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Learning to Speak in an Exam-Focused World: A Study of Independent Language Learning in China

  • Don Snow
  • Olivia Sun
  • Xu Li
Chapter
Part of the New Language Learning and Teaching Environments book series (NLLTE)

Abstract

While the English language curriculum in China encourages teachers and students to give attention to oral English skills, required high-stakes English examinations in China generally do not test speaking skills, and the washback effect of this is that oral skills are not often practiced in middle school and university English courses in China. Despite this, some Chinese students learn to speak English quite well, leading to the question—how?

This chapter reports on an interview study of Chinese students at an English-medium university in China who had successfully achieved levels of oral English proficiency. The study found that virtually all of these successful learners had built their oral English skills by supplementing their oral skills practice opportunities in various ways. Many did this partially by taking additional English classes in private English schools or programs. However, virtually all had also engaged in various forms of independent language learning; in other words, they devised their own strategies and plans for building speaking skills and then carried out these plans.

Keywords

Independent language Speaking Motivation 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Don Snow
    • 1
  • Olivia Sun
    • 1
  • Xu Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Duke Kunshan UniversityKunshan ShiChina

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