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|Funding Scheme :||General Research Fund|
|Project Number :||844913|
|Project Title(English) :||Trilingual education in Hong Kong primary schools: English, Cantonese and Putonghua as Medium of Instruction in different subjects and implications for language learning|
|Project Title(Chinese) :||香港小學的三語教育研究：英文，廣東話和普通話作為不同科目的教學語言將對語言學習產生怎樣的深遠影響|
|Principal Investigator(English) :||Dr Wang, Lixun|
|Principal Investigator(Chinese) :|
|Department :||Department of Linguistics and Modern Language Studies|
|Institution :||The Education University of Hong Kong|
|E-mail Address :||email@example.com|
|Co - Investigator(s) :||
|Panel :||Humanities, Social Sciences|
|Subject Area :||Psychology and Linguistics|
|Exercise Year :||2013 / 14|
|Fund Approved :||680,000|
|Project Status :||Completed|
|Completion Date :||30-6-2016|
|Project Objectives :||
|Abstract as per original application
Since the handover in 1997, the Hong Kong government has adopted a “biliterate and trilingual” policy with the aim of enabling Hong Kong residents to become biliterate in written Chinese and English, and trilingual in Cantonese, Putonghua and spoken English. Currently, Hong Kong primary schools do not have an agreed approach or method for the implementation of trilingual education, and there is an urgent need to explore current successful or unsuccessful models. Following a successful preliminary case study into the implementation of trilingual education in a single HK primary school (Wang & Kirkpatrick, 2012), this project aims to carry out a more complete inquiry into trilingual education in Hong Kong primary schools. The research questions are:
1) What are the models of trilingual education in HK primary schools?
To answer this question, we need to find out which language is used as the Medium of Instruction (MOI) in what subjects in different schools, the number of class hours devoted to each of the three languages, the variations across different grades, and reasons for the variations. We will also investigate the schools’ language policies in different subjects (e.g., one-language-at-a-time, or code-switching and co-languaging allowed (if so, to what extent)), and the rationales behind.
2) Which models are more effective in fostering trilingualism?
To answer this question, we will examine the reasons for choosing different languages as the MOI for different subjects, and if it leads to effective trilingual education. We will also investigate how much English/Cantonese/Putonghua is actually used in EMI/CMI/PMI lessons, whether teachers are keen to use the assigned language to teach such subjects, and what their priorities are. To evaluate how successful the schools are in producing trilingual children, we need to look at students’ language benchmark results before graduation, and also invite them to self-evaluate their language proficiency level. Teachers’ reflections on their own teaching can also inform us about the effectiveness of the trilingual education models adopted in the schools.
Research methods will include document analysis, ethnographic case studies, questionnaire surveys, interviews, and classroom discourse analysis adopting a corpus linguistics approach.
The outcomes of this project would be a better understanding of how to implement trilingual education in Hong Kong primary schools. Upon successful completion of the project, it is expected that a trilingual education model that is likely to be effective across schools in general would be proposed and recommended to Hong Kong primary schools.
自1997年香港回歸中國後，香港政府開始實行“兩文三語”政策，希望香港居民能同時掌握中文、英文書寫，以及粵語、英語和普通話口語。目前，香港並沒有一個大家都已認同的三語教育模式供香港小學參考，因此對現今不同學校推行的成功或不太成功的三語教育模式進行研究至關重要。我們最近已在香港一所小學就該校的三語教育模式進行了個案調查，在此基礎上，本課題旨在對香港小學正推行的三語教育模式進行更全面系統的研究。研究問題包括： 一． 香港小學現今正推行怎樣的三語教育模式？ 要回答這個問題，我們需要瞭解在不同的學校內哪一種語言在哪一門課程裡被用做了教學語言，三種語言在課堂教學中各占的總時長，這些總時長在不同年級間存在的差異，以及產生這些差異的原因。我們還會調查學校在不同科目中實施的語言政策（例如，一門課只准用某一種語言，或者允許語言混用/並用（如果允許，到什麼程度）），以及制定這些語言政策的依據。 二． 哪些模式能更有效地幫助學生掌握三語？ 為了回答這個問題，我們會調查選用不同語言作為不同科目教學語言的原因，以及這些安排是否成功達到了三語教育的目的。我們還會瞭解在以英文/廣東話/普通話為教學語言的課程中，該語言在課堂上實際應用的情況，教師是否支持用該語言作為教學語言，以及他們所看重的因素。為了衡量各學校是否成功教育出了具備兩文三語能力的學生，我們將查看學生們畢業前語言課程基準試的成績，並邀請他們對自己的三種語言的能力進行自我評估。教師對自己教學的反思也能讓我們進一步瞭解學校推行的三語教育模式是否高效。 我們將採用的研究方法包括文獻分析，人誌學個案研究，問卷調查，訪談，以及基於語料庫語言學的課堂話語分析。 本課題的研究成果將使我們更好地瞭解如何在香港小學中實施三語教育。課題成功完成後，我們期望能提出一個在大部分小學都能有效推行的三語教育模式，並將該模式推薦給各小學參考。
|Realisation of objectives:||To find out what the models of trilingual education are in Hong Kong primary schools and to investigate the schools’ language policies in different subjects, and rationale behind these policies, we first conducted a questionnaire survey with the principals in Hong Kong primary schools, including government schools, aided schools and direct subsidy scheme (DSS) schools. The questionnaire was designed to find out how the ‘biliterate’ and ‘trilingual’ language policy was implemented in Hong Kong primary schools. We received responses from 155 primary schools. The findings of this survey have provided an overall picture of the current situation of trilingual education implementation in Hong Kong primary schools. First, the findings suggest that the implementation of trilingual education varied significantly from school to school, and the effectiveness of the trilingual education models varied as well. The reason why schools do not have an agreed approach or method for implementing trilingual education is that the Hong Kong government has never made a clear policy on Medium of Instruction in primary schools. Second, Cantonese is the predominant language used as the MoI in subjects such as mathematics, General Studies, Visual Arts, Music, Physical Education and Information Technology/Computer in most surveyed schools, especially in government schools and aided schools, as Cantonese is the mother tongue of Hongkongers and in the 155 surveyed schools, the majority of students are local Hongkongers (83.57%), while 12.58% of the students come from Mainland China, 3.18% come from a South Asian area and only 0.67% of the students come from other areas such as Britain. Third, when implementing trilingual education in schools, the greatest problem, reported by principals, was to find qualified and suitable teaching staff. Fourth, code-switching/code-mixing between Cantonese and Putonghua in the teaching of the Chinese subject or between Cantonese and English in the teaching of the English is allowed in some schools. Lastly, there is no distinct relationship between the origins of students and the MoIs chosen by the surveyed schools. To examine which models are more effective in fostering trilingualism and to recommend a trilingual education model that is likely to be generally effective in Hong Kong primary schools, case studies have been carried out in three sample schools, one on Hong Kong Island, one in Kowloon and one in the New Territories. Follow-up case studies in selected primary schools are needed to answer some of the unanswered questions due to the limitations of the questionnaire survey. For example: How is the trilingual education model structured in the school? What is the role of Cantonese in classes in which English or Putonghua is used as the MoI, and vice versa? What languages are used to teach which subjects, when and why? How successful is the school in creating trilingual and biliterate children? A multi-modal approach for the case study was adopted so as to obtain as complete a picture of the setting as possible. Our sources included interviews with teaching staff and parents, focus group interviews with students, classroom discourse data analysis, student questionnaire survey, teachers’ reflection, and ethnographic field research data analysis. First, interviews were carried out with teaching staff including the school principal, the subject panel chair and subject teachers in the researched schools. The interviews with school principals focused on the rationale behind the present trilingual education model implemented in the school and the extent of the success of the model. Altogether we also interviewed thirty-one teachers in the three schools to collect their views on the respective trilingual education models. About ten parents from each of the three schools were interviewed individually so that their views on trilingual education could be collected. All the interviews were transcribed into English. Second, we recorded and transcribed a total of 30 lessons in the research schools so as to analyse what actually happened in different lessons taught in different MoIs. Each lesson lasted for 35 minutes. Third, those teachers whose lessons were observed and video-taped reflected on the lessons afterwards. This engages them in reviewing, analyzing and evaluating the situation which would enhance professional growth. Fourth, a 5-point Likert scale (Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, Strongly Disagree) questionnaire survey in Chinese and English was designed to collect students’ perceptions of the trilingual education model in the school. 405 P4 to P6 students in the three schools completed the questionnaire. Fifth, one student Focus Group Interview was conducted in each of the three schools to collect the students’ views on the trilingual education model implemented in the schools. In each Focus Group, there were 8-10 P4-P6 student interviewees. In total, 27 students were interviewed and each Focus Group Interview lasted for about an hour. Lastly, we conducted ethnographic research in School A, in which the ethnographer observed how the three languages were used in two events on campus: the school Morning Assembly, and the Prize-giving Ceremony and the 2nd Annual General Meeting of the 8th Parents-teacher Association. In addition, the ethnographer attended the school’s 14th Parent-child Sports Day held in the Aberdeen Sports Ground. The ethnographer also took photos of signs and bulletin board displays written in a variety of languages. Through the case studies, we find that students and parents were positive towards the trilingual education model adopted in individual schools. Both students’ and parents’ views varied towards the use of different MoIs, especially regarding the use of Putonghua as the MoI in the study of the Chinese subject. Students’ and parents’ ethnic and linguistic backgrounds are likely to be the major reason for these differences. Despite their ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, most of the parents argued for an increased use of English as the MoI in teaching different subjects, especially Computing, Mathematics and the science topics in General Studies. It would seem wise for policy makers and schools to take these factors into consideration when making MoI policies and seek the views of parents and students. Based on the research findings, the following trilingual education model has been proposed for Hong Kong primary schools: 1. The three languages should be used as media of instruction, but the ratio of each should alter as students progress through primary, with the emphasis on Cantonese in the early years. 2. Either Putonghua or Cantonese could be used as the MoI for the Chinese subject from P1. Students should be allowed to choose the MoI they prefer. In later years, Putonghua could be further promoted in the Chinese subject. 3. Special classes in Cantonese should be provided for P1 students whose mother tongue is not Cantonese. 4. English could be used as the MoI for English and for PE from P1. Maths, General Studies, Music, IT and Visual Arts should be taught in Cantonese, but the other languages can be introduced whenever appropriate. 5. All teachers sharing the same MoI should work together more closely and develop cross-curriculum activities which require the use of that particular language. 6. A multilingual pedagogy can be adopted, with the aim of enhancing students’ trilingual development. 7. Tests should be given at the end of P3 and P6 to assess students’ proficiency in the three languages.|
|Summary of objectives addressed:||
|Major findings and research outcome:||The survey with the principals in Hong Kong primary schools shows that without government guidelines, individual primary schools have adopted their own policies regarding the use of medium of instruction in teaching different subjects, even across the same type of schools, i.e., government schools, aided schools and Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS) schools. Some patterns of the current situation of trilingual education implementation in Hong Kong primary schools have been identified: the majority of the schools use Cantonese as the major MoI in most subjects except the English subject and Putonghua subject, but the DSS schools are predominately EMI schools. Many schools do not encourage code switching in the classroom, but some allow a certain amount of code switching, but mainly in junior grades. The language subjects dominate school curricula. The DSS schools seem to be more confident than the aided schools and government schools regarding their graduates’ proficiency level in the three languages, and the aided schools and government schools have rather low confidence in their graduates’ English language proficiency (both spoken and written). When asked about difficulties encountered in the implementation of trilingual education, the surveyed schools found that finding qualified and suitable teaching staff was the biggest challenge. Around half of the schools also found that students’ low level of English standards has hindered the implementation of trilingual education (Please refer to Part C 8.1). In the case studies conducted in three primary schools, we find that students and parents from the three schools were happy with the different trilingual education models implemented in the schools. Having said this, both students’ and parents’ views vary towards the use of different MoIs, especially regarding the use of PTH as the MoI in the study of the Chinese subject. Students’ and parents’ ethnic backgrounds and their mother tongue as well are likely to be the major reason for these differences. Despite their ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, most of the parents argued for an increased use of English as the MoI in teaching different subjects, especially Computing, Mathematics and the science topics in General Studies. It would seem wise for policy makers and schools to take these factors into consideration when making MoI policies and seek the views of parents and students. Based on the research findings, a trilingual education model has been proposed for Hong Kong primary schools (Please refer to 5.3 for details).|
|Potential for further development of the research
and the proposed course of action:
|After investigating the implementation of trilingual education in Hong Hong primary schools, it is our interest to further investigate the trlingual education models being adopted in Hong Kong secondary schools. The EB announced the ‘fine-tuning’ of Medium of Instruction for secondary schools in 2010. Schools are no longer bifurcated into “Chinese-medium schools” and “English-medium schools”. Under the fine-tuned MOI framework, all schools have the discretion with varying degrees to make professional judgment in each of the school years within a six-year fine-tuned MOI cycle, having regard to their school circumstances, to devise school-based MOI arrangements. This explains why we have applied for a new GRF project focusing on trilingual education in Hong Kong secondary schools.|
|Layman's Summary of|
|155 primary schools responded to our survey about trilingual education in Hong Kong primary schools, and a clear overview was obtained. For better understanding of how trilingual education is implemented in Hong Kong primary schools, follow-up case studies in 3 selected primary schools were conducted to answer some of the unanswered questions and to allow us to propose a trilingual education model that would suit most schools. The significance of the case studies is to bridge a gap in both the international and local literature and provide a better understanding of students’ and parents’ perceptions of the trilingual education in Hong Kong primary schools. In general, students and parents were positive towards the trilingual education models adopted in schools. However, most parents, regardless of their ethnic background and mother tongue, argued for an increased use of English as the MoI in teaching different subjects, especially Computing, Mathematics and the science topics in General Studies. The major reason is to bridge the gap between primary education and secondary education in which the latter often uses English as the MoI in those subjects. Based on the findings, a trilingual education model has been proposed for Hong Kong primary schools.|
|Peer-reviewed journal publication(s)
arising directly from this research project :
(* denotes the corresponding author)
|Recognized international conference(s)
in which paper(s) related to this research
project was/were delivered :
(e.g. award of patents or prizes,
collaboration with other research institutions,
technology transfer, etc.):
|SCREEN ID: SCRRM00542|