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postgraduate thesis: Exploring academic literacy practices surrounding English academic writing : an ethnographic case study

TitleExploring academic literacy practices surrounding English academic writing : an ethnographic case study
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Li, YGao, AX
Issue Date2017
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Chen, Q. [陈倩珊]. (2017). Exploring academic literacy practices surrounding English academic writing : an ethnographic case study. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractAcademic writing, which is located at the center of teaching and learning in tertiary education, has been an important research field for several decades. However, research into English-medium academic writing in EFL contexts such as China has remained in dearth. As a response to this gap in the literature, the present thesis research aims to explore the academic literacy practices surrounding academic writing at a foreign studies university in China. Adopting as my theoretical lens the Academic Literacies model (AcLits), an increasingly influential framework for exploring the meaning making in writing in higher education, I conducted an ethnographic case study to understand how English-major students’ writing is influenced by the institutional context. With six English-major students in a range of specialization areas (i.e. linguistics, literature, translation studies, tourism, cultural studies, and information technology) as my research participants, I tracked their English academic writing experiences over a period of three semesters, collecting data through interviews, observations, process logs, documents, emails, and informal conversations. The findings demonstrated that the academic literacy practices of teaching and learning surrounding the focal students’ academic writing are shaped by the institutional context that is oriented to a particular cultivation model for English majors, that is, the model of cultivating “professionals with multiple skills” (fuhexing rencai). This cultivation model aims to equip the students with both a good command of English skills and of knowledge in a specialization area. However, the implementation of this cultivation model at the focal institution has run into a dilemma, with a misalignment between the training objectives for English majors and the curriculum arrangement. The mismatch turned out to be a major factor in students’ difficulties in writing and learning. Specifically, the institutional context impacts upon teachers’ and students’ perspectives and practices in a range of domains: training in content knowledge and in academic writing, understanding of writing requirements, use of existing texts and literature for meaning making, and teacher-student interactions around academic writing. This study enriches the AcLits model by reemphasizing that institutional forces underlie the academic literacy practices surrounding academic writing, and by extending the literacies paradigm to understanding academic writing in EFL contexts. It also contributes to the second language writing scholarship by expanding the knowledge base of the relationship between learner practices and the broader sociocultural and institutional environments. By addressing in an in-depth and systematic way the impact of the long-standing “cultivation model” for English majors on the students’ lived academic writing experiences, this study also has implications for the teaching of English academic writing, and more broadly, English language education in China.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectAcademic writing - China
China - Study and teaching - English language
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/255044

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorLi, Y-
dc.contributor.advisorGao, AX-
dc.contributor.authorChen, Qianshan-
dc.contributor.author陈倩珊-
dc.date.accessioned2018-06-21T03:42:02Z-
dc.date.available2018-06-21T03:42:02Z-
dc.date.issued2017-
dc.identifier.citationChen, Q. [陈倩珊]. (2017). Exploring academic literacy practices surrounding English academic writing : an ethnographic case study. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/255044-
dc.description.abstractAcademic writing, which is located at the center of teaching and learning in tertiary education, has been an important research field for several decades. However, research into English-medium academic writing in EFL contexts such as China has remained in dearth. As a response to this gap in the literature, the present thesis research aims to explore the academic literacy practices surrounding academic writing at a foreign studies university in China. Adopting as my theoretical lens the Academic Literacies model (AcLits), an increasingly influential framework for exploring the meaning making in writing in higher education, I conducted an ethnographic case study to understand how English-major students’ writing is influenced by the institutional context. With six English-major students in a range of specialization areas (i.e. linguistics, literature, translation studies, tourism, cultural studies, and information technology) as my research participants, I tracked their English academic writing experiences over a period of three semesters, collecting data through interviews, observations, process logs, documents, emails, and informal conversations. The findings demonstrated that the academic literacy practices of teaching and learning surrounding the focal students’ academic writing are shaped by the institutional context that is oriented to a particular cultivation model for English majors, that is, the model of cultivating “professionals with multiple skills” (fuhexing rencai). This cultivation model aims to equip the students with both a good command of English skills and of knowledge in a specialization area. However, the implementation of this cultivation model at the focal institution has run into a dilemma, with a misalignment between the training objectives for English majors and the curriculum arrangement. The mismatch turned out to be a major factor in students’ difficulties in writing and learning. Specifically, the institutional context impacts upon teachers’ and students’ perspectives and practices in a range of domains: training in content knowledge and in academic writing, understanding of writing requirements, use of existing texts and literature for meaning making, and teacher-student interactions around academic writing. This study enriches the AcLits model by reemphasizing that institutional forces underlie the academic literacy practices surrounding academic writing, and by extending the literacies paradigm to understanding academic writing in EFL contexts. It also contributes to the second language writing scholarship by expanding the knowledge base of the relationship between learner practices and the broader sociocultural and institutional environments. By addressing in an in-depth and systematic way the impact of the long-standing “cultivation model” for English majors on the students’ lived academic writing experiences, this study also has implications for the teaching of English academic writing, and more broadly, English language education in China. -
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.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subject.lcshAcademic writing - China-
dc.subject.lcshChina - Study and teaching - English language-
dc.titleExploring academic literacy practices surrounding English academic writing : an ethnographic case study-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2018-
dc.identifier.mmsid991044014364403414-

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