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Teachers’ perspectives on Chinese community schooling in the UK: Chinese as heritage or foreign language?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sara GanassinORCiD


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In this paper I draw on data from a UK based in-the-field study to illustrate how the focus of Chinese community schooling on Mandarin as heritage language (HL) is controversial. The literature defines how these schools cater for the needs of HL learners motivated by the cultural and affective value of the language. Furthermore, the schools in this study advocated the exclusive use of Mandarin, both as a pedagogic strategy and as an ideological choice to promote a sense of Chinese identity. In contrast, my findings demonstrate how teachers problematised the pupils’ linguistic status (many attributed family relevance to other fangyan ). The fact that teachers considered their pupils as foreign language learners impacted on their teaching practices, their motivation and the ways in which they saw themselves as educators. It also challenged the focus of the schools on Chinese for HL learners and the ideologies underlying it.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ganassin S

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Being and Becoming a Teacher of Chinese as a Foreign and Second Language Today Conference

Year of Conference: 2017

Online publication date: 22/05/2017

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016