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Title: Understandings of interculturality through the perspectives of students of Mandarin in British universities
Author: Jin, T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 7683
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This study investigates the field of teaching and learning Mandarin in British universities by focusing on the experience of undergraduate and postgraduate students. One area of critical interest is the idea of interculturality. This reflects a growing understanding that certain traditional approaches to the teaching and learning of languages need to be rethought in the light of globalization. As China moves centre-stage economically and politically, questions of interculturality assume significance in relation to the country and its most widely spoken language. The study adopts an ecological perspective, which involves critically examining a range of issues and using a variety of sources to conduct a multifaceted investigation. The findings of data gathered from interviews with students of Mandarin sit alongside a critical discussion of a wide range of other sources. A principal finding is that Chinese, as a global language, can act as a way for students to open themselves to the wider world. The research shows how the study of Chinese has recently undergone expansion and change, moving from ‘orientalist’ margins to a central position in world language studies in British universities. The research challenges essentialist conceptions of ‘Chinese culture’ and argues that many university taught courses could benefit from adopting an intercultural approach to their teaching of Chinese. A variety of student motivations, learning needs and intercultural experiences are identified. Interculturality, which exists as an integral feature of the lives of many students who are ‘intercultural individuals’, questions the limitations of previous perspectives of the ‘other’ and/or ‘foreign’. Thus, the intercultural qualities of students cannot be simply measured as a list of ‘intercultural competences’. A key question raised by this study is whether current Chinese language courses in British universities meet students’ diverse intercultural characteristics and identities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available