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English language education at Guangxi University, China:challenges, responses and recommendations

Liang, Wendy Yanhua


Wendy Yanhua Liang


Mike Bottery

David Plowright


This study is concerned with the growing expectation of the quality of English language education in China’s universities under the pressure of globalization as well as a developing Chinese society. Since the 1980s, four national curricula for English language education at universities have been introduced by the Chinese Ministry of Education, causing an unprecedented “English craze” in China’s higher education and other areas of its society. However, despite the heavy investment in terms of capital and facilities, the quality of English language education has become a pressing problem in higher education as well as in Chinese society.

The aim of the research is to explore what the challenges and resolutions are in improving English language education at Guangxi University, China. The research project draws insight from a mixed methods approach underpinned by interpretivism and the research design is a case study. The data were collected through interviews with the university administrative staff, teaching staff and students, questionnaires with teachers and students, and documentary reading.

The study found that administrative staff, teaching staff, and students at Guangxi University are currently confronted by wide variety of challenges as a result of the pressures coming from three hierarchical levels, namely, the global, national and institutional levels. The findings suggest that among the various challenges the most prominent ones involve teachers’ lack of career development training, lack of information on ongoing reform, different priorities by stakeholders in College English evaluation and students’ desires being mostly overlooked. Based on the research data, the study indicates remedial strategies in four domains: administration, course design, teacher career development and learning support.

With regard to its contribution to the literature, by providing an illuminative case study within a global context, the research describes various responsive strategies taken at national and institutional levels, contributing to the developing body of theory on globalization in China’s higher education. The study offers diverse and different views III and experiences about English language education at the university level, which also contributes to the research tradition of language teaching in higher education. In this sense, the study has implications for theory, practice and future research in language teaching under a global context in higher education.

Key words: English language education; interpretivism; a mixed methods approach; challenges; responses


Liang, W. Y. (2011). English language education at Guangxi University, China:challenges, responses and recommendations. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Mar 20, 2012
Publicly Available Date Feb 22, 2023
Keywords Education
Public URL
Additional Information Centre for Educational Studies, The University of Hull
Award Date Jul 1, 2011


Thesis (6.7 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2011 Liang, Wendy Yanhua. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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