The Multicultural Cafe : the perceived impacts of volunteering in a service learning platform from the perspectives of adult learners of English as a second or additional language
This qualitative study explores the perceived impacts of volunteering in a service learning platform from the perspective of immigrants, who are also adult learners of English as an Additional Language (EAL), or English as a Second Language (ESL). This study recognizes that the goal of learning English for immigrants is to be able to converse, connect, and contribute as a valued community member. The hegemonic practice of sequestering newcomers and immigrants into language training classes can
... urther their linguistic and social isolation and marginalization by restricting their access to authentically engage with English speakers in their community. This study investigates how adult immigrant English Language Learners (ELLs) invested in a service learning experience of volunteering for a small non-profit food service business at a local community college can facilitate a connection to the community whereby increasing perceived language skills and confidence. For this study, 10 adult immigrants who speak ESL or EAL participated. The data was collected from a questionnaire, an individual interview, and a focus group. The results revealed three themes pertaining to the social, personal, and transformational realms of learning. The social realm aligned with a sociocultural perspective in which social and cultural capital, bridging and bonding capital, communities of practice, and communities of contribution are highlighted. The personal realm reveals the significance of the affective-emotional aspects of language learning alongside agency and positive identity construction. Finally, this study reveals a connection between service learning and transformational learning. The overall conclusion of this study determines that service learning can be a meaningful endeavour for adult immigrants because it has the potential to transform marginalized voices into valued voices as they connect and contribute community.