2015 IJRSLL – Volume 4 Issue 4
Department of Learning and Philosophy, Aalborg University, Denmark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Department of Learning and Philosophy, Aalborg University, Denmark (email@example.com)
Du, Xiang Yun
Department of Learning and Philosophy, Aalborg University, Denmark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This study explores learners’ orientations, or goals, for learning Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) in a Danish university. Drawing upon empirical data from both pre- and post-course surveys and group interviews, this study examines in what aspects and to what extent these orientations change, and by what these changes are caused, in a university-wide CFL course using task-based teaching and learning (TBTL). The study identifies four orientations. Results indicate that the knowledge orientation plays a vital role in the learning process, while instrumental orientation appears to be the least important to students. Furthermore, the study indicates that all orientations have been enhanced by the end of the course, meaning the learners have developed clearer goals for further study in a TBTL environment. We also show that several external and internal factors, such as the motivating course design (especially the task-based learning method), the learners’ increased self-efficacy, and student satisfaction, served to contribute to these positive changes in learners’ orientations. It is suggested that a communicative approach (e.g. the TBTL method) can be used to promote positive orientation changes and enhance learner motivation. The study also discusses challenges encountered in helping beginners learn a foreign language via TBTL.
Keywords: orientation; motivation; motivational change; task-based teaching and learning; Chinese as a foreign language