Active? Passive? Whose Fault? – Participation Pattern In Online English Language Learning Settings In A Chinese Tertiary Context

  • Lingping Ding Leeds English Language School
Keywords: Prototype of Chinese learner, Online learning, Participation pattern, Language output, Exchange structure


This article presents a study of the participation pattern within two online programmes which aim to facilitate tertiary students to practice their oral English in China. The programmes are conducted in bi-modal channel where text chat and voice chat are parallel. Three levels of analysis are conducted: participation balance, language output and exchange structure. The findings reveal that bi-modal chat provides learners with the opportunity to interact. However, there is no difference in their learning performance in the traditional F2F classroom. Generally speaking, they are reluctant to participate. In the meanwhile, it must be remembered that some individuals may be active, even aggressive. The degree of participants’ activeness is greatly subject to teachers’ performance. And the facts that affect participation pattern are complicated and perplexing. Therefore, it presents the warning that it may not be reasonable to expect that computer-mediated communication (CMC) can change the traditional perspective in China. Rather, it is teachers and learners who must make efforts to incite participation. The adoption of CMC in language learning must recognize the influence of traditional Chinese culture, as well as individual differences.