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Title: Exploring Chinese university EFL learners' L2 willingness to communicate in action : understanding the interplay of self-concept, WTC and sociocultural context through the lens of complexity theory
Author: Yue, Zhen
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 5711
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2016
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Willingness to communicate in a second language (L2 WTC) has become an important focus of inquiry in applied linguistics over the last decade or so. However, little is currently understood about the practical tasks of producing communicatively competent L2 users in Chinese higher education, an aim which has been fully recognized by the English language teaching (ELT) sector in China. In order to fill this gap, this research study was conducted in one of the universities in mid-east China over a period of one academic term with the aim to produce an empirically-supported fine-grained portrait of Chinese EFL learners’ L2 WTC in actual communication actions. Informed by complexity theory and adopting a qualitative multi-case study research design, this research focused on five first-year postgraduate student participants and investigated their L2 WTC experiences in communicative actions through multiple sources of data, including individual life story interviews, ethnographic classroom observations followed by stimulated recall interviews, and photo-based interviews. The findings confirm L2 WTC as a multidimensional and complex construct, and further demonstrated that the features and trajectories of individuals’ L2 WTC are interrelated, dynamic and largely unpredictable. This study has also identified a construct that seems central to understand L2 WTC: socially constructed future self-guides. The study has shown that our understanding of students’ actual L2 engagement offers critical pointers for practical interventions for encouraging and supporting language learners’ development of a healthy sense of self with regards to L2 learning and, consequently, of their L2 WTC.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DS Asia ; LB2300 Higher Education ; P Philology. Linguistics ; PE English