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Title: Teacher and pupil beliefs about beginning to learn Chinese language in English secondary schools
Author: Yang, Juan
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2015
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This study investigated the beliefs of beginner learners of Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) and also their teachers‘ beliefs, about the difficulties presented by Chinese learning and teaching, and how learners overcame the difficulties they encountered. The study compared beliefs of teachers and pupils who had different levels of experience in the context of English secondary schools. The relationship between beliefs and an individual‘s background and experience was also explored. The study was situated in a pragmatic paradigm, using a mixed method, including both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. 443 pupils and 42 teachers in over a dozen schools responded to a Likert-scale questionnaire. 68 pupils (34 individuals and 13 groups) and 13 teachers in seven schools shared their views in interviews. Many interesting findings were revealed in this study. Surprisingly, pupils thought tones and characters were ―tricky‖ to learn, but not impossible, whereas teachers thought pupils did not pay attention to tones and underestimated the difficulty of learning characters. Teachers tended to support communicative language teaching (CLT) orientations but showed somewhat inconsistent patterns between their beliefs about CLT and their teaching approaches. The learning of writing rules were concerns of teachers and pupils, indicating they believed there was some value in non-communicative learning orientation. Pupils also showed their enthusiasm for learning character, and overwhelmingly believed that, in order to make good progress in Chinese learning, they should put effort into learning characters. Some of these findings relate to particular aspects of Chinese learning such as tones and characters. However, other findings are unrelated to the language demands of Chinese and suggest that the practices of learning Chinese have a particular impact on the views of learners about who can learn Chinese and what it takes to be successful. In addition, with regard to language teaching, first language (L1) and second language (L2) Chinese teachers pointed out that the issue of students behaviour is a universal phenomenon regardless of culture or country. These findings challenge the stereotypical expectations of L1 Chinese teachers and pupils‘ performance in English schools. I suggest that these beliefs may be empowering for language learners in an English context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LC Special aspects of education