Moving between language frontiers: the challenges of the medium of instruction policy for Chinese as a second language
- 174 Downloads
This article explores the extent to which the medium of instruction (MOI) policy in Hong Kong affect ethnic minority students’ Chinese language learning in school amidst postcolonial policy changes, and how the “flexible” MOI policy affects Chinese as a second language (CSL) frontline teaching in mainstream secondary schools with reference to the three orientations to language planning, namely language-as-problem, language-as-right, and language-as-resource (Ruiz 1984). It reports on a large-scale longitudinal study on the implementation of the “flexible” MOI policy, which is targeted to address the challenges that ethnic minority students and Chinese language teachers are faced with in CSL learning and teaching. Twenty-six CSL teachers and twenty students were target-sampled from fourteen schools involved in the same study. Based on an analysis of interview data through triangulation and critical discourse analysis, the authors argue that (1) difficulties in adapting to the new MOI for the Chinese Language subject would likely lead to low motivation levels and adversely affect CSL development among the students; (2) CSL teachers also experience difficulties in helping ethnic minority students to make successful transition for reasons including huge learning differences, limited time and resources, as well as marked linguistic differences between the two Chinese language variants. The authors recommend that policy reviews be carried out to enhance the quality of CSL teaching and learning in the midst of the current attempt at language standardization.
KeywordsEthnic minority students Chinese as a second language Medium of instruction Adaptation Language learning
The authors would like to thank the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) for their project sponsorship, as well as the schools, teachers and students who participated in this study. Their appreciation also extends to Dr. M.S.K. Shum, Dr. W. W. Ki, Mr. K. W. Sun and Mr. F.K.L. Tang for assisting in the focus group interviews, and Mr. Nixon Leung, Ms. Jenny Zeng, Ms. Sophia Liu, Mr. Kato Chan, Ms. Karen Jiaxin Song and Mr. Jerry Siu-paak Leung for their research assistance.
- Adamson, B., & Feng, A. W. (2015). Trilingualism in education: Models and challenges. In A. W. Feng & B. Adamson (Eds.), Trilingualism in education in China: Models and challenges (pp. 243–258). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
- Benedikter, T. (2009). Language policy and linguistic minorities in India: An appraisal of the linguistic rights of minorities in India. Munster: LIT Verlag.Google Scholar
- Brock-Utne, B. (2005). Language-in-education policies and practices in Africa with a special focus on Tanzania and South Africa. In J. Zajda (Ed.), International handbook on globalisation, education and policy research: Global pedagogies and policies (pp. 549–565). Dorchecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bureau, E. (2008). Supplementary guide to the Chinese language curriculum for non-Chinese speaking students. Hong Kong: Education Bureau.Google Scholar
- Bureau, E. (2014). Education support measures for non-Chinese speaking students (2014/15 school year). Hong Kong: Education Bureau.Google Scholar
- Bureau, E. (2017). General information on DSS. http://www.edb.gov.hk/en/edu-system/primary-secondary/applicable-to-primary-secondary/direct-subsidy-scheme/index/info-sch.html. Accessed 20 March 2018.
- Curriculum Development Council. (2000). Learning to learn learning areas: Chinese language education (consultation paper). Hong Kong: Curriculum Development Council.Google Scholar
- Fishman, J. A. (1967). Bilingualism with and without diglossia; diglossia with and without bilingualism. Journal of Social Issues, 23(2), 29–38. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4560.1967.tb00573.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hong Kong SAR Government. (2015). Hong Kong Poverty situation report on ethnic minorities 2014. Hong Kong: Commission on Poverty.Google Scholar
- Hong Kong Unison. (2015). Research on ethnic minority parental choice in primary school selection in Hong Kong. http://www.unison.org.hk/DocumentDownload/Researches/R201506%20Research%20Report_Parental%20Choice_ENG_final.pdf. Accessed 30 June 2017.
- Kaplan, R. B., & Baldauf, R. B. (1997). Language planning from practice to theory. London: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
- Kwok, P. S. H. (2011). Lun PMI ketang de xuesheng yuyan shiying [On the language adaptation among students in the Putonghua as a Medium of Instruc classroom]. Education Journal, 39(1–2), 117–138.Google Scholar
- Legislative Council. (2015). Legislative Council Panel on education using Putonghua as the medium of instruction for teaching the Chinese language subject in primary and secondary Schools in Hong Kong. LC paper no. CB(4)748/14-15(01).Google Scholar
- Lenneberg, E. H. (1967). Biological foundations of language. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Loh, E. K. Y. (2015). Using drama in education to enhance Chinese language proficiency of non-Chinese speaking secondary school students. IB Journal of Teaching Practice, 2(2), 1–7.Google Scholar
- Loh, E. K. Y. (2016). Picture storybooks in teaching Chinese as a second language. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, 18(2). https://doi.org/10.7771/1481-4374.2856.
- Loh, E. K. Y., & Tam, L. C. W. (2016). Struggling to thrive: The impact of Chinese language assessments on social mobility of Hong Kong ethnic minority youth. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher: Special Issue—Language Policy Research in East Asia, 25(5–6), 763–770. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40299-016-0315-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Loh, E. K. Y., Liao, X., & Leung, S. O. (in press). Acquisition of orthographic knowledge: Developmental difference among learners with Chinese as a second language (CSL). System. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2018.03.018.
- Loh, E. K. Y., Mak, M. T. F., & Tam, L. C. W. (2015). The road to successful Chinese language learning: Effective strategies for teaching and learning Chinese characters. In I. Hill & M. S. K. Shum (Eds.), Infusing IB philosophy and pedagogy into Chinese language teaching (pp. 174–194). Suffolk: John Catt.Google Scholar
- Mathews, G., Lui, T. L., & Ma, K. W. (2008). Hong Kong, China: Learning to belong to a nation. London: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
- New London Group (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Reviews, 66, 60–92. https://doi.org/10.17763/haer.66.1.17370n67v22j160u.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Penfield, W., & Roberts, L. (1959). Speech and brain mechanisms. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Shum, M. S. K., Zhang, Y. H., Zhang, Q. Y., Ki, W. W., & Ng, S. L. (2012). Xianggang shaoshu zuyi xuesheng xuexi Zhongwen de kunnan [Difficulties faced by ethnic minority students in Hong Kong]. In L. Tsung, M. S. K. Shum, W. W. Ki, Q. Y. Zhang, et al. (Eds.), Studies of teaching Chinese as a second language to ethnic minority students in Hong Kong: Theories, challenges, and practices (pp. 53–76). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
- Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR). (2003). Action plan to raise language standards in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: SCOLAR.Google Scholar
- Sweeting, A. (1990). Pre-1841 to 1941: Fact and opinion: Materials for a history of education in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
- Sweeting, A. (2004). Education in Hong Kong, 1941 to 2001: Visions and revisions. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
- Tang, S. F. (2008). Guanyu “Pujiaozhong” taolun de fansi [Reflections on the discussions about Putonghua as a medium of instruction]. Journal of Basic Education, 17(2), 1–12.Google Scholar
- Tsui, A. B. M. (2004). Medium of instruction in Hong Kong: One country, two systems, whose language? In J. W. Tollefson & A. B. M. Tsui (Eds.), Medium of instruction policies: Which agenda? Whose agenda? (pp. 69–80). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Wong, P. K. (2015). Language and language policy in Hong Kong. In Y. Li & W. Li (Eds.), Language situation in China: Volume 1 (pp. 325–332). Boston/Berlin & Beijing: Walter de Gruyter & Commercial Press.Google Scholar
- Zhan, B. (2017). Baohu he shanyong yuyan ziyuan [Preserving and making best use of language resources]. Chinese Journal of Language Policy and Planning, 2(2), 1. https://doi.org/10.3969/j.issn.2096-1014.2017.02.002.Google Scholar