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Home Journal Index 2022-4

Does English Camp Open Doors? A Study of Migrant Students’Motivation, Imagined Community, and Identity

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Hong Zhang
Dulwich College Suzhou, China


Abstract
In the era of urbanization in China, the massive internal migrant children population has become a significant group in host cities’ education provision. However, due to reasons presented, it cannot be ignored that migrant children’s English competence has lagged behind their city peers. The purpose of this research is to evaluate an intensive English programme called English Camp for internal migrant children in China by using the framework of social cultural theory. By analyzing 31 participants’ personal narrative stories, five focal students’ in-depth interviews, classroom observation, discussion with teaching assistants (TAs) and one founder, migrant children’s identities are explored, as well as their imagined communities and motivation. It was found that their identities were multi-faceted, deeply rooted in the macro context and articulated with the micro level interaction in the end. The results showed the overall positive effect of English Camp. The welcoming and intercultural environment helps migrant children visualize their future more broadly. Some practical implications are also suggested to educators.


Keywords
Migrant students, identity, English learning, English camp