An Exploration of a University Academic Bridge Program for English Language Learners
AuthorRandall, Steven James
KeywordsEnglish for Academic Purposes
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching
Committee ChairDupuy, Beatrice
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 23-Nov-2018
AbstractThis three-article dissertation explores the first year of a sheltered university bridge program (also commonly known as "pathway" programs-see Winkle, 2011) for ESL students at a large public university in the American southwest. "Sheltering" is the practice of offering "academic courses taught in the second language" where "native and non-native [...] students are not mixed in any one class" (Snow & Brinton, 1984, p. 8), a model commonly found in K-12 settings (Echevarria & Graves, 1998; Freeman, Freeman & Gonzalez, 1987; Weinhouse, 1986), though there are sheltered programs in university settings (see, for example, the University of Ottawa Program-Burger, Weinberg & Wesche, 2013). The labels "bridge" and "pathway" refer to pre-matriculation programs that "feature a hybrid of credit-bearing coursework and instruction in English language and academic skills" (Redden, 2010, para 1). Bridge and Pathway Program (BPP) curricula typically follow the adjunct model in which ESL courses are linked with mainstream, unsheltered university courses, with the ESL course providing support. The model in the current study follows the sheltered convention of ESL-only cohorts, but adds the adjunct convention of offering linked support. As international student interest in studying at U.S. universities has grown over recent decades (Open Doors Report, 2015), a subset of international students has emerged that may have lower-than-institutional-benchmark English proficiency for admission based on exams like the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. BPPs primarily serve this subset of students by offering non-testing curricular paths (linked ESL/university courses) to full matriculation that focus on "achievement, as opposed to proficiency alone" (Dooey, 2010, p. 185). One can expect that BPPS will continue to proliferate given that they bring in previously inadmissible international enrollees to add to the now essential revenue stream that international students represent for universities (Andrade, 2006; Marshall, 2005; Redden, 2010; 2014). This dissertation adds to a growing body of recent research (e.g. Dooey, 2010; Fiocco, 2006; Redden, 2010; 2014, Winkle, 2011) about these models. Article 1 (Appendix A): The Past, Present, and Future of Combined ESL/University Study Programs: From Ad Hoc ESL Interventions to Bridge and Pathway Programs. This article is both a critical literature review and "state-of-the-field" piece (Canagarajah, 2006) that situates the evolution of postsecondary ESL support historically. It explores how postsecondary ESL has gone from an ad hoc, situational endeavor focused on remediating language deficiencies to a multifaceted field of program offerings replete with varying curricular models and dedicated faculty and recruiting structures, a field that has evolved into current BPPs. Article 2 (Appendix B): Exploring Dynamics and Dimensions in Two Linked Adjunct/Content Courses in a Sheltered University Pathway Program for ESL Students: A Case Study. This case study considers the nuances of a sheltered university pathway program for ESL students in its first year of existence. It follows the research framework of an Unlu and Wharton (2015) study using grounded theory analysis. By reconciling classroom observations in two university general education courses (Introduction to Anthropology and US History) and their linked EAP courses (EAP Bridge to Anthropology and EAP Bridge to American History) with participant interviews, I explore the dynamics between students, content instructors, and EAP support instructors. I form a theory about the pedagogy constituted by (and constitutive of) participant actions and beliefs in the observed classes, and argue that the current program may uphold uncritical, remedial predispositions vis-à -vis EAP, as well as content instruction and learning. Finally, I discuss future considerations for this, and other, linked course programs couched in EAP literature. Article 3 (Appendix C): Team-Teaching in a First-Year Composition Course for ESL Students: A Participant-Observational Reflexive Account of One Sheltered University Pathway Context. This case study takes place in a first-year composition course in a sheltered university pathway program for ESL students. It focuses on a specific and complex essay assignment: the Text-in-Context essay (TICE). I consider the assignment parameters, primary and secondary texts offered for completion, interviews with students and instructors, field notes, notes from tutoring sessions, written student reflections, the assignments themselves, and a reflexive narration of my research experience to describe the milieu of the TICE. The description suggests a community of practice (Wenger, 2002) in which a team-teaching approach helps to facilitate the completion of a complex analytical task, while also fostering the growth of the ESL students as academic writers.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching