Local International School Students: Identity and Language Learning Investments
Lee, Vashti Wai Yu
Subtirelu, Nicholas C
International schools often use English as the medium of instruction and include large student populations of expatriate children with parents in globally mobile professions, who decided that the local education would not be suitable for their family. However, student demographics of international schools have changed substantially in recent years to now include a growing number of local, non-globally mobile students who are socialized into a school culture that does not necessarily encourage nor share the local culture, associated values, and languages, while putting English forth as the main language of prestige. In this study, I conduct critical discourse analysis of written documents related to international schools in addition to individual interviews with local Hongkongers who attended international schools. I draw on Darvin and Norton’s (2015) model of investment and the notion of space and scalar processes (Blommaert, 2007) to show how colonial ideologies in international schools that reinforce the perceived superiority of English and the Anglophone world impact participants’ identity and language learning trajectories. I also demonstrate the long-lasting impact participants’ international school experiences have on their lives long after graduation. I conclude with suggestions for changes in international schools to transform the status quo.
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