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Title: Understanding successful and unsuccessful EFL students in Chinese universities
Authors: Gan, Z
Humphreys, G
Hamp-Lyons, L
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Source: Modern language journal, 2004, v. 88, no. 2, p. 229-244 How to cite?
Journal: Modern language journal 
Abstract: Unlike success in first language acquisition, success in learning a second or foreign language is considerably more variable. Recently, second language acquisition researchers have called for more integrative research on individual difference factors. With this goal in mind, this study followed a larger, quantitative study of the links between self-directedness for language learning and English language learning attainment among university students on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong. Drawing on the findings of that study (Gan, 2003), this I-semester study looked closely at 2 small groups of tertiary-level English as a foreign language (EFL) learners in China in order to document how they carried out their out-of-class (self-directed) English learning, as well as to elaborate issues that may be critical to understanding the variability that had already been observed in their English learning outcomes., The data were gathered through interviews, diaries, and follow-up email correspondence with 9 successful and 9 unsuccessful second-year EFL students at 2 Chinese mainland universities. Using grounded theory methodology (Strauss & Corbin, 1994, 1998), 6 categories of qualitative data were constructed: conceptualizing English language learning; perceptions of the College English Course; learning and practising strategies; self-management; internal drive; and English proficiency tests. The study findings suggest that different levels of success may be explained by a complex and dynamic interplay of internal cognition and emotion, external incentives, and social context. The findings imply the need to take a holistic view of variation in language learning outcomes and to broaden the scope of the current practice in learner strategy training.
Description: International Language in Education Conference, Hong Kong, Peoples R China, 2001
ISSN: 0026-7902
EISSN: 1540-4781
DOI: 10.1111/j.0026-7902.2004.00227.x
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