Being on the Periphery: Graduate English for Academic Purposes Students’ Lived Experience of Language Socialization

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Neufeld, Tim
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Mount Saint Vincent University
This thesis describes an investigation of international master’s students’ early stages of language socialization in an EAP bridging program. The study primarily addressed perspectives of membership within the bridging program community. Characteristics of language socialization within an online asynchronous discussion forum were also identified. These concepts were addressed through the collection and discourse analysis of discussion forum transcripts, stimulated recalls, and interviews. Multiple data sources were utilized to form a more holistic perspective and highlight participant interactions. The findings revealed that participants perceived themselves as members but only peripherally, highlighting the marginalized position of international students. Barriers of linguistic, social, and cultural inaccessibility contributed to participants’ collective status as edge members, prompting further reliance on connections with other international students. Within the forums, participants were engaged in co-construction and peer socialization through strategic positioning and posting efforts, blurring the traditional roles of novice and expert. The findings have implications for EAP classrooms and institutional changes within universities through intentional and structured peer interaction.