Theories and Practices of Classroom Language Policy Research in Chinese as Second Language Education

WANG, Danping

International Journal of Chinese Language Education; Jun 2019; Issue No. 5; p.133 - 150

Department of Chinese Language Studies, The Education University of Hong Kong
Chinese Language Program, Columbia University
Chung Hwa Book Co. (H.K.) Ltd.

This study explores the complexity of classroom language policy in the process of developing and implementing a Chinese as a Second Language (CSL) course in Hong Kong with a focus on the diverse attitudes of course developers, teachers and students. It begins with a brief introduction of the current CSL education policies for ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, followed by a critical review of the covert and overt classroom language polices, and the theoretical foundations for ideologies and practices behind the monolingual and multilingual pedagogies in CSL teaching and learning. Taking an adult beginners’ CSL course as an example, this study has collected both qualitative and quantitative data through questionnaire, focused-group interview and one-on-one interview with course developers, teachers and students. The study found that the key stakeholders of the course had different perspectives towards classroom language policy, and different levels of needs of English as a supporting medium. Findings of the study suggested that the monolingual pedagogy failed to reflect the classroom reality. A one-size-fits-all immersion pedagogy is not the ‘cure-all’ for ethnic minority students to become native speakers of Chinese overnight. Policymakers in Hong Kong should respect the basic principles for teaching and learning of Chinese a second language, and allocate more support for teacher education. More research work is required to improve our understanding of the complex relationships between and functions of L1 in L2 teaching.

Chinese as a second language classroom language policy medium of instruction ethnic minority


2520-7733 (Print); 2521-4241 (Online)

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