between English Language Learners and English-speaking peers. The English natives were found to outperform English Language Learners in different subjects. The inability to communicate effectively was said to inhibit English Language Learners from maintaining relationships with English native peers (Aud, Susan, et al 2014). The study recommends that it is important to use the best practices for testing and assessing non-English speaking students in order to help them achieve their actual potential. They also recommended for use of a standardized method for assessing English language proficiency for the English Language Learning students.
In Taiwan, different researches were carried to explore English students and teachers views regarding Freshman English courses (Chien, Ching-ning 2014). Taiwan University carried on a study to determine the similarities and differences in perceptions between professors and students about students English needs. A survey was distributed to non-English majors and their professors to illuminate their perceptions. The study used questionnaires, which were sent to English teachers, teachers in other study fields, alumni and freshman students.
The findings showed that out of 18 sample programs emphasized on reading skills. This objective did not match the desires of teachers and freshmen in other fields, who insisted that listening and speaking was the top two priorities. However, emphasis on reading skills matched well with opinions expressed by the alumni and English teachers. Teachers involve in this study used cooperative learning techniques. They allowed the students to be involved and take the responsibility of their own instead of using traditional lecture-style technique (Chien, Ching-ning 2014). Observing the gaps between students' perspectives and teachers views it is evident that in Taiwan University English programs often failed to satisfy the expectations of the students. It is, therefore, important to merge the aspects of these two groups.
In a survey of the National Cheng-chi University students, 25% of the polled students were expected to take reading classes, 64% conversational classes, and 32% writing classes
This shows that a gap in the curricular goal, were set for improving reading skills, and at the same time help in meeting the expectations of the students, which were aimed to improve speaking and listening abilities(Li, 2011)Tung University, Kuo established that both English students and teachers thought that the primary aim of Freshman English programs was to help students in improving their listening and speaking skills.
In a study by the College Board in New York, the role of language factors as determinants of Hispanics' educational progress was investigated (Duran, et al. 1985). They explored various background factors such as the extent of exposure to English and Spanish, proficiency in the languages and the frequency of use, to measure college aptitude for the selected sample of Hispanic freshmen. They analyzed data such as a test of standard written English, responses from questionnaires given to the students, SAT-mathematical sub scores, and SAT-verbal. The questionnaires were filled voluntarily by non-English students, seeking to join college. During 1982 and 1983, all the Hispanic freshmen from 17 colleges were sampled (Duran, et al. 6). These institutions were not randomly sampled, but selected with expectations that these institutions might produce at least 100 participants. A total of 1048 students received language questionnaires and offered $20 as an incentive for completing and mailing the questionnaire back. A total of 755 students filled and returned the questionnaires.
The study found the Hispanic freshmen differed from the non-Hispanic freshmen concerning language characteristics and social, economic background. They also found that the Hispanic students showed greater higher education inspirations when compared to their non-Hispanic counterparts. They were optimistic and eager to learn English and compete with their peers.
English is considered to be the most extended language in the world and it has been adopted in almost all the countries in the world. The language is commonly used by foreign companies whose branches are in most of the countries whose cultures are distinct. With this knowledge, the Effat University administrators have offered English as a course because they would like their students to fit in the international job market. In Arab countries, penetration of English faced a lot of challenges in the past, but universities have started offering the course to students from the first year of entry, exposing to international standards. The Effat University, for instance, is one of the universities in Arabic region that has fully incorporated English language into the academic system to an extent of using it as the official language.
In conclusion, the findings of all these studies show that most students in the universities are expected to improve their speaking, listening and writing skills in freshman English courses.
There are many improvements required though, to make the researches complete, for instance, there were some biases in the research by the College Board in New York. The selection of the sample size was supposed to be random. In this way, they could have avoided sample selection biases. Although the previous researchers have provided valuable information about the importance of English language to university students, only a few have tried to address the experience of English language to non-English-speaking freshmen students. Therefore, their findings may need some improvement.
Aud, Susan, et al.(2014). The condition of education 2013. Government Printing Office, 2013.Chien, Ching-ning (2014). "Common Attributes of Outstanding College EFL Teachers Teaching." Journal of Language Teaching and Research 5.2: 437-445.
Duran, Richard P., Mary K. Enright, and Donald A. Rock (1985). "Language factors and Hispanic freshmen's student profile." ETS Research Report Series:i-60.
BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 Li, C.-N. C. (2011). Needs - based Analyses of Freshman English Courses in a Taiwan University . International Journal of Humanities and Social Science , 221-229.
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