OF ENGLISH AS AN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE IN CHINA By MAN TANG A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2016
Â© 2016 Man Tang
To my Dad (1943 2014), a Chinese educator of the English language all his life
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to acknowledge my advisor, Dr. Maria Coady for being my mentor since 2013. She gave me full support during my days of accomplishing this thesis no matter how difficult it sometimes was for me. I would also like to give my mom a thank you for always being understanding and loving. Next, I want to t hank my friend, Xiaoqi, who was always supportive when I turned to her. Finally , I would like to thank Keshen who spent days and nights with me, encouraging me to challenge myself and who believed in me. Without any of you, I would not have reached this st age of my life.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 6 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 7 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ............................. 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 10 2 COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE ................................ ................................ ....... 13 3 TEACHING ENGLISH AS AN INTERN ATIONAL LANGUAGE .............................. 18 English as an International Language ................................ ................................ ..... 18 Which English Norm Should Be Used in China? ................................ .................... 24 4 ELT REFORM IN CHINA ................................ ................................ ........................ 30 ELT in China ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 30 CECR Reform ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 32 5 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 37 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 40 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 44
6 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4 1 ELT in China, significant years ................................ ................................ .......... 31
7 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Six competences by Celce Murcia 2007 ................................ ........................... 14 3 1 ................................ ................................ ........................ 19
8 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS CC CECR Communicative Competence College English Curriculum Reform EIL English as an International Language ELF ELT WEs English as Lingua Franca English Language Teaching World Englishes
9 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master of Arts in Education EDUCATIONAL REFORM TO BUILD OF ENGLISH AS AN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE IN CHINA By Man Tang August 2016 Chair: Maria R. Coady Major: Curriculum and Instruction The College English Curriculum Reform (CECR) 2007 marks a significant shift in goals of college English education in China. College students are required to develop their ability to use English in an all round manner, especially in listening and speaking, so that in their future work and social interactions they will be able to exc hange infor mation effectively. However, due to little support on specific objectives and teaching strategies, CECR has not been satisfactorily implemented. Another issue of CECR is th e needs of international exchanges and to take s into consideration of different cultures in the world, CECR goals are still lan guage production and abilities. Given this, it seems that Chinese students may not attain native like proficiency in English. A reasonable and possible approach to CECR should include building international language (EIL).
10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION With the growth of English as an international language ( EIL ), a number of countries have made policies on English language teaching (ELT) that reflect the status that English is cur re (Nunan, 2003, p. 590). China has mandated English as one of the college entry requirements since 1999. Moreover, in 11 to 9 and all colleges and universities und er the control of the Ministry of Education were instructed to use English as the main teaching language in the following courses: information technology, biotechnology, new material technology, finance, foreign trade economics, and law. University entry r equirement s include an English test (Hu, 2005 a ; Nunan, 2003). Further, the 2 007 College English Curriculum Reform (CECR) required nicative Competence (CC) and guage ability. The year of 201 6 marked the tenth anniversary since CECR 2007 was implemented in China. In 2014 , I revisited my college in China where I obtained my the opportunity to meet my college English teacher and her colleagues as well as some of their students who were freshmen at that time. I still recall some highlights of my conversations with them about ELT and studying. The university conducted ELT at three l evels -the first, the second, and the third. Which level a student is at is d ecided by an English placement exam once s/he enter s the university. Students are allowed to change the l evel of study if they feel they need to . This ELT at three levels is a re sponse to the objective of the CECR which is stated at basic, intermediate and higher requirements, in the form of
11 can do statements concerning listening, speaking, reading, writing, and translating skills with recommended vocab u , p. 24 ). While I was there, the English professors described the pressures from reducing ELT hours from 8 to 6 every week and from enlarging class sizes to up to 90 students, both of which left them less time to organize in class communicative activities. A listening and speaking software program that was compulsory when I was a student there (2008 2012) was ceased to be used the year before my visit. Freshman students were still adjusting to college life, one aspect of whic h was to adapt to self learning in In terms of English learning, the students were still memorizing vocabulary and sentence structure while struggling with listening and speaking due to few opportunities to use the language. Most of the students held the ish equals the right intonation Another way to explain their standard American English accent), he or she speaks good Eng lish. In addition, I felt English with a native speaker of English but not with someone who speaks English fluently as a second language or a foreign language. Some of the students kept looking f or opportunities to talk to a foreign teacher but a lot of the time they found themselves only understanding a small part of what the foreign teacher said. However, more than one student told me that she thought the English class was a waste of time and sh e would memorize vocabulary or even do homework for another subject during the English class. Both teachers and students put some effort into watching English movies or TV shows from English speaking countries in order to gain sufficient language input.
12 S t udents also felt the pressure of passing the CET 4 and CET 6. Passing CET 4 is necessary for college students in order to obtain a degree certificate. Although CET 6 is not required students do believe that it can equip them with a better chance of securin g a higher paid job in the future. With those reflections in mind of college ELT and studying from one particular university, as well as my eagerness t o possible further understanding of English education in China, this literature review is intended to ex plore and describe educational reform for English language acquisition in China and how a university might build
13 CHAPTER 2 COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE construct of competence. Chomsky made a distinction between competence and performance. Linguistic competence refers to the speaker knowledge of his la nguage and performance refers to the actual use of language in concrete situations. Chomsky stated 2). In c more communicative situation. CC is linguistic competence (the rules for describing sound systems and for combining sounds into morp hemes 1 and morphemes into sentences) and socio linguistic competence (the rules for using lang uage appropriately in context) ( cited in Celce Murcia, 2008, p. 41). In 1980, Canale and Swain contributed their definition of CC, which, they argued, contained three aspects: grammatical (knowledge of lexical items, rules of morphology, syntax, sentence grammar, semantics, and phonology); socio linguistic (knowledge of rules of discourse and social cultural) and strategic competence (verbal and nonverbal strategi es to compensate for communication breakdown). Canale revised the definitions of CC in 1983, which referred to four main areas: grammatical competence, sociolinguistic competence, discourse competence and strategic competence. In 2007 Celce Murcia develop ed her definition of CC that consists of six competences: linguistic, sociocultural, strategic, interactional, formulaic, and discourse 1 The smallest grammatical unit in a language. In other words, it is the smallest meaningful unit of a un break (the root) and able
14 competence. Each of the six competences is followed by specific ations or further explanations, for example, cognitive, m etacognitive, and memory related competence are sub competences o f strategic competence. Figure 2 1 shows the relation among these six competence s by Celce Murcia (2007). F igure 2 1 Six competences by Celce Murcia 2007 The very top sociocultural compet ence refers to the knowledge, i.e. , how to express messages appropriately within the overall social and 46). Celce Murcia further subcategorizes sociocultural competence by social contextual facto status, social distance and relations to each other), stylish appropriateness (politeness,
15 a sense of genres and registers) and cultural factors (background knowledge of the target language group, dialects/regional differ ences and cross cultural awareness). Celce Murcia attaches great importance to sociocultural competence because 46). Naza ri (2007) also emphasizes cultural 201). However, sociocultural competence encounters difficulties to b e reached as Celce Murcia explains that foreign language teachers generally possess and are more aware of linguistic rules than sociocultural behaviors and expectations , which are essential to 46). The followi ng are the additional competences discussed by Celce Murcia. four main factors of co hesion (conventions regarding use of reference, substitution, conjunction, and lexical chains), deixis (situational grounding achieved through use of personal pronouns, special terms, temporal terns and textual reference), coherence and generic structure ( Celce Murcia, 2008). Formulaic competence is differentiated from l inguistic competence within Celce phonological, lexical, morphological and syntactic knowledge, while formula ic
16 47) formulaic competence includes routines (fixed phrases), collocations, idioms and lexical frames. Interactional competence understand how to manage social introductions, how to complain, how to apologize and 9) Interactional competence contains actional competence (knowledge of speech acts), conversational competence (including how to open and close conversations, establish and change topics, and so on ) . Accordingly, t he last strategic competence includes eight competences: cognitive, metacognitive, memory related, achievement, stalling or time gaining, self monitori ng, in teracting and social competence. Figure 2 1 shows the relation among the six competences of Celcel definition of CC. Sociocultural competence is built through teaching general knowledge of arts, history, geography, political and educational system as the content. It directly , according to this model, sociocultural competence is considered to be highly prioritized in language learning. Discourse competence is in the center because all learning obj ectives should be grounded with real world discourse; other competence is built through a given discourse, for example, a story, a conversation, a radio or film clip, an email and so on. Linguistic and formulaic competence s are also important during the CC building pro cess . When engaging in one sociocultural sensitive discourse, students must master both a set of phrases and linguistic knowledge; however, according to Celce Murcia (2007), the pedagogical challenge is to maintain a balance: Master ing only vo cabulary and stock ph rases for speech acts without appropriate knowledge of and focus on grammar and pronunciation will
17 result in fluent but inaccurate and therefor limited oral competence. Mastering only grammar and phonology results in linguistically acc urate but socially dysfunctional oral communication. (p. 52) The process is not completed until learners attain interactional competence. Different non verbal behaviors and rhythm, and intonation of the target language can convey different meanings, which has to be taught e xplicitly through observation, l istening and imitation. Outside the closed circle of the previous five competences is the strategic competence that is constantly focused on during classes. Strategic competence is used to assist language l earning. A l anguage learner should be aware of strategies through
18 CHAPTER 3 TEACHING ENGLISH AS AN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE English as a n International Language Over the past few hundred years, especially in the last century, English has spread from the countries and regions of English where it is the native language (United States, U.K, Australia and so on) to places where English is not (Brazil, India, China and so on). The political economic influence of the US after WW II and many international bodies, namely academic and business communities that have come into being since 1945, such as World Bank, UNESCO and the World Health Organization (WHO), have contribut ed to the phenomenon of English being accepted as a common language of communication, also know as a lingua franca (Crystal, 1997 ; Jenkins, 2006 ). Kachru (1992) described traditional bases of Engli sh, where it is spoken and used as the primary language of the society: it includes the USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. As shown in the Figure 3 1 language of communication in a country, there are also immigrants that have settled in English speaking countries and international students that have cho se n to study in an English speaking country where English is learned as a second language (ESL). Currently, there are approximately 560,000 international ESL university students in the US and 137,000 in Canada phases of the spread of English in non native settings, where the language has become primary inst itutions; it role in multilingual settings, which include Singapore, India, Malawi and over fifty other
19 importance of EIL, though they do no t have a history of colonization by members of the inner circle, nor have they given English any special administrative status. It includes China, Japan, Greece, Poland and a steadily increasing number of other states. In these areas, English is taught as a foreign language. One billion people use English as a foreign language in what is considered F igure 3 1 It is estimated that there are between 320 380 million native speakers of English and between 300 500 million ESL speakers in countries such as India where English has been institutionalized. In addition to ESL speakers, it is estimated that there are about 500 1000 million people around the world who use English for a variety of purposes and for who m English is neither their native /first nor their second language (Leung, 2005). There is an estimated 350 million Chinese who are currently learning English (Kirkpatrick & Xu, 2002). Inner circle (ENL) Outer circle (ESL) Expanding circle (EFL)
20 World Englishes (WEs), as described by Jenkin s (2006, p . 159) includes Englishes in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean . In another way, WEs is a variety of localized forms of English that are spoken in countries 3). China English ( H e & Zhang, 2010; H u, 2005a; Kirkpatrick & Xu, 2002 ) has gained attention during the past 15 years. According to Cui (2006), China English , like any of the other Englishes, accommodates some characteristics of Chinese culture and , and i 43). Xu (2002) mentions four features for which China English is known : a. Pronunciation: varied pronunciation because of their different Putonghua/Standard Chinese accents b. Lexical: certain terms are used to present typical Chinese culture, such as open door policy, fairly comfortable standard of living, mutual respect and mutual benefit, special economic zone, one China policy, and so on (Cui, 2006, p. 42) c. Syntax: there are distinctive syntactic characteristics, for example, subject free structures caused by first d. Discourse: different discourse patterns, for example, traditionally, Chinese may begin with many questions in order to elicit the main topic. By contrast, Europeans may ju st go into a topic directly. ( cited in Jin , 2005, p. 39 40) In addition, Jenkins (2006) refers to English as Lingua Franca (ELF) as cultures in English, for
21 believes that (p. 339 ). English as an international language (EIL), how ever, is the outcome of that is beginning to growing and no other language has spread around the globe extensively, making English an internationa as cited in McKay , 2000, p. 8). Marlina (2014) variety of cultural and economic arenas by speakers of English from diverse lingua cultural backgrounds who do . Similarly, Llurda (2004), refers to EIL as d wide, especially in those situations involving non native speakers interacting in English both with native speakers and other non 316). Re search o n EIL Current description of EIL Franca Core (2002), which provides phonological and phonetic features that are crucial for mutual intelligibility for EIL learners. Other descri ptive work on EIL also includes Breiteneder (2005) focus on the s mar redundancy in the language. She points to parallels in the linguistic development of other English repertoires which indicate the naturalness of ELF as a linguistic phenomenon (as cited in HÃ¼lmbauer, BÃ¶hringer & S eidlhofer, 2008, p. 30 ). Pickering (2009 ) conducted research on how intonation (pitch movement and relative pitch movement) contribute d to i ntelligibility and interactio nal success in ELF interaction.
22 House (2003) describes pragmatic strategies in ELF sett ing in Germany. He states the most common feature of turn used also to signal acceptance and understanding of a previous statement. A second turn (2003, p. 146). Further more , Leung (2005) mentions how it pass principle in ELF talking in that participants appear to be prepared to tolerate ambiguity and not to seek reformulations or negotiat 135). conveyed, rather than discuss or negotiate the meanings. Finally, (2010) clearly shows that p araphrasing, restructu ring and repetition are some common strategic competence in a university in China and that different strategies that are used language task used. The occurrence of EIL brings a paradigm shift from the traditional ESL/EFL to EIL itself (Marlina, 2014; McKay, 2003; Smith, 1976). Traditional concept of CC in ESL/EFL ny differences between the d Briti sh or American English ar e to be regarded as errors that should be corrected. In a further sense, CC suggests foreign language learning is an target language culture (Alptekin. 2002; Savignon, 2007). For example, sociocultural and di scourse competence means learning socio culture and discourse knowledge of UK or US. CC requires English learners to use the language as educator s to train their students t o improve their sociolinguistic competence in English
23 or, worse, to act in English, as they are believed to need to be come English speaking people, different from the people who speak their native language, assuming the body language, intonation, and life (as cited in Alptekin, 2002, p. 59). Smith (1976) advocates a change in attitude about ESL/EFL and the more and culture, to learn about all 42). Jenkins (2006) argues that the agenda that is based on ELF is actually set by ELF speakers (non native sp p. 161 speakers from learning and using their local variety in local communicative context, regardless of whether this in an inner, outer, or expanding c 2006, p . 161 ). WEs and ELF researchers attach great emphasis on raising awareness order to be intelligible to int erlocutors from a wide ranges of language background, most (Jenkins, 2006, p. 174). Jenkins means that when English is used as EIL, native speakers should adjust their repertoire, switching difficult vocabulary and structures to easier ones and taking into consideration that interlocutors do not possess the same culture and background knowledge. This would minimize misunderstanding s . McKay (2003) suggests implications for teaching EIL that include: cultural conte nt of EIL materials should not be limited to native English speaking cultures; EIL pedagogy needs to be informed by local expectations regarding
24 the role of teacher and learner; and the strengths of bilingual teachers of English need to be recognized. Whic h English Norm Should Be U sed in China? Based on the three circles of Kachru (1992), Kirkpatrick provides three norms or models of ELT: native speaker model, a nativised model (for example, Indian English in India), and an EIL model. Research (Kirkpatrick and Xu, 2002; Kuo, 2006 ; Timmis, 2002 ) identify that some English language learners them . Kirkpatrick and Xu (2002) conducted research attitudes to standards and varieties of both Chinese and Eng lish using questionnaires of statements that surveyed students chose to agree to. The participants felt that non native speakers could speak standard English and they felt that there were many standards of English; however, the participant students did not to want to sound Chinese when they speak English. In the same year, Timmis (2002) administered two questionnaires to both students from 14 countries and teachers from 4 5 countries , 580 responses all together . The questions were related to pronunciation, accents, and international intelligibility, as well as grammar. The results showed that 67% of all students still preferred to sound as India) and some expanding circle countries (i.e., Pakistan) still preferred intelligibility with an accent (for example, Indian or Pakistani accented English). In terms of grammar, most students (68% of all) prefer to use grammar that native speaker s use, even the informal grammar native speakers use when they speak to each other. Interestingly, compared to students, only about half of t eachers wanted to reach this
25 . Kuo (2006) interviewed her young adult s between the ages of 21 and 25, who were ESL students in the UK. There is not exact number of her participants, but the participants included ESL students that were taking English lessons to further pursue their car eers in law, and flight attendants who wanted to continue th eir graduate studies in English speaking countries such as in the UK. Her findings indicated that students still prefer red the native English model as their learning model. The interviewees showed s learners should not only use English for minimum intelligibility and they also need to master accurate and fluent English, or even comparable proficient English of a native speaker. In addition, following a native speaker phonological and grammatical model ed by different descriptions of EIL/EFL. Kuo (2006) maintains that EIL/ELF model would ignore : Ungrammatical but unproblematic features and people will use their imperfect L2 repertoire to communicate more or less effectively in international and intercul tural contexts. Such features and thus repertoire would inevitably result in a qualitatively and quantitatively reduced version of English and be standardized and exist as a variety alongside native English. (p. 217).
26 The ELF model (Graddol, 2006, p. 87) The fluent bilingual speaker retains a national identity in terms of accent, and who also has the special skills required to negotiate understanding with another non (p. 87). In his research related to English language developed in China, He (2007) found that up to 81.9% of the respondents across four universities preferred to sound like a native speaker, although 75.8% of them noted that intelligible oral English with a Chinese accented is also accepta ble for international communication. 62.6% of the surveyed people advocated incorporating salient and well English should be taught by both native speakers and non native speakers. He and Zhang (2010) conducted research in understanding appropriate models and norms of ELT in China. There were 1030 participants (820 non English majored students and 210 teachers) that were administered and given a questionnaire, followed by a MGT experiment and interviews with 103 informants. In the questionnaire, statements of different des ire of English level were provided , followed by reasons. Slightly more than half (55.4%) of all the participants choose to prefer ac cented intelligibility. Slightly less than half (46.1%) of all participants agree to learn all formal grammar and informal grammar than native sp accents should be considered acceptable, as long as the students can express them selves intelligibly in En (p. 784 ), the researchers concluded in their research that Chinese students were also starting to change their goal of English learning to communicating freely in English rather than
27 acquiring native like English. However, He and Zhang further concl ude d that the native norm of English should be used for reading and writing because English learners need Researchers (Alptekin, 2002; Leung, 2005; Matsuda, 2003) propose an E IL model over an ENL model. Leung (2005) argues that the pedagogic model for any English teaching program should be related to its specific goals in different contexts and n idealized native speaker model should not . 139) . In Japan where the ELT situations are very similar to China, Matsuda (2003) explains the reasons for teaching EIL in Japan where the inner circle varieties of English is the mainstream of ELT. He emphasizes the importance of exposure to different forms a nd functions of English for EIL learners because these learners may need to use the language with more speakers other th an . Familiar with only Amer ican or British English, students may consider thei r own English, which differs from the inner ci rcle varieties, is wrong and acceptable and accent and hesitate to English learning in Japan, Chinese students will be encountering more non native English users than native users (He & Zhang, 2010), especially those from East Asia. Hu (2004) considers that EIL with Chinese characteristics is the most appropriate variety to serve as a communication tool in daily life and the most likely to meet East In EIL/ ELF situations, English is primarily used for instrumental purposes, such of polite ness and informality, cultural discourse and eye conta ct are not as important in
28 non . 61). Alptekin continues his The language which is real for native speakers is not likely to be real for nonnative speakers. For language to be authentic in its routine pragmatic functioning, it needs to be localized within a particular discourse community . (cited in Alptekin, 2002, p . 61) How can EIL model be successfully impl emented when there is still a great amount of Chinese learners of English prefer a native English model? Should the One of the deciding reasons for an EIL model is the large number of non native teachers in universities across China. I n terms of difficulties for non native English teachers, He and Zhang (2010) identify that dermines the position of local t eachers because of their being required to reach a model that they 773) . Alpetekin (2002) address es that native English model restricts the nonnative spe native speaker culture. Second, nonnative speaker teachers are hindered from raising multi competent minds that is crucial for multi compet co 62). In this case, CC based on a native English speaker will be very difficult to reach in China. Other researchers (Alptekin; 2002; Li, 2007) propose the ir own EIL models. Alptekin (2002) suggests that a pedagogical model should take into account the following criteria with the consideration of cultural differences:
29 1. bilingual with intercultural insights and knowledge; equipping English learners with lingui stic and cultural behavior as well as an awareness of difference and strategies for coping with difference; 2. preparing learns to be and be comfortable with both international and local situations; 3. Instructional materials and activities should involve loca l and internal contexts , and suitable discourse samples pertaining to native and non native/ non native and non native Li (2007) pro poses a lists of language learning goals with the needs of English learners in China and Hong Kong, which and ensure intelligibility; develop a sense of ownership and pride in the local(ized) variety: to make lea rners proud of and confident in the local(ized) variety ; and being equipped with Standard English as a prerequisite for life long learning: to be literate in, and conversant with, lexico grammatical features of the written standard variety in order to abso rb all kinds of information in print or on the Internet. e native English as the life long process to better absorb information, which is an important part of English learning goals, while Aptekin minimizes native English .
30 CHAPTER 4 ELT REFORM IN CHINA EL T in China the Ministry of Education (MOE), English Language Teaching (ELT) in China was redeemed in late p. 24). The traditi onal grammar translation and audio lingual methods which were favored for decades, placed tremendous emphasis on linguistic accuracy . In addition, stude nts were considered passive recipients in the language learning process, rather than active learners (Ning, 2010 ). A ccording to Hu (2005 b ), as early as 1988 and 1992, national secondary school syllabus already required developme nt of CC learning process, and to increase language in/output bot (p. 184). However, due to the reality of the gap between the syllabus and classroom rea lities of the communicative methodology and rather limited support, the top down syllabus has gained little acceptance (p. 148). In the beginning of 2000s, College inefficient an d test oriented, as many students with CET 4 certificates are found una ble to (Zhu, 2003, p. 37) . In 2001, with success ful entry to the WTO and winning the hosting right of Beijing Olympics in 2008, English started to be introduce d from grade 1 as a compulsory course throughout China (Cheng& Wang, 2012; Nunan, 2013). In January 2004, the Chinese Ministry of Education issued the College English Curriculum Requirements
31 (CECR); it was also the year when the number enrolling in higher education reached 20 million (Zhao & Coniam, 2008). According to Cheng and Wang (2012), CECR requires vely in both oral and w ritten English after graduation (p. 28), which communicative competence in Englis (p. 24) . In 2007, a new form of CET 4 and CET 6 exams has been implemented, in which listening comprehension test was included and a speaking test was also administered to students who performed well on their written test. It means not all students have opportunities to be examined on their speaking ability. Table 4 1 shows significant ye ars of ELT in China. Table 4 1 ELT in China, significant years Year ELT reform in China Late 1970s ELT redeemed in China; Grammar translation method/audio lingual: main methods Mid 1980s CLT introduced to China 2001 Compulsory English start from Grade 1 2004 CECR Trial 2007 CECR 2007 NEW CET According to Cheng and Wang (2012), English programs in China are usually divided into four categories: international studies university programs (designed for
32 cultivating students into interpreters); English pr ograms in comprehensive universities (curriculum including English literature, linguistics and translation); normal universities programs (ELT methods and SLA designed for students that will become English teachers after graduation); and last but not the l east non English major programs in comprehensive universities (four semester of a combination of English for General use n). Being a university graduate , one should be at a fairl y advanced level of proficiency, engage in effec tive communication For most non English major learners, it still seems to be the utility of Eng lish that drives students to learn English, because after all, as Ng and Tang (1997) state, paying jobs at foreign related companies and enterprises, and for promotion to higher 30 31) . This is because of the social status of EFL and Mandarin Chinese is still the main official language in China. English in China is not used in public administration, in the courts of law, or for any other official purposes. English is learned primarily in school settings, and not many people can reac h a high level of proficiency. CECR R eform As mentioned above, despite more than ten years of English learning since a s atisfactory level of English proficiency. Recognizing this problem, all universities in
33 China were required to follow the CECR (2007) launched by MOE after a previous trial version (CECR 2004) had been carried out for three years. The CECR is proposed as a reform of the previous College English Syllabus in 1999. The College English 1999 requires that: College English aims to develop in students a relatively high level of competence in reading, and in intermediate level of competence in listening, speaking, writing and translating, so that they can exchange information in English. (College English Syllabus Revision Team, 1999. p. 1) A new College English Test (CET) testing system was a critical step following the trial version of the CECR in 2004. CET as the largest and also the most widely used high stake type o f assessment in China has been used since 1987 and has experienced many changes. In 2006, the weight given to the listening section was raised from 20% to 35% with the purpose of encouraging students to develop communicative language skills (Chen & Klenowski, 2009 , p. 8 ). Jin (2005) mentions that the new CET system 4/6 certification practices, and issued instead transcripts of results only; adopted a 710 point scoring system; included more non multiple choice questions (35% 40% instead of 15 20%), more listening (35% instead of 20%) and authentic listening materials (as cited in Chen and Klenowski, 2009, p. 8) . A spoken test was also added to students who reach 550 in CET 4 an d 525 in CET 6. The CECR (2007) consisted of six components: character and objective of College English; teaching requirements (including three levels of requirements for listening, speaking, reading, writing, translating and vocabulary); course design; te aching model; student evaluation; and teaching administration. The goal of the CECR is to:
34 round manner, especially in listening and speaking, so that in their future work and social interactions they wil l be able to exchange information effectively through both spoken and written channels, and at the same time be able to enhance their ability to study independently and improve their cultural d international exchanges . (MOE, 2007, p. 23) Jiang (2010) adapted from work of Wang and Chen (2004) and Wang (2009) that to be equipped with: Affective and attitud inal factors ( international horizons, homeland awareness, team spirit, self confidence, interest and motivation ) Cultural awareness (cultural knowledge, cultural understanding, cross cultural communica tion, awareness and competence) Language knowledge (pho netics, vocabulary, grammar, function and topic) Language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) Learning strategies (cognitive strategies, coordination strategies, resource strategies, communication strategies) Great importance has been attache d to CC as linguistic competence (or , social cultural competence (including cultural knowledge of both homeland and cross cultural communication ) and strategic competence of CC (communication strategies) are all m entioned and emphasized. Fang (2010) points (2008) also note communicative skills, in particular listening and speaking skills (p. 56 its own course
35 5 7) Furthermore, in elaborating CC , CECR requires taking into full consideration the cultural capacity and the teaching of knowledge about d MOE, 2007 , p. 30) . The CECR teaching requirement of three hierarchical levels (basic, intermediate es particular competences of CC. For example, the goals of three levels listenin g comprehension address discourse competence and strategic competence. Basic requirements: students should be able to follow classroom instructions, everyday conversations, and lectures on general topics conducted in English. Be able to understand special English programs spoken at a speed of about 130 words per minute (wpm), grasping the main ideas and key points and employ basic listening strategies to facilitate comprehension (p. 9). Intermediate requirements: students should be able to follow, in the m ain, talks and lectures by people from English speaking countries, to understand longer English rad io and TV programs produced in C hina on familiar topics spoken at a speed of around 150 wpm, grasping the main ideas, key points and relevant details (p. 11) . Higher requirements: students should be able to understand long dialogues and passages, and grasp the key points even when sentence structures are complicated and views are only implied. They should, by and large, be able to understand radio and TV prog rams produced in English speaking countries (MOE, 2007, p. 15). However, CECR seems to contradict itself by addressing the goals of communication in international e xchanges and in different cultures in the world , as opposed to, for example, listening com prehension goals is to understan d lectures, talks, TV programs from the English speaking countries . Another implication from the three levels of listening comprehension is that CECR listening comprehension requirements presuppose that English programs from English speaking countries are harder to
36 understand than those from China, as programs from China are only required to understand for intermediate level but not for higher level. In addition, CECR is critiqued for providing (Gao, 2013, p. 59). Although there are required vocabulary list follow here is actually no statement of knowledge objectives, cognitive objectives, affective objectives and (p. 57). Furthermore, Gao (2013) argues that the CECR still stresses vocabulary and grammar even though it looks innovative and advocates the importance of CC , which is proved to be reasonable considering the vocabulary list, the phrasal verb list and the active vocabulary list are printed from page 53 180, about 130 pages in total. T ranslation is traditionally considered as one of the five skills in ELT in China. As CECR focuses on developing CC, t he traditional grammar translation method is suggested being replaced by CLT. However, there is still a part in CECR that attach importance to translation , for example, basic level requires that : With the help of dictionaries, students should be able to translate essays on familiar topics from English into Chinese and vice versa. The speed of translating from English into Chinese should be 3 00 English words per hour whereas the speed of translating from Chinese into English should be 250 Chinese characters per hour. The translation should read smoothly. Students are expected to be able to use appropriate tr anslation . 9). In sum, ELT reforms in China have taken place since the late 1970s. However, due to cultural, social institutional constraints and the limitations of CECR 2007 itself (i.e., contradicting itself by stating both international exchanges and that students should be able to understand TV programs from English speaking countries), building
37 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION This thesis has described recent trends in ELT worldwide and the problems associated with Chinese educational reform that seeks to introduce and build Chinese areas of concern is the gap between localized varieties of Engli sh in China and the highly prized Native English Speaker standard. Tr aditional definitions of CC are often based on native English use. Socio cultural competence, an important component of CC is based on social cultures in the inner circles. Therefore, in China, unless the goal of ELT is for students going to inner circle countries, a worldwide social cultural perspective should be introduced into classes. Under EIL situations, using authentic sources being from all around the globe, including newspaper, TV program s from English channel s awareness of the outer and expanding circle. Mackay (2000, 2003) holds the opini on that teachers should devote effort in class to learners own cultu re as a means of empowering them and give them the opportunity to share their own culture with other speakers of English . This means materials from within China, such as CCTV news, al awareness but also their linguistic competence of China English. Another area is the most updated College English Curriculum Reform (CECR) and its implementation in colleges and universities. 2016 is the tenth anniversary of CECR 2007 and whether CECR 2 007 has been successfully implemented or not is another specific area that deserves further effectiveness of CECR 2007? Du (2012) sugg ested taking into consideration that
38 teache rs themselves are the decisive factor in the effectiveness and that college English teachers who have low levels of language proficiency themselves will not equip their students with a high level of English language proficiency. Yu (2015) suggested managem ent at the school level being important, as curriculum reform itself is insufficient to ensure change in practice without localized management. Wang (2012) conducted observations with survey of 530 colleges in China, which shows that over 90% of schools claimed they followed CECR a nd designed their own syllabus . Gao (2013) proposed two questions in consideration of expectations of CECR. The first is what expectations CECR has placed on university teachers of English and the second is what teac hers, admin istrators and policy makers response s are to those (2013) empirical research revealed that the autonomy given to taken up at the level of the u niversity; teachers have been heavily reliant on textbooks and the college English text, CET 60). Gao (2007) conducted a qualitative study on changes in college English teachers, administrators and policy makers. S he found that the policy appear s to be unclear in its foundation researchers (Du, 2012; Gao, 2007; Wang, 2012) suggest pre service training for English language instructors in the areas of ELT curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment in order for English educators in China to fully understand any truly innovative policies before implementin g them in their everyday teaching .
39 The thesis is limited to the levels of policy making and university academic administration. In a top down reform implementation, specific methods and teaching strategies should be provided. Thus, this thesis also sheds s ome light to possible future research on particularly how to combine CC and EIL in universities in China.
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44 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH The author, Man s passionate for language teaching and education of diversity for years she came to University of Florida in t he Uni ted States to pursue her Master of Arts in Education degree , with a focus on ESOL/Bilingual Education.