Stereotypes of Some ESL Students

By Published On: April 7th, 2016

Pupils who are clearly distinct from their teachers due to their race, religion, indigenous language, etc. are particularly subject to stereotyping as teachers attempt to handle the numerous opinions they obtain of all their pupils. While the demand/ability to produce a framework to prepare our perceptions of the others is a human characteristic, if this sort of categorization turns into stereotyping, it can damage people by denying them academic, work, and social options.

Our problem here is when teachers hold stereotyped views of ESL students. One teacher of ours addresses the problem of ESL teachers making unwarranted generalizations, finding some proof this does happen. An additional query for study is what goes on with ESL students after our classrooms are left by them and they enter mainstream schooling. Are they subject to generalizations created by educators in other fields? What kinds of views do other types of instructors have about their ESL students? Are these views ones which may hinder the students’ instruction?

In order to find out whether or not any instructors stereotype nonnative English-speaking pupils, the research worker interviewed twenty-one professors at the School of Business Administration at a big college within the U.S. Southwest. Because they’re not especially trained in language training, and because within a college setting pupils take a lot more programs in topic areas rather than courses in English composition, business professors were targeted by the researcher. Therefore, the reactions of instructors in fields other than ESL are extremely important for the educational achievement of pupils.

The research worker requested the professors answer three questions:

  • What are a few character qualities of good students?
  • What character qualities do poor students have?
  • What are the character qualities of foreign students?

What Makes a Student Good?
The research worker asked professors, “What are some character qualities of good students?”

Within the initial team, responses clustered around work ethic (hardworking, dependable, responsible, etc.), motivation (self-stimulating, interested inside the area, etc.), intellectual interest (willing to request questions, wants to discover, etc.), and inclination (friendly, mature, respectful, honest, etc). Intelligence was just cited by two professors, while these kinds of features were mentioned often. Generally professors don’t think that natural intelligence is the sole crucial, and even the most significant crucial, to educational achievement. Being a great pupil means having a favorable approach. The behavioral characteristics (comes to class, sits inside the front, punctual, takes notes, etc.) are constructive habits anybody can practice. In all, great pupils seem to be self-made, not only created. The features of great pupils are types which entail creating a selection to do and embracing routines which more that aim.

What Makes a Student Poor?
The replies to the query, “what are some character qualities of poor students?” follow the same classes as the issue regarding great students. (In reality, two professors just said “reverse of the great types.”) Psychological states clustered around absence of work ethic (idle, reckless), lack of intrinsic motivation (disinterested, not careful, more interested in making points than learning, inability to find out something above the letter grade), lack of intellectual interest (indifferent, does not need to learn, etc.), and inclination (dishonest, sneaky, free-riding, inferior approach, whiny, etc.). Behavioral characteristics contained such products as not coming to class, pushing things off, not turning in assignments, “partying,” and sitting in the back of the class. Once again, these characteristics are under the handle of the pupils. A choice is implyed by them not to triumph, not some constitutional inability to do great work.

Stereotypes of International Students
Unlike the concerns about poor students and great students, which professors replied easily, the query concerning features of foreign students obtained some resistance, which typically doesn’t happen with an English course in Las Vegas. Actually, four of the professors declined to answer this question in any way. The most frequent reply was a secure one, some variation on the reality that international pupils have problems with the English language (problem comprehending everything you say, accents may be hard to comprehend, they have to filter the materials through “Texan” into English as well as their particular language, etc.)

Nevertheless, proof of stereotyping did come. The first group of responses clustered around work ethic (hardworking, organized, high standards, Asians are quite dedicated) or the absence thereof (desire to defeat the program, work the angle, crafty, understand ways around issues, some join forces more than they should – they cheat off one another). Individual professors tended to keep one opinion or another about international students when it comes to work ethic. That is, some professors responded only with the good values, and the others responded only with the damaging values, suggesting that teachers hold stable beliefs concerning the work ethic of international students. Therefore, some professors grouped foreign pupils with great students while they were grouped by others with poor students. The apparent risk is that professors who think that international students generally are idle and sneaky will project that picture onto pupils regardless of proof to the contrary. Williams (1971) discovered that pupil teachers tended to judge minority children in accordance with their stereotypes of the minorities; they did they weren’t judged by them their real performance. It’s possible that college instructors who have stereotypes of global students can do the same. Another possible risk is that teachers will often fault international students who aren’t as hardworking as the professors believe they ought to be. Professors may establish the standard so large that students who work difficult (but not heroically) cannot fulfill it. The pupils will obtain less favorable evaluations then are unsuccessful, and consequently.

The 2nd element of the psychological state, disposition, demonstrated a consensus among many of the New Jersey ESL instructors that the stereotypical foreign pupil is introverted and retiring. Particular descriptions contained bashful, silent, serious, less vocal, non-argumentative, considerate, careful, and have a lack of confidence. While professors certainly see some of these features absolutely (who would maybe not want polite students?), there appears to be a risk that professors view international students as a timorous mass rather of as persons, some of which are introverts and some of which extroverts with strong opinions. While being introverted was not expressly mentioned in the interviews as a characteristic of poor students, Vollmer (2000) notes that American teachers respect character traits that have emerged as more “American,” namely being intense and outgoing. Lalonde, Lee, and Gardner (1987) also discovered significant effects that teachers equated sociability, extroversion, and self assurance with great students. Therefore, professors who think that nonnative speakers of English are tranquil and without self-confidence could also believe that these pupils are inferior. Additionally, several professors actively support and reward class participation, and they could be regarded as being less involved in class regardless of the real quantity of pupil engagement, if international pupils are prejudged to be less vocal. Certainly, an absence of self-confidence was one of the stereotypes that Williams (1971) found to change teachers’ perceptions of pupils.

The 3rd element of psychological state mentioned from the college professors was motivation. Business professors thought that international students are more inspired and possess a larger obligation to research than American students. At first look this appears to be considered a favorable view of international students; nevertheless, a number of the professors elaborated on the causes behind students’ determination, and these elaborations showed a judgment that the inspiration was only external. One instructor found a correlation between foreign students’ dedication to their being required to go to school full-time. Another professor said that international students’ inspiration is the concern that if they don’t perform well at college, they will need to go back to their nation of origin. To put it another way, while there is some agreement that foreign pupils are inspired, not all professors think that the determination is inner. Some think that the inspiration comes more from college rules or anxiety.

Good class attendance was included by behavioral traits, doing as the professor states, and dealing with other pupils (both from their own nations) to aid from other nations and each other discover. Similar to the behavioral characteristics listed for great pupils, these behaviors are examples of constructive methods. Quite simply, they are approaches any pupil could adopt to attain educational success.

While definitely not the foundation for generalizations on professors’ views of international students, a number of the idiosyncratic responses would be probably the most fascinating. For example, one professor said that international students are the underdog. Another professor, maybe obtaining the stereotype of the mathematically talented Asian, said that international students are great quantitatively. another said that while at other colleges, international pupils are accountable, hardworking, and more committed, at the college where the professor now taught, foreign students lacked regard for teachers and were belligerent. Clearly, professors form views of the pupils and occasionally very astringent ones.

This research shows that the stereotyping of ESL pupils is really a problem in the college field. Some professors think poorly about some ESL students, while the others believe the contrary that international students are tough working. Many professors think that international pupils are disposed to be reserved and silent, and several also see them as extremely motivated (although that determination is seen as being exterior by some and inner by others). Professors also think that international students frequently adopt good behaviours that assist them in their school careers. These views show that professors hold both negative and positive stereotypes of people who don’t have English as their first language.

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