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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Marilyn Draheim

First Committee Member

Justin Low

Second Committee Member

Robert Oprandy

Third Committee Member

Amy Scott


Traditional foreign language teaching pedagogy, such as the grammar-translation and audio-lingual methods, dominate most English language classrooms in China. Those methods provide a good deal of target language input but do not foster a student-centered learning environment. This study examined the effects of a peer tutoring intervention grounded in constructivist learning theory on the English reading achievement and self-esteem of first-grade Chinese middle school students who are accustomed to traditional pedagogy grounded in teacher-centered instruction and behaviorist learning theory. The modified Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory - School Form (CSEI-SF) was used to measure students’ self-esteem. The Cambridge Young Learners English Tests for Flyers (YLE Flyers) was used to assess students' English reading achievement. Eighty-five students who participated in this study were first-grade students in a township middle school (equal to 7th grade students in the United States), with 42 students in the control and 43 students in the experimental condition. No statistical significance was found regarding the impact of this peer tutoring intervention on students’ English reading and self-esteem. Also there was no statistical significance with relation to the moderating effects of students’ initial English reading and self-esteem on this impact. This study revealed that constructivist learning strategies were not as effective in China as they were reported to be in other international settings.





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