A Survey Report on Structural Factors Influencing English Majors’ Agency in a Chinese University

Qiuming Lin


Learner agency has increasingly come to be regarded as a necessary construct in understanding language learning. It is not a fixed entity that learners possess, but a contextualized and culturally-specific construction, mediated by socio-cultural structures. This paper reports a survey addressing the structural factors influencing English majors’ agency by conducting a series of interviews with different groups of informants in a university in mainland China. Based on a theoretical framework that has been built on previous theories, the survey has explored factors from two aspects – schemas and resources, and at three levels – context, setting and self. The survey also finds that the same structural factors can be constraining or supportive for different learners, and suggests that as learner agency is mediated largely by exterior contextual conditions, students are not wholly to blame for the low agency that they have manifested in their learning process.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/ijelt.v3n1p20


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International Journal of English Language Teaching ISSN 2329-7913 (Print) ISSN 2329-7921 (Online)

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