Making the Transition From an Intensive English Program to Mainstream University Courses. An Ethnographic Study

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With the globalization of English and the exponential growth in the number of foreign students enrolled in American universities and intensive English programs, understanding the processes that foreign students go through as they make the transition from intensive English program to mainstream university classes becomes extremely important.

This study is the first one to use a holistic, ethnographic approach to see the transition process from the perspective of the students themselves, over an extended period of time, as the transition is in the process of occurring. It examines the experiences of six foreign students studying in an American university as they made the transition from an Intensive English Program (IEP) into mainstream classes at a medium-sized Midwestern university. Using ethnographic methodological means, the study provides a holistic examination of the transition process as that transition occurred over an extended period of time.


“[This book] is a groundbreaking work, both in the scope of its research and in its methodology. This book presents the first full-scale longitudinal investigation of the articulation of students from intensive English study to full academic work at a US university. As important as Case's work is to our understanding of this transitional process, of equal value is the fact that he presents the field with, literally, an exemplary piece of scholarship. The study offers us a well-developed and sophisticated model for the type of qualitative research that can help advance our knowledge in many areas of second language acquisition and second language teaching…..Case's study clearly demonstrates the need for and benefits of extended ethnographic explorations in second language teaching and acquisition research. One hopes that other scholars will follow his example and carry out equally thorough and thoughtful longitudinal studies in our field.” – (From the Commendatory Preface) Christopher M. Ely, Ball State University

Table of Contents

Preface by Christopher M. Ely
1. An Overview of the Study
2. Articulation Studies
3. Methodology
4. Case Studies of Six Former IEP Students
• Samory
• Mari
• Romulo
• Fernanda
• Lyn
• Ayla
5. Discussion of the Findings
6. Summary of the Research, Suggestions for Intensive English Programs and Recommendations for Further Research

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