Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 14. Number 2 June 2023                                             Pp. 48-64

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  Improving EFL Teaching in Chinese Universities: Perceptions of Teachers with Oversea Experience

Xiaoshu Xu
School of Foreign Studies, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou, China

Yujie Su
School of Foreign Studies, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou, China
Corresponding Author: E-mail:

Lu Xu
School of Foreign Studies, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou, China

Yunfeng Zhang
Centre for Portuguese Studies, Macau Polytechnic University, Macao


Received:02/31/2023         Accepted:05/26/2023                 Published:06/24/2023


This study aimed to investigate the perceptions of English teachers regarding the adverse effects of teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in China, as well as their proposals for improving EFL instruction in the country. By exploring the views of experienced English teachers, this study provides valuable insights into how English as a Foreign Language pedagogy can be improved in China and other countries. The main research question is about the adverse effects of teaching English as a Foreign Language in Chinese higher education and the ways to improve its instruction. A thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews was conducted on a sample of 20 English teachers who possessed substantial experience teaching in Chinese higher education institutions. The participants’ teaching experience ranged from 3-20 years (SD = 5.3). The analysis involved the establishment of concordant codes and sub-codes, with the aid of two researchers and an external expert, to ensure the reliability and validity of the results. The findings showed that the teachers attributed English as a Foreign Language learners’ English deficiencies to the English teaching curriculum, self-directed learning, and the education system. Finally, the teachers suggested that self-directed learning skills and self-regulation were crucial for effectively applying language in authentic contexts. These findings have implications beyond China and are expected to enhance English pedagogy in other  English as a Foreign Language countries. Thus, this research may contribute to improving the effectiveness of English teaching in China and other countries by providing a deeper understanding of the challenges and potential solutions associated with English as a Foreign Language instruction.
Keywords: English as Foreign Language, higher education, oversea experience, side effects, teacher perception,
thematic analysis

Cite as:   Xu, X.,  Su, Y., Xu, L., & Zhang, Y. (2023).  Improving EFL Teaching in Chinese Universities: Perceptions of Teachers with Oversea Experience.  Arab World English Journal, 14 (2) 48-64.


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Received: 02/31/2023
Accepted: 05/26/2023 
Published: 06/24/2023 

Dr. Xiaoshu Xu (Ph.D.) is an associate professor at the School of Foreign Studies, Wenzhou University. She is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Educational Technology and Innovation. She has published papers on higher education, Personal Learning Environments, and teacher development in SSCI journals.

Dr. Yujie Su is currently a lecturer at the School of Foreign Studies, Wenzhou University. Dr. Su has published articles on teachings and language research, covering topics of contrastive study between Chinese and other languages, corpus-based studies of vocabulary, online writing automatic correction and other linguistic-related issues.

Lu Xu is a senior lecturer at the School of Foreign Studies, Wenzhou University. Her research interest is in higher education, TESOL with applied linguistics, and teacher development.  She has joined research in online learning in higher education, Self-regulated Learning, and EFL teaching in Asian countries.

Dr. Yunfeng Zhang is an associate professor as the Director of the Centre for Portuguese Studies, Macau Polytechnic University (MPU). He received Ph. D. in Linguistics at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. He has published books and journal papers in the fields of Translation & Machine Translation, education, etc.