Learning English and Chinese as Foreign Languages: Sociocultural and Comparative Perspectives

Author: Wen-Chuan Lin

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Paperback, Ebook(PDF), Ebook(EPUB)
Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
234mm x 156mm
Price: £99.95
Price: $139.95
Price: €119.95

Learning English and Chinese is becoming increasingly important to the prospects of young people. This book compares English as a Foreign Language teaching in Taiwan with Chinese as a Foreign Language education in England in order to highlight how classroom activities are embedded within multiple settings, including ethnic or other social group cultures, family and community resources and school visions or goals. The book illustrates how in Taiwan different ethnic groups recognise, access and value English language learning to varying extents. Its findings illuminate why some ethnic groups are highly motivated to learn English and are able to gain privileged economic positions in the job market. In England, access to Chinese is marked by social class, and the book argues that this could augment an 'educational apartheid' that already exists in language teaching in secondary schools, thereby exacerbating existing inequality.

This book provides a closely argued and detailed ethnographic account of why young people in high schools succeed in learning a foreign language, English in Taiwan and Chinese in the UK. Through extensive classroom observations and interviews it provides fascinating insights into culture and contributes to scholarship that charts the ever-increasing divide between the highly paid global players and those who remain tied to local jobs and relative poverty.

Gabrielle Ivinson, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

Lin's important book draws on Vygotskian sociocultural theory to compare the dynamics and challenges of language learning in secondary schools – English in Taiwan's multilingual context, and Chinese in the UK. Students' language choices and experiences offer crucial insights on language learning social inequalities in these two contexts. Essential reading for educationalists, policymakers, and scholars!

Prue Holmes, Durham University, UK

Wen-Chuan Lin is Associate Professor, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan. His research interests include intercultural studies, computer-mediated language learning and foreign language learning issues from the perspectives of Vygotskian Sociocultural Theory. He is co-editor of Internationalizing English Language Education in Globalized Taiwan (with I.J. Weng and R. Godwin-Jones, 2018, Tung Hua).

Chapter 1. Introduction  

Chapter 2. A Theoretical Insight: Socio-cultural Views on Language Learning

Chapter 3. Learning English/Chinese as Foreign Languages: The Contexts

Chapter 4. Getting Access to English/Chinese: Everyday Practice

Chapter 5. Classroom Life: A Pedagogical Concern

Chapter 6. Language Learning and Identity: Communities of Practice

Chapter 7. Synthesis and Cross-cultural Comparisons

Chapter 8. Conclusion

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