An analysis of the promotion of Chinese culture within an L3 language experience at the P5-7 Stages in selected Scottish primary schools

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This study investigates the promotion of Chinese culture in selected Scottish primary schools through a third language experience. Three research questions give distinctive insights into current classroom practices, stakeholders’ cultural views and the programme’s impact on pupils’ understanding of the country and its people. Its conceptual base recognises the tensions that exist within the framing of ‘culture’ with particular emphasis on Post-colonial theory and related discourses around Orientalism. Given the paucity of Scottish research, the literature review is partly comparative in drawing upon selected global education systems. The research paradigm is interpretivist, employing a mixed methods model where a quantitative survey is used with P5-7 pupils across 5 schools and analysed through SPSS. Qualitative data is gathered through focus groups involving Scottish teachers, Hanban teachers, Professional Development Officers and pupils and uses NVivo software in assisting thematic analyses. Integration of datasets is achieved through joint presentation and discussion within 3 findings chapters. The results highlight classroom practices that can construe China, its culture and values through a traditional lens, emphasising ‘large culture’ or national narratives at the expense of exposure to ‘small cultures’ that may help exemplify everyday life and better balance pupils’ experiences. The L3 model in operation is almost entirely dependent on Hanban teachers with very few Scottish counterparts engaging due to a lack of confidence and training, which potentially distorts cross-cultural understanding, content and potential collaboration. Though worthwhile classroom practices certainly exist for expansion, curriculum delivery issues can impact on pupils’ progressive understanding and awareness of Chinese culture across the Primary 5-7 continuum and, at times, their attitudinal development. Recommendations and implications are offered for a range of stakeholders (schools, local authorities and relevant external organisations) in terms of policy, training and delivery which are relevant to wider language practices beyond this particular study and L3 provisions.
Date of Award2 Sept 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorIan Rivers (Supervisor) & Joanna McPake (Supervisor)

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