Date of Award
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Curriculum and Instruction
First Committee Member
Rod P. Githens
Second Committee Member
China’s growing economic power has led to over one hundred million people speaking Chinese world-wide (Chai & Wang, 2017). Although the Chinese language may not replace English as the most popular language worldwide, it is acknowledged that the Chinese language is an indispensable part of the future world (Zhao & Huang, 2010). However, there appears to be a paucity of research into the role self-efficacy and establishing good habits as a language learner play in non-native speaking students experiencing success while learning Chinese. A phenomenological study was conducted to investigate college students who were early Chinese learners in a beginning level preparatory course of a non-academic long-term Chinese language program, their experiences of learning Chinese, and the association, if any, between students’ self-efficacy as learners of Chinese and their demonstration of characteristics of Good Language Learners (GLLs). Data were collected from a survey, questionnaires, and one-on-one interviews.
Six research findings were generated from research data and based on early Chinese learners, referred to students in the findings. Research findings from this study are listed as followed.
Research Finding 1: Students’ perceptions of their strengths in learning Chinese are the strengths related to language aspects and personality traits.
Research Finding 2: Students’ perceptions of their challenges in learning Chinese are language-related challenges, challenges from the teachers, challenges from the curriculum setting, and challenges from the class members.
Research Finding 3: Students have at least five characteristics of GLLs (Edge & Garton, 2009) which are Characteristics 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7 and partial of Characteristics 8 and 10. More specifically, early Chinese learners have a positive attitude toward Chinese and Chinese speakers (Characteristic 1). They have strong motivations to learn Chinese (Characteristic 2). They are confident in becoming successful learners (Characteristic 3). They actively organize Chinese practices (Characteristic 6). They have ways to express themselves correctly (Characteristic 7). They are willing to engage in Chinese-speaking situations (partial of Characteristic 8). They use strategies to learn Chinese (partial of Characteristic 10).
Research Finding 4: Students tend to have Characteristics 4 and 5 and partial of Characteristic 10. To be more specific, early Chinese learners tend to have their minds prepared for making mistakes when using Chinese and to learn from the mistakes (Characteristics 4). They tend to like learning Chinese (Characteristics 5). And they tend to try out new strategies while learning Chinese (partial of Characteristic 10).
Research Finding 5: Students lack Characteristic 9 and partial of Characteristic 8. To be more specific, early Chinese learners are not used to working directly in Chinese (Characteristic 9). They are neither ready to use Chinese as frequently as their native languages (partial of Characteristic 8).
Research Finding 6: There is no obvious association between students’ efficacy and their demonstration of characteristics of GLLs (Edge & Garton, 2009) while learning Chinese. This study investigated college students who were early Chinese learners in a beginning level preparatory course of a non-academic long-term Chinese language program, their experiences of learning Chinese, and the association, if any, between students’ self-efficacy as learners of Chinese and their demonstration of characteristics of Good Language Learners (GLLs). This study offered recommendations for teachers, administrators, and policy makers, in non-academic long-term Chinese language programs and in the field of teaching Chinese as a foreign language. Last but not least, recommendations for further research were provided for researchers in the field of teaching Chinese as a foreign language.
Chen, Cheng. (2021). AN EXPLORATION OF COLLEGE STUDENTS’ SELF-EFFICACY AND CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD LANGUAGE LEARNERS IN LEARNING CHINESE AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. University of the Pacific, Dissertation. https://scholarlycommons.pacific.edu/uop_etds/3762
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