Adult Beginning Learners’ Engagement in Learning Mandarin as An Additional Language at a Canadian Post-secondary Institute
This research investigates the Mandarin learning experience of both heritage and non-heritage beginners in a Canadian post-secondary institution to understand students’ engagement in learning Mandarin as an additional language (MAL). It integrates the complexity theory with an ecological perspective on second language education to capture the dynamic relationship between the learning context and the learners’ engagement in learning MAL. The case study methodology was chosen for the research purpose, and data were collected through classroom observations, focused group conversations and individual interviews. Research findings are presented from two perspectives: the learning experience and the classroom teaching and learning practices. Issues related to student engagement were discussed, including motivation, identity, curriculum, and teaching practice. Analysis on the findings reveals the complexity and ambivalence of Chineseness to heritage and non-heritage MAL learners, which must be understood in their particular socio-cultural context. It also advocates for promoting learner agency through the development of their own “Chinese voice”. In addition, in order to encourage students’ long-term engagement in learning MAL, it is important for the curriculum designers to allocate more time for students to practice Mandarin, make the teaching content more relevant to students’ knowledge and experiences, and develop an assessment system that values learner difference while remaining fair to both heritage and non-heritage students. Implications for MAL education are discussed at the end of the thesis.
Education--Language and Literature
Wu, X. (2017). Adult Beginning Learners’ Engagement in Learning Mandarin as An Additional Language at a Canadian Post-secondary Institute (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca. doi:10.11575/PRISM/24717