Document Type : Research Paper
Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Much has been written on funding for ESOL, but little is known about how ESOL learners use language as a tool to integrate into British society. This study seeks to understand the extent to which studying 'ESOL for citizenship course' help learners integrate into British society, the difficulties they encounter, and what ESOL professionals can do to mitigate them. Data was collected through focus group interviews and initial analysis was done using Nvivo software. Three theoretical frameworks were applied: Baker’s (2011); Ward and Kennedy’s (1999); and Dai and Chen’s (2014). The findings revealed that although ESOL learners nursed initial stereotypical views about British culture before arrival, their perceptions significantly improved after arrival. Despite these positive perceptions, they were resistant to assimilate and the gap between home and host cultures remained wide. Findings also unveil that the underlying objective of learning the language was predominantly instrumental. That is, they wanted to learn English as a means of getting a better job or advancing their studies in the UK, than to integrate. Some implications for practice in the ESOL context were identified.