English language teaching in China: Regional differences and contributing factors

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)


In response to an escalating demand for English proficiency brought about by the rapid economic, social, and cultural development in China, there has been a massive drive to expand and improve English language teaching (ELT) since the mid-1980s. Tremendous efforts and resources have been expended on upgrading the various components of ELT, including curriculums, syllabuses, textbooks, tests, and teachers' professional competence. However, not all parts of China have benefited equally from the invested efforts and resources. The economically and socioculturally developed regions differ notably from the less developed ones in the development of ELT. This paper examines regional differences in ELT in China. First, it reports on a study of 439 post-secondary Chinese students, which found clear region-based differences in their English proficiency, previous learning experiences, classroom behaviours, and language learning and use strategies. Next, it explores how a range of economic, social, cultural and pedagogical factors have jointly created such differences. The paper concludes with a critique of some recent top-down efforts directed at reducing regional disparity in ELT. Hu.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-318
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Curriculum
  • English language teaching
  • Pedagogical approach
  • Regional differences
  • Sociocultural influences
  • Syllabus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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