Motivation for Learning Chinese in the Australian Context: A Research Focus on Tertiary Students

  • Hui Ling XuEmail author
  • Robyn Moloney


This chapter examines affective factors in Chinese language study, at undergraduate university level, making use of a collation of data from three studies of motivation in this context. The teaching and learning of Chinese has been promoted in Australian schools and universities amidst the globalized spread of the teaching of Chinese as a second and foreign language. This aligns with the Australian government’s drive to produce ‘Asia-literate’ graduates, and puts pressure on educators to understand how to support the motivation of their students. The data presented in this chapter derived from three studies conducted respectively in 2011, 2013 and 2017. The studies reveal differences and similarities between heritage and non-heritage language learners. For both groups, learning Chinese for future job prospects features strongly, while for the heritage cohorts, familial heritage, cultural identity, and parental views all come into play to influence students’ choice of learning Chinese. Our studies also show that motivation factors may be shaped by changes in immigration patterns and social and political discourse.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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