Education Research International (2011-01-01)

Becoming Global Citizens through Bilingualism: English Learning in the Lives of University Students in China

  • Yangguang Chen

DOI
https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/805160
Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2011

Abstract

Read online

The ongoing globalisation has led to a tremendous expansion of the English language. With China striving to become part of the world economy since the late 1970's, there has been a great emphasis placed on the education of young people to become a world citizen with fluent English. “Being a global citizen” is having strong interests in global issues, cultivating the understanding and appreciation of diverse values, and enhancing country's competitiveness. All this however needs to be realized through communication in English, the world language. Improving communicative competence among Chinese learners of English depends on how English is learnt in the FL classroom and how it gets practiced outside the classroom. Data drawn from English corners, English clubs and English church all show that those informal learning settings have a complentary role to play especially when the formal English classroom is found having various deficits. Data also confirm that informal settings offer the opportunity to close the gap between L1 and L2 learning processes, and nurtutre learners' communicative competence through social intercourse and intercultural exchanges. Moreover, EFL learning is inherently intercultural, which facilitate cross cultural perspectives through bilingualism and bridges over the indigenous cultural traditions and the western democratic values.