Addressing the diverse English language needs of multilingual university students

An evaluation of a pilot program (PELE)
Addressing the diverse English language needs of multilingual university students

Presented by:  Mira Kim, School of Humanities and Languages, Arts and Social Sciences

Multilingual university students for whom English is an additional language (EAL) now make up a large proportion of the total student cohort at universities in English speaking countries or where English is the medium of instruction. Such high level study in English poses challenges for many EAL students. While many universities offer a range of support services, in most cases these do not yet sufficiently address students’ diverse language needs (Arkoudis, 2015). In response to this issue, a new program called Personalised English Language Enhancement (PELE) has been piloted and evaluated at UNSW (based on Kim, 2014). The program aims to encourage undergraduate and postgraduate university EAL students to enhance their language skills holistically by equipping them with a reflective framework that encourages autonomous learning, use of technology, teamwork and peer presentation.

This paper firstly presents an overview of the PELE program, and then outlines a research study evaluating the pilot program’s effectiveness. Taking a mixed-methods approach, data collection included student entry and exit surveys, focus groups and reflective written e-portfolios students produced as the main assessment task. Findings of the study show how the program impacted on students’ linguistic confidence and self-efficacy, as well as their language development and autonomous learning skills. Results of this study will be relevant to anyone who seek to support EAL students in the on-going development of their language skills.



Arkoudis, S. (2015, April 20). More international students should mean more support for communication and interaction. The Conversation. Retrieved from:

Kim, M. (2014) ‘Action Research on Advanced Bilingual Enhancement in Translator Education’, in K. Kunz, E. Teich, S. Hansen-Schirra, S. Neumann and P. Daut (eds), Caught in the Middle – Language Use and Translation, Saarbrucken: Saarland University Press, pp. 195-213.

22nd Feb 2017, 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Room 1025, Level 10, Library (stage 2,  entrance near the IT service centre)

Staff Only: Event open only to UNSW Staff
Louise Templeton