Open Access Repository

Training and transitions : the lived experiences of adult learners of English as a second (or other) language


Downloads per month over past year

Reszke, SM 2011 , 'Training and transitions : the lived experiences of adult learners of English as a second (or other) language', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

[img] PDF (Whole thesis)
Suzanne_Reszke_...pdf | Download (1MB)
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


This study endeavoured to explore and examine the lived experience of adults learning and using English as a second language within the context of an international charitable and humanitarian organization, and the significance of this for English language teaching pedagogy. The study has at its foundation principles of hermeneutic phenomenology and as such sought to understand what these experiences were like for the respondents.
Two clusters of participants contributed responses in different formats from different contexts within the international organization. At level one the 16 participants were working in multicultural teams with an international charitable and humanitarian organization in various locations around the world and contributed one off written responses to guiding questions. The 18 respondents at level two were studying English at an organizational training college in order to fulfil requirements for a standardised level of English proficiency, and took part in semi-structured interviews. Data analysis and interpretation utilised a combination of grounded theory and thematic analysis methods so as to discern themes arising from the data.
Findings from the study suggest that significant personal transformation is possible when adults learn English in a country and culture other than their own. Attitudes and approaches to English language learning undergo change as adults endeavour to participate in the target language community. Intercultural awareness and an increased understanding of the host culture develop as adults relate to those from other cultures in the new context. In their everyday routine experiences, English language learners and users experience changes to the self, particularly growth in self confidence and a sense of empowerment.
The changes brought about by the ESL experience also necessitate negotiation within existing relationships as families deal with separation from family members and establish routines in the host culture. The role of English within the family also requires ongoing negotiation as contexts change. The role of the English language teacher can be regarded as crucial both in affecting good language learning experiences but also in facilitating learning that is transformative.
Within the international organization experiences of learning and using English have a temporal nature that is context dependent. For non-native speakers within the organization the role of English develops as proficiency develops however, fulfilling roles of additional responsibility creates additional pressure from the expectations both of the English language users themselves and from others.
The findings suggest that the participants in this study were motivated to learn English by a sense of vocation that also assisted them to maintain their English language learning and to persist in using English to fulfil their vocation through working with the international organization.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Reszke, SM
Keywords: hermeneutic phenomenology, lived experience, TESOL pedagogy, transformation, ESL
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2011 the author

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page