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postgraduate thesis: Hong Kong English teachers' cognitions of world Englishes and how these cognitions impact on their pedagogical practices

TitleHong Kong English teachers' cognitions of world Englishes and how these cognitions impact on their pedagogical practices
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Man, E. [文爾諾]. (2015). Hong Kong English teachers' cognitions of world Englishes and how these cognitions impact on their pedagogical practices. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5479374
AbstractRecent sociolinguistics research in the study of English has shifted from focusing only on Inner Circle English varieties in Kachru’s (1985) sense to include Outer and Expanding Circle varieties, the phenomenon of which is captured by the term ‘world Englishes’ (WE). This paradigm shift to include WE as acceptable norms has immediate impacts on English language teaching (ELT) as it is suggested that what students learn should approximate the reality of English use worldwide. Research in applied linguistics and language education has discussed the position of WE in ELT (e.g. Jenkins, 2009a), investigated teachers and learners’ perceptions about WE (e.g. Andrews, 2002; He & Li, 2009), and developed curricula that incorporate WE features (e.g. Jenkins, 2002). However, not many studies have looked into how contextual factors have impacted on English teachers’ perceptions about WE and their pedagogical practices. This thesis presents an in-depth, qualitative study that seeks answers to research questions regarding: (i) the relationship between the cognitions and pedagogical practices of WE of a group of Hong Kong English teachers; and (ii) contextual factors that may influence their reported cognitions and observed practices. Borg’s (2006) schematic conceptualisation of language teacher cognition is adopted as the theoretical and analytical framework, which postulates that language teacher cognition and practices are shaped by their schooling experience, professional coursework, contextual factors as well as their ongoing pedagogical practices. Guided by an embedded-case study approach, data were collected through semi-structured interviews, observations of lessons and activities, stimulated recall interviews and documentation analysis. This research takes a Hong Kong secondary school as a single case with five English teachers as embedded cases who participated as the main informants over a period of one school year. To obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the context, additional data were collected from other sources including school administrators, students, and education officials. An analysis of the data using Borg’s (2006) framework revealed that the informants’ cognitions of WE had been shaped by their experiences as learners, teachers and users of English. The informants’ perceptions were ‘ambivalent’: expressing an embracing view towards WE, but at the same time attaching only to British English in teaching due to local examination and curriculum requirements. The informants’ observed classroom practices also manifested such ambivalence: they were willing to teach a text containing WE features but continuously reminded students to avoid using WE in examinations. This ambivalence seemed to have rooted from their pedagogical focus only on meeting examination requirements and formal English use. Furthermore, this exclusive focus was shared not only among the English teachers, but also by their students, school administration of the case School and education officials, together forming the overarching context shaping the English teachers’ cognitions. The implications of this study are twofold. First, the informants’ exclusive preference for British English over WE for ELT seems to diverge from WE research suggestions to introduce non-Inner Circle varieties as acceptable norms. Second, their ambivalent view towards WE manifested a tension between maintaining English standards and exposing students to the sociolinguistic reality of English. The findings reveal the teacher informants’ predominant focus on teaching uses of English for examinations, which tend to focus on standard Englishes and formal genres. It is suggested that English teachers should go beyond an uncritical adherence to nation-based English varieties to develop a broader understanding of language variation that takes into account the users, uses and modes of communication (Mahboob, 2014). This study calls for (i) the inclusion of a wider range of language variation in the English curriculum; (ii) more attention to teacher education programmes in strengthening English teachers’ awareness of language variation; and (iii) raising awareness of education and assessment officials towards a broader conceptualisation of language variation.
DegreeDoctor of Education
SubjectEnglish teachers - China - Hong Kong - Attitudes
English language - Study and teaching (Secondary) - China - Hong Kong
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/212565

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorMan, Enoch-
dc.contributor.author文爾諾-
dc.date.accessioned2015-07-22T23:10:46Z-
dc.date.available2015-07-22T23:10:46Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationMan, E. [文爾諾]. (2015). Hong Kong English teachers' cognitions of world Englishes and how these cognitions impact on their pedagogical practices. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5479374-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/212565-
dc.description.abstractRecent sociolinguistics research in the study of English has shifted from focusing only on Inner Circle English varieties in Kachru’s (1985) sense to include Outer and Expanding Circle varieties, the phenomenon of which is captured by the term ‘world Englishes’ (WE). This paradigm shift to include WE as acceptable norms has immediate impacts on English language teaching (ELT) as it is suggested that what students learn should approximate the reality of English use worldwide. Research in applied linguistics and language education has discussed the position of WE in ELT (e.g. Jenkins, 2009a), investigated teachers and learners’ perceptions about WE (e.g. Andrews, 2002; He & Li, 2009), and developed curricula that incorporate WE features (e.g. Jenkins, 2002). However, not many studies have looked into how contextual factors have impacted on English teachers’ perceptions about WE and their pedagogical practices. This thesis presents an in-depth, qualitative study that seeks answers to research questions regarding: (i) the relationship between the cognitions and pedagogical practices of WE of a group of Hong Kong English teachers; and (ii) contextual factors that may influence their reported cognitions and observed practices. Borg’s (2006) schematic conceptualisation of language teacher cognition is adopted as the theoretical and analytical framework, which postulates that language teacher cognition and practices are shaped by their schooling experience, professional coursework, contextual factors as well as their ongoing pedagogical practices. Guided by an embedded-case study approach, data were collected through semi-structured interviews, observations of lessons and activities, stimulated recall interviews and documentation analysis. This research takes a Hong Kong secondary school as a single case with five English teachers as embedded cases who participated as the main informants over a period of one school year. To obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the context, additional data were collected from other sources including school administrators, students, and education officials. An analysis of the data using Borg’s (2006) framework revealed that the informants’ cognitions of WE had been shaped by their experiences as learners, teachers and users of English. The informants’ perceptions were ‘ambivalent’: expressing an embracing view towards WE, but at the same time attaching only to British English in teaching due to local examination and curriculum requirements. The informants’ observed classroom practices also manifested such ambivalence: they were willing to teach a text containing WE features but continuously reminded students to avoid using WE in examinations. This ambivalence seemed to have rooted from their pedagogical focus only on meeting examination requirements and formal English use. Furthermore, this exclusive focus was shared not only among the English teachers, but also by their students, school administration of the case School and education officials, together forming the overarching context shaping the English teachers’ cognitions. The implications of this study are twofold. First, the informants’ exclusive preference for British English over WE for ELT seems to diverge from WE research suggestions to introduce non-Inner Circle varieties as acceptable norms. Second, their ambivalent view towards WE manifested a tension between maintaining English standards and exposing students to the sociolinguistic reality of English. The findings reveal the teacher informants’ predominant focus on teaching uses of English for examinations, which tend to focus on standard Englishes and formal genres. It is suggested that English teachers should go beyond an uncritical adherence to nation-based English varieties to develop a broader understanding of language variation that takes into account the users, uses and modes of communication (Mahboob, 2014). This study calls for (i) the inclusion of a wider range of language variation in the English curriculum; (ii) more attention to teacher education programmes in strengthening English teachers’ awareness of language variation; and (iii) raising awareness of education and assessment officials towards a broader conceptualisation of language variation.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshEnglish teachers - China - Hong Kong - Attitudes-
dc.subject.lcshEnglish language - Study and teaching (Secondary) - China - Hong Kong-
dc.titleHong Kong English teachers' cognitions of world Englishes and how these cognitions impact on their pedagogical practices-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5479374-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Education-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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