Maximising Language Socialization and Learning Strategies Through Study Abroad in China

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Exploring Innovative Pedagogy in the Teaching and Learning of Chinese as a Foreign Language, 2016, pp. 77 - 95
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Language socialization is concerned with how second language learners are socialized to be competent members in the target culture through language use and how they socialize to use the target language (Ochs E, Indexicality and socialization. In: Stigler JW, Shweder R, Herdt G (eds) Cultural psychology: essays on comparative human development. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 287–308, 1990; Ochs E, Schieffelin BB, Language acquisition and socialization: three developmental stories. In: Shweder RA, LeVine RA (eds) Culture theory: essays on mind, self, and emotion. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 276–320, 1984; Ochs E, Schieffelin BB, The impact of language socialization on grammatical development. In: Fletcher P, MacWhinney B (eds) The handbook of child language. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 73–94, 1995). This paper draws on the framework of language socialization and learning strategies and focuses on Australian adult students learning Chinese as a second language and their process of becoming culturally and linguistically competent members in Chinese society through study abroad in China. The data is collected from 11 students from an Australian University who participated in a 1 year study abroad China program in 2012. Three surveys were undertaken, before the students departed, during the study abroad program, and a final survey after the study abroad program. In-depth interviews were conducted with students after they returned to Australia. The study explores the effectiveness of language socialization and identifies learning strategies affecting students’ success or failure in the in-country program. In particular the study hopes to identify the relationship between language use and the cultural contexts of communication. The findings highlight areas for innovative improvement and maximization of opportunity in future study abroad Chinese language learning programs in Australia.
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