1st Edition

Learners in Transition Chinese Students’ Journeys from EFL to ESL and EIL

By Yoke Sim Fong Copyright 2019
    192 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    192 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    As the number of Chinese students learning English increases worldwide, the need for teachers to understand the characteristics and challenges facing this group of learners grows. This is particularly true for those students moving from an English as a Foreign Language context to an English as a Second Language/International Language one where they experience academic, linguistic and sociocultural transitions. Drawing on over 20 years’ experience teaching English courses to Chinese learners, the author aims to highlight key findings to aid understanding, improve teachers’ practice and offer pedagogical recommendations. Using students’ voices, the book covers: how the traditional Chinese culture of learning plays a role; how new learning contexts provide opportunities and empowerment; how learners’ beliefs and strategies are interconnected; how their motivation and identity underscore the power of real and imagined communities, and finally, that affect matters, showing how learners are propelled by the trajectory of their emotions. The book cites from the rich data collected over a five-year period to authenticate the findings and recommendations but also to give voice to this group of learners to challenge the stereotype of the passive "Chinese learner". The essential insights contained within are useful for pre- and in-service teachers of English and researchers interested in language education around the world.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.


    1. TCCL and the Chinese Student in the Literature

    2. Culture: Foundational but Not All-Encompassing

    3. The NUS Learning Context: Opportunities and Empowerment

    4. Beliefs and Strategies: Enlarging the Vision and Fueling the Action

    5. Motivation and Identity: The Power of Real and Imagined Communities

    6. Affect Matters: Learners are Propelled by the Trajectory of their Emotions



    Yoke Sim FONG is  Senior Lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication at the National University of Singapore.

    "This is a valuable book for teachers and researchers to understand the thinking behind learners’ actions and attitudes towards English language learning. It offers insights into how Chinese learners’ beliefs about English language learning were developed from early encounters with the language and how these students developed over time to utilize an expanded range of learning strategies, moving from a narrow focus on correctness of form to the broader concerns of discourse and communication. The author skilfully weaves learners’ voices into the descriptions, and discusses pedagogical implications and suggestions to help Chinese learners move ahead in English language learning." Dr Lee Hwee Hoon, Assistant Professor, Singapore Institute of Technology

    "This book is a must read for academics and students in the growing internationalisation of higher education and related fields. It contributes to a critical understanding of the lived experiences of international students in both the Global North and little researched Global South contexts. This way it adds to the badly needed literature on how diverse students adapt to their international contexts whether internationalisation takes place at home or abroad or both as in the case of the learners whose integration and transitional experiences form the basis of this book. It will be found helpful in terms of comparative higher education." — Juliet Thondhlana, Lecturer in Education and Applied Linguistics, University of Nottingham

    "Throughout the chapters, learner voices, gleaned from diaries, interviews, and a sole autobiography, relate stories of triumphs and discouragements, trials and discoveries over nearly five years. This book, which gives a multifaceted picture of learners in transition – in their beliefs, strategies, motivation, identity, agency, investment and affect, is a valuable resource to teachers, curriculum designers, and program administrators." — Maria Luisa C. Sadorra, Senior Lecturer, National University of Singapore