Multilingual Education

, 2:3

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Code choice in the Chinese as a foreign language classroom

  • Danping WangAffiliated withDepartment of English, the Hong Kong Institute of Education Email author 
  • , Andy KirkpatrickAffiliated withSchool of Languages and Linguistics, Nathan campus, Griffith University


The large influx of Chinese language learners into the People's Republic of China from different countries shapes the Chinese as a foreign language classroom as a multilingual and multinational domain. However, how Chinese language teachers perceive their choice of codes for teaching and communicating with international Chinese language learners remains an under-researched area. To investigate Chinese language teachers' language beliefs toward code choice in teaching Chinese as a foreign language, 24 Chinese language teachers from four universities in Beijing were invited to participate in this study. Findings indicated that although Chinese language teachers endeavored to abide by a Chinese-only principle, English was regularly and strategically employed as an international lingua franca (English as a lingua franca, ELF) for explanatory, managerial and interactive functions. The study concluded by proposing an "ELF pedagogy" for Chinese language teachers to consider in increasingly multilingual classrooms.


Chinese as a foreign language English as a lingua franca Sinophone identity code choice multilingual classroom