Language and Sociocultural Theory, Vol 4, No 2 (2017)

Developing Chinese rhetorical awareness through concept-based instruction: A case study on second language learners

Yu-Ting Kao
Issued Date: 13 Sep 2017

Abstract


Academic writing is complex as it involves more than grammar. Lack of awareness of cross-cultural contrastive rhetoric poses great challenges for second/foreign language learners who aim to achieve an advanced proficiency level in writing. However, most language teachers assume that comprehensive explanations of rhetorical concepts will be too complex for learners to grasp. Little opportunity is thus provided to develop understanding of rhetorical structures at a conceptual level. This paper reports on a case study framed within the principles of Concept-Based Instruction (CBI), an application of Vygotskian thought to second language (L2) pedagogy. It investigates the extent to which CBI assists L2 Chinese learners in developing conceptual understanding of Chinese rhetoric, ultimately enabling interpretation, generation of personal meanings and the ability to exercise communicative agency. Results showed that the participants were able to identify appropriate rhetorical structures from various genres of Chinese texts, and showed improvements when applying these structures in written production. Pedagogical implications are discussed in relation to writing development and the value of scientific concepts in L2 learning/teaching contexts.

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DOI: 10.1558/lst.32062

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