Language Policy of the Mandarin Classroom in UK


Study the Language Policy of the Mandarin Classroom in UK- Culture Curriculum based on the Secondary Examination Syllabus
Please revise my research proposal according to my attachment.

Many thanks for your help on my research proposal.
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 Here are the comments from the Prof.

Your research proposal sounds very interesting and your experience as a Hanban teacher in Mandarin classrooms in the UK will act as a good foundation.

However, I think you need to look at your research questions to decide exactly what you what to investigate – you mention language policy as practice, translanguaging, teaching of culture etc. Language and culture are interwoven but your research questions need to be more explicit. Your research methodology also needs a bit more detail- Is it a case study of one school, how many classes etc Any ethical issues?

I noticed that you have referenced my colleague Florence Bonacina -Pugh. Have you sent your proposal to Florence?

 However, I still have a few points to add.(or the RP I want to express.)
1. Please, make my view on CULTURE more details, especially the teaching approach on the deep Chinese culture based on the syllabus and curriculm.
As a Hanban mandarin teacher, I have experience on teaching mandarin speaking lesson with the approach hover the Chinese folk/mythology/Chinese children / traditional festival………but I was limited by my position.
Considering the KS2&KS3 pupils facing both the GCSE and A-Level examination, I propose to make the deep Chinese culture into the teachers’ lesson plan, curriculum. In addition, there are challenges on the teachers’ awareness and background, the students’ willing and the micro-level school or classroom language policy.
For instance, if we have the culture taster lesson, spring festival, making dumplings, watching movies and trying calligraphy are quite all common activities. But, actually, we can also connect the Chinese people’s behavior in Chinese New Year with the topic family, environment on CIE pre-u syllabus, which will be the initial gap in the mandarin. classroom. Let’s the students find the change about the New Year Dinner in recent year. Compare the difference and find the trend, the students are predicated on analyzing the economy of the modern society.

2. I want to use the mythology of other researchers ‘studying on language policy (LP) for instance, case study, semi/full participant classroom observation, interview. So, I chose the 3 elements on LP as my framework.

3. I did the Literature review and observing the classroom as an assistant which is the second part of my job in UCS: senior school. I found the Translanguaging as a pedagogy almost in every language classroom. I think trans- culture can be also considered as the pedagogy, which we can find the common culture between western and oriental. The aim of my theory is try to decline the students’ phycology against on the other countries ‘culture and foster their intercultural ability.

Above all, do you mind make my RP more professional and narrow, please.

Study the Language Policy of the Mandarin Classroom in UK- Culture Curriculum based on the Secondary Examination Syllabus


It is popular in the UK that students like to be bilingual and multilingual graduates. Especially with the continuing rapid growth of Mainland China’s economy, a great amount of students are following world trend of learning Mandarin, and treat Mandarin as their national lingua franca. Over the past decade, the Confucius Classroom in the UK have increased dramatically. Mandarin has been taught in different ways in Western countries, for example, as mainstream teaching at Chinese in Heritage Schools, or, as a major part of Modern Foreign Language Department in different local schools, or, even a popular course at Community Language Centres. This provides a complex and extended domain for my research. In this proposal, I would like to discuss the following issues:

In my proposal, it discusses the questions that follow:

(1) The Language Policy model has the ability of being used within the Mandarin classrooms, having a different context in the UK.

(2) Practising trans-language for pedagogy within the Mandarin classrooms are a part of Language-in-Education-Policy.

(3) Through Translanguaging/ trans-culture (as a pedagogy) is being taught culture.

Findings from my present research study can be expected to put more light on the subject of an actual implementation on cultural teachings in the area of teaching of Chinese as a Second/Foreign language(S/FL), and that is especially crucial in the UK. My research assumption based on the secondary mandarin curriculum design and examination syllabus, propose to address the culture teaching gap. My main mythology will be:Qualitative method-selecting the resource from Confucius Institute and carrying on the extensive questionnaire investigation in order to collect the Chinese leaners’ language level, requirement and the attitude from both teachers and learners’. Quantitative method- case study: I will do the participant observing mandarin classroom in different context, interviewing with the staff and students or group discussing. The key focus of my main thesis is using the Spolsky’s tripartite model (2004, 2009) as the framework, investigating mandarin classrooms which will be considered as the single domain within language policy at a micro-level. It is hope that my research will provide a certain conference for Mandarin teaching in UK and demonstrate the culture teaching approach which can increase the leaners’ language level and cross culture communication competence finally.

Key Words

Language in the Education Policy; Secondary Mandarin classroom in UK; translanguaging; trans-culture; teachers’ awareness; intercultural

Motivation and background

Having a tide, with the trending of globalization of cultures, as well as the economies, “heading globally” needs a larger number of talents who have the ability of being proficient in bilingualism, in both language and culture. Using strategic framework that consists of the “One Belt, One Road,” and focusing on the exporting of those who are proficient and talented for the target language culture. Mandarin would increase tremendously, becoming recognized for their importance within our global economy. Moreover, with the economy in the mainland of China growing so rapidly, people will realised that Mandarin has become more overwhelming than the Cantonese. The PRC’s Han Ban (Confucius Instituted Headquarters), which was established in 2003, indicates that there were as many as 30 million people in the world are learning the Chinese language as a foreign language (yen, 2003). Accordingly, the Han ban’s online data, that there were 396 C.I. and Confucius classrooms, which covered eighty-seven different countries during 2009 (Wei Lu, 2013). There were 29 C.I., and 148 Confucius classrooms been established by December of 2017 in the UK. (CI website, 2018). Other than the C.I., there are more institutions that provide Mandarin course. For example, Mandarin is being taught for different occupational needs, and it is being learned as academic research (Wei Lu, 2013).

The learners of the Chinese language might assume that the ability of knowing different world languages will give them the key to be successful in intercultural communications globally, just as many of the other learners of foreign languages (Lin, Yu-han 2017). During this time, while the council of Europe has been shifting their traditional focuses of learning from European Language to Mandarin. European languages were order to emphasize the significance of having the ability to speak in other languages of the world, there have been increasing numbers of schools in the UK that are offering Mandarin in their curriculums (Pérez Milians, Miguel, 2015).

Moreover, regardless of the reason why people are choosing to learn Mandarin in the UK, the language classroom for Mandarin (bilingual classroom) for the context needs to be taken into consideration. Being a Secondary School English Teacher in China, and by comparing the two education systems of both UK and China, I find that the bilingual classrooms are also regarded as the “Domain,” and after careful observation through participating in the Mandarin teachings for a year and half, I also find that teachers are still feeling it is rather challenging to choose what culture should be used in order that the target language being taught properly. The anxiety that students get from coming in contact with the unfamiliar language for the first time can be reduced by making it trans-language. However, there has been limited evidence that teachers are using it for an official pedagogy. The interests of learners’ may be more of a positive motivational variable when it comes to facilitating the learning of language (Tin, 2013). The majority of the students struggle with the complicated grammar, and are over exhausted with the different cultures especially on the Chinese idioms in the Secondary Private School I worked at in the UK. If this learning process is overwhelming for the students, what is it for the teacher?

My proposal literature review conceptual map

Literature review

1. An introduction and background on language policy at the macro-level

Before the mid-1980s, the language policy and planning was regarded as the method for the countries to pursue the unification and modernization. Since 1997, Thailand has had eight different development plans, socially and economically, which has emphasized on the minority languages locally, and the cultural diversity. In fact, they have made the Thai language their national language. Together, with the Thai language, the English language, and seventy other languages that is used in Thailand, constitutes the phenomenon being the “Unity of Diversity.” English is the only foreign language in Thailand for education, and mainly takes on the role of a learning tool. The English used in Thailand is referred to as Thai English, which investigates the different characteristics of the different English varieties. The language policy in Thailand promotes their economic development to be sustained and steady.

A decade later, researchers have brought to attention that the micro-level planning should be taken into consideration for the language policy: As the practice of language occurs every day under many different circumstances, and under different language policies. Naturally, it depends greatly on when and where we talk, in regard to the language we use. The domain, is namely for the language of choice (Fisherman, 1972). It seems that the justification would be the same as it would be a decision for institutes, like schools and churches, having the same processes to operate the macro-level planning, and they could also operate the micro-level planning (Coopers, 1989:37-8). Once the idea of “domain” was mentioned, Spolsky kept pointing out that “domain” could also focus on social groups, such as schools, family, religion, religious organizations, local government, workplaces, nations, states, and supra-national groupings (Spolsky, 2004). In this respect, Spolsky had claimed that, ‘the policy in practice’ at that time was investigated by Florence Bonacina (2008), the investigation had been on the ‘practised language policy’ gap, which also included the Conversation Analysis method, by studying immigrants that recently arrived at France, at the monolingual school, which is also in France (Florence Bonacina, 2010).

2. Framework for the Micro-level language policy

Other than the people who chooses to use the language at home and for the process in school for the language acquisition, that has been defined by the ‘Language Education Policy’ (Spolsky, 2004). Li Wei (2003), had created a basic list of the domain, of the choice in which language may occur at school, and that was “national language, minority languages, as a second language, and a foreign language.” This has been echoed by researchers, some of which are been mentioned above. Pennycook (2006), draws the attention off of the macro language policy and puts it on the micro-level, which also gives multiple ways for practised of governance. Canagarajah (1999), had a perspective of the micro level which was used for analysing an ideological critical approach on the analysis of the cultural events in the language classroom. In short, I would suggest that researchers study the micro-level language policy in classroom.

3. Trans-languaging be transformed into a bi/multilingualism classroom

Should students be allowed to speak in the L1 language? How often should teachers be able to use a target language within a bilingual classroom?

Since the beginning of the language classroom (Jacobson & Faltis, 1990) the educators of bilingual usually insist that the two languages be separated, one being the child’s native language and the other being the English language. By keeping languages separated teachers can avoid any cross contamination, which would make it easier for a child to learn a newer linguistic system while they internalize any given lesson. It is felt, and been argued, that inappropriateness with concurrent use would be self-evident, and there has not been any research performed that can prove this fact(Jacobson & Faltis, 1990; p4). It is obvious that it has been traditionally argued regarding language choice in the classroom.

The target language and L1 are considered continued prevalence for instructional approach. For example, instructions were described by Cummins (2005) that it should be conducted exclusively within the targeted language with no recourse of the students L1 (first language).

3.1 China’s current bilingual education continues to follow this rule

The majority of student characteristics related to this model lack confidence in native culture and has less ability with expressing personal culture in L2. A simple Chinese culture test was conducted on college students by Yu Finlei (2011). This test consisted of English expressions that concerned six traditional festivals of China, including the Mid-Autumn Festival, Spring Festival, Lantern Festival, Dragon-boat Festival, Qixi Festival of Pleading for Skills, and Tomb-sweeping Festival. The rate of low accuracy was a concern: the correct translation rate of the Spring Festival, Tomb-sweeping Festival, and Mid-Autumn Festival were 92.5%, 76%, and 97.6%, respectively. Although, because of various spelling mistakes, the Lantern Festival correct rate was only 58%, same as the Qixi Festival of Pleading for Skills and Dragon-boat Festival, which is easy to see the Chinese college students provide emphasis on culture of targeted language.

3.2 Micro-level language ecology

According to Haugen (1972), studies of interactions between language and its environments can be described as language ecology. The metaphor of language ecology offers great range of study for interactional orders associated with multilingualism and social ideologies (A. Creese & A. Blackledge, 2010). Along with micro-level language policy, Creese and Martin (2003, 2008) mentioned micro-level language ecology, with the classroom adopted. The connection between language policy choices and ecological minutae of international practices are important within language classrooms. In 2007, Jaffe added several points, which require social, linguistic, pedagogical, and political practices. Furthermore, it was suggested by Hornberger (2005) that “bi/multilinguals maximise learning by being allowed to develop from all existing language-based skills (within two-h languages), instead of being inhibited and constrained from conducting mono lingual instructional assumptions (p. 607).

3.3 Translanguaging

Cen Williams (1994, 1996) coined the term translanguaging, as cited by Ofelia and Lie Wei, 2014, originating from the Welsh word “trawsieithu”. Although, the first scholar (Baker, 2011) extended the translation variously into English term of “translanguaging”, meaning “the process of making meaning, gaining understanding, shaping experiences, while improving knowledge through multiple languages”. Within this situation, pupils have the ability of writing in Welsh while receiving language in English.

Traditionally, translanguaging had been defined as a method of code-switching, extending the notions of “various discursive practices where bilinguals are engaged for making sense of bilingual worlds”, according to Garcia (2009, p: 45). Although, translanguaging is able to be used within bilingual classrooms as a method of pedagogical practices, providing possible advantages with enhancing the academic capabilities of bilinguals (Baker, 2011). Additionally, it was pointed out by Li Wei (2011a) that language is able to be utilized as an approach for gaining knowledge, communicating in a verbal method. Thus, translanguaging references the process of “including an entire range of linguistic performance with users of multilingual language for the purpose of transcending combinations of structures, alternatives between systems, transmission of information and representation of values, relationships, and identities” (p. 1223). The practice of language is more than just words, grammar and sounds; it embraces the conventional difference between the level of formal speech and alternative rules regarding the appropriate differences based on the situation (Spolsky, 2004). Similarly, separate form ‘domain’ of communities and families, the “translanguaging spaces” are developed by Li Wei (2011a), “by combining various dimensions of personal history, environment, and experience, along with their beliefs, attitude, and ideology, physical and cognitive capacity, coordinating a meaningful performance which makes it to a new experience” (p. 1223). Moreover, the space was created using translanguaging equal to the space. Because of language ecology and the space in which language transforms, the language boundaries are blurry.

3.3.1 Translanguaging—transculture in dynamic classrooms as a pedagogy (mandarin classrooms teaching culture)

Present literature reviews indicate the majority of studies that exist on translanguaging divide it into two sections: oral interaction and face-to-face (Peichang He, Haiyan Lai and Angel Lin, 2016). Additionally, translanguaging has been used in the past for enhancing the students oral and written language when encountering new languages. In addition to language classrooms, mathematics (CLIL) also practices translanguaging. Furthermore, the way trans-semiotizing and translanguaging interplay was illustrated with bilingual repertoire (i.e. English and Chinese) using discourse analysis at the seminar of tertiary mathematics, which provided dynamic communicative contexts. It is well known that language education is unable to be completely separated from culture. Cultural competence is indeed a key factor for facilitating accurate knowledge of a target language. Meanwhile, the element of culture continues to be a large obstruction within communication problems. Various community language speakers will provide differences in practice to illustrate greetings, courtesy, expressing apologies and compliments, or refusing invitations (Hsieh, Gao, and Lo 2010).

Lustig and Koester (2006) support language concepts that intercultural and culture communications are interconnected. Li Wei (2018) presented the multi-literacy which is the capability for comprehending and analysing how the different mode are put together creating the new meaning. In 1998, Bennett described intercultural communications are “the communication between those from various cultures”. Although, the majority of mandarin classrooms continue to emphasise surface types of culture”. Thus, the deep culture “defining the approach which people learn to respond to daily problems in life” (Moule, 2005) is awfully neglected. Meanwhile, in 2008, Curdt Christiansen investigated a textbook within Montreal, arguing immigrant Chinese students in heritage school need to practice “appropriate methods of valuing, being, and behaving within the world”, rather than propaganda like “obedience and conformity”. Therefore, supporting that teaching content is done out of the essence for education. No matter the age of the student, independent and critical thinking are significant rules to consider, while translanguaging as pedagogy is a major factor to allow students to better understand the target language.

For teaching culture strategies, the comparison culture syllabus was found to be the most practical principle, which I propose the trans-culture will be the pedagogy which is suitable in the mandarin teaching. However, this was also determined by the teacher’s awareness and background, perhaps teachers understand deep culture of the target language, but lack skills for transferring the knowledge using teaching practices in the classroom (Yu-Han Lin, 2017). Therefore, in future research I plan to analysis and observe the awareness and knowledge of teachers.

Current Data Collection
The majority that learn about Chinese know of dumplings, chopsticks, and Chinese New Year, but lack awareness and understanding of why the Chinese celebrate festivals. Particularly, the in-depth culture of the behaviours, which is able to influence the comprehension of learner’s enormously regarding modern China. The lack of understanding traditional and historical fundamental structures of Chinese society, old customs of four or more generations living together maybe confusing. Additionally, these concepts are at times puzzling, but students commonly understand as “Chinese people just do that” and continue studying.
Currently, I have fully participated in speaking lessons twice per week with one Y12 student and four times per week with three Y13 students. Also I observed my colleagues’ mandarin lesson 5-10/week. I plan to focus on the following aspects and hopefully a database can be generated, which will be one of the extremely important evidence for my research. a) After the students finish the end of year exam, I will do the one-to-one interview with them and teacher, under their permission. Consider the ethical issue, I won’t show their real name and the audio record will be transcript afterwards. b) At the end of the term, I will collect the lesson plans of each years.

Methodology and Data Collection
The main goal of this research is to investigate what the final goal of the mandarin teaching is implemented and understanding the realities of classroom practices related to culture teaching and learning. The cross culture ability requires students’ strong comprehension between other and ethic culture. The best approach of these questions is to investigate how the learners become more aware of target language cultures with help of cultural pedagogies like cultural comparison.
My thesis will focus on the following questions:
1. What is micro-language policy within mandarin classrooms in different context?
2. What is culture conception as accepted by students and teachers?
3. What strategy is used by teachers for teaching culture?
a. What principles are highlighted or neglected?
b. What is the teachers’ culture awareness like?
c. How do mandarin classrooms teach culture?
4. Can students learn about personal culture with the Chinse culture learning process?
5. Can students improve language level through teaching Chinese culture using translanguaging/trans-culture as a pedagogy?
The research will be the multi-site case study, where secondary school and community school in UK will be regarded as research contexts. In addition, my research will focus on the three language policy components found (see Appendix 1). Within my proposal, I decided a qualitative approach was the main method for my study. According to Kaikkonen (1997), a qualitative approach allows researchers to easily explore students’ intercultural ability and thinking ways.
Qualitative research was categorized into two parts by Merriam (2008, P3), including basic and applied. Merriam discovered basic research while examining a phenomenon of a certain context. Meanwhile, applied research tests the actual practice of the policy. The focus of my research is the “domain” within each of the mandarin classrooms, as discovered by Miles and Huberman (1994), “phenomenon of some type occurs within bounded context” (cited by Merriam 2009, P3). Therefore, an in-depth and rich data on behaviour within mandarin classrooms will provide advantage from this case study. Thus, these primary data collection methods are practiced in my case study: 1) participant observation, 2) interview 3) questionnaires 4) document collection (see Table below)
1) Participant observation
Therefore, I will observe as a participating researcher, providing the best illustrative example. Within this study, the data consists of multiple methods and field notes after classroom observations. This approach will allow me to observe students’ activities, conversation and inflections on the class.
2) Interviews
Because this study requires data from the perspective of both the teacher’s theory of teaching and student reflection, it is necessary to use an interview approach. With the research framework being based on the Spolsky’s tripartite model, the goal of the interview is to understand the following: linguistics, ethics, professional backgrounds, history knowledge, current teaching experience, students’ feelings, and teaching culture pedagogy. The interviews will be recorded and transcribed afterwards.
I decide to interview the students after my observation, which they will accustomed me and show more willing to interview the questions. Before the interview, the questions list will be provided to the students but no allow to search answers. Students will be free answering in either Mandarin or English. The primary interview questions (appendix 2) for students will around the language learning and test their capacity to decrease the culture conflict comparing with their own culture. Due to the answers from interviewers presenting flexible and changeable probably, research will also consider do the semi-structure interview. In addition, the interview with teachers (appendix3), I prefer to investigate the teachers’ awareness and opinion about the connection between language and culture.
3) Questionnaires
Furthermore, to ensure more efficient research is conducted, simple questionnaires will be provided in my research as one of the reference. Confucius Institute will be the sample and data source.
4) Documents collection
Finally, the study will consist of five documents collection tools: interview transcripts, semi/full participant observation and notes, online discussion records, lesson plan, teaching video, students’ feedback, and teaching materials. For example, the homework practices or writing samples of students’ text sheets, notes of personal thought and reflection, along with audio-recorded transcriptions of legitimate permits, and the additional email conversations among students.
Another important elements in my study which are several main examination syllabus, for instance, SQA 、A-LEVEL、AS、Pre-U 、GCSE. Researcher will collecting official documents on the webs, in order to analysis the transformation of mandarin teaching approach.

Table: research design and data collection
Research Questions: According to the exam syllabus, mandarin classroom in UK in what ways teaching culture and connection between culture and language of different type secondary school?
*Research context/domain: secondary school (state school, private school, heritage school) and community school.

Student timetable for three-year full-time PhD
The first year (first half):
1. Literature studies within home and school.
2. Basic data collection from past papers on several main secondary exam web
3. Participate in conferences, seminars, among other academic activities
The first year (second half):
1. Literature studies within home and school
2. Participate in conferences, seminars, among other academic activities
3. Locate school for participant research
The second year:
1. Participate in conferences, seminars, among other academic activities
2. Literature studies within home and school
3. Locate school for participate research
4. Complete dissertation outline, publish if possible as an article
The third year:
1. Locate school for participant research
2. Participate in conferences, seminars, among other academic activities
3. Complete dissertation

Appendix 1
Preliminary mandarin language policy conceptual map

Appendix 2
Student interview (secondary)

Appendix 3
Teacher interviews

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