Volume 22, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0957-6851
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9838
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In New Zealand, Bachelor of Nursing (BN) programmes have in recent years attracted large cohorts of students with English as an additional language (EAL). The authors, a lecturer on the BN and a learning development advisor, observed many students successfully achieving both the BN qualification and nursing registration status. Nevertheless the prevailing discourse around EAL students within this programme, elsewhere at the institution and to some extent in the literature seem to be a deficit model in which lacks, gaps, problems and barriers, especially in communication, often have received more attention than acquired skills. This paper reports on a semi-structured retrospective interview-based study which explored the strategies and factors which in their own views helped 8 BN graduates to develop spoken language. We found that the interaction of socio-cultural learning with personal agency and a proactive approach to learning in academic and workplace contexts seem to have helped these graduates successfully develop communication skills. We argue that positively-focused initiatives for staff and students on both socio-cultural and individual contributions to oral communication development could help other EAL students succeed.


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