Academic journal article Quarterly Journal of Chinese Studies

Affect with Chinese Learners of English: Enjoyment, Self- Perception, Self- Assessment, and Abilities across Levels of Language Learning 1

Academic journal article Quarterly Journal of Chinese Studies

Affect with Chinese Learners of English: Enjoyment, Self- Perception, Self- Assessment, and Abilities across Levels of Language Learning 1

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Over the past two decades the demand for mastery of English in China has accelerated, as Chinese policy makers view English as vital to establishing cultural, political, and economic relationships worldwide (Feng, 2007).More specifically, according to Feng (2007), English is often viewed as a powerful instrument necessary for the advancement of science and technology. Consequently, China has one of the largest populations of English learners in the world, and reading, listening, speaking, and writing are all seen as critical skills. In fact, the vast majority of second language acquisition theories address the importance of each skill (Ortega, 2007) and research has shown that each skill often has a relationship with the others (Brantmeier, Vanderplank, &Strube, 2012). However, as Brantmeier and Yu (2014) note, the vast majority of researchersin Chinese journals put an emphasis onone particular skill, such as reading. Most studies do not examine all four skills together.Given the continuing growth in the number of English speakers in China (as well as worldwide), research on the learning ofall four English skills together is of increasing importance.

In addition to understanding how students acquire English language skills, it is also vital to examine how self - perception and affect may impact language learning fordifferent populations of students.Individual difference variables (IDVs) such as self- perception and affect have often been viewed as playing an imperative role in student ability and motivation as a foreign language learner (D? rnyei, 2005; Lim, 2002; Peng, 2007; Walker, 2014; Young, 1999). According to Dörnyei (2005), learner beliefs can impact learning behavior, and thus, it is crucial to understand the beliefs that learners possess when they are learning all facets of a foreign language. It is also important to note that these beliefs can change as one advances through a language learning program (Dörnyei&Skehan, 2003; Walker, 2014).However, the vast majority of these studies have been conducted in Western classrooms. Additionally, beliefs about oneself and one's place within a culture may impact class participation and subsequent English learning (Liu & Jackson, 2011; Peng, 2007). Lastly, due to cultural variations, Asian students may self- assessand view themselves in a very different light than Western learners of English (Fukuchi & Sakamoto, 2005; Liu & Jackson, 2011; Peng, 2007). Therefore, the current study examines Chinese learners of English.

This empirical article will examine some individual differences of beginning, intermediate, and advanced Chinese learners of English and the corresponding associations to all four language skills. Specifically, the relationship between self- perception as an English language learner, enjoyment of learning English, and self - assessment of skills will be investigated, as well as relationships with English language achievement.

2. Literature Review

2.1 Importance of Enjoyment and Self-Assessment

Contemporary second language (L2) research recognizes that L2 learning is often a complex process involving a dynamic array of environmental and individual factors. IDVs such as self - perception and affect about learning a language are important to study because they have been shown to impact the behavior students exhibit in language learning environments (D? rnyei, 2005; Lim, 2002; Peng, 2007; Sparks dGanschow, 1999; Walker, 2014). For example, researchers have historically believed that enjoyment has a significant relationship with motivation (Carreira, 2011; Dewaele&MacIntyre, 2014). It is frequently assumed that those who enjoy the subject will often continue to be motivated to learn it. Further, some researchers have linked enjoyment to specific language skills such as reading (Brantmeier, 2005).However, newer research is showing that concepts such as enjoyment can be quite confusing within the second language classroom (Dewaele&MacIntyre, 2014; D? …

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