Investigating the loss of agency in tertiary students' approach to English

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


An issue that causes continued consternation for staff in the English Language Centre in HK PolyU is their students' over-reliance on memorization in spoken assessments and translation and/or plagiarism in written. The paradox is that the students generally demonstrate high levels of motivation, cognition and academic integrity. This paper, therefore, seeks to address the idea that there may be an underlying sociocultural issue that is hampering our students achieving a greater sense of agency and autonomy in their use of English. With some Hong Kong-based academics suggesting variously that we may need to accept a form of Hong Kong English as a 'world-English', or that the time may have even come to abandon English medium education in Hong Kong, this issue is of fundamental importance for English language centres across Hong Kong's universities. I wish to discuss the possibility that a better understanding of the power relations at play within the sociocultural worlds of Hong Kong university students, and how these shape learner identity, may help lead to more positive learning and teaching of English.
Period30 May 2018
Event titleHKCPD Symposium: Higher education best practices – English teaching and learning in Hong Kong
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational