Exploring Identity Perception and Bilingual Education Dynamics in Taiwanese University Settings

  •  Chao-Wen Chiu    


In an increasingly interconnected world, proficiency in English is becoming indispensable, prompting Taiwanese universities to implement English language requirements ranging from one to four years. This initiative aligns with a national bilingual education program aimed at bolstering the English proficiency of college students to enhance their international competitiveness. Consequently, English-medium instruction has become prevalent in various university courses, facilitated by the Freshman English course serving as a transition to English-mediated teaching. While linguistic development is emphasized, the dynamics of identity perception among students cannot be overlooked, as language identity profoundly impacts their learning experiences and growth. This study delves into the identity perception of college freshmen in Taiwan, where bilingual education is heavily emphasized by the government. The purpose of the study is to investigate how Taiwanese college freshmen perceive their identity as they participate in English language learning. In addition, this study aims to examine the influence of gender and college major on the individual differences in identity perception among college freshmen engaged in English language learning. Employing Gao et al.’s (2005) Likert-scale questionnaire on self-identity change, the research surveyed 360 freshmen from a university in northern Taiwan. Data analysis performed with SPSS includes two stages. At the first stage, descriptive statistics revealed that participants exhibited agreement on self-identity changes in four categories: self-confidence, zero, productive and additive. At the second stage, a multivariate analysis of variance demonstrated significant main effects of gender and major on identity changes. Female students exhibited higher self-confidence, additive and productive changes compared to male students. Furthermore, liberal arts majors experienced more pronounced self-confidence, additive and productive changes than their counterparts in business, science, and engineering majors. A Post Hoc test unveiled significant differences, with business majors scoring higher than science majors in subtractive and split changes, while science majors differed significantly from liberal arts majors in zero change. The study’s implications extend beyond theoretical understanding, informing pedagogical practices to enhance language learning experiences.

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