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postgraduate thesis: Enhancing mainland Chinese college students' investment in EFL learning through multimodal composing : affordances and challenges

TitleEnhancing mainland Chinese college students' investment in EFL learning through multimodal composing : affordances and challenges
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Jiang, L. [蒋联江]. (2015). Enhancing mainland Chinese college students' investment in EFL learning through multimodal composing : affordances and challenges. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5689254
AbstractAs multimodal composing (MC) of digital texts that combines semiotic modes such as words and sounds proliferates in contemporary society, theorists of multiliteracies and social semiotics have called for importing MC into language classrooms as a new literacy learning tool. Yet little research has investigated the affordances and challenges of doing so in relation to learner investment (Norton, 1995), which denotes a desire to learn a second/foreign language, taking into account learners' socially constructed identities. This study, informed by activity theory (Engestrom, 2001) and the expanded investment model in language learning (Darvin and Norton, 2015), explored whether and how the use of MC as an instructional activity would influence learner investment in EFL learning in Mainland China. It paid particular attention to students' investment changes and to the experiences and perceptions of teachers and students. The study was guided by the following sub-questions: (1) What were the perceptions of using multimodal composing to promote English learning investment from a group of Chinese college English teachers and learners? (2) How did students deploy multimodal resources in the process of composing? (3) Did the students' investment in English learning change during the multimodal composing process, and if so, how and why? A year-long collaborative action research was conducted with five English teachers who co-designed MC projects, which engaged students with video production of various genres and topics. Data were collected from five teachers and twenty-two students through interviews, observations, and artifacts (reflections, student-authored videos, documents), supplemented by 790 pre- and 595 post-intervention questionnaire responses from students. Data analysis was guided by Burns's (1999) five-step analytic model. The findings showed that while most students displayed evidence of increased investment in English learning during intervention, some others showed little change. Five patterns of changes were identified: from feeling fearful/difficult to feeling confident/competent, from feeling nonchalant to feeling interested, from test-focused investment to communication-driven investment, from initially interested to indifferent, and unchanged. The study found that most informants considered MC conducive to learner investment and they attributed the positive changes to the affordances of MC in enabling students to develop competent identities as L2 learners. The study also revealed pedagogic tensions that arose from ideological struggles experienced by teachers and students over the specification of time, space and text when MC was integrated into a traditional EFL curriculum dominated by exams and a linguistic view of literacy. These findings suggest that the influence of MC over learner investment not only premises on the opportunities that allow students to draw on a wider range of semiotic resources to get their desired identities affirmed and developed, but also on whether and how such identities are accorded with symbolic value by institutional powers such as high-stakes testing. The entrenched ideology that places language above multimodality may create unintentional barriers for learner investment. The study thereby argues for a need to avoid romanticizing MC and to highlight the mediating roles of contexts, learners' and teachers' identities in deploying MC as a pedagogic activity to promote learner investment.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectEnglish language - Study and teaching (Higher) - Chinese speakers
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/233727

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorJiang, Lianjiang-
dc.contributor.author蒋联江-
dc.date.accessioned2016-09-23T23:12:57Z-
dc.date.available2016-09-23T23:12:57Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationJiang, L. [蒋联江]. (2015). Enhancing mainland Chinese college students' investment in EFL learning through multimodal composing : affordances and challenges. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5689254-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/233727-
dc.description.abstractAs multimodal composing (MC) of digital texts that combines semiotic modes such as words and sounds proliferates in contemporary society, theorists of multiliteracies and social semiotics have called for importing MC into language classrooms as a new literacy learning tool. Yet little research has investigated the affordances and challenges of doing so in relation to learner investment (Norton, 1995), which denotes a desire to learn a second/foreign language, taking into account learners' socially constructed identities. This study, informed by activity theory (Engestrom, 2001) and the expanded investment model in language learning (Darvin and Norton, 2015), explored whether and how the use of MC as an instructional activity would influence learner investment in EFL learning in Mainland China. It paid particular attention to students' investment changes and to the experiences and perceptions of teachers and students. The study was guided by the following sub-questions: (1) What were the perceptions of using multimodal composing to promote English learning investment from a group of Chinese college English teachers and learners? (2) How did students deploy multimodal resources in the process of composing? (3) Did the students' investment in English learning change during the multimodal composing process, and if so, how and why? A year-long collaborative action research was conducted with five English teachers who co-designed MC projects, which engaged students with video production of various genres and topics. Data were collected from five teachers and twenty-two students through interviews, observations, and artifacts (reflections, student-authored videos, documents), supplemented by 790 pre- and 595 post-intervention questionnaire responses from students. Data analysis was guided by Burns's (1999) five-step analytic model. The findings showed that while most students displayed evidence of increased investment in English learning during intervention, some others showed little change. Five patterns of changes were identified: from feeling fearful/difficult to feeling confident/competent, from feeling nonchalant to feeling interested, from test-focused investment to communication-driven investment, from initially interested to indifferent, and unchanged. The study found that most informants considered MC conducive to learner investment and they attributed the positive changes to the affordances of MC in enabling students to develop competent identities as L2 learners. The study also revealed pedagogic tensions that arose from ideological struggles experienced by teachers and students over the specification of time, space and text when MC was integrated into a traditional EFL curriculum dominated by exams and a linguistic view of literacy. These findings suggest that the influence of MC over learner investment not only premises on the opportunities that allow students to draw on a wider range of semiotic resources to get their desired identities affirmed and developed, but also on whether and how such identities are accorded with symbolic value by institutional powers such as high-stakes testing. The entrenched ideology that places language above multimodality may create unintentional barriers for learner investment. The study thereby argues for a need to avoid romanticizing MC and to highlight the mediating roles of contexts, learners' and teachers' identities in deploying MC as a pedagogic activity to promote learner investment.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshEnglish language - Study and teaching (Higher) - Chinese speakers-
dc.titleEnhancing mainland Chinese college students' investment in EFL learning through multimodal composing : affordances and challenges-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5689254-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5689254-

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