Western Kentucky University

Poster Title

Outcomes of a Speech & Language Pilot Program for International Students

Institution

Western Kentucky University

Abstract

Universities in the United States, including those in Kentucky, host a substantial number of international students every academic year. Western Kentucky University alone hosts over 1,000 international students each year. These students often face a number of challenges upon arrival in the United States, especially when it comes to language and cultural differences. A considerable body of research strongly indicates that international students’ educational performance and outcomes are significantly impacted by the learners’ cultural identities, psychological and sociocultural experiences, and attitudes in relation to English-speaking societies. Many international students attribute academic and social difficulties to a lack of proficiency in the English language and unfamiliarity with the local culture. To address these concerns, a five-day English language skills seminar was conducted for a group of international students, focusing on pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, social language, and acculturation. According to pre- and post-assessment and survey results, the seminar was very effective in improving both the students’ speech and language skills and cultural awareness, as well as increasing learners’ confidence needed to interact with English-speaking peers. These results highlight the need for quality language and cultural education programs for international students in order for them to be more successful while studying abroad.

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Outcomes of a Speech & Language Pilot Program for International Students

Universities in the United States, including those in Kentucky, host a substantial number of international students every academic year. Western Kentucky University alone hosts over 1,000 international students each year. These students often face a number of challenges upon arrival in the United States, especially when it comes to language and cultural differences. A considerable body of research strongly indicates that international students’ educational performance and outcomes are significantly impacted by the learners’ cultural identities, psychological and sociocultural experiences, and attitudes in relation to English-speaking societies. Many international students attribute academic and social difficulties to a lack of proficiency in the English language and unfamiliarity with the local culture. To address these concerns, a five-day English language skills seminar was conducted for a group of international students, focusing on pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, social language, and acculturation. According to pre- and post-assessment and survey results, the seminar was very effective in improving both the students’ speech and language skills and cultural awareness, as well as increasing learners’ confidence needed to interact with English-speaking peers. These results highlight the need for quality language and cultural education programs for international students in order for them to be more successful while studying abroad.