SFU Library blog, BUEC Buzz, with colourful banner showing students

A current awareness resource for students & faculty members in Business & Economics

On profiling EAL students in university (more tips for BUS 441)

Published by Mark Bodnar

In my last post, I listed some resources to help this semester's BUS 441 students be effective in planning and measuring marketing campaigns conducted via WordPress sites, Facebook, and Google AdWords.  

That same class is focusing on a specific target market for their campaigns: EAL (English as an Additional Language) students in university, so I thought I'd add a post about resources to help understand the context of such students: the factors that might encourage or dissuade them from seeking assistance, and the barriers or challenges they encounter in doing so, as well as anything distinct and different about their social lives and their psychology that might be useful if one were trying to reach them with important messages.

Of course, EAL students are hardly a uniform bunch: They might be recent immigrants or long-time residents. They may or may not use social media and websites in English. They are likely as widely varying in personalities, communication styles, etc. as any other portion of the student body.  Nevertheless, they do have in common a need to navigate academia while not necessarily being perfectly fluent in either the common language or cultural expectations.  Let's see what we can learn about how them from published resources: 

1. I've had some good luck with books and ebooks found via the SFU Library Catalogue

a. Transcultural interaction and linguistic diversity in higher education : the student experience

"Increasing numbers of university students are travelling the globe in search of experiences and qualifications that will ensure their future in many different workplaces. In a world of linguistic diversity, what challenges do they meet, and what barriers, visible and invisible, do they have to overcome?"

b. Becoming a student : multilingual university students' identity construction in Simon Fraser University

Recent SFU PhD dissertation on the "... identity construction processes of multilingual undergraduate university students taking the Foundations of Academic Literacy (FAL) course..."

c. International students and scholars in the United States : coming from abroad 

The focus is on students in the USA, but many of the discussions about things like "Succeeding abroad" and "International students and diversity: challenges and opportunities" may be relevant to the Canadian/Vancouver context as well.

d. ESL readers and writers in higher education : understanding challenges, providing support (Print book: PE 1128 A2 E7687 2015   NEW BOOK SHELF)

"...this book is based on the assertion that language development support is not the sole responsibility of language teachers. Everyone on campuses that hosts ESL students bears some responsibility for these students' language development. Chapters are therefore, intentionally adapted to appeal to a wide variety of readers from classroom teachers, and teachers in training, to admissions officers, academic advisors, and international student advisors."

2. Over to articles, I tried CBCA Education,  PsycInfo and Education Source.  In all three databases I tried searches for terms such as: 

(eal OR "english as an additional language" OR esl OR "english as a second language") AND ((university OR college OR higher education OR postsecondary)) AND (student) AND (challenges OR barriers OR difficulties OR obstacles) AND (support OR help OR assistance).  (Also try terms such as "limited english-proficient students." or "international students")

Here are direct links to the rough searches I did in CBCA Education, in PsycInfo and in Education Source.

As with my book searches, I had to dig through some irrelevant material, but the effort is worth it. See below for a few samples of the resources I came across: 

I hope that helps!



Business & Economics Librarian

Burnaby & Surrey campuses