Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Arts




Zhang, Zheng


This case study explored the English literacy curricula in a Sino-Canadian Transnational Education Program that is accredited by British Columbia (BC). Underpinned by nested pedagogical orientations and critical multimodal literacies, this study focuses on how the BC English literacy curricula were implemented in three English literacy teachers’ classes. Data show that two pedagogical orientations (i.e., transmission and social constructivist) were used by English literacy teachers in the transnational education program. This study also found little evidence of transformative pedagogy in all three teachers’ English literacy teaching. The implications include missed opportunities to engage students to critically analyze and evaluate the historical, sociocultural, and political relationships and few opportunities that connected students’ lived experiences to or activated students’ text-to-self connections to develop an agentive self, shaping a critical consciousness and transforming the world (Ajayi, 2015).

Summary for Lay Audience

This is a case study that used ethnographic tools to explore the English literacy curricula in a Sino-Canadian Transnational Education Program that is accredited by British Columbia (BC). The aim was to know the factors contributing to teachers’ pedagogical literacy practices. Pinpointing and understanding the main issues confronting English literacy teachers will empower policymakers to better recognize and respond to their needs, ultimately enhancing the teachers’ professional development. The research question is: How are the British Columbia English literacy curricula implemented by teachers in a transnational education program in China? This study is undergirded by nested pedagogical orientations and critical multimodal literacies. Following ethical approval, the research team selected a program in a metropolitan city in China that is accredited by BC. Participants were English literacy teachers in this program; through interviews, they shared insights about their teaching practices. We also observed their literacy classes and collected audio recordings and photos to illuminate their implemented curriculum. For the data analysis, we adopted the constant comparison method to analyze the collected interview and classroom observation data. To demonstrate these in the paper, we embedded vignettes of observed English literacy classes as narrative descriptions to show communicative events and use of semiotic resources in the teaching and learning process (Rogers, 2011). We also incorporated quotes extracted from teacher participants’ interviews to present their thinking around English literacy teaching in the transnational education setting.


Author edited Summary of Lay Audience to remove error.