First-Year Students’ EFL Reading Difficulties at a Greek Merchant Marine Academy: An Activity Theory Perspective

  •  Emmanouela Seiradakis    


This paper explores how the transition from secondary to tertiary education influences Greek marine engineering students’ EFL reading behaviors and strategies from an activity-theory perspective. Data were gathered through individual semi-structured interviews with four first-year students who struggled with reading texts in English. Findings suggest that these students experience difficulties in reading lengthy discipline-specific texts such as technical manuals due to the fact they still use the same EFL reading strategies and have the same expectations they had before entering tertiary education. From an activity theory perspective, these students’ difficulties are associated with two distinct EFL reading activity systems which have diverse goals, tools, values, and division of labour. The first system is placed within the wider Greek foreign language education context these students belonged in high school. The second, involves the system that emerged after they entered the Merchant Marine Academy as tertiary education students. These two EFL reading systems clash and create obstacles in their discipline-specific reading which in turn slows down their disciplinary socialization in the marine engineering community.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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