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Exploring policies, practices and orientations towards English as a medium of instruction in Chinese Higher Education

Exploring policies, practices and orientations towards English as a medium of instruction in Chinese Higher Education
Exploring policies, practices and orientations towards English as a medium of instruction in Chinese Higher Education
This study examines subject teachers’ orientations and implementation of English as a medium of instruction in Chinese universities, against a background of the internationalisation of higher education. The study also explores the way in which English as a medium of instruction policies are actualized in teaching practices. The study is informed by English as a lingua franca perspective on English communication, language policy theory and English as a lingua franca in academic settings.

This study draws on data retrieved through questionnaires, interviews and classroom observations. 106 questionnaires were collected, 14 interviews were conducted and 15 hours of classroom observations were analysed. The findings of the study suggest the majority of teachers favour English as a medium of instruction, while at the same time pointing out concerns regarding the teaching quality, and ambivalent language policy, as well as some perceptions towards attachment to native English ideology. The participants have ambivalent orientations towards English use; on the one hand, exhibited native-like competency was still considered as important for many teachers. On the other hand, the responses of the participants revealed their belief in the need to communicate effectively rather than aiming at native speaker competency in practice. In addition, both questionnaire and interview findings reveal that the English language policy in China is still based on native speaker English, but that teachers and students are using ELF in practice. The classroom observations suggest that some teachers adopted ELF orientated approach in their practices. The data analysis confirmed the existence of a gap between policy as stated and the implementation of the policy.

The findings of this study can contribute to ELF, EMI, and language policy research. It is argued that the ELF concept should expand to include interlocutors from the same language cultural background. It is suggested that English policy and ELT in China should take account of the students’ future needs and the global use of English. Thus, the traditional native-normative approach to English language should be questioned. The findings also raise questions as to how English as a medium of instruction in China could be implemented effectively.
Hu, Lanxi
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Hu, Lanxi
c1b3d2d8-845b-4ab5-9585-f70cb9698147
Jenkins, Jennifer
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Baker, William
9f1b758c-e6e0-43ca-b7bf-a0d5e1387d10
Mitchell, Rosamond
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Hu, Lanxi (2015) Exploring policies, practices and orientations towards English as a medium of instruction in Chinese Higher Education. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 357pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This study examines subject teachers’ orientations and implementation of English as a medium of instruction in Chinese universities, against a background of the internationalisation of higher education. The study also explores the way in which English as a medium of instruction policies are actualized in teaching practices. The study is informed by English as a lingua franca perspective on English communication, language policy theory and English as a lingua franca in academic settings.

This study draws on data retrieved through questionnaires, interviews and classroom observations. 106 questionnaires were collected, 14 interviews were conducted and 15 hours of classroom observations were analysed. The findings of the study suggest the majority of teachers favour English as a medium of instruction, while at the same time pointing out concerns regarding the teaching quality, and ambivalent language policy, as well as some perceptions towards attachment to native English ideology. The participants have ambivalent orientations towards English use; on the one hand, exhibited native-like competency was still considered as important for many teachers. On the other hand, the responses of the participants revealed their belief in the need to communicate effectively rather than aiming at native speaker competency in practice. In addition, both questionnaire and interview findings reveal that the English language policy in China is still based on native speaker English, but that teachers and students are using ELF in practice. The classroom observations suggest that some teachers adopted ELF orientated approach in their practices. The data analysis confirmed the existence of a gap between policy as stated and the implementation of the policy.

The findings of this study can contribute to ELF, EMI, and language policy research. It is argued that the ELF concept should expand to include interlocutors from the same language cultural background. It is suggested that English policy and ELT in China should take account of the students’ future needs and the global use of English. Thus, the traditional native-normative approach to English language should be questioned. The findings also raise questions as to how English as a medium of instruction in China could be implemented effectively.

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More information

Published date: October 2015
Organisations: University of Southampton, Modern Languages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 383147
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/383147
PURE UUID: aad8ebc8-4c34-42a7-9579-534d346d3160

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Date deposited: 12 Nov 2015 13:58
Last modified: 31 Oct 2018 05:01

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Contributors

Author: Lanxi Hu
Thesis advisor: Jennifer Jenkins
Thesis advisor: William Baker
Thesis advisor: Rosamond Mitchell

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