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Crossing the "one-log bridge": How English language education facilitates and hinders the development of student identity in China

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Abstract:

The English language is a core component of the Chinese student secondary school education. This education culminates in the gaokao, China’s high-stakes university placement exam. Chinese students spend years preparing for this exam; for the English language subject test, this means memorizing huge vocabulary lists and perfecting their knowledge of English grammar. This emphasis on rote memorization, however, stands in contrast to Chinese educational policy that views foreign languages as a vehicle for encouraging the development of the student’s character and attitude. Additionally, Chinese English language teachers are more likely to be encouraged to use communicative language methods in their classrooms, yet gaokao testing rewards mastery of the vocabulary and grammar over true fluency. China’s desire that its students are prepared to participate in an internationalized world is evident in foreign language education policy documents. A tension exists, however, between the policy and the practice, as seen through how students prepare and what students are tested on in the gaokao. My paper examines this tension between the academic and personal development of the Chinese student. It also informs the following questions: what does the English subject gaokao reveal about the Chinese student’s experience with the English language? And what does the English subject gaokao reveal about China’s educational and international goals?
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p518680_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Gosnell, Ashley. "Crossing the "one-log bridge": How English language education facilitates and hinders the development of student identity in China" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p518680_index.html>

APA Citation:

Gosnell, A. "Crossing the "one-log bridge": How English language education facilitates and hinders the development of student identity in China" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p518680_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: The English language is a core component of the Chinese student secondary school education. This education culminates in the gaokao, China’s high-stakes university placement exam. Chinese students spend years preparing for this exam; for the English language subject test, this means memorizing huge vocabulary lists and perfecting their knowledge of English grammar. This emphasis on rote memorization, however, stands in contrast to Chinese educational policy that views foreign languages as a vehicle for encouraging the development of the student’s character and attitude. Additionally, Chinese English language teachers are more likely to be encouraged to use communicative language methods in their classrooms, yet gaokao testing rewards mastery of the vocabulary and grammar over true fluency. China’s desire that its students are prepared to participate in an internationalized world is evident in foreign language education policy documents. A tension exists, however, between the policy and the practice, as seen through how students prepare and what students are tested on in the gaokao. My paper examines this tension between the academic and personal development of the Chinese student. It also informs the following questions: what does the English subject gaokao reveal about the Chinese student’s experience with the English language? And what does the English subject gaokao reveal about China’s educational and international goals?


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