Learner contribution to English language learning : Chinese research students' agency and their transitional experiences in AustraliaLearner contribution to English language learning : Chinese research students' agency and their transitional experiences in Australia
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
Department of Linguistics
Antwerp Center for Pragmatics (IPrA Research Center)
Higher education research and development. - Canberra
31(2012):4, p. 585-597
University of Antwerp
This article examines the role of agency for the English language development of three Chinese research students with high English proficiency sojourning in Australia. The focus is on the various approaches the learners employed to strengthen their sense of confidence in their language use in Australia. The data were obtained through in-depth interviews and organized into case-study reports. The findings demonstrate that in transitioning into the Australian linguistic and cultural community, all the learners actively sought different English-mediated activities and experiences in order to build the confidence necessary for a successful transition. The differences in their choices of activities were intimately linked with what they historically saw and established as significant achievement goals in and through English. In maintaining that the students' agency was an extension of their fundamental desires and goals for learning, this article provides insights into how second-language (L2) learners gain participation in the target community and the salience of their historical learning goals for L2 use and overall L2 development.