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Putting Grammar in Its Place: Interactions and Identity in a Master of TESOL Course

Version 2 2024-06-04, 04:26
Version 1 2016-06-06, 10:25
posted on 2024-06-04, 04:26 authored by Rod NeilsenRod Neilsen
This chapter reports on the development of language awareness and second language identities of a cohort of Chinese TESOL teachers that arose as a result of incidental classroom interactions during a TESOL Masters course in Australia. The experiences of such interactions appeared to help the Chinese teachers make stronger connections between form and meaning, and, while they also reflected deeply on the pedagogies of grammar, they gained a wider view of language teaching and learning that included pragmatic and sociolinguistic awareness. The impact of cultural and educational exchanges and the resulting formations of second language identities is an emerging focus of research (Benson, Barkhuizen, Bodycott and Brown, 2013). In the field of TESOL, such movements and exchanges are creating opportunities to develop a richer discourse, by drawing on diverse traditions of professionalism in different communities and contexts, and calls are increasingly being made for a plural professional knowledge and more inclusive relationships (Canagarajah, 2005; Holliday, 2005; Widdowson, 2004). The People’s Republic of China has been one of the major contributors to student and teacher mobility in recent years; English language is now a priority subject in China, and all students entering university must take the English college test whether they intend to major in English or not, and therefore there has been much interest in upskilling cohorts of Chinese teachers of English to meet this demand. An increasingly typical initiative is to award scholarships to gain professional qualifications in English-speaking countries. A cohort of English teachers from Jiangsu province, China, is the focus of the present study. During their Masters in TESOL course in Queensland, Australia, they experienced interactions with native speakers inside and outside of the classroom. As their course lecturer for several TESOL units, I was interested in the nature of the incidental language awareness arising from course activities with their native-speaking peers. I was also interested in whether they felt that these experiences had implications for their sense of identity in a second language. The following sections therefore discuss the key themes: interaction in higher education contexts, language awareness, and second language identities.


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Publication classification

B1 Book chapter

Copyright notice

2016, Sense Publishers




Liyanage I, Nima B


Sense Publishers

Place of publication

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Title of book

Multidisciplinary Research Perspectives in Education

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