Students’ Translanguaging in Task-based Learning in a Senior High School in China

  • Huanjie WANG

Student thesis: EdD Thesis


The reason why I conducted this study was based on the current situation of Chinese high school English classrooms. I have attempted to intentionally activate Chinese and English languages’ interactions with each other by Chinese students to advance English-language pedagogy and reveal the overall picture of how students' cross-language learning promotes the mastery of the target language (English) and the completion of learning tasks. This study analysed the role of translanguaging in Chinese students’ English learning classes based on task-based learning in a senior high school in China. It has described the linguistic (grammatical and lexical) features that appear when students use English and Chinese in their interactions. Also, this study has explained the communicative purposes as well as linguistic choices students make when they use translanguaging.

In order to select the most appropriate samples to best represent the data I wanted to obtain, I chose one representative group in each class, and two typical groups representing each grade. There were six groups in total who attended a senior high school in China. Practitioner research, as a methodological choice, involved me collecting data in respect of students’ communication in the classroom through observations, audio-recordings, and face-to-face interviews with these participants. Also, transcriptions were analyzed under particular themes, thus, identifying cross-language connections. These methods allowed the students to participate in translanguaging and elicited them to produce real ideas to the maximum extent.

The results revealed the extent to which students perceived that translanguaging improves their understanding and communication of the targeted language of English and translanguaging’s influence on their learning potentials or ways of meaning-making in task-based learning. The findings suggest code-switching and borrowing represent two main linguistic features of translanguaging, while meaning negotiation function, information reconciliation function, coherence and textuality function, together with supplement and social function are four linguistic functions of translanguaging. The ease of communication and contextual resources are the main reasons for students’ language choice in translanguaging.

The research makes theoretical contributions as it showcases ways in which Chinese students promote flexible languaging, go beyond traditional cognition of separate language modes as well as create a unique ideology to liberate their language use from either monolingual or bilingual constraints,  entrusting them with local integration and flexible meaning transformation of their English language learning. The research also has pedagogical implications that teachers in China should make full use of the functions of translanguaging in order to promote students’ English learning initiative. The practical implications for students are that the Chinese language should not be ignored or banned in English learning, because translanguaging changes their way of English learning for comprehensive language input, experimental expression, and meaningful language output in task-based learning.
Date of AwardJul 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Nottingham
SupervisorRobert Adamson (Supervisor)


  • task
  • translanguaging
  • linguistic features
  • communicative purposes
  • linguistic choices

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