26th Symposium in Language Education

Global Issues: Language Policy and Language Learnin

[Faculty Talk] Foreign education, Chinese meanings: The pedagogy and practice of Western-trained Chinese English language teachers

Faridah Pawan, Ph.D. Associate Professor

This research provides an inside look into the professional lives of Chinese English Language Teachers (ELTs) who received their training in the West or other institutions overseas that emphasize Western-based teaching approaches. More specifically, it is an in-depth investigation of: (1) the nature of English language policy and instruction in China; (2) impact of the Western-based language teacher education on the pedagogy and practice of Chinese English language teachers; and (3) the relevance of the lessons learned from this investigation for teacher education programs that prepare students for university assignments abroad in the field of language teacher education.

In the academic year of 2009-2010, we recorded our conversations and interviews with the teachers in Chinese and spent time daily with them in their classrooms. We also reflected together our conversations with each of them and while viewing videotapes of the teachers’ teaching. The latter consisted of stimulus recall interviews (Shkedi, 2005) during which the teachers viewed and discussed randomly selected videotaped lessons. The four teachers also shared with us their teaching materials including their syllabi, lesson plans, and instructions for assignments. Additionally, they gave us access to the records of the courses they had taken abroad, the annual reports they submitted to their schools, and their publications. Together, we kept daily notes aided with documentation of and reflections on the research process.

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Educated for Migration: Tunisian Migrant Identities in Context

Aziz Fatnassi, Ph.D. student in Anthropology
Ed.D. student in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education

Davide Però writes in his work Migrants’ Mobilization and Anthropology, “ [political opportunity structure] highlight[s] the institutional and policy set up of a country in shaping its residents’ collective political initiatives”(Pero 2008, 107). While much of the work on political opportunity structure has focused primarily on ‘active’ means of political interaction, such as formal immigrant associations and legal resolutions, I believe that the POS theory should be extended to seemingly ‘passive’ mediums such as educationally motivated migration. As an English language teacher working with young Tunisian students before, during, and after the fall of the Tunisian President, Zine Al Abedine Ben Ali the classroom discourse followed a path of increasing familiarity and candidness. It is in these post-revolution discussions that a narrative of migration and education became intertwined in student talk. Returning to Tunis as a researcher for a Middle Eastern school, I conducted interviews with six Tunisian youth, between the ages of 18-27 on the topic of post-revolution educational opportunities. Situating these narratives in a socio-historical context of government led education-planning policy, this paper utilizes a qualitative approach that views English language education as a ‘passive political-opportunity structure.’ A collective understanding of how external political and environmental changes pervades the consciousness of many migrants constitutes the part of the political opportunity structure that leads to migration for educational purposes. Therefore, in addition to my interviews, the narratives I use in my research come from each of the three levels of context: the macro-level voice of Habib Bourguiba, the micro-level voice of informants and their families, and the meso-level narrative provided by Tunisian language educators. A passive political-opportunity framework offers the ability for these different levels of voice to be given agency in the discussion of how English language education and demonstrate how each discourse level effects the ‘educated-migrant’ identities of young Tunisians. Through this research, I emphasize the role of all three levels of narratives in providing valuable insight into the impetuses that motivate student choice of migration, education, or both.

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Chinese university students in French universities and their perceived beliefs about learning French before and after arriving in France

Jennifer Lund, Ph.D. student
Literacy, Culture, and Language Education department

In recent years, France has become the number one non-Anglophone destination for Chinese university students studying abroad and third overall after the U.S. and the U.K., yet most studies focus on Chinese students in Anglophone countries. In emphasizing the importance of learner-centered research in determining internalized learning beliefs, the current mixed-methods study measured the learner beliefs of 19 native Chinese currently or formerly studying abroad in universities in northeast France through the distribution of an online questionnaire measuring self-perceptions of self-efficacy, learner autonomy, difficulty of learning French, and the nature of learning French. In addition, nine face-to-face interviews were conducted in both French and English to gain qualitative data related to the following: motivation to learn French and study in France, observations of French language learning in both China and France, difficulties with French usage in France, and general perceptions of France in China. Because of its small-scale, no significant results were determined, but it is hoped that it may be a starting point for further research to help gain awareness of Chinese students’ beliefs about the language learning process both before and after arriving in a non-Anglophone study abroad environment and whether or not those beliefs change significantly over time.

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26th SLED Symposium Team
  • Mika Mokko
  • Sujin Park
  • Tara Kelley
  • Amber Warren
  • Alexandra Panos
  • Houssem Ben Lazreg
  • Yooyoung Ahn
  • G Yeon Park (Organizing Committee Chair)
  • Dr. Martha Nyikos (SLED Faculty Advisor)


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