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postgraduate thesis: Understanding secondary school Nepali students' identities and investments in learning English and Chinese (Cantonese) in Hong Kong

TitleUnderstanding secondary school Nepali students' identities and investments in learning English and Chinese (Cantonese) in Hong Kong
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2017
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Thapa, C. B.. (2017). Understanding secondary school Nepali students' identities and investments in learning English and Chinese (Cantonese) in Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractThis study was conducted in order to understand secondary school Nepali students’ identities and investments in learning English and Chinese (Cantonese) in Hong Kong. This study particularly aimed at exploring whether (1) learners depend on their mental images for learning a second or a foreign language; and (2) the notions of investment and social integration could be used complimentarily as to understand ethnic minority students’ motivations in learning multiple languages. This inquiry adopted ethnographic enquiry as a methodological approach and used analytical techniques developed in interactional sociolinguistics and linguistic ethnography to analyse the data. In the first stage of this inquiry, 30 Nepali students from two purposefully selected secondary schools were interviewed about their beliefs, motivations, and experiences of learning English and Chinese (Cantonese) in Hong Kong. Field notes were taken during observational visits to the two schools particularly focusing on language practices in everyday rituals and multimodal spaces. In the second stage, five focus group participants were selected for observation and in-depth interviews to understand their investments in learning English and Chinese (Cantonese). The focus group students’ language practices, their engagement and participation in various activities were observed and interactions with the students were conducted in a range of spaces such as school, community gatherings and school activities. Since not many differences were found in the students’ investments in learning English or Chinese (Cantonese), two female students coming from English medium of instruction (EMI) and Chinese medium of instruction (CMI) backgrounds were selected in the third stage for further probing into their investments in learning English and Chinese (Cantonese). The inquiry uncovered the participants’ construction of different identities and varying ways of investments in learning English and Chinese (Cantonese) in response to multiple contextual conditions. The study identified that participants’ identities and investments in learning multiple languages vary depending on the role of contexts, influence and support of family members and teachers, their transnational backgrounds and educational trajectories. This study also established the complementarity of the notions of investment and social integration in researching ethnic minority students’ language learning in multicultural and multilingual settings. The findings of this study show that ethnic minority students encounter various forms of structural constraints during the process of language learning and social integration. While learners from ethnic and linguistic minority backgrounds struggle to appropriate some of such constraints, the structural power often puts them at disadvantageous positions. These findings confirm that language learners should not be viewed as decontextualised beings who would solely depend on their mental images for learning multiple languages. In addition, the study calls for researchers to view language learners’ identity constructions part of their strategies to challenge the dominant social structures. Based on the findings, a multilingual and multicultural education framework is proposed for the education of ethnic minority students in contexts like Hong Kong, and further research is also recommended.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectForeign speakers - Study and teaching (Secondary) - Chinese language
Study and teaching (Secondary) - English language - Foreign speakers
Attitudes - China - Minority students - Hong Kong
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/261582

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorGao, AX-
dc.contributor.advisorPerez Milans, M-
dc.contributor.authorThapa, Chura Bahadur-
dc.date.accessioned2018-09-22T05:33:47Z-
dc.date.available2018-09-22T05:33:47Z-
dc.date.issued2017-
dc.identifier.citationThapa, C. B.. (2017). Understanding secondary school Nepali students' identities and investments in learning English and Chinese (Cantonese) in Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/261582-
dc.description.abstractThis study was conducted in order to understand secondary school Nepali students’ identities and investments in learning English and Chinese (Cantonese) in Hong Kong. This study particularly aimed at exploring whether (1) learners depend on their mental images for learning a second or a foreign language; and (2) the notions of investment and social integration could be used complimentarily as to understand ethnic minority students’ motivations in learning multiple languages. This inquiry adopted ethnographic enquiry as a methodological approach and used analytical techniques developed in interactional sociolinguistics and linguistic ethnography to analyse the data. In the first stage of this inquiry, 30 Nepali students from two purposefully selected secondary schools were interviewed about their beliefs, motivations, and experiences of learning English and Chinese (Cantonese) in Hong Kong. Field notes were taken during observational visits to the two schools particularly focusing on language practices in everyday rituals and multimodal spaces. In the second stage, five focus group participants were selected for observation and in-depth interviews to understand their investments in learning English and Chinese (Cantonese). The focus group students’ language practices, their engagement and participation in various activities were observed and interactions with the students were conducted in a range of spaces such as school, community gatherings and school activities. Since not many differences were found in the students’ investments in learning English or Chinese (Cantonese), two female students coming from English medium of instruction (EMI) and Chinese medium of instruction (CMI) backgrounds were selected in the third stage for further probing into their investments in learning English and Chinese (Cantonese). The inquiry uncovered the participants’ construction of different identities and varying ways of investments in learning English and Chinese (Cantonese) in response to multiple contextual conditions. The study identified that participants’ identities and investments in learning multiple languages vary depending on the role of contexts, influence and support of family members and teachers, their transnational backgrounds and educational trajectories. This study also established the complementarity of the notions of investment and social integration in researching ethnic minority students’ language learning in multicultural and multilingual settings. The findings of this study show that ethnic minority students encounter various forms of structural constraints during the process of language learning and social integration. While learners from ethnic and linguistic minority backgrounds struggle to appropriate some of such constraints, the structural power often puts them at disadvantageous positions. These findings confirm that language learners should not be viewed as decontextualised beings who would solely depend on their mental images for learning multiple languages. In addition, the study calls for researchers to view language learners’ identity constructions part of their strategies to challenge the dominant social structures. Based on the findings, a multilingual and multicultural education framework is proposed for the education of ethnic minority students in contexts like Hong Kong, and further research is also recommended. -
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.lcshForeign speakers - Study and teaching (Secondary) - Chinese language-
dc.subject.lcshStudy and teaching (Secondary) - English language - Foreign speakers-
dc.subject.lcshAttitudes - China - Minority students - Hong Kong-
dc.titleUnderstanding secondary school Nepali students' identities and investments in learning English and Chinese (Cantonese) in Hong Kong-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2017-
dc.identifier.mmsid991043982883403414-

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