Making space for us: German graduate student voices in English

Erling, Elizabeth J. and Bartlett, Tom (2008). Making space for us: German graduate student voices in English. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 2(2) pp. 174–188.



This paper presents a study which incorporates the voices of graduate students in English and North American Studies programmes at a German university as they reflect on how they have learned to negotiate between established academic writing conventions and expressing who they are. We find that students foresee several opportunities to write in English in their professional and personal lives and they also employ several strategies to use the language to their own end. But many of these students lack a feeling of 'belonging' within the academic community and so believe that they cannot develop an authoritative or authentic 'voice' within the university context. In response to this finding, we suggest appropriate teaching practices for advanced second-language writers in English which draw on students' existing experience, expectations and hopes to help them to assert their voices in English and negotiate their demands for the language.

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