Preface Reading, reciting and memorising text is a widespread learning practice for both fi rst language literacy and foreign language learning in China. Yet, it was not until recently it became a research topic in foreign language education. Is this practice a dilemma that Chinese students can neither live with nor live without? As a foreign language learner and educator who had received most part of my education in China, I have long been fascinated by this phenomenon and fortunately brought a high degree of familiarity with the research theme and educational environment it is based upon. Drawing on wide-ranging and carefully chosen sources, this book looks into the practice of text memorisation in China against a background of Confucian heritage learning and western attitudes towards memorising, particularly audio-lingual approaches to language teaching and later largely negative attitudes. The inquiry was conducted along two lines: to conceptu- ally examine a number of issues central to the understanding of the practice of text memorisation in the Chinese educational context, and empirically inquire into Chinese learners / teachers’ practices and perceptions of the inclusion of text memorisation in foreign language learning and teaching. In the preparation for this book, I have benefi ted from numerous people in various ways. Above all, I had the privilege of working with Professor Rosamond Mitchell, who is highly respectable in terms of intellectual breadth and depth. She guided me through the whole journey of this research – including the re-orientation of the book – as an unfl agging...
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