This paper focuses on my experience as an English as an Additional Language (EAL) student in the context of multiple emigrations and investigates the formation of my identity as an EAL science student, science Education researcher, and science teacher. The study was guided by both my innate curiosity and the research question that sought to explore which factors significantly affected my journey of developing my English language and science knowledge based on my experience as an EAL student. The second and third authors acted as critical friends to provide a layer of reliability to the study. Within the autoethnography methodology (Ellis et al., 2011), I used Bourdieu’s cultural capital to frame the thematic analysis (Bourdieu, 1986). In this paper, we show how the range of factors that affected my journey of developing my English language and science knowledge can be ascribed to Bourdieu’s cultural capital and we posit how support can be provided to future EAL students based on this.


EAL, LBOTE, auto-ethnography, pedagogy, science teaching, cultural capital, Bourdieu, teaching strategies, learning strategies

Author Bio(s)

Primani Fernando is a PhD student at Monash University and secondary school teacher who is currently carrying out research on how EAL students can be supported in science. Please direct correspondence to primani.fernando@monash.edu.

Dr. Maria Gindidis is a Senior Lecturer in teacher education at Monash University. Her research interests include School Leadership, Community languages, Brain-based Teaching and Learning and is currently researching linguistically and culturally diverse intergenerational programs and marginalised principals in diverse community settings. Please direct correspondence to maria.gindidis@monash.edu.

Dr. Rebecca Cooper is a Senior Lecturer in science teacher education at Monash University. Her research interests include improving the quality of science teaching to increase student engagement and working with teachers on promoting values in their science teaching in an effort to better understand the development of scientific literacy with students. Please direct correspondence to rebecca.cooper@monash.edu.

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