Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Education

Supervisor

Mi Song Kim

Abstract

An increasing amount of attention has been drawn to international students’ academic development in the context of studying abroad; however, few studies shed light on students’ studying and lived experiences outside of school. This thesis explores how technology can enhance Chinese international students’ informal acquisition of second language (L2) and their lived experiences in Canada. Through a qualitative case study, I describe what language difficulties newly arrived Chinese international students encounter, and how they cope with those language difficulties through technology-assisted informal L2 learning. Data sources include in-depth interviews and follow-up interviews, participants’ personal narratives, and researchers’ reflective journals. Theories of multiliteracies, basic interpersonal communicative skills and cognitive academic language proficiency distinction, as well as a communicative competence framework have been adopted as the theoretical frameworks for data analysis. The findings show that newly arrived Chinese international students’ major language difficulties includes lack of non-academic vocabulary, lack of understanding of sociocultural differences, and unfamiliarity with informal context embedded phrases. To overcome these language difficulties, they creatively design informal L2 learning experiences through the combinational use of technology tools. The results have significant implications for newly arrived Chinese international students’ informal L2 learning.


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