Challenging the "Non-Native English Speaker" Identity in U.S. Higher Education: A Case of International Graduate Students
The present study is grounded in the theoretical understanding of U.S. graduate- level classes as a community of practice and the poststructuralist understanding of language use and identity. In this study, I use a questionnaire and semi- structured interviews to explore how graduate students—both native and non- native English-speaking—perceive their own and others’ participation in class discussions. Also, with a focus on their identity negotiated during their class interactions, I examine possible unequal power relations in graduate classrooms. The results showed that the native students had negative attitudes toward non-native students’ participation, most participants felt that unequal power relations exist in classroom communities, and some non-native students felt marginalized in the classroom. Lastly, some suggestions are presented to bring about equal positioning and harmony in graduate classroom communities.