Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Agency, identity, and English learning in a Taiwanese college EFL classroom
by Lee, Yi-Ching, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2011, 278; 3488249
Abstract (Summary)

Under the discourse of English as a global language (Dewey 2007; Jordão, 2004; Phillipson, 2009; Seidlhofer, 2004; Sifakis, 2007) and the influence of "English fever" (Krashen, 2003), much material resource, time, and energy is invested in teaching English and training proficient English educators. Taiwan is no exception.

This study aims to investigate the notion of leaner agency and the discourses circulating in the context of an English listening/speaking class in a college in Taiwan. I took an ethnographic approach to this study in which I was a participant-observer. The research employed a multiple case study design (Yin, 2009) with two focal female students. The data sources include interviews, classroom observation, the researcher's field notes, and images and narratives from Photovoice, a participatory photography project. Two analytical tools: Reconstructive Analysis (Carspecken, 1996) and Grounded Thematic Analysis (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) were used for data analysis.

The findings of this study suggest that Taiwanese college EFL students' investment in English learning was intricately tied to their unique personal backgrounds, specific likes, desires, and future life trajectories. The learners' agency took on contradictory forms such as active participation or silence. The consequences of exercising agency differed for the focal participants depending on the discourses the participants drew upon in particular sociocultural contexts. The study also suggests possible ways for educators to facilitate the enhancement of learner agency in EFL classrooms.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lewison, Mitzi
Commitee: Carspecken, Phil, Hines, Mary Beth, Samuelson, Beth
School: Indiana University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 73/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: English as a Second Language
Keywords: Agency, China, English as a foreign language, Identity, Taiwan
Publication Number: 3488249
ISBN: 978-1-267-08125-4
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