A review of peer interaction and second language learning for ELL students in academic contexts
This review explores the relationship between language proficiency and ELL (English Language Learners) students’ experiences in higher education contexts, with specific reference to the role of conversational peer interaction. The two major concerns that guide this review are the academic challenges faced by students from an ELL background in relation to conversational interaction, and the impact of conversational language proficiency on their overall academic experience. Findings suggest that insufficient language proficiency results in several challenges for ELL students, most notably the inability to share their expertise and knowledge with their peers, and participate successfully in classroom oral discussions. In addition, however, the literature suggests that language proficiency has a strong impact on the overall experiences of students and on their abilities to navigate the social structures of the academic community and to establish their own identity.
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