English-only policy in an Australian ELICOS setting: perspectives of English students, teachers and academic management
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 11:40 authored by Yulia Kharchenko
Beliefs in the advantages of target language-only instruction in English language teaching are widespread and often result in an English-only policy (EOP) in educational settings. Such policies rarely take into account the perspectives of all stakeholders. Situated within the critical and transformative paradigm, the study explored the perceptions of the EOP and its impact on students and teachers in an Australian English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) college. The mixed-methods study collected data using a student survey, group interviews with teachers, and a written response from academic managers in order to compare different perspectives. Quantitative and qualitative data analysis revealed an overall positive perception of the policy and its impact on English learning, mainly based on the beliefs about increased communication opportunities in the language. The realities of day-to-day EOP implementation, however, included negative psychological impact on some students and increased demands on teachers, sometimes leading to confusion as to their professional role. Research also revealed the limitations of framing a linguistic strategy as a policy, including the potential for conflict between the academic staff and the students. The study provides a foundation for future language policy decisions in the given setting and can be of interest to the wider ELICOS sector, particularly with regards to issues of language regulation. It contributes to the growing research on multilingual pedagogy and first language use in English teaching and learning, while drawing attention to the rights and needs of international students in Australia.