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Special Issue "Applied Linguistics and Language Education for Sustainable Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2022) | Viewed by 57323

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Lawrence Jun Zhang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Education and Social Work, The University of Auckland, Auckland 1023, New Zealand
Interests: applied linguistics; second language writing, reading and writing development in children and adults of second/foreign languages; language teaching; language teacher education; teacher identity and change; teaching English as a foreign/second language (TESOL/TEFL); language policy and planning
Dr. Vincent T. Greenier
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture, The University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3FX, UK
Interests: applied linguistics; creativity in language learning; individual differences and learner variables (particularly creativity); critical pedagogy; teacher identity; EFL/ESL curriculum and materials development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As a discipline and a field of inquiry, applied linguistics was born to help improve people’s lives, support social change, and solve social problems through examinations of issues relating to how languages are used in daily events as well as in academic and workplace contexts at the micro- and meso-levels. At the macro-level, how language policy making and planning are determined and how such policies are enacted in practice are also of significance to this research endeavour. As an effective means for sustainable development, this Special Issue is interested in topics that investigate a range of issues in applied linguistics, especially in relation to TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages), teaching languages other than English that can be broadly categorised as second/foreign languages, bilingualism/multilingualism and bilingual/multilingual education, motivations for language learning, teacher identity, and English for specific and/or academic purposes. Specific topics can include race and class, language policy and planning, language-in-education policy making, and linguistic and pedagogical issues around the use of socially inclusive languages, especially in academic and workplace contexts that are of particular interest to applied linguists, language teachers and language teacher educators.

The overall purpose of this Special Issue is to bring to the fore the significant role of applied linguistics in promoting sustainable development through languages and language education. There are topics that have been published on sustainable language teaching and learning, but the fields of applied linguistics and language education need to be given salient attention. The Special Issue will be able to strengthen what has been conducted so far so that the contribution of applied linguistics and language education, which are related, but not limited, to language learning and teaching, will be valued at a level that helps promote the sustainable development of education and society through investigations into issues pertaining to language use at various levels.

Prof. Dr. Lawrence Jun Zhang
Dr. Vincent T. Greenier
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • applied linguistics
  • TESOL
  • learning English for academic purposes (EAP)
  • English for specific purposes (ESP)
  • language teaching and learning
  • creativity in language learning
  • feedback and interaction for learning
  • motivation for learning languages
  • teaching of languages
  • language teacher education
  • learner identity
  • teacher identity
  • social justice and inclusion
  • social change through applied linguistics
  • language policy and planning

Published Papers (41 papers)

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Research

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Article
Teachers’ English Language Training Programmes in Saudi Arabia for Achieving Sustainability in Education
Sustainability 2022, 14(22), 15323; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142215323 - 18 Nov 2022
Viewed by 245
Abstract
Achieving sustainability is a major objective of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. This study investigates one Ministry of Education initiative to achieve sustainability through the establishment of its Optimum Utilisation of Teaching Staff Programme (OUTSP). The study focuses in particular on the OUTSP’s two-term [...] Read more.
Achieving sustainability is a major objective of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. This study investigates one Ministry of Education initiative to achieve sustainability through the establishment of its Optimum Utilisation of Teaching Staff Programme (OUTSP). The study focuses in particular on the OUTSP’s two-term English Language Programme (ELP). First, it details the ELP’s modules; then, it analyses the overall results for 170 of the 431 candidates who joined the programme, before going on to examine the results of a sample group of 56 of those 170 candidates in more detail. Microsoft Excel data analysis tools were used to analyse the data. The results show that the candidates generally scored high marks in both terms. The analysis of the sampled group suggests that the noticeably higher marks gained in the second term could be explained by the fact that the candidates were all experienced teachers. The study concludes that the ELP section of the OUTSP is an effective way to achieve sustainability in education through upskilling teachers. It further concludes that the ELP benefits teachers who are willing to move away from their specialist areas or who simply wish to advance their knowledge. Finally, the study recommends that future iterations of the ELP should be spread over three terms rather than two. We also recommend providing more incentives to encourage more candidates to join the ELP. Full article
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Article
Sustaining Learners’ Writing Development: Effects of Using Self-Assessment on Their Foreign Language Writing Performance and Rating Accuracy
Sustainability 2022, 14(22), 14686; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142214686 - 08 Nov 2022
Viewed by 641
Abstract
Although the benefits of using self-assessment on student writing performance have received wide recognition over the past two decades, minimal research is available on the effects of using self-assessment of writing on English as a foreign language (EFL) students’ writing performance, especially in [...] Read more.
Although the benefits of using self-assessment on student writing performance have received wide recognition over the past two decades, minimal research is available on the effects of using self-assessment of writing on English as a foreign language (EFL) students’ writing performance, especially in the tertiary context of China, where such research is still in its infancy. To fill the abovementioned lacuna, the present study adopted a quasi-experimental approach to implementing a self-assessment-based intervention in Chinese tertiary EFL writing classes. Specifically, students were randomly assigned into either an intervention class that implemented self-assessment or a comparison class that employed peer assessment as classroom practice to promote students’ sustainable development of writing skills. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected, and the research findings indicated that the intervention group experienced a larger increase in their holistic writing performance and rating accuracy when compared with the comparison group. Furthermore, the qualitative findings reveal students’ enhanced rating accuracy after the intervention. This study contributes to research on self-assessment in the EFL writing domain as a basis for further deliberation on self-assessment in higher education, and it also provides much needed empirical evidence for the potential value of student-centred sustainable assessment approaches such as self-assessment. Findings also provide teachers with pedagogical implications for developing sustainable and capable self-assessors of writing. Full article
Article
Vocabulary Learning Strategies in a Multilingual Academic Environment: Ιs Morphological Segmentation Quite Sustainable?
Sustainability 2022, 14(21), 14412; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142114412 - 03 Nov 2022
Viewed by 290
Abstract
Τhis article contributes to the ongoing research on the importance of the strategy of morphological segmentation to vocabulary growth in foreign language learning. A total of 45 students of the department of Italian Language and Literature at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) were [...] Read more.
Τhis article contributes to the ongoing research on the importance of the strategy of morphological segmentation to vocabulary growth in foreign language learning. A total of 45 students of the department of Italian Language and Literature at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) were to segment 21 Italian words—among which there were 6 pseudo-words—and write their meaning with the use of an e-questionnaire. In turn, 10 out of 45 students participated in a focus group discussion. Results reveal no correlation between morphological segmentation and understanding of the meaning of words, except in the case of pseudo-words that were completely unknown to the participants. During the focus group, students attempted to recognize the productive and transparent suffixes of the words and discover their contribution to the building and the meaning of them. Other languages, such as English—L2/first foreign language for the majority of the interviewed students—assisted multilingual students in retrieving the meaning of the words implementing translanguaging practices. The students’ responses show that they managed to segment the words correctly at a rate of 49.3%, while they understand their meaning due to their frequent use at a rate of 57.8%, without having been taught the morphology of L2. Full article
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Article
Sustainable Development of High School English Learners in China: Motivation and Its Impact on Their English Achievement
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 12619; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912619 - 04 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 487
Abstract
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved without quality education and the cultivation of innovative and international talents. This study examined high school students’ English learning motivation structure, the differences between male and female students, and the motivational impact on English learning [...] Read more.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved without quality education and the cultivation of innovative and international talents. This study examined high school students’ English learning motivation structure, the differences between male and female students, and the motivational impact on English learning achievement. Participants included 778 high school students (385 boys and 393 girls) from two Chinese high schools in two representative regions. The results showed that the English learning motivation of high school students mainly included four types, namely, intrinsic interest, learning situation, social responsibility, and personal development. Females’ English learning motivation was significantly higher than that of males. Further, intrinsic interest and personal development had a significantly positive impact on English achievement, whereas social responsibility had a significantly negative impact, and learning situation had no significant impact. The above findings contribute to further understanding of the internal structure of second language learning motivation and the influence mechanism of motivation on achievement, which are of great significance to students’ growth and the sustainable improvement in the quality of education. Full article
Article
Understanding Politeness in an Online Community of Practice for Chinese ESL Teachers: Implications for Sustainable Professional Development in the Digital Era
Sustainability 2022, 14(18), 11183; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141811183 - 07 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 371
Abstract
Although politeness contributes to the effectiveness and sustainable development of online learning communities, it remains unclear how Chinese teachers of English as a second language (ESL), with differing social statuses, use varying levels of politeness when engaging in such communities. Accordingly, this paper [...] Read more.
Although politeness contributes to the effectiveness and sustainable development of online learning communities, it remains unclear how Chinese teachers of English as a second language (ESL), with differing social statuses, use varying levels of politeness when engaging in such communities. Accordingly, this paper analyses how Hong Kong ESL teachers, who tend to observe hierarchical relationships and the idiosyncrasies of “face”, conveyed politeness in an online professional community when making positive and negative evaluations and suggestions. A total of 174 interactive comments offered by 24 student teachers and 8 mentors were coded under three discourse functions and 15 types of politeness markers. Interviews with six participants indicated that, through their role in the community, they adopted ways of thinking and linguistic knowledge that influenced their choice and frequency of the politeness markers. Despite having different roles in the hierarchy, the participants exhibited similar patterns of politeness marker choice, implying that their language and cultural background influenced how they chose to convey politeness in the absence of face-to-face cues; however, their role in the community seemed to have affected the frequency of using the politeness markers. These results shed light on politeness from the perspective of the culture, language, and online community membership. Full article
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Article
Language Learning Motivation and Its Role in Learner Complaint Production
Sustainability 2022, 14(17), 10770; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141710770 - 29 Aug 2022
Viewed by 466
Abstract
While motivation plays an important role in language learning, few attempts have been made to explore its significance in second language (L2) pragmatics learning. The current study investigated whether and how language learning motivation affects L2 pragmatics production. A total of 60 adult [...] Read more.
While motivation plays an important role in language learning, few attempts have been made to explore its significance in second language (L2) pragmatics learning. The current study investigated whether and how language learning motivation affects L2 pragmatics production. A total of 60 adult Chinese learners of English participated in this study. Data were elicited from a motivation questionnaire and a discourse completion task (DCT). The results revealed that L2 learners with high motivation performed better in making complaints in the target language than learners with low motivation. Moreover, learners’ levels of pragmatic production correlated positively with their overall L2 motivation, as well as with four motivational subscales, namely, attitudes towards learning English, ideal L2 self, intended learning efforts, and attitudes towards the L2 community. Regression analysis showed that learners’ attitude towards learning English best predicted their production of the speech act of complaints. The findings of this study support the role motivational dispositions play in learners’ L2 pragmatic production. The study provides insight into the interaction of L2 motivation and pragmatics learning. Full article
Article
L2 Motivational Self System, International Posture and the Sustainable Development of L2 Proficiency in the COVID-19 Era: A Case of English Majors in China
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 8087; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14138087 - 01 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1123
Abstract
The L2 motivation self system (L2MSS) has been extensively researched in a variety of contexts, but few studies have delved into its relationship with international posture and the sustainable development of L2 proficiency in the COVID-19 era. To address this issue, we surveyed [...] Read more.
The L2 motivation self system (L2MSS) has been extensively researched in a variety of contexts, but few studies have delved into its relationship with international posture and the sustainable development of L2 proficiency in the COVID-19 era. To address this issue, we surveyed 156 English majors in China and analyzed their response data with structural equation modelling. The results show that the ideal L2 self positively predicts the L2 learning experience, while the ought-to L2 self has a negative predictive power. The international posture exerts a positive influence on the ideal L2 self and L2 experience, and a negative insignificant influence on the ought-to L2 self. The L2 experience and ideal L2 self have a positive influence on L2 proficiency, while the ought-to L2 self has a negative influence. Our results not only contribute to the generalizability of L2MSS but also deepen the understanding of possible contextual variations of L2 motivation, as well as the uniqueness in the sustainable development of English majors in China during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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Article
Second Language Teaching with a Focus on Different Learner Cultures for Sustainable Learner Development: The Case of Sino-Korean Vocabulary
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 7997; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14137997 - 30 Jun 2022
Viewed by 534
Abstract
Second language teaching (SLT) focuses on the cultural backgrounds of different learners. This not only facilitates the construction of knowledge using the learner’s identity, but also helps learners acquire skills for cross-cultural communication, both of which are needed for learners to develop sustainably. [...] Read more.
Second language teaching (SLT) focuses on the cultural backgrounds of different learners. This not only facilitates the construction of knowledge using the learner’s identity, but also helps learners acquire skills for cross-cultural communication, both of which are needed for learners to develop sustainably. Sino-Korean vocabulary is an important element in the representation of Korean culture and in teaching the Chinese language to Korean speakers. In addition, it is a means of promoting the Teaching Chinese as a Second language (TCSL) to achieve sustainable development for Korean learners. Much of the research on Sino-Korean vocabulary has focused on the similarities between Chinese and Korean cultures that facilitate Korean learners’ understanding and use of Sino-Korean vocabulary, but little attention has been paid to the role played by cultural Sino-Korean vocabulary that represent the distinctive Korean culture. We collected a news corpus on six major themes from the NAVER website in Korea from between 2010 and 2020. The keywords were extracted using the TF–IDF algorithm and then transcribed and culled to form a distinctive cultural Sino-Korean vocabulary corpus. We examined the Korean Version of Experience Chinese: Living in China (Ti yan Han yu Sheng huo pian) and suggested that a collection of Sino-Korean vocabulary that are culturally distinctive to the learner’s home country can provide a more pedagogically meaningful addition to the selection of words for TCSL textbooks. These words, based on similarities, further enable Korean learners to acquire a sense of familiarity with, and belonging to, their identity, and thus acquire the Chinese language, and also facilitate expression in intercultural communication. By extracting the distinctive Korean cultural Sino-Korean vocabulary and discovering their value in terms of TCSL educational material, we can promote the sustainable development of Korean learners. Full article
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Article
Understanding Sustainable Development of English Vocabulary Acquisition: Evidence from Chinese EFL Learners
Sustainability 2022, 14(11), 6532; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14116532 - 26 May 2022
Viewed by 785
Abstract
Vocabulary learning is often seen as an important but also difficult aspect of learning English as a foreign language (EFL). Thus, it is particularly important to promote the sustainable development of vocabulary acquisition. Many features of English words affect the sustainable development of [...] Read more.
Vocabulary learning is often seen as an important but also difficult aspect of learning English as a foreign language (EFL). Thus, it is particularly important to promote the sustainable development of vocabulary acquisition. Many features of English words affect the sustainable development of vocabulary acquisition, including frequency, polysemy, word family, part of speech, and word length. The influence of most of these factors on vocabulary acquisition has been extensively explored in previous studies, but the effects of cognateness and lexicalization remain unclear. This is in part due to the measurement tool, the Vocabulary Size Test, which does not include enough cognates and non-lexicalized words to adequately represent the language used in authentic contexts. To better our understanding of the effect of word features in the context of Chinese EFL learners, the present study modified the Vocabulary Size Test by including additional 19 non-lexicalized words and 33 cognates and administered it to 527 Chinese non-English major sophomores. The results revealed that cognateness, frequency, and polysemy were positively correlated with vocabulary acquisition, whereas word length and lexicalization were negatively correlated with acquisition. Further, multiple regression analysis indicated that cognateness, polysemy, and frequency were the largest contributors to acquisition. Full article
Article
Sustainability and Influence of Machine Translation: Perceptions and Attitudes of Translation Instructors and Learners in Hong Kong
Sustainability 2022, 14(11), 6399; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14116399 - 24 May 2022
Viewed by 660
Abstract
In this era of globalisation, translation technologies have become more popular in daily communication, the education sector, and the translation industry. It is observed that there is a prevalent use of machine translation (MT) among translation learners. The proper use versus abuse of [...] Read more.
In this era of globalisation, translation technologies have become more popular in daily communication, the education sector, and the translation industry. It is observed that there is a prevalent use of machine translation (MT) among translation learners. The proper use versus abuse of MT can be a critical issue regarding its role in and impact on translation teaching. This exploratory study aims at investigating learners’ and instructors’ knowledge of MT, experience in MT use, perceived MT quality, ethics of MT use, and the perceived relationship between MT and translation training, in order to figure out the usefulness of MT in translation competence acquisition and the necessity of MT training. To this end, we conducted surveys and semi-structured interviews and found that the influence of MT in translation competence acquisition is determined by the properties of MT and learners’ quality. MT is particularly helpful in gaining lexical knowledge and knowledge to ensure translation efficiency, but not in bicultural knowledge. However, such usefulness builds on learners’ language proficiency, analytic ability, and learning motivation. In light of the findings, issues including the sustainability of MT from ethical and linguistic perspectives, and the potential and proper use of MT to inform translator training, are discussed. Full article
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Article
Promoting the Sustainable Development of Rural EFL Learners’ Email Literacy through a Facebook Project
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 6209; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14106209 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 483
Abstract
Promoting the sustainable development of rural EFL students’ English ability is a vital issue in the general curriculum guidelines of Taiwan’s 12-Year Basic Education. This study aimed to investigate the effects of a Facebook project on developing rural EFL learners’ email literacy in [...] Read more.
Promoting the sustainable development of rural EFL students’ English ability is a vital issue in the general curriculum guidelines of Taiwan’s 12-Year Basic Education. This study aimed to investigate the effects of a Facebook project on developing rural EFL learners’ email literacy in English. There were two participant groups: (1) six university English majors and (2) 12 ninth-graders from a rural junior high school. The instruments included a multiple-choice awareness task (MCT), a written discourse completion task (WDCT), a perception questionnaire, interviews, and teaching journals. The university students first received a training session on email literacy, and then they taught the ninth-graders invitation email-writing through Facebook interactions for eight weeks. The results showed that after the project, the ninth-graders made significant improvements when completing the MCT. As for the quality of their emails, the ninth-graders not only scored significantly higher in the post-test but also made qualitative progress in their invitation emails. Furthermore, both participant groups had positive perceptions of this project and indicated the strengths and weaknesses of their participation. This paper concludes with pedagogical implications for English education in Taiwan. Full article
Article
Using the Flipped Classroom to Promote Learner Engagement for the Sustainable Development of Language Skills: A Mixed-Methods Study
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 5983; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14105983 - 14 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1012
Abstract
In second language education, the flipped classroom has been widely researched and increasingly applied as a teaching approach to improve the academic performance and engagement of English as a foreign language learners. However, learner engagement is a multidimensional construct, and not much empirical [...] Read more.
In second language education, the flipped classroom has been widely researched and increasingly applied as a teaching approach to improve the academic performance and engagement of English as a foreign language learners. However, learner engagement is a multidimensional construct, and not much empirical evidence exists about whether the flipped classroom can lead to a significant improvement in learners’ behavioural, emotional, cognitive, and social engagement in the EFL class. To fill this gap, this study adopted a mixed-methods research approach to evaluate the impact of the flipped College English Listening and Speaking class on four-dimension learner engagement in a mainland China context. After an eight-week intervention we compared the experimental group (the flipped class, N = 34) and the control group (the non-flipped class, N = 35). Findings demonstrate that after eight weeks of flipped instruction, students in the flipped class achieved higher mean scores on the post-test engagement questionnaires in behavioural, emotional, cognitive, and social engagement. However, the difference in emotional engagement between the flipped and non-flipped classes was not statistically significant. Semi-structured interviews revealed several factors responsible for learner engagement in the flipped EFL classroom. Positive influencing factors were learning environment, instructor presence, learning content, and learner presence, whereas negative aspects included the excessive workload on learners, lack of learning preparedness, lengthy videos, and technical challenges. Based on the findings, we would argue that the instructor and other educational stakeholders should provide more support to cater to learners’ emotional engagement and help learners cope with the challenges encountered throughout the flipped learning process. The study may assist teaching professionals and researchers obtain a clearer understanding of flipped instruction in the EFL context and design and implement the flipped class by considering the positive and negative elements affecting learner engagement. Full article
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Article
Effects of Task Complexity on Linguistic Complexity for Sustainable EFL Writing Skills Development
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4791; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084791 - 16 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1123
Abstract
This paper reports the findings from a study that explored the effects of task complexity on linguistic complexity in EFL writing with a within-and-between-subject design for the sustainability of EFL writing skills. A total of 178 English majors and non-English majors participated in [...] Read more.
This paper reports the findings from a study that explored the effects of task complexity on linguistic complexity in EFL writing with a within-and-between-subject design for the sustainability of EFL writing skills. A total of 178 English majors and non-English majors participated in the study. They each performed two writing tasks that were manipulated using two variables: the number of elements and prior knowledge. Linguistic complexity was measured from both syntactic and lexical aspects with 39 indices. Data analysis indicated that task complexity produced different effects on different dimensions of linguistic complexity, suggesting that research on task complexity needs to break away from simplicity and that the Cognition Hypothesis and Limited Attentional Capacity Hypothesis require further verification and refinement. This study contributes to a better understanding of task complexity and linguistic complexity in EFL writing, yielding meaningful implications for pedagogy and assessment in this field. Full article
Article
Understanding Novice and Experienced Teachers’ Cognitions and Practices for Sustainable Teacher Development: The Case of Form-Focused Instruction in English Language Teaching
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4711; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084711 - 14 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1297
Abstract
Framed in Complexity Theory, this paper presents a multi-case study of Chinese university English teachers’ cognitions and practices about form-focused instruction in English language teaching. Four teachers, including two novice teachers and two experienced ones, were involved in the study. A triangulation method, [...] Read more.
Framed in Complexity Theory, this paper presents a multi-case study of Chinese university English teachers’ cognitions and practices about form-focused instruction in English language teaching. Four teachers, including two novice teachers and two experienced ones, were involved in the study. A triangulation method, including semi-structured interviews, classroom observations and stimulated recall interviews, was used to examine and compare their cognitions and practices. Research findings reveal that all teachers favoured focus on form instruction rather than focus on forms instruction in English teaching in their cognitions; however, the two novice teachers failed to implement focus on form instruction in practices, whereas the two experienced teachers carried it out consistently. The result calls for effective teacher education programmes for sustainable teacher development, particularly in sustaining the development of novice teachers’ knowledge about how to implement focus on form instruction in pedagogical practice. The implications arising from this study for L2 teacher education in China and similar L2 contexts are also discussed. Full article
Article
Examining English Ability-Grouping Practices by Aligning CEFR Levels with University-Level General English Courses in Taiwan
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4629; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084629 - 13 Apr 2022
Viewed by 531
Abstract
In higher education in Taiwan, mandatory general English courses like Freshman English adopt ability-grouping practices to assign students to classes of different proficiency levels. However, little research has explored the efficacy of ability-grouping criteria and standardized the language-proficiency description for general English courses [...] Read more.
In higher education in Taiwan, mandatory general English courses like Freshman English adopt ability-grouping practices to assign students to classes of different proficiency levels. However, little research has explored the efficacy of ability-grouping criteria and standardized the language-proficiency description for general English courses of different proficiency levels. Thus, this study recruited 806 Taiwanese undergraduates from Freshman English classes of advanced, intermediate, and basic proficiency levels to take the Oxford Online Placement Test (OOPT), and compared their scores on the Joint College Entrance Examination English subject (namely the General Scholastic Ability Test, GSAT) with OOPT. The findings indicated that the ability-grouping criterion was effective to classify students into three groups of different proficiency levels. A positive relationship between the GSAT and OOPT scores was identified. A clear trend, but with some overlapping correspondence, was displayed between the class levels and Common European Framework of Reference levels derived from the OOPT scoring report. Pedagogical implications and suggestions for future studies are provided. Full article
Article
EFL Teachers’ Spatial Construction of Linguistic Identities for Sustainable Development in Globalization
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4532; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084532 - 11 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 790
Abstract
Grounded in Gidden’s space theory, this case study examines the construction of linguistic identity in Chinese English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) teachers teaching in a major Chinese city with regard to their language-learning experiences and beliefs about the roles of English as a language within the [...] Read more.
Grounded in Gidden’s space theory, this case study examines the construction of linguistic identity in Chinese English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) teachers teaching in a major Chinese city with regard to their language-learning experiences and beliefs about the roles of English as a language within the context of globalization. The data were collected from semi-structured interviews with two Chinese EFL teachers and observations of their classrooms. The narrative and thematic analyses show how two Chinese EFL teachers came to have preferences for moving from the “periphery” to the “center” of a monolingual or multilingual foreign-language community in different ways. The findings not only reveal how English as a language relates to globalization, they also broaden our understanding of the complex formation of identity of the language teachers within a global context. Full article
Article
Emotional and Social Engagement in the English Language Classroom for Higher Education Students in the COVID-19 Online Context
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4527; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084527 - 11 Apr 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1599
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to perspective shifts in the approach of English language classrooms in the online higher education context. The current empirical study aims to understand the behaviour of 394 university students enrolled in agricultural, veterinary, and overall life science programmes [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to perspective shifts in the approach of English language classrooms in the online higher education context. The current empirical study aims to understand the behaviour of 394 university students enrolled in agricultural, veterinary, and overall life science programmes in one of the main Romanian universities while learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English for Specific Purposes (ESP) in terms of their classroom engagement during the 2020–2021 academic year. Following the application of an online questionnaire, a principal component analysis (PCA) was undertaken to determine the factors that determine students’ engagement (predominantly emotional and social), while learning EFL and ESP in the online system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the PCA results were used to identify clusters of students expressing similar behaviours towards the English learning process. Two clusters were identified: Cluster 1 consisted of moderately engaged students, and Cluster 2 consisted of highly engaged students. The clusters differed by the anxiety students express during class, the perception of the online system, the level of involvement and enjoyment, as well as class environment and dynamics, with the second cluster being the only one revealing a difference between the face-to-face and online experience. This study on students’ behaviours, attitudes, and preferences places students in the centre of the process of foreign language teaching and learning, as their enjoyment and engagement lead to a less stressful environment, especially during challenging times, and ultimately to long-term language proficiency and sustainable educational development. Full article
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Article
University Students’ Attitudes towards English as a Lingua Franca in a Multilingual Sustainable Society
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4435; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084435 - 08 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1257
Abstract
The present study investigated Macao university students’ attitudes towards English as a Lingua Franca (ELF). Macao maintains a diverse multilingual society, with speakers from several cultures converging into one city for work and travel. Traditionally, the common languages of communication have been Chinese [...] Read more.
The present study investigated Macao university students’ attitudes towards English as a Lingua Franca (ELF). Macao maintains a diverse multilingual society, with speakers from several cultures converging into one city for work and travel. Traditionally, the common languages of communication have been Chinese and Portuguese, due to Macao’s historical connection with both mainland China and Portugal. However, with the development of tourism and economy, English has become a lingua franca in the city. Despite this, it is unclear what attitudes are held about ELF and whether these attitudes may differ according to academic interest, academic background, and experience with intercultural communication. To address this need, 303 university students completed a survey measuring attitudes towards ELF on five dimensions. Afterwards, nine participants were interviewed to expand on their survey responses. The descriptive results indicated that in general Macao university students’ attitudes towards ELF were positive in many aspects, but also included conservative attitudes. Results from t-tests showed that English minors, local Macao students, and students who have overseas intercultural communication experience held more positive attitudes towards ELF than English majors, mainland Chinese students, and those without overseas experience, respectively. Implications for English teaching in Macao are discussed. Full article
Article
Questioning the Sustainability of English-Medium Instruction Policy in Science Classrooms: Teachers’ and Students’ Experiences at a Hong Kong Secondary School
Sustainability 2022, 14(4), 2168; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14042168 - 14 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1576
Abstract
Teaching science through English as a medium of instruction (EMI) is a growing phenomenon around the world. In Hong Kong, this was realised on a large scale in 2010, with the implementation of a “fine-tuning” compulsory language policy. This allowed Chinese-medium schools to [...] Read more.
Teaching science through English as a medium of instruction (EMI) is a growing phenomenon around the world. In Hong Kong, this was realised on a large scale in 2010, with the implementation of a “fine-tuning” compulsory language policy. This allowed Chinese-medium schools to adopt EMI fully. Yet, despite such rapid and widespread adoption, an adequate understanding of key stakeholders’ experiences in relation to their perceptions of what constitutes effective EMI science education remains scarce. Thus, we question the sustainability of EMI programs that are driven by top-down policy. In this case study, we explore the perspectives and experiences of six EMI science teachers and thirteen of their students as their secondary school transitions from partial to full EMI. From in-depth interviews (complemented by classroom observations), findings reveal that the transition to full EMI has presented challenges that appear to hinder students’ development of scientific knowledge and the language of science in English. This directly counters the primary goal of the fine-tuning policy. Nevertheless, findings also illuminate a number of coping strategies teachers and students use to deal with their changing curricula. Overall, we offer insights into this under-researched context of transitioning EMI programs and provide recommendations for future research and practice. Full article
Article
Understanding Source Use by Undergraduate Post-Novice EFL Writers for the Sustainability Development of Academic Literacy: Abilities, Challenges, and Strategies
Sustainability 2022, 14(4), 2108; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14042108 - 12 Feb 2022
Viewed by 1191
Abstract
Source use by L2 writers is a significant topic of research in L2 writing. However, scant attention has been given to source use by undergraduate post-novice L2 writers. In contrast to undergraduate novice L2 writers who have just arrived at university and who [...] Read more.
Source use by L2 writers is a significant topic of research in L2 writing. However, scant attention has been given to source use by undergraduate post-novice L2 writers. In contrast to undergraduate novice L2 writers who have just arrived at university and who often have little knowledge of source use and academic writing, undergraduate post-novice L2 writers are those who have achieved some proficiency in source use in academic writing assignments and have got some experience of writing from sources as they progress in their university studies (Keck, 2014; Wette, 2017). In this study, we examined source use by Chinese Year 3 undergraduate EFL writers through an analysis of their source use in essays and their perceptions of the challenges and strategies. The instances of source use in essays written by the students (N = 59) were analyzed in terms of source-use types, accuracy, and functions, which were then compared with those by novice and highly experienced writers in other studies. A subset of the students (N = 25) were interviewed to understand their perceptions of the challenges and the strategies in their source-based writing processes. The analysis of the students’ essays revealed that 71.4% of the instances of source use were paraphrases, and the majority of the instances of source use were of satisfactory quality, while a small portion were of poor quality, including exact copying (i.e., plagiarism), patchwriting, omitting references, or misrepresenting source information. The students used sources primarily to introduce or illustrate a point. An analysis of the interviews showed that the students had difficulty in searching for, understanding, and integrating sources and that they employed various strategies to cope with these challenges. This study enriches our understanding of undergraduate post-novice L2 writers’ abilities and the successive challenges when writing from sources, which has implications for the development of academic writing instruction and which will help students address these challenges and facilitate the sustainable development of their abilities to write from sources. Full article
Article
Sustainable Development of EFL/ESL Learners’ Willingness to Communicate: The Effects of Teachers and Teaching Styles
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010396 - 30 Dec 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2201
Abstract
Willingness to communicate in a second or foreign language (L2 WTC) is an important individual difference variable that influences the target language learning process. To cultivate students’ communicative competence for sustainable development and help them become active citizens of the global world, language [...] Read more.
Willingness to communicate in a second or foreign language (L2 WTC) is an important individual difference variable that influences the target language learning process. To cultivate students’ communicative competence for sustainable development and help them become active citizens of the global world, language teachers and educators need to understand L2 WTC and find ways to promote it. The present study explores the effects of teachers and teaching styles (TTS) on L2 WTC of Chinese learners of English, through a comparison of a group of 148 students in mainland China and 73 Chinese students abroad. Respondents filled out online questionnaires concerning their attitudes and perceptions of TTS and self-reported L2 WTC inside and outside classrooms. Eight of them also participated in interviews. Results revealed significant differences in TTS between the two groups and a generally low WTC among them. TTS were linked more strongly to L2 WTC in the group in mainland China. The differences are attributed to the discrepancy in social expectations, culture of learning and the opportunity to use English outside the classroom while abroad. This study may provide insights into English language teaching pedagogy from the perspective of English as a pluricentric language. Full article
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Article
Use of a Graphic Organiser as a Pedagogical Instrument for the Sustainable Development of EFL Learners’ English Reading Comprehension
Sustainability 2021, 13(24), 13748; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413748 - 13 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1230
Abstract
As a visual teaching tool, a Graphic Organiser aids students by constructing and displaying a graphic of the text’s structure, improving students’ sustainable development in English reading comprehension. However, few studies have investigated sustainable development in English reading comprehension using Graphic Organisers, although [...] Read more.
As a visual teaching tool, a Graphic Organiser aids students by constructing and displaying a graphic of the text’s structure, improving students’ sustainable development in English reading comprehension. However, few studies have investigated sustainable development in English reading comprehension using Graphic Organisers, although they might play a critical role in this. Thus, by adopting the methods of quasi-experimentation, observation and interview, this paper aims to address the following two questions from the perspectives of Schema Theory and Dual Coding Theory: (1) What is the effect of Graphic Organisers implemented in English reading on English as a foreign language (EFL) learners’ sustainable development in English reading comprehension? Is it positive? (2) How do Graphic Organisers affect various groups of EFL learners’ sustainable development in English reading comprehension? One hundred students in an EFL school were chosen as research participants for this experiment, and the whole treatment lasted for three months. The results revealed that the application of Graphic Organisers improved EFL learners’ sustainable development in English reading comprehension overall. In addition, Graphic Organisers benefited EFL learners with a medium reading ability most in their sustainable development of English reading comprehension; Graphic Organisers also made a certain difference for students with low and high reading abilities. Full article
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Article
Effects of EFL Learning on L1 Chinese Lexis
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 13496; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313496 - 06 Dec 2021
Viewed by 807
Abstract
The advocates of multi-competence theory argue that the L2 learners’ language system is unique because of the crosslinguistic influences of both languages. However, the influence of a foreign language on the learner’s L1 has not been extensively investigated. In order to address the [...] Read more.
The advocates of multi-competence theory argue that the L2 learners’ language system is unique because of the crosslinguistic influences of both languages. However, the influence of a foreign language on the learner’s L1 has not been extensively investigated. In order to address the gap, the present study sought to investigate the effects of EFL learning on written L1 Chinese at the lexical level. Two studies were conducted on 200 abstracts of MA theses written in Chinese, half on English literature written by Chinese-L1 English majors (EMs), and half on Chinese literature written by Chinese-L1 Chinese majors (CMs). The first study investigated the differences between the two groups in terms of the frequencies of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, and conjunctions in the abstracts. The second study examined the differences in the lexical complexity and diversity between the two groups. The results reveal 12 significant differences in 27 investigated word classes and subclasses, as well as significant differences in lexical complexity, but no significant difference in lexical diversity. The identified differences are discussed from a multi-competence perspective. Full article
Article
Source-Based Argumentation as a Form of Sustainable Academic Skill: An Exploratory Study Comparing Secondary School Students’ L1 and L2 Writing
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12869; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212869 - 21 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 705
Abstract
Argumentative writing is the most commonly used genre in writing classroom practices and assessments. To draft an argumentative essay in authentic settings, writers are usually required to evaluate and use content knowledge from outside sources. Although source-based argumentation is a sustainable skill that [...] Read more.
Argumentative writing is the most commonly used genre in writing classroom practices and assessments. To draft an argumentative essay in authentic settings, writers are usually required to evaluate and use content knowledge from outside sources. Although source-based argumentation is a sustainable skill that is crucial for students’ academic career, this area remains under-researched. Hence, this paper presents a within-subject study that investigated Hong Kong secondary school students’ argumentation construction in L1 and L2 source-based writing from both product-oriented and process-oriented perspectives. Multiple sources of data were collected, including L1 and L2 source-based argumentative texts, eye-tracking metrics and recorded videos, and stimulated recall interviews. Findings of our study show that the L1 source-based argumentative compositions of the Hong Kong secondary student writers differed greatly from their L2 ones in terms of the argument structure, source use, and reasoning quality. Analyses on four cases further revealed a multitude of factors such as self-regulation and cultural orientations coming into play in similar and different argumentation performance between L1 and L2 source-based writing tasks. This study contributes new knowledge to better understand the argumentation in L1 and L2 source-based writing, yielding meaningful implications on pedagogy and assessment in this field. Full article
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Article
Sustainable Development of University EFL Learners’ Engagement, Satisfaction, and Self-Efficacy in Online Learning Environments: Chinese Experiences
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11655; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111655 - 21 Oct 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1909
Abstract
This study investigated the sustainable development of university EFL learners regarding their engagement, satisfaction, and self-efficacy in online learning environments during the outbreak of COVID-19. In a questionnaire survey with a sample of 428 Chinese undergraduate EFL learners, the students reported a favorable [...] Read more.
This study investigated the sustainable development of university EFL learners regarding their engagement, satisfaction, and self-efficacy in online learning environments during the outbreak of COVID-19. In a questionnaire survey with a sample of 428 Chinese undergraduate EFL learners, the students reported a favorable view of online learning environments and subjective learning outcomes. Behavioral engagement was positively related to involvement. Emotional engagement was positively related to student cohesiveness and negatively related to teacher support. Satisfaction was not related to any of the learning environment factors. Self-efficacy mediated the effect of student cohesiveness and student involvement on behavioral engagement, emotional engagement, and satisfaction. These results of the study have implications for creating a sustainable online learning environment and promoting EFL learners’ sustainable development. Full article
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Article
Taking Stock of a Genre-Based Pedagogy: Sustaining the Development of EFL Students’ Knowledge of the Elements in Argumentation and Writing Improvement
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11616; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111616 - 21 Oct 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2561
Abstract
The capacity to make effective argumentation in English writing is considered as a crucial ability in the field of second language writing. Currently, Chinese teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) adopt the product approach to teach argumentative writing, in which they [...] Read more.
The capacity to make effective argumentation in English writing is considered as a crucial ability in the field of second language writing. Currently, Chinese teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) adopt the product approach to teach argumentative writing, in which they stress the mode of learners’ written production and show little concern with cognition. For students’ sustainable development in argumentation skills, teachers are encouraged to employ a genre-based approach to cultivate students’ knowledge about different elements in argumentation. However, few empirical studies have investigated the efficacy of such classroom-based instruction on learners’ comprehensive development in EFL writing, including their knowledge about writing and performance in producing argumentation. This is particularly the case with reference to Chinese students learning to write argumentative texts in EFL. To fill the research gap, this quasi-experimental study was conducted with 74 EFL sophomores, who were randomly allocated to either an experimental group or a comparison group. The experimental group received a genre-based writing approach, while the comparison group experienced their conventional writing instruction. Students’ changes were analysed using pre- and post-writing test measures, open-ended questionnaires, and stimulated recall interviews. Our findings revealed more changes in the experimental groups’ knowledge about argumentation following the genre-based writing treatment than the comparison group. Specifically, the experimental group’s progress was obvious in the way they displayed their knowledge of the structure of discourse moves and of language features specific to the argumentative genre. They began to express their knowledge of the content, process, intended purposes, and audience awareness towards producing more genre appropriate texts in argumentation. They also showed enhanced self-reflection on their knowledge of argumentation. In addition, the genre-based approach had a positive effect on the experimental group’s argumentative writing development, as evidenced in their use of discourse move structures and their overall writing quality improvement. The conventional writing approach was not as effective in helping students to write an argumentation. Writing proficiency effects were observed in terms of the extent to which the students were developed. Pedagogical implications and limitations are also discussed. Full article
Article
Sustainable Development of EFL Learners’ Research Writing Competence and Their Identity Construction: Chinese Novice Writer-Researchers’ Metadiscourse Use in English Research Articles
Sustainability 2021, 13(17), 9523; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13179523 - 24 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1724
Abstract
English for foreign language (EFL) novice writer-researchers are faced with an increasing pressure for international publication as a prerequisite for sustainable career development in academia. The use of metadiscourse, as a key indicator for their discourse competence, has been a subject of research [...] Read more.
English for foreign language (EFL) novice writer-researchers are faced with an increasing pressure for international publication as a prerequisite for sustainable career development in academia. The use of metadiscourse, as a key indicator for their discourse competence, has been a subject of research for English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and/or English for Specific Purposes (ESP) scholars. This study investigates metadiscourse features of research articles’ (RA) results and discussion (R&D) sections written by Chinese PhD students and their writer identities reflected through metadiscourse choice. A corpus was built, consisting of a subcorpus of R&D of unpublished research articles (RAs) written by Chinese PhD students (CNWs) and one of the same part-genre by English-speaking expert writers (EEWs). Metadiscourse used by the two groups were identified based on Hyland’s interpersonal model of metadiscourse. Quantitative analyses on the frequency and variety of metadiscourse markers found a significant difference not only in interactional metadiscourse but also in some subcategories of interactive and interactional metadiscourse, indicating that CNWs attach more importance to organisation of ideas than to the persuasiveness of arguments. A questionnaire survey was conducted to explore the influence of the CNWs’ perception of RA writing on their metadiscourse choice. It revealed that knowledge of generic conventions and metadiscourse functions, awareness of the writer–reader relationship, and confidence in language competence may influence metadiscourse choice. The paper concludes with the view that the CNWs generally view themselves as a recounter and reporter of their research, remaining conservative when presenting an authoritative voice and a confident identity as a knowledge creator. Full article
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Article
A Qualitative Analysis of Students’ Reflections on the Current Use of Digital Media in Foreign Language Classes
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9082; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169082 - 13 Aug 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1225
Abstract
Teaching and learning have radically changed in the COVID-19 era and highlighted many novel aspects of online teaching and learning. Based on a qualitative content analysis of central European university students’ responses, the aim of this study is to discuss their reflections on [...] Read more.
Teaching and learning have radically changed in the COVID-19 era and highlighted many novel aspects of online teaching and learning. Based on a qualitative content analysis of central European university students’ responses, the aim of this study is to discuss their reflections on the use of digital media in foreign language classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The key method of this qualitative study includes focus group interviews. The results reveal both advantages and disadvantages of online foreign language teaching and their impact on students’ second language (L2) acquisition. The positive aspects involve satisfaction with being able to study a foreign language from the comfort from their homes, avoidance of commuting to school, ample opportunities to review the learning material, or improvement of listening skills. On the contrary, the negative aspects included a striking lack of social contact in the form of face-to-face classes, absence of collaboration between the teacher and students and between the students themselves in order to share and build on their knowledge and experience, health issues associated with a frequent exposure to technologies, or a lack of possibility to develop speaking skills. In conclusion, the authors of this study provide several implications for teaching practice, technology experts, and other stakeholders, which must be considered very seriously, as they represent the opinion of the users of online learning. Full article
Article
Sustainability of Professional Development: A Longitudinal Case Study of an Early Career ESL Teacher’s Agency and Identity
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9025; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169025 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1235
Abstract
This paper reports on a longitudinal case study of a Hong Kong early career ESL (English as a second language) secondary teacher, Joyce (pseudonym), who experienced different stages of personal–professional development over seven–eight years (August 2013–December 2020), as follows: (1) entering, and engaging, [...] Read more.
This paper reports on a longitudinal case study of a Hong Kong early career ESL (English as a second language) secondary teacher, Joyce (pseudonym), who experienced different stages of personal–professional development over seven–eight years (August 2013–December 2020), as follows: (1) entering, and engaging, in teaching for five–six years, upon graduation from a local teacher education BA degree program in summer 2013; (2) resigning from her full-time teaching position and leaving the teaching profession, in response to an “insulting” classroom revisit in her third school; (3) working in an NGO for a short time, after “recovery” from the “insulting” event; and (4) weighing possibilities for resuming teaching, after leaving the NGO in 2019. Drawing on multiple data that were collected over seven–eight years, including interviews, informal communications, and autobiography, this study aimed to examine the issues of teacher attrition and sustainable professional development, in relation to teacher agency and teacher identity, in Hong Kong secondary school contexts. The findings revealed that school and social contexts intertwined with personal experiences, culminating in Joyce’s leaving or staying in the teaching profession. Through focusing on Joyce’s long-term experiences of becoming and being an ESL teacher, the findings shed light on the affordances for, and constraints upon, teacher agency and teacher identity in school contexts. Full article
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Article
Sustaining University English as a Foreign Language Learners’ Writing Performance through Provision of Comprehensive Written Corrective Feedback
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8192; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158192 - 22 Jul 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2189
Abstract
Writing is regarded as a crucial skill in English language curricula at the secondary and tertiary levels in the Chinese education system. Currently, Chinese teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) often adopt a product approach to teaching EFL writing, in which [...] Read more.
Writing is regarded as a crucial skill in English language curricula at the secondary and tertiary levels in the Chinese education system. Currently, Chinese teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) often adopt a product approach to teaching EFL writing, in which they emphasize the quality of their students’ written products and show little concern with the writing process. To help L2 learners achieve sustainable development of their writing proficiency, teachers employ a comprehensive approach to correct their students’ language errors as a common practice. However, empirical studies regarding its efficacy on different dimensions of L2 writing are insufficient. This study intended to fill this lacuna in a Chinese EFL context, which investigated the effects of sustained comprehensive written corrective feedback (WCF) on accuracy, complexity, fluency, and content and organization quality of EFL students’ writing. Quasi-experimental in design, it involved a comparison group and a treatment group receiving four sessions of direct comprehensive WCF. Results show that such WCF contributed to writing accuracy and fluency over time. Our textual analysis further reveals that it particularly benefited students’ grammatical accuracy, reducing some rule-based grammatical error types. However, it showed limited effects on complexity, content, or organization of students’ writing. Interestingly, the comparison group did not improve any dimensions of their writing. Possible implications are also discussed. Full article
Article
Sustaining the Effective Use of Materials in Language Classrooms: A Conceptual Understanding of Teacher Knowledge for Materials Use
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 8115; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13148115 - 20 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1577
Abstract
Materials use is a critical yet understudied domain of language teaching across jurisdictions and educational contexts. This study explored what knowledge constituents that English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) teachers mobilize in their use of materials. Based on the social theory of human cognition in tool use [...] Read more.
Materials use is a critical yet understudied domain of language teaching across jurisdictions and educational contexts. This study explored what knowledge constituents that English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) teachers mobilize in their use of materials. Based on the social theory of human cognition in tool use and the conception of foreign language teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge, a qualitative multi-case study involving eight EFL teachers at one university in China was conducted. Data from interviews, lesson observations, and documents across three consecutive semesters revealed that teacher knowledge for materials use is multi-dimensional and developmental. The constituents of this professional knowledge are manifested in four domains, i.e., subject matter, pedagogical, curricular, and contextual domains. The study concluded that the professional knowledge needed for materials use is not merely an individual trait, but mediated by both human and nonhuman elements. Therefore, new forms of agency from both teachers and materials are required to foster the growth of this professional knowledge. Based on the findings, suggestions were made for teacher learning through materials use in language classrooms. Full article
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Article
Teaching and Learning Multiple Varieties of a Foreign Language for Sustainable Multilingual Education
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 8004; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13148004 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1305
Abstract
In multilingual education for sustainable personal development, compared with that of multiple languages, the teaching and learning of multiple varieties of a language has been underexplored as a special and important form of multilingualism. In this article, we examine the linguistic, psychological, and [...] Read more.
In multilingual education for sustainable personal development, compared with that of multiple languages, the teaching and learning of multiple varieties of a language has been underexplored as a special and important form of multilingualism. In this article, we examine the linguistic, psychological, and social characteristics of multiple variety learning, as compared with multiple language learning. Linguistically, acquisition of language varieties is a process of assimilating variants from a new variety into an earlier variety, which serves as a prototype system. Such assimilation is a psychological project of form-meaning interface development, which may follow the patterns of structural multiplication, conceptual involution, conceptual evolution, or/and conceptual transfer. When multiple language varieties are actually used in social contexts, multilingual individuals’ selected language practices may be supported by their combined linguistic resources from multiple varieties rather than depend on a single variety despite its dominance in a given situation. These characteristics carry pedagogical implications for sustainable multilingual education, particularly for the teaching and learning of foreign languages that have multiple varieties. Full article
Article
Towards the Sustainable Development of Digital Educational Games for Primary School Students in China
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7919; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147919 - 15 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 984
Abstract
Despite considerable discussion on the benefits of digital educational games, empirical research on their effectiveness in primary schools in China is limited. This case study aimed to promote the sustainable development of digital educational games in primary schools in China by examining the [...] Read more.
Despite considerable discussion on the benefits of digital educational games, empirical research on their effectiveness in primary schools in China is limited. This case study aimed to promote the sustainable development of digital educational games in primary schools in China by examining the effect of digital educational games on primary school students’ vocabulary acquisition and ascertaining their perceptions and attitudes toward this approach. Given the purposes of this study, an embedded mixed methods research design was employed. Two Grade 4 classes at a Chinese primary school were recruited in this study. During the quasi-experiment, the experimental class (n = 50) was provided with educational game software, Quizlet, while the control class (n = 50) was taught through a traditional teaching method. The results show that integrating educational games into language education in the primary schools was effective in improving students’ vocabulary acquisition. This study makes a case for further research of digital educational games in language classrooms at a primary level in China. Implications are made regarding the future sustainable implementation of digital educational games in primary schools in China. Full article
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Article
Language Ideologies, Practices, and Kindergarteners’ Narrative Macrostructure Development: Crucial Factors for Sustainable Development of Early Language Education
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 6985; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13136985 - 22 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1022
Abstract
This paper explored crucial factors to achieve sustainable development of early language education by examining the relationship between two dimensions of family language policy—language ideologies and language practices—as well as the relationship between family language policy and the development of children’s narrative macrostructure. [...] Read more.
This paper explored crucial factors to achieve sustainable development of early language education by examining the relationship between two dimensions of family language policy—language ideologies and language practices—as well as the relationship between family language policy and the development of children’s narrative macrostructure. Data were collected via a language performance test and a questionnaire survey of 131 kindergartners from 10 kindergartens in a Chinese city. Structural equation modeling corroborated the relationship between family language ideologies and family language practices proposed by family language policy theorists. Results showed that family language policy significantly predicted kindergarteners’ development of narrative macrostructure. In addition, age was shown to be a significant predictor of narrative macrostructure development, whereas gender was not. Implications for early intervention of children’s narrative macrostructure development were discussed. Full article
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Article
A Tale of Three Excellent Chinese EFL Teachers: Unpacking Teacher Professional Qualities for Their Sustainable Career Trajectories from an Ecological Perspective
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6721; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126721 - 14 Jun 2021
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 2074
Abstract
Teachers’ quality has long been researched in the field of general education. However, little attention has been paid to the professional qualities of excellent English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers in the context of English curriculum reform, especially from an ecological perspective. [...] Read more.
Teachers’ quality has long been researched in the field of general education. However, little attention has been paid to the professional qualities of excellent English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers in the context of English curriculum reform, especially from an ecological perspective. To address this gap, this study adopted a qualitative approach to characterise the qualities of excellent senior high school EFL teachers in China and the development of their professional qualities using Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems model. Four interconnected dimensions of excellent EFL teachers’ professional qualities were confirmed: English language pedagogical content competence, beliefs about the foreign language teaching profession and professional ethics, beliefs about foreign language teaching and learning, and beliefs about language teacher learning and development. Meanwhile, the EFL teachers constructed and developed their professional qualities in their dynamic interaction with the complex ecological systems where they lived. The paper considers these various teacher-related factors in the ecological systems and provides some suggestions for sustaining EFL teachers’ professional development. Full article
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Article
Understanding the Sustainable Growth of EFL Students’ Writing Skills: Differences between Novice and Expert Writers in Their Use of Lexical Bundles in Academic Writing
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5553; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105553 - 16 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3008
Abstract
Lexical bundles, as building blocks of discourse, play vital roles in helping members from the same academic community achieve successful communication and disseminate sustainable disciplinary knowledge. However, little attention has been paid to lexical bundles in postgraduate writing. Drawing on Biber et al.’s [...] Read more.
Lexical bundles, as building blocks of discourse, play vital roles in helping members from the same academic community achieve successful communication and disseminate sustainable disciplinary knowledge. However, little attention has been paid to lexical bundles in postgraduate writing. Drawing on Biber et al.’s (1999) structural taxonomy and Hyland’s (2008a) functional taxonomy, we identified and compared lexical bundles in two self-built corpora, an EFL student writing corpus and an expert writing corpus. The results indicate considerable structural differences between the two groups: the student writers used verb phrase-based bundles more frequently and prepositional phrase-based and noun phrase-based bundles less frequently. In terms of function, although the two academic groups showed similar distributions of the three main functional categories, as student writers they exhibited insufficient reader-awareness and incomplete knowledge of stance expressions. It is hoped that the findings will shed light on future pedagogical practices to help novice writers improve their academic writing competence as a sustainable goal in enhancing their academic scholarship. Full article
Article
Understanding the Sustainable Development of L2 Chinese Teachers in New Zealand: A Case Study of Teaching Assistants’ Motivational Engagement in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5521; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105521 - 14 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1393
Abstract
Informed by the expectancy–value theory and the motivational factors influencing teaching model choices, this case study explored three Chinese-as-a-foreign-language teaching assistants’ (L2 Chinese TAs’) motivational engagement in teaching L2 Chinese as a sustainable and lifelong career in New Zealand. Each TA participated in [...] Read more.
Informed by the expectancy–value theory and the motivational factors influencing teaching model choices, this case study explored three Chinese-as-a-foreign-language teaching assistants’ (L2 Chinese TAs’) motivational engagement in teaching L2 Chinese as a sustainable and lifelong career in New Zealand. Each TA participated in three rounds of semi-structured interviews in the process of data collection. The findings revealed that (1) the TAs’ expectancy was all student oriented, regardless of their different backgrounds; (2) the different values of L2 Chinese teaching contributed to the TAs’ teaching performance and career choices; and (3) the impact of teaching self-efficacy on the TAs’ profession retention was pivotal, but controversial, when taking their previous majors into account. Implications for the sustainable development of L2 Chinese teachers were discussed. Full article

Review

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Review
Synthesizing the Attributes of Computer-Based Error Analysis for ESL and EFL Learning: A Scoping Review
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 15649; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142315649 - 24 Nov 2022
Viewed by 126
Abstract
An error analysis (EA) is the process of determining the incidence, nature, causes, and consequences of unsuccessful language acquisition. Traditional EA for English as a second language/English as a foreign language technique lacks an orderly investigation due to human errors. Consequently, computer-based error [...] Read more.
An error analysis (EA) is the process of determining the incidence, nature, causes, and consequences of unsuccessful language acquisition. Traditional EA for English as a second language/English as a foreign language technique lacks an orderly investigation due to human errors. Consequently, computer-based error analysis (CBEA) was introduced into EA in linguistics to achieve accuracy and instant analysis. Although many studies have concluded that CBEA holds numerous strengths, other studies have found that CBEA has certain limitations. However, the strengths and limitations of the CBEA were not clearly synthesized and outlined. Accordingly, this review aims to explore the strengths and limitations of CBEA to provide areas for improvement of computer applications toward an efficient EA procedure. This work also aims to synthesize the strengths and limitations of CBEA mentioned in a variety of articles into a single review to sustain its efficiency and serve as a guide for teachers to benefit from the strengths and gain awareness of CBEA’s limitations. Stakeholders can access broader perspectives on developing application software capable of addressing the deficiencies in EA. By doing so, we can sustain CBEA’s efficiency for the benefit of all. For this purpose, Arksey and O’Malley’s procedure of a scoping review and the PRISMA framework were adopted to guide the filtering and selection of relevant previous studies. Sixty-two articles were selected through the processes of identification, screening, eligibility, and inclusion. Although the findings showed six strengths and seven limitations of CBEA, CBEA can only perform the diagnostic part of EA. Human intervention is still required to perform the prognostic part to accomplish an efficient EA. Full article
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Review
The Roles of Non-Textual Elements in Sustaining ESL and EFL Learning: A Scoping Review
Sustainability 2022, 14(16), 10292; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141610292 - 18 Aug 2022
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Abstract
This scoping review identifies the roles of non-textual elements and how these roles have changed in sustaining the teaching and learning of English as an additional language (EAL) in the last five years. Much of the research regarding non-textual elements has shown that [...] Read more.
This scoping review identifies the roles of non-textual elements and how these roles have changed in sustaining the teaching and learning of English as an additional language (EAL) in the last five years. Much of the research regarding non-textual elements has shown that they have significantly contributed to learners’ motivation, active participation, and communication. However, a systematic synthesis of how these roles have changed over the last five years, in terms of the types of non-textual elements used as a result of the growing access to technologies, is lacking. Following Arksey and O’Malley’s framework, a scoping review of 50 studies from 2018 to 2022 was carried out, filtered from the ERIC, Scopus, and Google Scholar databases. The studies were compiled considering two characteristics: the roles and types of non-textual elements in enhancing English as a second language (ESL)/English as a foreign language (EFL) in classrooms. The results show that 29 out of the 50 studies used non-textual elements in complementary roles and 21 studies used them in supplementary roles to enhance the teaching and learning of ESL and EFL in recent years. Educators prefer to utilize non-textual elements in dominantly complementary roles rather than supplementary roles to create a sustainable EAL (ESL and EFL) learning environment. Non-textual elements help learners capture and recall information far longer than texts alone. A revised dual method using non-textual elements in a combination of both supplementary and complementary roles, and also utilizing both technologically driven and traditional approaches, is the way forward in sustaining effective EAL learning Full article
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Systematic Review
Challenges to Internationalisation of University Programmes: A Systematic Thematic Synthesis of Qualitative Research on Learner-Centred English Medium Instruction (EMI) Pedagogy
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12642; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212642 - 16 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1615
Abstract
As many universities in non-Anglophone countries have committed to internationalising their academic programmes, more content courses in Arts and Sciences are being taught in English. When content courses are taught in English in a country where English is not the first language, this [...] Read more.
As many universities in non-Anglophone countries have committed to internationalising their academic programmes, more content courses in Arts and Sciences are being taught in English. When content courses are taught in English in a country where English is not the first language, this is called English Medium Instruction (EMI). Using specific country cases, previous studies have confirmed that an EMI course can pose many challenges to the learning of course content by students. To date, there have been few attempts to examine these challenges through a large-scale qualitative prism, which would be useful for gaining new insights in order to inform policy as well as classroom interventions. In this systematic thematic synthesis we have aimed to identify the obstacles to implementing learner-centred pedagogy in EMI tertiary programmes, focusing on student perspectives. The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) and Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Studies (COREQ) were used to appraise and synthesise 40 empirical articles. The articles included 1769 participants in 20 non-Anglophone countries and jurisdictions. The participants were both local and international non-native English-speaking students enrolled in EMI courses. The synthesis yielded 46 descriptive themes stratified into six analytical domains. The suggested domains are meta/linguistic, instructional, meta/cognitive, socio-cultural, affective, and institutional obstacles. They suggest that students in different regions faced quite similar challenges in their EMI courses. The challenges consist of inadequate use of English by students and lecturers, and a lack of student-centred pedagogy, particularly in teacher–student and student–student interactions. The findings of most learner-centred EMI studies revealed that the main challenges came from English comprehension (the first three suggested domains); fewer studies included factors related to the learning environment (the last three domains). This review can inform university administrators, teaching staff and researchers engaged in internationalising higher education and aid in designing appropriate EMI programmes that offer better learner-centred educational experiences. Full article
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Systematic Review
English-Medium Instruction as a Pedagogical Strategy for the Sustainable Development of EFL Learners in the Chinese Context: A Meta-Analysis of Its Effectiveness
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5637; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105637 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2612
Abstract
With English-medium instruction (EMI) as a pedagogical strategy being practiced worldwide in higher education (HE), extensive research has explored stakeholders’ attitudes toward, and perceived benefits and challenges of EMI based on self-report data. However, the actual effectiveness of EMI on students’ subject content [...] Read more.
With English-medium instruction (EMI) as a pedagogical strategy being practiced worldwide in higher education (HE), extensive research has explored stakeholders’ attitudes toward, and perceived benefits and challenges of EMI based on self-report data. However, the actual effectiveness of EMI on students’ subject content and English language learning achievements tested with objective measures has accrued little evidence. This meta-analysis synthesized 44 independent samples (32 in medical disciplines) from 36 studies. The results show that EMI students performed significantly better in both subject content and English learning than students in Chinese-medium courses, but it should be noted that the difference in content learning was found only with students from medical disciplines. Discipline was the only significant factor moderating content learning, while disciplines, research design, and instruction time in English significantly moderated English learning. The findings provide implications for implementing EMI in similar contexts and highlight the importance of rigorous future research to examine the benefits of EMI. Full article
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