White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo


Macdonald, Sheila (2013) ESOL IN THE UK: A CRITICAL FEMINIST ANALYSIS. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

Download (5Mb)


This thesis examines the provision of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) for immigrant adults in early 21st century Britain from a critical feminist perspective to gain insight into the process of learning English through adult education in the lives of women with bi/multilingual children. Few studies in this field focus on gender as a central social category within a multi-dimensional analysis. This research in south east England from 2010 to 2012 involved twenty participants from a variety of ethnic and linguistic backgrounds whose insights into their migration and learning journeys, family relationships and local communities are contextualised and set alongside a critical discourse analysis of selected political and policy texts. These are examined for overt and subtle forms of discrimination which may exert a detrimental material and symbolic effect on women’s lives and learning, primarily those which enter the local and domestic sphere in matters of community cohesion and family language practices. This study challenges discourses which view English as a commodity to be acquired, immigrants as reluctant to learn English or linear progression routes to qualifications based on low expectations as appropriate. Research participants are committed to a multilingual future for their families and develop complex strategies to support their languages. A key finding is that emotional, internal transitions are at least as significant in their perception of themselves as successful language learners, mothers and immigrant citizens as are material resources and conditions. External life experiences and personal relationships are integrally linked to linguistic confidence and self esteem and although ESOL provision is vital it is currently constructed on a social deficit model which does not fully meet participant’s learning needs. For many other women, there are considerable legal, financial and childcare barriers

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Keywords: ESOL; feminist; critical discourse analysis; migration
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.574075
Depositing User: Dr Sheila Macdonald
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2013 10:38
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 10:39
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/4028

You do not need to contact us to get a copy of this thesis. Please use the 'Download' link(s) above to get a copy.
You can contact us about this thesis. If you need to make a general enquiry, please see the Contact us page.

Actions (repository staff only: login required)