The Role of Significant Others on International Students’ Agency in Chinese Learning: Translanguaging Lens

Kunpeng Zhao


This paper is based on a case study conducted on the international students’ agentic choices and actions in response to such significant others’ impact on their competency, confidence and achievements towards Chinese learning through being engaged in translanguaging pedagogical practices. In the study, the data was collected from a photo-elicitation interview in the form of a focus group among the student participants. The data analysis revealed that the participants tended to display peer-directed, teacher-facilitated and community member-reinforced agency towards speeding up their self-understanding competency in class, improving self-learning efficacy after class, and enhancing self-awareness of tones, as a result of interacting with diverse significant others in translanguaging space. Correspondingly, this study illustrated three categories of significant others, including class peers, native Chinese teachers and members of Chinese-speaking communities who can exert the influences on enacting international students’ agency towards Chinese learning in a flexible, efficient and critical way. These findings offer an insight into shaping an overseas learners’ agency-oriented approach to make Chinese as a learnable language from a translanguaging perspective. Furthermore, the concept of significant others is linked to the field of international Chinese language education. Thus, it is expected to provide some contributory implications to native and non-native Chinese teachers, educators and researchers, particularly on paying more attention to such emergent interactions between significant others and international students’ agentic emotions, feelings and attitudes towards learning of Chinese language in different circumstances.

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International Journal of Contemporary Education

ISSN 2575-3177 (Print)   ISSN 2575-3185 (Online)

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