You are on page 1of 354

Title

A critical review on the provision of Chinese language education


for NCSS in Hong Kong

Advisor(s)

Lai Au Yeung, WYW

Author(s)

Ullah, Rizwan.

Citation

Issued Date

URL

Rights

2012

http://hdl.handle.net/10722/173839

The author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights)


and the right to use in future works.

Abstract of thesis entitled


A critical review on the provision of Chinese Language education for NCSS in Hong Kong
Submitted by
Ullah Rizwan
for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
at The University of Hong Kong
in January 2012

This study provides a critical review on the provision of Chinese Language education for
non-Chinese speaking students (NCSS) in traditional high-concentration designated secondary
schools in Hong Kong. NCSS are equipped with L2 Chinese literacy but are asked to survive
with the main stream society who sought for L1 Chinese literacy. This has been a thorny issue
since 2008 where the good efforts of various stakeholders including the EDB have not yielded
any positive outcomes in enhancing the Chinese literacy of the NCSS. On one hand the NGOs
strongly advocate for an alternative Chinese curriculum framework for NCSS while on the
other, the EDB justifies the existing provision of Chinese education such as the central
Chinese curriculum framework (CCCF) and the supplementary Chinese curriculum guide
(SCG) as adequate. Their entanglements have ended up as political fights and bring further
disarray to schools, teachers and the NCSS.

Despite the absence of literature and few research studies, the issue of providing Chinese
Language education for NCSS is pursued in this study within a theoretical framework derived
from three related areas of research: Language policy in Hong Kong for government and
subsidized schools, the Chinese Language curriculum for NCSS in Hong Kong and NCSS
language acquisition and Chinese language learning. The main aim of the study is to achieve a
better understanding of the Chinese literacy of the NCSS, the manner in which the
i

school-based NCSS Chinese curriculums are adopted from the CCCF and SCG and
implemented. Last, the different views of the stakeholders and their entanglements are
depicted.

This study employed an eclectic approach where both quantitative (test administration and
survey) and qualitative (observations, documentary review and in-depth interview) methods
were administered to collect the data for the study. The essence of critical ethnography was
employed in the qualitative method where in-depth interviews in a semi-structured manner
and my experience and educational upbringing as an NCSS helps shed additional light and
explanation to the issue which allows the issue to be holistically depicted.

The findings reveal that, despite the NCSS attaining satisfactory examination results in the
international Chinese examination (GCSE); their Chinese literacy is far beyond the benchmark
of the societal expectations. Second, regardless of the amount of work that the EDB has put in
place concerning the implementation of the NCSS Chinese curriculum, there is a weak
negotiation between the different levels of curriculum planning, namely the strategic, tactical
and operational. In addition, at the operational level of planning, teachers inadequate LTC and
LTEC in notional and operational curriculums warrant our concern. Last, the entanglements
between different stakeholders arise due to their relative differences on the degree of
accountability and practicality concerns towards the issue.

The study seeks to contribute to empirical and conceptual knowledge on international studies
and re-conception on language education policy for linguistics minorities at the political level
and fills the literature gaps on language pedagogy, LTEC and LTC at school level. Finally, it
becomes a unique literature in explaining the un-imparted multilingual NCSS language
acquisition which is absence in the field of applied linguistics.

ii

A critical review on the provision of Chinese Language education for NCSS in Hong Kong

by

Ullah Rizwan

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for


the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
at The University of Hong Kong
2012

iii

Declaration

I declare that the thesis and the research work thereof represent my own work, except where
due acknowledgement is made, and that it has not been previously included in a thesis,
dissertation or report submitted to this University or to any institution for a
degree, diploma or other qualifications.

Signed: ______________________________________
Ullah Rizwan

iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

To the NCSS who are struggling and working tirelessly to enhance their Chinese literacy so as
to achieve their life goals and move up their socio-economic ladder. To Dr.Winnie Lai, my
supervisor, whose guidance, endless support and feedback gave me the direction and tools I
needed to design, implement and complete the study.

To the Thesis Examining Committee who has offered constructive and critical comments on
refining the thesis. I am greatly indebted to Dr. C. Lykins, Prof. Y.S. Goh, Dr. B. Zhang and Dr.
W.W. Ki. Nonetheless, without the support and encouragement from Prof. S.J. Andrews and
Dr. Arthur McNeill, I would be unable to pursue my PhD study. In addition, Mr. Tsui Fook
Keung, my secondary school principal, who have taught me the qualities and skills needed to
be a good observer and a researcher.

To sampled schools, teachers, students, NGOs, parents and EDB, providing information, time
and resources in helping me to gather the important data and understanding of the issue. To my
colleagues, friends and PSA who have supported me throughout my study and giving me
guidance in difficult times.

To my Abbaji (Father) and Ammi (Mother), for their struggle and hardship in bringing me up
and their wise words and prayers to keep me strong.

To my supportive sisters, brother in law and my wife, for providing me with all the support I
needed in the course of my studies. To my son, Aayan; my nephew Mikaeel, and my niece,
Mashel who have inspired me with a lot of ideas for the research.
v

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ABSTRACT

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

TABLE OF CONTENTS

vi

LIST OF FIGURES

xii

LIST OF TABLES

xiii

ABBREVIATIONS

xv

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1

Personal Motivation for the Study

1.2

The issues for the Study

1.3

Definition of terms

1.4

Research Focus and Perspective

1.5

Intention of the Study

1.6

Organization of the Study

10

1.7

Limitations of the Study

10

CHAPTER 2

BACKGROUND

2.1

Introduction

12

2.2

Language policy in Hong Kong for NCSS in government and subsidized schools

13

2.3

MOI- Fine tuning policy and parental aspiration

15

2.4

Designated Schools VS Non-designated schools

16

2.5

House in mess: Chinese Language education for NCSS

19

2.6

Mismatch between the learning curriculum & assessment syllabus

30

2.7

Disadvantaged terms of learning of Chinese for NCSS

31

2.8

Pigeonization Syndrome

32
vi

2.9

Fewer EMs in tertiary education & Little opportunities for further Chinese

33

learning
2.10

2.10

Employment difficulties and job dissatisfaction among EM youths

35

2.11

Summary of discussion

36

2.11 CHAPTER 3

LITERATURE REVIEW

3.1

Introduction

39

3.2

Language policy in Hong Kong for government and subsidized schools

39

3.3

3.4

3.5

3.2.1

Language policy in China for minorities

40

3.2.2

Summary of section 3.2

45

The Chinese Language Curriculum for NCSS in Hong Kong

46

3.3.1

Curriculum defined within the context

46

3.3.2

The ideal curriculum review model

48

3.3.3

Strategies for reviewing curriculum implementation

51

3.3.4

Dilemma in CCCF and the SCG

52

3.3.5

The deficiencies in the SCG

55

3.3.6

Confused multiple exit assessments

60

3.3.7

Concerns on teachers LTEC

62

3.3.8

Summary of section 3.3

64

NCSS language acquisition and Chinese language learning

66

3.4.1 1st Language Acquisition

67

3.4.2

2nd Language Acquisition

68

3.4.3

3rd Language Acquisition

73

3.4.4

Chinese language learning for NCSS

74

3.4.5

Summary of section 3.4

79

Research Framework and Research Questions

81
vii

CHAPTER 4

RESEARCH DESIGN

4.1

Introduction

84

4.2

Considerations for the selection for the research methodology

84

4.3

4.2.1 Descriptions of the eclectic approach

84

4.2.2 Justifications for the use of critical ethnography

86

4.2.3 Expected Outcome

90

The Research Design


4.3.1

Phase 1: Literature Review

91

4.3.2

Phase 2: Data Collection

92

4.3.2.1

Sampling

93

4.3.2.2

The literacy Test

95

4.3.2.3

The survey

99

4.3.2.4

The interviews

99

4.3.2.5

Documentary Analysis

99

4.3.2.6

Observation

100

Phase 3: Outcome

104

4.3.3
4.4

90

Summary

CHAPTER 5

104
STUDENTS PERFORMANCE AND EXPERIENCE IN CHINESE
LANGUAGE LEARNING

5.1

Introduction

105

5.2

Participants Chinese Literacy

107

5.3

5.2.1

Reading Assessment Performance

107

5.2.2

Writing Assessment Performance

110

Analysis of findings
5.3.1

115

Late access and lower rating of Chinese language literacy in their


viii

language repertoire

116

5.3.2

Lower Chinese language Utilization Pattern

118

5.3.3

Chinese language Competence Fallacy

120

5.3.4

Poor interface between the primary and secondary school-based

5.3.5
5.4

Chinese curriculum

123

Unfavorable conditions for NCSS to learn Chinese

126

Summary of findings

CHAPTER 6

131

SCHOOL-BASED NCSS CHINESE LANGAUGE CURRICULUM IN


OPERATIONS

6.1 Introduction

134

6.2 Notional Curriculum: Design of school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum

135

6.2.1

Thematic approach: Focus on vocabulary in isolation not attending


reading and writing fluency

136

6.2.2

Piecemeal consolidation and stagnant progression

139

6.2.3

Low-level of immersing Chinese literature, Chinese culture and


Moral &

Affective Development of CCCF

141

6.2.4 Little resources for audio and interactive materials

142

6.3 Operational Curriculum: Delivery of school-based NCSS Chinese Curriculum

6.4

143

6.3.2

Heavy reliance on English as medium of instructions in lessons

144

6.3.2

Limited effectiveness in learning and teaching

146

6.3.2

Absence of a good learning atmosphere

148

Analysis of findings

150

6.4.1

Teachers dilemma between theory and practice

151

6.4.2

Inadequate provision for building teachers LTEC and LTC

153

6.4.3

Unskillful incorporation of CCCF

157

6.4.4

Poor external support

160
ix

6.5 Summary of findings


CAPTER 7

161

VIEWS: WHY DIFFER?

7.1

Introduction

165

7.2

Major concern of stakeholders

167

7.2.1

Parents Major Concern

167

Ensuring the competitiveness for their children


7.2.2

7.2.3

Curriculum Leaders Major Concerns

168

7.2.2.1

SCG as SUPPLEMENTARY & ABSTRACT in nature

168

7.2.2.2

Teachers competence as curriculum developer in question

170

NGOs Major Concern

171

7.2.3.1

Narrow Career Path

171

7.2.3.2

NCSS Chinese curriculum as one of the subjects in


Chinese KLA

7.2.4

7.3

7.4

172

EDBs Major Concerns

172

7.2.4.1

Firm stance on the CCCF

173

7.2.4.2

The SCG supremacy

174

7.2.4.3

The engaging attitude towards NCSS learning Chinese

175

7.2.4.4

Alternative assessment: Not viable alternative

178

Analysis of findings

178

7.3.1

Parental Concern

178

7.3.2

Curriculum leaders dilemma

182

7.3.3

NGOs perceived role

184

7.3.4

EDBs effort

185

7.3.4.1

Unattended agenda

185

7.3.4.2

Current Scenario

187

Summary of findings

188
x

CHAPTER 8

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

8.1

Introduction

194

8.2

Answers to the research questions

197

8.2.1

Answer to research question 1

197

8.2.2

Answer to research question 2

200

8.2.3

Answer to research question 3

204

8.3

Implications of findings

207

8.4

Recommendations

208

8.5

8.4.1

Enhancement of the existing SCG

208

8.4.2

Provision of an alternative local Chinese assessment for NCSS

211

8.4.3

Chinese learning opportunities for graduated NCSS cohorts

215

8.4.4

Exploring NCSS Chinese textbooks market and direct EDB support


to secondary schools

216

8.4.5

Establishing benchmark for NCSS teachers

217

8.4.6

Establishing a strong and direct rapport with the parents

217

8.4.7

Surveying market needs

218

Significance of the study


8.5.1

219

At Political Level: Reconception on language education policy for


linguistic minorities

8.5.2

219

At School Level: Making up on the provision of training for teachers


on language pedagogy, LTEC and LTC

8.5.3

220

At Learners Level: Filling the literature gap on language


acquisitions and language education policy for linguistic minorities

221

8.6

Implications for future research

222

8.7

Concluding remarks

225
xi

APPENDICES

227

BIBLIOGRAPHY

323

List of figures
Figure 2.1

Diagrammatic presentation of the CCCF (CDC, 2008:9)

Figure 2.2

Flowchart representation of the Taba-Tyler curriculum development model

22

(White, 1988:26)

26

Figure 2.3

Situational model (White, 1988:37)

28

Figure 3.1

The CATI projects expanded negotiated model of Markee (Markee


1997:48)

49

Figure 3.2

Thomas language competence diagram (1987)

63

Figure 4.1

Eclectic approach employed in the study

85

Figure 4.2

Research Flow

91

Figure 5.1

Participants writing sample 1

111

Figure 5.2

Participants writing sample 2

111

Figure 5.3

Participants writing sample 3

112

Figure 5.4

Participants writing sample 4

112

Figure 5.5

Participants writing sample 5

113

Figure 5.6

Participants writing sample 6

114

Figure 5.7

Multiple exit assessments of Chinese Language education for NCSS

122

Figure 6.1

Adapted Thomas (1987) language competence model

155

Figure 7.1

Diagrammatic presentation of the various stakeholders concerns and


irreconcilable factors that hinders the effective provision of Chinese
Language education for NCSS

190

Figure 7.2

Degree of practicality and accountability concerns of various stakeholders

192

Figure 8.1

Diagrammatic presentation of the proposed 123+P model for SCG

209
xii

List of tables
Table 2.1

NCSS population in government, aided, caput and direct subsidy


scheme schools

17

Table 2.2

Four curriculum modes in the SCG

23

Table 2.3

International Chinese examination for NCSS

30

Table 3.1

Important psychological and social factors affecting second language

Table 4.1

learning for children and adults.

71

Participants breakdown for literacy test, survey and in-depth

93

interview
Table 4.2

Classification of the test paper based on Blooms Taxonomy of

96

cognitive domain
Table 4.3

List of observations conducted in the study

101

Table 4.4

Focus of lesson observation: Domains and aspects

103

Table 5.1

The GCSE Chinese examination results 2007-2010 of the NCSS in


the sampled schools

106

Table 5.2

Participants performance in reading section

107

Table 5.3

Participants performance in different texts in the reading section

108

Table 5.4

Participants performance in reading part among the sampled schools

109

Table 5.5

Participants performance in writing section

110

Table 5.6

Participants character count in writing section

110

Table 5.7

Participants age when they started learning English and Chinese

116

Table 5.8

Rating of language repertoire

117

Table 5.9

Participants language utilization pattern

118

Table 5.10

NCSS GCE Chinese examination results 2007-2010

124

Table 5.11

NCSS HKCEE Chinese examination results 2007-2010

124

Table 6.1

Curriculum modes in School A, B and C

136
xiii

Table 6.2

Thematic Contents of the school based material

137

Table 6.3

Thematic Contents of the school based material II (Idioms-based

142

curriculum development)
Table 6.4

Observed lessons information

143

Table 6.5

SLA framework for teachers TCSOL (OCLCI, 2007)

156

Table 7.1

Levels and variables pertaining to the effective delivery of the SCG

175

Table 8.1

Proposed recommendations for reading and writing sections of


alternative local NCSS Chinese assessment

213

Appendices
Appendix 1

Test Paper

227

Appendix 2

Language Utilization Survey

240

Appendix 3

List of Interviews

245

Appendix 4

List of Interview Questions

246

Appendix 5

Think Aloud Protocol

249

Appendix 6

Interview Transcripts

255

Appendix 7

Notes to Lesson Observation

318

xiv

List of abbreviations
CCCF

Central Chinese Curriculum Framework

CMAB

Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau

CMI

Chinese as a medium of instructions

EDB

Education Bureau

EOC

Equal Opportunities Commission

EM

Ethnic Minorities

EMI

English as a medium of instructions

ERB

Employee Retraining Board

ESL

English as a second language

FLA

First language acquisition

GCSE

General Certificate of Secondary Education

HKEAA

Hong Kong Examination and Assessment Authority

HKSARG Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region


HSK

Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi

IGCSE

International General Certificate of Secondary Education

L1

1st language

L2

2nd language

LLC

Language learner competence

LTC

Language teacher competence

LTEC

Language teacher educator competence

MIGA

Medium of Instruction Grouping Assessment policy

MOI

Medium of Instruction

NCSS

Non-Chinese speaking students

NGOs

Non-governmental Organizations
xv

POA

Primary One Admission

PSA

Pakistani Students Association Hong Kong

QAD

Quality Assurance Division

SLA

Second language acquisition

SCHOLAR Standing Committee on Language Education and Research


SCMP

South China Morning Post

SCT

Sociocultural Theory

SCG

Supplementary Guide to the Chinese Language Curriculum for Non-Chinese


Speaking Students

TAP

Think Aloud Protocol

TCSL

Teaching Chinese as a second language

TL

Target Language

TSA

Territory-wide System Assessment

***************************************************************************

xvi

Chapter 1
Introduction

1.1 Personal Motivation for the Study

This study was motivated by the desire to unveil the different problems that the Non-Chinese
Speaking Students (NCSS) face while they are learning Chinese in Hong Kong. The interest
for this study was first inspired from my background as an NCSS and the painstaking
experience I went through in my tertiary education and early career years without the required
level of Chinese literacy.

I was born in Hong Kong during the colonial period and completed my matriculation in Hong
Kong. At that time, the majority of the NCSS fulfilled the language requirements by studying
English as the medium of instruction and undertook French as a second language. Thus, this
arrangement would facilitate them to pursue higher education in tertiary institutions or
employment in the civil service. When I was in secondary four in 1997, I witnessed the change
of Hong Kongs sovereignty to the Chinese rule. Many of the NCSS at that time were not
given opportunities and were unable to learn Chinese as the notion of NCSS Chinese learning
was not on the agenda of the Education Bureau (EDB, formerly known as Education
Department) at that time. Thus, little regard was emphasized on Chinese Language learning in
the immediate aftermath of the handover despite the fact that most of the NCSS family
decided to reside in Hong Kong for their good.

In 2003, when I decided to apply for an inspectorate job in the Police Force after obtaining a
bachelors degree, I found to my dismay that my dream would never be accomplished as I was
1

unable to fulfill the Chinese Language requirements for the post. Nevertheless, I was still
hopeful and decided to enroll in some Chinese courses which would qualify me for my career
aspirations but to my further dismay, it was very difficult to find courses that would suit an
NCSS graduate to study. Metaphorically, finding Chinese courses to study at that time was like
finding a needle from a haystack. As a result, with the hustle and tussle, I began my career in
the education field and pursued my education further. Gradually, I mastered my primary-like
Chinese literacy through day-to-day Chinese communications at work. Thus, the painstaking
experience has actually motivated me to conduct specific studies that are related to the NCSS
Chinese language acquisitions.

Most of the recent studies conducted by various NGOs and institutions in Hong Kong focused
on the social plights of the NCSS (Ku, et.al, 2003, 2010; Ku, Chan & Sandhu, 2005; Loper,
2004; Yang, 2000, 2002), and I (Ullah, 2008) conducted a study on comparing the relative
suitability between the local Chinese examination (HKCEE) and foreign Chinese examination
(IGCSE). My study confirms that the assumptions held behind the design of both types of
examination are broadly similar, but the HKCEE Chinese examinations demanded a
particularly well developed level of literacy in Chinese in terms of explicit as well as implicit
knowledge. The participants performance in both tests was poor; however they performed
better in the IGCSE Chinese examination. In light of the findings in the dissertation and my
first hand experience of having un-imparted proficiency in Chinese (verbally literate and
literally illiterate), I was motivated to further investigate whether the provision of the
Supplementary Guide to the Chinese Language Curriculum for Non-Chinese Speaking
Students (SCG) formulated in 2008 and other measures in place have helped or hindered
NCSS to enhance their Chinese literacy.

1.2 The issues for the Study

The Chinese Language education provision for NCSS has been a heated discussion in the
community since the early 2000s. Many concerned groups, parents and schools have been
fighting for what they call the provision of an alternative Chinese curriculum framework for
the NCSS. Throughout the years, the debate has been placed on the battlefield and no
consensus appears to have been reached between the EDB and various stakeholders in the
community.

The debate can be seen in the form of negative headlines in the leading English newspaper in
Hong Kong, such as Study of minorities in mainstream school ridiculed (Clem, 2008),
Language guide for Chinese falls short of mark (Lau, 2008), Activists take their fight all
the way to UN (Lau, 2009) and Minority Report (Yau, 2009). The occurrence of such
headlines does suggest that EDB appears to play ignorant in dealing with the uproars and
justice of mind with the provision of Chinese Language education for the NCSS. However,
EDB should not be totally blamed since they have good intentions in helping NCSS to learn
Chinese and integrate into Hong Kongs society; their effort should be worth commending but
the growing impatience of the stakeholders concerning the efficacy of the measures brings the
issue to further scrutiny.

The arguments raised by the NGOs and various concern group is to provide an alternative
Chinese curriculum for the NCSS whereas the EDB would rebuttal their firm stance by
claiming that the central Chinese curriculum framework (CCCF) is robust and flexible,
the provision of alternative curriculum seems inappropriate and the schools can flexibly adapt
and design their school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum. EDB would also add that the
provision of an SCG would also help schools in designing and delivering NCSS Chinese
3

curriculum effectively. However, the issue can never be simply resolved by providing an
alternative Chinese curriculum or formulation of an SCG, there are other issues that are
overlooked or absent in their discourse.

First, the initial reading of the SCG suggest that the nature of the guide is vague in nature and
its expositions of the teaching approaches, good teaching practices and the feeling it gives to
the reader is nothing more than a bureaucratic document (See Chapter 3.3.5).

Second, Hong Kong has a rich language environment for learning Chinese; questions exist on
why the NCSS are unable to master the language at a proficient level. My study (2008) on
comparing the relative suitability on local and foreign Chinese examinations confirms that the
participants who had Chinese learning for more than seven years failed to achieve the
benchmark that was required with the years they have spent learning Chinese in Hong Kong
(See Chapter 5) despite the readily available Chinese language environment in Hong Kong.

Third, Hong Kong seemed to be the only place where learners go through a first language
CCCF and are given options to learn in a second language curriculum at school level and sit
for second language examinations with several choices for the exit assessment. The matter
becomes gloomy when the NCSS are expected to compete with the mainstream society with
their second language Chinese competence. Unlike in North American countries, learners are
able to sit for English as a second language curriculum (ESL) and second language
examinations such as TOEFL. This mismatch between the curriculum framework and
assessment framework does raise questions on the wash back effect and learning outcome of
the NCSS.

In view of these issues, I first began to look at the western literature (Brown and Hanlon, 1970;
Chomsky, 1959; Duly et al., 1982; Ellis, 1990, 1994; Fletcher and Garman, 1986; Fry, 1977;
Larsen et al., 1991) on first (FLA) and second language acquisition (SLA) and language policy.
It was found that most of the studies conducted focused on how learners learn English but
there are only few studies (Bass, 1998; Blancford, 1999; Borchigud, 1995; Clothey, 2004;
Hansen, 1999) that focused on how the language policy catered for the needs of the ethnic
minorities in China. Most of the existing literature (EOC, 2011; Ki, 2009; Lee, 2006; Tsung,
Shum & Ki, 2007a; Tsung et al, 2007b; Tse at al 2007) that looks at the plights of NCSS
Chinese Language learning and the Chinese Language education provision for NCSS are
piecemeal and superficial in nature and fail to address the core problems of the issues
holistically.

Therefore, a gap exists in the literature in understanding and explaining how the NCSS acquire
and learn Chinese in Hong Kong. Thus; this study aims to achieve some understanding on how
the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculums in operation are and it also seeks to understand
the process of designing and delivering the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum and depict
the various stance held by different stakeholders on the notion of NCSS Chinese learning.

1.3 Definition of terms


There are several terms that the study would frequently make reference to and they are defined
and clarified in this section to aid readers and academics not from Hong Kong with
nomenclature of the terms NCSS, Chinese, un-imparted language learners, literacy
test and pigeonization differ from their existing definition.

NCSS
This study is concerned with the NCSS studying in the three traditional high-concentration
designated secondary schools. The term NCSS is a term used in many of the EDB and other
government bureaus documents and is a term commonly referred to the ethnic minorities
whose mother tongue is not Chinese. However, there appears to be no official definition for
the term NCSS anywhere in the official documents and the author speculates that the term is
self-explanatory and this might rationalize the inexistence of the definition. Although NCSS
are studying from kindergarten to tertiary institutions in Hong Kong and it is generally
believed that those students belonging to any ethnic minorities in Hong Kong are considered
NCSS, the interpretation of NCSS in the present study is somewhat different to the
mainstream interpretation. The term NCSS in this study is defined as students who belong to
any ethnicity other than Chinese and students who are studying in designated secondary
schools and who have not studied mainstream Chinese for more than six years. Thus, when
mentioning the term NCSS in the study, it is referring to the aforementioned criteria of the
NCSS definition.

Chinese
The nomenclature of the term Chinese is a very complex issue since the term may have
different meanings in terms of its written form, character type and oral medium in different
regions and communities. For instance, the written form in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong
uses the standard modern Chinese but there are differences in their character type and oral
medium. In China, the character type is simplified Chinese character and the oral medium is
Putonghua and Hanyu pinyin system. In Taiwan, the character type is traditional Chinese
character and the oral medium is Mandarin with the phonic system of Zhuyin Fu Hao while
Hong Kong also uses the traditional Chinese character but the oral medium is Cantonese.
Hence, the term Chinese in the study refers to the Chinese used in Hong Kong.
6

Un-imparted language learners


The term Un-imparted language learners is antonymous to the term imparted language
learners. The term un-imparted language learners also refers to the inability of the NCSS to
impart the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that would affect their overall understanding
of the world and development of their language competence of their languages in their
language repertoire.

Chinese Literacy
This study adopts the modest definition of literacy and does not make references to other
evolving definition of the term literacy. The term Chinese Literacy is defined as the NCSS
ability to read and write in the Chinese language to a level where they can address the
examination needs of the literacy test employed in this study.

Pigeonization
The term Pigeonization is a self-coined term for this study and it is distinctively different from
Schumanns term of pidgin (See Chapter 3.4.2). Pigeonization is a syndrome that refers to the
conscious and unconscious behaviour of NCSS who would have their Chinese language
stalled; in particular, reading and writing, in the pigeon hole and disengage the usage beyond
the classroom time. Although the NCSS have open access to learn the Chinese language in the
classroom and in the society, the cultural, social and language utilization pattern of the NCSS
disengage them from the Chinese language beyond the classroom time and confined their
language repertoire to the utilization of English and L1.

1.4 Research Focus and Perspective

This study investigates whether the current arrangement for the Chinese Language education
provision for NCSS are indeed effective and foster NCSS to aspire for the Chinese Language
education. The author uses two voices, namely I and the researcher throughout the thesis,
the former is used when I will share some of my experience as an NCSS while the latter term
is used when discussing from the methodological perspectives. As mentioned earlier, there is a
gap in the existing literature in explaining the Chinese learning plights of NCSS. I shall
illustrate in Chapter 3 that the literature on addressing the Chinese Language acquisitions
process of the multilingual un-imparted NCSS, the Chinese Language education policy and
the Chinese Language curriculum for NCSS is very limited. The study focuses on the NCSS
studying in the three traditional high concentration designated secondary schools and has the
following three research questions:

1.

What is the actual Chinese learning outcome of the NCSS?

2.

How is the current implementation of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum in


operations?

3.

What are the major concerns of various stakeholders (parents, teachers, NGOs and
EDB) on the notion of NCSS learning the Chinese Language?

To address the research questions, the study is divided into four phases with four stages of data
collection (See Chapter 4). I employ the eclectic approach which is justified in Chapter 4.2 to
investigate the issue. The eclectic approach employs both quantitative and qualitative data to
investigate and address the three research questions for the study.

1.5 Intention of the Study

In the light of the enactment of the racial discrimination bill in July 2009 and the increasing
population of the NCSS, the issue of providing and delivering a Chinese Language curriculum
and assessment for the NCSS is a pressing issue and a hotbed for scholars, academics, and
government and concern groups. There would appear to be justification for undertaking such
an in-depth research into the Chinese provision for NCSS.

Many of the studies conducted by various stakeholders in this area were piecemeal and did not
yield robust implications that draw the concern of the public towards the issue. Depriving
NCSS from a suitable Chinese Language curriculum or not gearing them for a better Chinese
literacy, the NCSS would whirlpool in the vicious cycle of underachievement and facing uphill
battles in their lives without better educational and career opportunities. At present, it is
tempting to believe that the proposed SCG will be a miracle for solving all the problems of
NCSS in Chinese Language learning and this study looks at the issue in a more holistic
manner.

In light of that, the CCCF will become a facet and it will create disparity between the different
learning outcomes of the NCSS. The results of the research have some implications for the
various stakeholders in the assessment of Chinese in Hong Kong, such as the EDB and Hong
Kong Examination Assessment Authority (HKEAA). This study shall be the only objective
and scientific grounded study that provides data and my interpretation that shall facilitate EDB
to formulate Chinese Language education policy that is comprehensive and suitable for the
NCSS. The study shall yield implications and the data could serve or confirm queries arising
form the day to day matters in relations to NCSS Chinese Language learning. The study shall
provide insights to schools that teach NCSS to design and deliver a more appropriate
9

school-based NCSS curriculum that are progressive and recursive in nature.

1.6 Organization of the Study

This thesis comprises eight chapters. In chapter 2, the background of the educational problems
faced by the NCSS is depicted and provides readers with the scope of the study. In chapter 3,
the review of literature on NCSS language acquisition & Chinese Language learning, Hong
Kong governments language policy for NCSS and the Chinese Language curriculum for
NCSS in Hong Kong helps situate the study amongst the current debate and locate the
research gap for the present study. In chapter 4, the choice of research methodology is justified
and the research design is presented. In chapter 5, the findings of students performance in the
test and their problems of Chinese Language learning is presented and discussed. In chapter 6,
the design and delivery of the NCSS school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum is presented and
discussed. The views of the Chinese teachers on teaching NCSS and the SCG are discussed as
well. In chapter 7, the different views of the stakeholders are presented and followed by the
discussion as to why and how they differ. In chapter 8, the answers to the research questions
are presented followed by recommendations to the notion of NCSS Chinese Language
education provision.

1.7 Limitations of the Study

There are several limitations in terms of the sampling and scale of the present study. Since the
study only focused on NCSS learning Chinese at the secondary level, the difficulties faced by
the NCSS studying at primary school level are not addressed. The author shall undertake
measures to select a representative sample size that is diverse and it is not confined to the
socio-economic status and the participants shall be streamed into three levels of Chinese
10

literacy, namely, advanced, intermediate and poor, so as to reflect the different problems faced
by learners with different Chinese competence. As for the experiences of NCSS at primary
level, the study shall include the past experiences shared by the current participants who are
studying in secondary schools through interviews. Third, the scale of the study; since the
present study is only a PHD study, the author shall unearth valuable information, findings and
implications for further research with regard to the notion of provision of Chinese Language
education for NCSS.

11

Chapter 2
Background
2.1 Introduction

The ethnic minorities (EM) affairs became a very heated issue in Hong Kong after the
handover and have been on the radar of the many stakeholders in Hong Kong since 1998. With
respect to the significant concern and the spotlight on the EMs, many former and current
studies (Ku, et.al, 2003, 2010; Ku, Chan & Sandhu, 2005; Loper, 2004; Yang, 2000, 2002)
look into the social plights and livelihoods of the EMs but little research appears to be
undertaken to address the educational plights of the NCSS (See Chapter 3). The EM issue was
not an area of attention immediately after 1997 but has become more prominent in recent
years when the matter began being tabled in LegCo since 2001. It is ironic that these EM has
lived in Hong Kong for at least three generations and all of a sudden these silent and
compliant-free EM became the center of attention. Is it reasonable to translate the silence of
the EMs during the British rule as a job well-done by the colonial government whilst job
poorly-done by the current Chinese administration? Or is there any other hidden truth that led
the EM to voice out their ordeals after having lived in Hong Kong for more than three
generations?

As a matter of fact, the number of NGOs caring for EMs affairs has also increased and their
scope of services and advocacy has widened, thanks to the generosity of our government. For
instance, the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau (CMAB) funded $19 million dollars
to four support services centers to offer after school classes, counseling and interpretation
services for EMs so that their needs could be addressed and eventually be integrated to the
local community. When referring to integration, the ability to articulate the host language is of
12

paramount importance, although one might argue and propose list of adaptative factors that
affect the successful integration, it is beyond the scope of this study to look into a greater
depth of issues that concern with the livelihoods and social problems of the EMs. Rather, it is
the interest of the study to look into how the good intention of providing Chinese Education
for NCSS became a mission impossible for NCSS and has amassed anomalies in the process
of designing and delivering the NCSS Chinese curriculum.

It is the aim of this chapter to provide readers with a background on the educational issues, so
that the situation of NCSS can be better pictured by the readers. Since the subject of NCSS
education itself is a vast research area and it is beyond the scope of this study to look into
details for each of these educational plights; thus this chapter will briefly depict the
educational issues that affect NCSS and spell out initially some of the problems faced by
NCSS while learning Chinese.

2.2 Language policy in Hong Kong for NCSS in government and subsidized schools

The Hong Kong government implemented a dual-stream pure-medium policy in September


1994 known as the Medium of Instruction Grouping Assessment policy (MIGA) (Lin, 1996)
which was a streaming policy for schools to operate either in the English-medium or
Chinese-medium.

Moreover,

the

current

language

policy

is

adhered

with

the

biliterate-trailingual policy under the EDBs mission in delivering Education for all in Hong
Kong. The idea of having the MIGA policy was to produce learners with the ability to cope
with the two official languages and embrace the change for the post-handover.

In 1998, the bureau initiated the mother-tongue policy, whereby only 114 schools that were
designated as English medium schools could employ English as a medium of instructions
13

(EMI) and the rest as Chinese medium schools which could employ Chinese as a medium of
instructions (CMI). The rationale behind this policy was to allow learners to learn different
subjects with their mother tongue. Ideally, it was a logical and effective way for learners to
acquire their learning in a less cognitively demanding manner since learners would not have to
decode the knowledge/input from English to Chinese and hence it was assumed that learners
would learn and perform better in the examinations. There were a lot of controversies
surrounding it and parents viewed sending their children to CMI schools as substandard. With
no surprise, the policy did not meet its intended objectives and the public criticism on the poor
language proficiency of the students in Hong Kong escalated. Thus, in 2009, the bureau then
introduced a fine-tuning policy where schools could flexibly employ the medium of
instructions policy at classroom levels, i.e. a school can be providing different medium of
instructions (MOI) at different classes or subjects that deemed most suitable for particular
learners. The effectiveness has yet to be materialized. Prior to the full scale of promoting
Chinese for the NCSS, only French was given to the students as a second language.

From the afore-mentioned chronologies, it confirms that there has not been any policy at
governmental level that deals with the NCSS. The language policy in Hong Kong seems to
treat NCSS as homogenous to the mainstream population and the issue seems to be sidelined
by the government at the policy level. There are two instances that support this ignoring
gesture of the government. First, NCSS has been in the local education system for at least four
decades and the experience of the NCSS studying Chinese in the government schools during
the period were not shared and put forward in the current arrangement. Second, the EDB has
conducted numerous inspections on how the learning and teaching of Chinese is taking place
in these schools; it is questionable as to whether EDB still believes the current arrangement in
terms of policy suffice a good provision of Chinese Language education for the NCSS.

14

The EDB would not agree with the arguments that I have put forward and they would
advocate that they have an SCG developed for the NCSS whereby it helps schools to teach
NCSS Chinese in a more pedagogical manner. It is also assumed that the creation and
existence of designated schools would also cater for their learning needs. From the perspective
of the functionalist theory, EDB would argue that there is an equal access to education for the
NCSS and the policy implemented are meant for the NCSS to meet the educational and
economic needs in Hong Kong. If there is a special language policy for NCSS, then it would
conflict the functionalists perspective. However from the perspective of the Conflict theory
(Bourdieu 1985), the NCSS concern group would argue that the NCSS were treated unequally
as the main groups culture (Chinese) is only valued here in Hong Kong. Regardless of how
hard the NCSS work, they face unfairness with the system in place. Thus, a preferential
treatment is needed to overcome the vicious cycle. In short, there is no language policy for
NCSS at the policy level and all these peripheral touch ups (SCG, non-designated schools, etc)
are aimed at gearing NCSS towards the only biliterate and trilingual language policy.

2.3 MOI- Fine tuning policy and parental aspiration


There appears to be no language policy (See Chapter 3.2) that is specifically formulated for
NCSS but from time to time we can see NGOs advocating for the EMs. I was invited to a
forum organized by the HKSKH Lady MacLehouse Center in July, 2009 on the issues about
the educational opportunities for NCSS. I represented Pakistani Students Association (PSA),
where I am an educational advisor and officer, to help address the educational concerns of the
NCSS. During my two hour stay in the forum, most of the time was devoted to the fine-tuning
policy and it was interesting and pleasing to see our respected NGOs were actually more
concerned than the EM parents.

15

The MOI fine tuning policy allows secondary schools to use English medium in the form of a
class, group, subject or session arrangement as long as they meet 85% of the class size and the
students in the group are the top 40% intake in their S1. This policy seemed to favor NCSS
who wish to study in non-designated schools or some higher banding schools because many
EM parents have been sending their children to mainstream primary schools since 2004,
(NCSS could apply for mainstream primary schools through the Primary One Admission
(POA) scheme) believing that great exposure and assimilating in the language environment
would benefit their childrens overall Chinese learning capacity and literacy.

The CMI secondary schools which adopt EMI become attractive to NCSS parents where the
parental aspiration to have their childrens Chinese literacy as native-like (See Chapter 7.2.1)
literacy become the visible benefit for enrolling in these schools. However, I would speculate
that the NGOs and the EM parents might be duped into believing that their children might
master their Chinese Language well when they study in these schools. In their perception, the
complexities and dynamics of learning an L2 (English) or L3 (Chinese) is oversimplified and
regarded as parallel to an ESL learning experience as documented in western literature (See
Chapter 3.4) . This is debatable since many EM youths are un-imparted language learners (See
Chapter 3.4.4) where they do not have a good command of both spoken and written
proficiency in any one language in their language repertoire.

2.4 Designated Schools VS Non-designated Schools


During my time of primary and secondary schooling (1988-2001), there were only a total of
four schools, two primary schools and two secondary schools that catered for the needs of the
NCSS. At that time it appeared that little regard or attention was given to us and we had few
alternatives to our schooling but with the growing population of the NCSS over the years, the
awareness of the EDB and the NGOs has drastically increased.
16

Due to the increase in the population of the NCSS and the decrease of the local students
population, the number of schools accepting NCSS has therefore increased. The number of
EMs (LegCo, 2008) studying from primary and secondary school in government, aided, caput
and direct subsidy scheme schools during 2006-2008 reflected the progression.

Level

2006/07

2007/08

P1

620

673

P2

649

716

P3

587

684

P4

525

641

P5

426

560

P6

311

491

S1

396

469

S2

338

445

S3

344

372

S4

189

340

Table 2.1: NCSS population in government, aided, caput and direct subsidy scheme schools

Thus, the idea of designated schools, where NCSS students are grouped together in certain
specialized schools, was materialized during the year 2006/07 where 15 designated schools
were first arranged. As the figures in Table 2.1 show the increase of NCSS population, the
number of designated schools has then increased to 28 in 2010/11. EDB believes that these
schools serve an anchor point for the different designated schools where they cumulate
experiences and develop expertise in the learning and teaching of NCS students. Henceforth,
the notion of Chinese Language would perpetually be addressed.

Avenue for additional resources as designated schools


With the designated schools provision in mind, the government allotted a special annual grant
of $600,000 to the designated schools depending on the number of intake and this provision
has stirred controversy for the non-designated schools where the NCS students do not benefit
17

from the special grant due to their non-designated status. I still remembered that during the
forum in HKSKH Lady MacLehouse Centre (personal communication, July 21, 2009), the
NGOs were fighting for the extra resources in the non-designated school but the
under-secretary for the education encouraged parents to send their children to designated
schools. But with the development of the issue, the bureau had shown their sincerity in
catering for the needs of the NCSS in non-designated schools by providing a maximum annual
grant of $300,000 (Education Bureau, 2010a) to support after-school extended Chinese
learning. To stay in business, many of these non-designated schools started to accept NCSS
and hope to become a designated school so that they can take a slice of the share from the
market but it is interesting to see how these schools are going to deliver promises they have
made to the NCSS parents.

Blessing of hidden curriculum in designated school


Albeit the fact that designated schools will provide suitable education to NCSS, certain NGOs
claim this as a form of segregation and believe that sending their children to designated
schools would jeopardize their Chinese learning. Instead, many of the EM parents and NGOs
still believe that NCSS will perform better if they study in these schools and have overlooked
at other facilitating measures that are indispensible for the effective schooling for NCSS in
non-designated schools. Being a panel speaker in another forum organized by Christian Action
(personal communication, 15th August, 2009), I was asked whether designated or
non-designated schools are suitable for NCSS. I drew the audience attention to the notion of
the hidden curriculum and explained that the advantage of designated schools lies in their
hidden curriculum.

Readers might argue that the atmosphere of learning Chinese in the non-designated schools
would bring a better learning outcome in the Chinese Language proficiency but we should
18

wait and see as the number of successful cases of NCSS doing well in non-designated schools
are low and as discussed earlier, the complexities and dynamics of learning Chinese is
oversimplified in their school selection process. The promotion of multicultural education in
mainstream schools is not up to par where the appalling experiences accumulated from lesson
time to beyond lesson time could be dealt skillfully and tactfully by these teachers. The
teachers do not have the professional adequacy to teach and cater for their behavioral and
cognitive needs. This is often considered one of the drawbacks for sending NCSS to
non-designated schools or low concentration designated school.

The EDB should be credited for expanding such a humble idea but the bureau has two areas
they need to address if they would want popularity to this arrangement. First, the bureau
should provide information to EM parents on the students composition so that they would be
able to know whether their esteemed designated school is a low-concentration or a high
concentration school. Since the learning environment in a school with a ratio of 8:2 (CS: NCS)
is very different from a school with a ratio of 2:7 (CS: NCS). Second, the bureau should have
bolstered the monitoring and quality assurance mechanisms to oversee how the designated
schools are implementing their policies, the curriculum provisions, and the Chinese
curriculum(s) and assessment for the NCSS.

2.5 House in mess: Chinese Language education for NCSS


Structured Chinese Language learning in schools took place in 2004 (See Chapter 3.3). Prior
to that, many of the NCSS took French as the second language to meet the language
requirements for university education in Hong Kong. There were no opportunities for them to
learn the language in school and even after the handover in 1997 when we were still in our
secondary schooling; we were not offered any spoken or basic Chinese courses. When
learning Chinese became available, it became a dream come true for many NCSS. No one
19

would have expected the rift that would take place between the EDB and the other
stakeholders; the views held by the EDB and the NGOs held no common grounds on the SCG.
The SCG recommended four curriculum modes which could help schools in designing and
delivering their school based NCSS Chinese curriculum.
Chinese learning in primary schools
As discussed earlier, many EM parents feel that sending their children to non-designated
school in primary schools would enhance their Chinese Language learning. This view seemed
to echo with Hau (2008) who conducted a study on tracking the adaptation and development
of NCSS in mainstream schools. In his study, he concluded that the earlier the students get in
touch with Chinese and study in the mainstream school, the better these students would do in
their Chinese learning and relatively better than their NCSS counterparts who are not studying
in the mainstream school.

However, this 3-year longitudinal study failed to account reasons for the students who dropped
out from the study due to the change of school or other factors; it is premature to evaluate
ones language proficiency in such a short time where only key stage 1 (Primary 3) of their
learning is measured. Unison (2008) heavily criticizes the study in failing to report the
negative aspects and experiences the students went through in the 3 years and blaming parents
and the students for not overcoming the learning difficulties that were faced by the students. In
addition, the complexities for an L3 learner to learn Chinese in their L2 (English) is
over-simplified and not taken into a greater account in the study.

In the area of assessment, concerns exist on what parallel arrangements (See Chapter 7) or
mechanisms have been in place to assess the NCSS Chinese basic competence. If regular
Territory wide-Assessment (TSA) is used for the Chinese assessment, then does it make sense
to use that tool to assess their ability when schools are interpreting and designing their own
20

curriculum? There is no special Chinese Language TSA for the NCSS and the test taken do not
really reflect the ability of the NCSS and with no constructive feedback to schools on how
schools can better design and deliver their school-based curriculum, this problem becomes a
vicious cycle and a problematic area for secondary teachers on how to address the learning
needs of these learners.

Also, the NCSS who are in mainstream primary schools are disadvantaged when they are
ranked together with their local counterparts for their Chinese Language performance. For
instance, the banding (Band 1 Band 3) includes English, Chinese, Mathematics and General
Studies; the NCSS in the mainstream primary school would probably fall into Band 2 or Band
3 because their performance in the underperformed Chinese test would relegate their banding
and consequently their choices for elite secondary schools will be narrowed.
Chinese learning in secondary schools
The area of Chinese Language learning in secondary schools has generated huge amount of
debate between the EDB and various stakeholders in the community. Many stakeholders query
the versatility of the CCCF and argue for the provision of an alternative Chinese curriculum at
the governmental level for the NCSS.

According to the survey conducted by Professional Teachers Union (,2007), 75% of


the teachers think that the present CCCF is not suitable for the NCSS. Lawmakers in the
legislative council and the CERD Committee of the United Nations has strongly requested for
a learning Chinese as a second language policy (Unison, 2010) for NCSS. These stakeholders
considered that students have difficulties in keeping up with the local Chinese curriculum and
opined that with an alternative curriculum, many NCSS would come to terms with local parts
and would immerse to the local community successfully.

21

The controversial CCCF


While the EDB would argue that the existing CCCF is robust and flexible and in fact it is
highly adoptable and adaptable for schools to design and implement their school-based
curriculum. Figure 2.1 diagrammatically presents the CCCF.

Figure 2.1 Diagrammatic presentation of the CCCF (CDC, 2008:9)

In total, there are 9 strands in the robust and flexible CCCF. There are 4 strands which belong
to the skills aspect (Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking), 3 strands as language content
(Literature, Chinese Culture and Moral & Affective Development) and 2 strands as thinking
competence (Thinking and Independent Language Learning). The generic skills and values
and attitudes are intertwined in the process of language learning. It is obvious that the above
diagrammatic presentation of the curriculum framework offers the schools ample flexibility
and autonomy to design different curriculum modes that best feed and meet their students
needs.

22

The controversial SCG


The four curriculum modes introduced in the guide are Immersion, Bridging, Specific
Learning Purpose and Integrated. The following discussion looks at whether the curriculum
modes formulated are in fact addressing the issue and help teachers to teach NCSS better in
the process. Table 2.2 summarizes the four curriculum modes and the prerequisite for each of
the mode.

Mode 1

Mode 2

Mode 3

Mode 4

Immersion

Bridging

Specific Learning

Integrated

Purpose
Class Composition

NCSS & CS

NCSS

NCSS

NCSS & CS

Years of exposure

Since early

Acquire Chinese in

Little exposure

Any possibilities

to Chinese

childhood

teenage years

Level of adaptation

Low-Mild

Medium - High

Extremely High

Any possibilities

HKDSE, GCE-

GCE-AS level or

GCSE or none

Any possibilities

A-level

GCSE

Pull-out

Effective bridging

Communicative and basic

Varied

programmes

measures

learning

of CCCF
Attainable
Qualifications
Critical Success
Factor

Table 2.2 Four curriculum modes in the SCG

Curriculum mode 1: Immersion in Chinese Language Lesson


This approach requires schools to integrate Chinese-speaking students (CS) together with
NCSS. Through assimilation and appropriate remedial teaching, it is believed that learners will
pick the language and be able to seek support from their counterparts. Hence, both parties
would learn to appreciate the language. However, it is of paramount importance that the
23

learners under such mode have approached the language in an early age and the schools have
effective pull-out programmes to offer remedial for the NCSS when needed. The level of
adaptation of the CCCF is low to mild where the learning of the NCSS is expected to be
aligned with the CS counterparts.

Curriculum mode 2: Bridging and Transition


The second mode requires schools to intensively teach NCSS to acquire the fundamentals of
the Chinese Language in a timely manner. This mode is applicable to those NCSS who have
started to learn the language at a later stage, in their teenage years. An assumption of this
mode is that learners have aspirations for staying in Hong Kong in the near future and will
seek employment in Hong Kong. It seems that EDB intended this for learners who arrive in
Hong Kong in their late adolescence or started to learn Chinese in a later stage or with little
exposure. The bureau encourages the language to be learnt in an intensive way.

Curriculum mode 3: Specific Learning Purposes


This mode is intended for learners who consider Hong Kong as a transit point and have no
plans staying in Hong Kong. It appears that the bureau has explicitly relaxed expectations
from the teachers and learners under such curriculum mode. It is clearly stated in the guide
that learners under this arrangement should be thought the language for communicative
purpose such as dealing with daily transactions and responding to simple and practical texts.

Curriculum mode 4: Integrated


EDB intended this mode for schools that have a large intake of NCSS and schools that can
flexibly use any of the three teaching curriculum modes in delivering their Chinese curriculum.
According to the figures form the EDB, there are only limited secondary schools that have a
large intake of NCSS.

24

Many of the stakeholders view the SCG (See Chapter 3.3.5) as full of deficiencies. The bureau
concludes in the International Covenant (CMAB, 2010:191) that the SCG is widely accepted
on sound pedagogical grounds and able to cater for the holistic and personalized
development of the NCSS while the NGOs heavily bombard the EDB for packaging the
guide for ALL NCSS with no regards to the key stage that they are learning. In other words,
the stakeholders seem to concern on how the SCG would cater for individual differences
across the primary and secondary schools.

The stakeholders bombarded the guide as one which:

Lacks standardized assessment tools, a systematic curriculum, and concrete


teaching strategies and materials to meet diverse learning needs of second-language
learners (Lau, 2008).

It seems that many of the stakeholders were disappointed with the document for disregarding
the notion of learning Chinese as a second language. In addition, as discussed earlier about the
vicious cycle in primary school resulting from the TSA test, the cumulate effect that is
transferred to secondary schools is immense. Since the portfolio of the primary students are
not handed to their respective secondary schools and with no standardized or comprehensive
S1 NCSS Chinese attainment test or a reliable and valid instrument, many of these secondary
schools would be unable to diagnose the NCSS Chinese competence accurately and design a
curriculum that might be repetitive or redundant in nature (See Chapter 5-7).

The curriculum culture in Hong Kong: Big Market, Small Government


The review of curriculum models provides a better understanding on how the CCCF is
formulated and interpreted at different levels of the curriculums in Hong Kong. White (1988)
25

organizes three types of curriculum models that explain how curriculums are developed,
namely, curriculum as plan, curriculum as construction process and curriculum as dwelling.

1. Curriculum as plan
This view concerns with the objectives and content of the curriculum. It is exemplified with
the Means-Ends model of Taba-Tyler curriculum of Taylor and Richards (1979) and it is often
regarded as the traditional model of curriculum development. As it could be seen from figure
2.2, a clear distinction has been made between the goals, aims and objectives.

Figure 2.2: Flowchart representation of the Taba-Tyler curriculum development model (White, 1988:26)

Goals are very general and broad in nature; aims are more specific and long term and
objectives are critical and specific and are meant for short to medium term (White, 1988).
Although arguments exist on whether formulating objectives based on behavioral elements are
appropriate (Stenhouse, 1975; Davies: 1976; Nichollas and Nichollas, 1978; Taylor and
Richards, 1979), it is beyond the scope of this study to review the issue of behaviorism in
setting objectives.

26

In this traditional model, aims and objectives are first defined and content of learning and
evaluation are then formulated. This view emphasizes on the prior and meticulous planning of
a curriculum and it is credited for its rationality and clarity for its details but doubts exist on
whether pre-specifying content is justifiable and planning too much in advance would void out
creativity and bring in standardizing/strait jacketing in the curriculum. Since no curriculum
choice is value-free or neutral, the traditional model which is translated into threshold level in
many of the existing curriculums give learners a detailed guide on what they would possibly
be learning and teachers could establish a guide to criterion-reference on the notion of mastery
and assessment.

This model is partially accurate in explaining the laissez-faire approach (See 3.3.4 & 3.3.5)
employed by the EDB in Hong Kong since it only sets broad aims and objectives while the
role of detailed planning is delegated to the schools. The bureau only sets curriculum
framework and broad objectives for the subjects and gets the market (schools and publishers)
to design and implement the curriculum.

2. Curriculum as construction process


This perspective views that the curriculum objectives are exploratory and the curriculum
development is done in the process. The main basis of this view is that language use cannot be
predicted in advance; so proponents of this view would refer to the learning situation and
context first then they would formulate the aims and objectives of the curriculum. This view
might seem to be favored by teachers as they could actually consider their teaching context
and learners interest and then formulate the aims and purposes of the curriculum. This is
entirely different to the traditional model where aims and purposes are set at an early stage.

27

However, this view is criticized for its inability in showing the full picture of the learning that
will take place and the impression of under-planning to the beneficiary. This view seemed to
echo with the present state of art of the Chinese Language education where the CCCF
included objectives which are flexible and robust for schools to design their own school-based
curriculum. Then, the schools design their own curriculum which fits the schools ecology and
meets their learners needs.

3. Curriculum as dwelling
This process neither considers the traditional model nor the process model as its ideological
basis. This model is known as the situational model and this model takes into account of the
existing situation and assumes that curriculum exists in the process of renewal and
reengineering takes place upon evaluation (White, 1988). This view emphasizes the spirit of
current situation analysis and developing a curriculum that meet the learners need and
evaluation are there to improve the curriculum. Diagram 2.3 summarizes the flow of this view:

Figure 2.3: Situational model (White, 1988:37)

This model embraces the traditional and process model where it allows the flexibility to make
changes depending on the learning situations such as the learning environment, learners
ability and present state of play. In practical terms the previous two models are integrated into
this model; the traditional view is set for directional purpose while the process view allows
28

teachers to deliver a curriculum that meets the needs of the learners. Hence, this model seems
to be relevant to teachers at classroom level where they can impart the CCCF at bureau level
and the curriculum at school level and finally adjust according to the needs at their classroom
level.

After reviewing the three curriculum models with reference to the NCSS Chinese curriculum
development in Hong Kong, the first view is partially employed (curriculum as plan) by the
EDB where they preset objectives in the CCCF while the second view (curriculum as process)
is held at school level where they make decision at the syllabus, the guidelines concerning the
teaching materials. The third model (curriculum as dwelling) seem to be at associated at
classroom level where the teacher look at the situation and needs of the class and design and
implement the day to day curriculum that meet the needs of the students.

From the discussion, the curriculum culture adopted by the EDB in Hong Kong is based on the
Big market, Small government principle, where EDB issue curriculum framework for the
subject and the school interpret and design their own curriculums. In other words,
school-based adaptations are expected from schools where the burden of the overall
implementation is passed to the schools and they are expected to gear their school-based
curriculums towards the central curriculum goals.

This laissez-faire approach seem to give teachers autonomy in designing their curriculum, but
it has overlooked the fact that many of the frontline teachers do not have time to interpret the
curriculum framework (notional curriculum) and design their curriculums (operational
curriculum). If the subject has a big market, there are numerous publishers in the market
helping the teachers to offload their pressure but this is not the case for NCSS Chinese since
the market is considered very niche.
29

2.6 Mismatch between the learning curriculum and assessment syllabus


Currently, there is no L2 Chinese curriculum framework for NCSS and schools are expected to
design their school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum based on the L1 CCCF. It is interesting to
see that the NCSS are given the multiple exit assessments with a bagful of L2 Chinese
international examinations (at L2 standard) (See Table 2.3). Although there are no official
documents stating the examination difficulties and the relationship among them, the frontline
teachers have labeled the progressiveness (level of difficulty) of the examination as follows:

Name of Examination
General

Certificate

Acronym
of

GCSE

Education Examinations

Current situation of NCSS taking these examinations


It is considered as the basic examination for NCSS since it tests
the very fundamentals. The majority of NCSS would sit for this
examination. It is considered by local teachers as to be local
primary level (primary 3 or 4) of difficulty and a first stop for
obtaining alternative Chinese qualification.

International
Certificate

General
of

IGCSE

Education

In most of the designated schools, almost no NCSS sit for this


examination for its redundancy and mismatch of the medium of

Examinations

the assessment. First, the level of difficulty is similar to GCSE.


Second, it is assessed in Mandarin where NCSS learn in
Cantonese.

General

Certificate

of

Education

Examinations

Advanced

supplementary

GCE AS

If NCSS who have better Chinese literacy, they are asked to sit

Level

for this examination where the level of difficulty and the scope
of assessment are more comprehensive than GCSE and IGCSE

level

Chinese examination as this assessment focuses more on


assessing the integrated skills.

General
Education

Certificate

of

Examinations

Advanced level

GCE

This is a top-up of the GCE-AS Level Chinese examination as it

A-Level

assesses students appreciation of Chinese literature and culture


aspect through research. Very few NCSS are capable to sit for
this examination as it demands a higher level of Chinese literacy.

Table 2.3 International Chinese examination for NCSS

30

Despite the choices, it is tempting to believe that the NCSS would sit for the aforementioned
examination in a progressive and chronological sequence. Some critics argue that the NCSS
would mostly sit for the GCSE Chinese examination and their learning is terminated at this
point (See Chapter 5 and 6). In fact, many of the schools are in fact gearing their many
learners towards such point only. If the NCSS are going to stay and live in Hong Kong, then
why are they barred at such point?

2.7 Disadvantaged terms of learning of Chinese for NCSS


Coulmas (1984:10) makes a distinctive definition of linguistic minorities as speakers of a
language constitute within the total population of a country or minor languages that do not
serve as a standard language in any country. Based on this definition, Pastun speaking
Pakistani are linguistic minorities in Pakistan and Urdu speaking Pakistani are linguistic
minorities in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has almost 95% of its population being Chinese and the
remainder is known as the non-Chinese speaking people in Hong Kong. The term
non-Chinese speaking people is used in the census and that includes Filipino, Indonesian,
Japanese, Nepalese, Thai, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Vietnamese, Korean,
Other Asian, White, Black, Mixed and others. Only 2.4% of the student population (Census
2006) is made up of non-Chinese speaking students (NCSS).

The linguistic background of NCSS is quite different from others. Unlike other L2 learners
who are the linguistic majority learning a second language in their host country, NCSS are
linguistic minorities who are learning Chinese; the majority language of Hong Kongers. The
difference between the learning of a second language in these two groups lies in the
juxtaposition of affordability versus survival. For instance in Hong Kong, the local Chinese
would have the opportunity to learn English during their schooling years and would decide
whether they would pursue learning English further in light of their proficiency and
31

affordability. Since Chinese is their L1, they would still survive if they are unable to master
their L2. In contrast, the NCSS have no such choice; they are born to master different
language registers, which have low proximity with their L1.

Although English is a language they can use for survival, the growing prominence of Chinese
is limiting their room for survival with English. Therefore, they do not have many choices and
their sole consideration is to learn Chinese for survival. Unlike the situation in the United
States where the linguistic majority (English speakers) would learn the linguistic minorities
(Hispanics) language (Spanish) in order to reap economic benefits from the minorities, it is
unimaginable if a parallel situation would ever happen in the Hong Kongs context where the
majority would learn the EMs L1.

2.8 Pigeonization Syndrome


The pigeonziation syndrome is the main obstacle that affects the NCSS to build a progressive
Chinese literacy beyond the Chinese classroom time despite the open access to the rich
Chinese language environment in Hong Kong. In theory, one would argue that given ample of
opportunities and exposure to a language in an authentic environment, the learner would learn
and acquire the target language with a decent level of literacy. Contrary to the mainstream
thought, the NCSS do not reap benefits from the authentic Chinese language environment in
Hong Kong due to their pigeonziation syndrome.

Although the NCSS of the similar region and language family learn the Chinese language in a
similar way in the Chinese class as other L2 learners, their Chinese literacy gets stalled
beyond the classroom time. As the majority of the NCSS are multilingual, they are bound to
maintain the different languages in their language repertoire to sustain their learning of other
academic subjects in English and use their L1 for their social and cultural circle engagement.
32

Hence, the NCSS would only be able to maintain and extend the usage of English and their L1
and disengage from the Chinese language beyond the classroom time.

With reference to the pigeonziation syndrome, the majority of the NCSS residing in Hong
Kong knows the importance of learning the Chinese language for survival purposes, they
would subconsciously believe that their Chinese learning and performance in the classroom
would adequately address their literacy needs and hence when they leave the classroom they
would pigeonized their Chinese literacy in the pigeon hole and utilize other languages in their
language repertoire to address the various needs in their daily lives.

2.9 Fewer EMs in tertiary education & little opportunities for further Chinese
learning
The

low

number

of

NCSS

(0.59%,

EOC:

2011)

entering

tertiary

education

(Diploma/certificate, Sub-degree or degree courses) is a grave concern and a ringing bell for
the Hong Kongs education system to reflect what has gone wrong with their 12 years of
schooling in primary and secondary which is unable to nurture and cultivate at least 10% of
the NCSS to get into University Grant Committee (UGC) funded university places. This
underachievement often explains why many of the EM youths ended up in low-paid and
low-skilled jobs.

At first, it is tempting to believe that because of the Chinese Language they are unable to
further their education. However with the acceptance of International Chinese examination
qualifications such as GCSE, IGCSE, GCE AS/A- level, NCSS can use this to meet the
language requirement for tertiary education. This new arrangement needs some more time to
materialize and evaluate its effects, but it will definitely see an increase in the number of
NCSS accessing to local universities if Chinese requirements were an issue. However, there
33

appears to be little or almost no research (Loper, 2004) that looks into why NCSS could not
further their education. There are other myriads of factors such as underachievement in other
core subjects such as Mathematics and the hindrance in accessing information in a timely
manner.

In a forum organized by Christian Action, I raised the issue that I have received more than 40
calls for assistance and inquiries with regard to further education in different institutions in
Hong Kong. If the NCS students would be given adequate counseling and support, they would
be handling it much better. I voiced my opinion to the EDB in setting up a task force that
could assist schools with the NCS students career guidance. At the moment, NCSS lack a
clear vision for an articulation path, only if they could get more guidance, many positive
changes might occur. This task force may become a resource centre at the same time.

Many of the NCSS or EM youths are third generation living in Hong Kong and regard Hong
Kong as their home. They have no plans as to whatsoever to leave Hong Kong. With the
growing demand of Chinese literacy in workplace, many of the EM youths and adults are
finding it difficult to prosper in their career path or join the civil service even despite attaining
relevant qualifications. Due to time lag, NCSS graduated before 2008 were not mandated for
Chinese requirement for further education since other languages such as French, Hindi or
Urdu satisfied the requirement but now it is mandated. It is a remit of the study to look at the
livelihood of the graduated NCSS. There are numerous courses offered by Employee
Retraining Board (ERB) which are funded by CMAB are currently run by NGOs. Despite the
provision, many of these courses are not geared towards attaining formal Chinese
qualifications for meeting the workplace commands of both written and spoken needs for their
respective jobs.

34

For example, Deepa Natarajan (Tsang, 2010b), a doctor working in Hong Kong who wishes to
serve the community better finds it difficult to explain and translate medical terminologies in
Chinese to the patients due to her limited Chinese proficiency in her day to day work while no
courses are there to equip her needs. Along these lines, with the change in assessment and
administrative arrangement in the GCSE (Education Bureau, 2010b), private candidates will
be unable to sit for any GCSE examinations that would qualify them to apply for civil service
jobs or jobs that would require some formal Chinese qualifications. This would mean EM
youths who are in a similar situation of mine would no longer be able to sit for such
examination if they wish to pursue for the GCSE Chinese qualification for career needs.

2.10 Employment difficulties and job dissatisfaction among EM youths


Many EM youths land into low-skilled and low paid jobs upon their secondary 5 graduation. It
is difficult to get statistics on employment difficulties but it is an undeniable fact that it is
difficult for the EM youths to find and land to a decent-like job. They typically get involved in
jobs like in the low-skilled professions such as in the catering industries, being office
assistants, construction workers or security guards. A survey (Caritas, 2010) on working
conditions of EMs in Hong Kong found that participants who earn $9000 or above per month
are usually very satisfied with their jobs but this is more like a dream than something
achievable. Only a small amount of EM adults earn this amount from one full time job and the
EM youths fall short behind this ideal income due to their little working experience and low
qualification.

The main problem for the EM youth to find a job or land into a dream job is associated with
the Chinese Language barrier. After the handover, many of the jobs required a decent level of
literacy in Chinese and English. Although the EM youths are very articulated in the spoken
Cantonese, their written proficiency is not up to par (See Chapter 5). Since both languages are
35

not their L1, it is very difficult for the EM youth to come in terms with the Chinese
counterparts in the employment market.

However, many of the EM youths were frustrated despite attaining distinctions in their GCSE
Chinese examination when they seek employment. It seems that the government itself has
created an obstacle in this regard where they do not recognize the alternative qualifications
while EMs seeks employment in the civil service (See Chapter 7). Khezar Hayat, (Tsang,
2010a) a secondary 5 Pakistani graduate who got A* in GCSE Chinese examination could not
get a job in the Police force. It would be interesting to observe how the recent inclusion of
considering NCSS language for recruitment would increase their chances of joining the police
force as many of the local NCSS are un-imparted language learners (See Chapter 3.4).

Apparently Chinese Language is one barrier and there are other reasons which accounts for
job dissatisfactions. While I was collecting data for the study, during the course of the
interviews with the NGOs, it was revealed that many of the EM youths are disconnected with
the reality. They have high expectations on the salary and their work ethic and responsibility is
not up to par such as being punctual and taking more initiative in their day-to-day work. This
suggests that our youths are not adaptive to the local working cultures and required time for
assimilation in the organizations. We may wonder what have gone wrong with their career
guidance and the career related experience during their high school.

2.11 Summary of discussion


This chapter has presented a host of issues and wide range of ironies faced by the EMs and
NCSS with respect to education in Hong Kong, in particular the access to the Chinese
Language education. EM youths who wished to study Chinese for formal qualifications find it
totally inaccessible to courses that would meet their needs whereas NCSS who have access to
36

formal Chinese Language learning is not in better terms either. As presented in this chapter,
NCSS in primary schools are faced with evolving school-based Chinese curriculums and
undergoing assessments (TSA) that do not reflects any effective learning and teaching
implications. NCSS in secondary schools are no better, as they have a late start to Chinese
Language learning, they are put into curriculums that do not entail genuine learning
effectiveness (See Chapter 5) and the teachers are struggling (See Chapter 6) to design and
deliver a curriculum that would overcome all the qualms. As this is only a PhD study, the
urgency in looking into Chinese Language learning in secondary school appeared to be the
most concerned and imperative. These students started to learn their Chinese when schools
were designing and delivering curriculum by themselves without any formal support or
assistance from EDB at that time, it is questionable as to why this was not in the agenda of the
EDB during the curriculum reform in 2001. Also, the late start of Chinese has victimized these
learners with the cumulative effect from their primary school and the constant curriculum
evolution in their secondary school, thus their plights is worth addressing and hoping that the
subsequent cohorts would not meet the same fate as their predecessors. It is the interest of the
study to depict the state of art of these schools and reflect how these schools faced the
cumulative effect and the painstaking process.

Since little formal studies or research has been conducted to depict and explain the present
state of play of the NCSS learning Chinese, this study will allow stakeholders to project a
clear picture of the learning outcome of the NCSS when the SCG became widely available and
how has the teachers implemented the guide despite the skepticism and criticisms from the
stakeholders. In addition, teachers first hand account on their delivery and difficulties in
delivering the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum would give readers a better picture on
the issue. Thus, the focus of this research is to present a critical outlook at the Chinese
Language education provision for the NCSS at the secondary school level, the manner of the
37

implementation of the SCG and the concerns of the various stakeholders. Having laid the
background for the study, the following chapter looks at relevant literature and identifies the
gap in the field and set directions for the study.

38

Chapter 3
Literature Review

3.1

Introduction

As discussed in Chapter 2, there is a wide range of issues within the educational settings
disadvantaged the NCSS; in particular, the notion of Chinese Language learning seems to be
the main source of adversity. On one hand, schools and EDB believe they are designing and
delivering curriculums that are meeting NCSS needs while the NGOs are puzzled and
skeptical on the effect of the SCG in enhancing the Chinese literacy of the NCSS. In addition,
Chinese is neither the L1 nor L2 of the NCSS; it is questionable as to whether modeling
western L2 language acquisition experiences would provide solutions to the NCSS context. It
seems that there appears to be no language policy at the governmental level that addresses the
needs of the NCSS. And these gloomy scenarios seem to be absence in the current literature.
Thus, this section examines relevant literature in the area of Hong Kongs government
language policy for NCSS in government and subsidized schools, the Chinese Language
Curriculum for NCSS in Hong Kong, and the Chinese Language curriculum for NCSS and
NCSS language acquisitions and Chinese language learning so as to provide a background
for the focus of the study and help clarify the research problems.

3.2

Hong Kong Governments Language Policy for NCSS in government and


subsidized schools

As mentioned in Chapter 2.2, there appears to be no language policy that caters for the unique
language acquisition process of NCSS (See section 3.4). The language policy within the
education system in Hong Kong appears to be generic and cater for the mainstream students
39

and this might translate the absence of language policy that specifically addresses the needs of
NCSS at the policy level for both government and subsidized schools. Although there are a
handful of studies devoted to studying the impact of vernacular or Chinese-medium education
and English-medium instruction and its implications in Hong Kong (Lin, 1996; Pennycook,
2002; Poon, 2000a, 2000b), little research (Tsung, Shum & Ki, 2007a; Tsung et al, 2007b)
appears to have looked at the plights of the NCSS and gaps exist in the literature in explaining
how the language policies in 80s and 90s affected NCSS. `

Also, there is a gap in literature in explaining the discrepancies between the language policy
for education and employment (see Chapter 2.3).The EDB appears to have unattended the
notion of linguistic minorities in its educational language policy. It is the interest of this study
to probe whether the current language policy and its arrangement suffice in meeting the
genuine needs of NCSS Chinese Language learning in contrast to other governments around
the world.

3.2.1 Language policy in China for minorities

The notion language minorities seems to be a low-frequency word in the Hong Kongs
context, unlike India, Mexico and even China, this is a high frequency word and policies are
there to cater for the language minorities. The provision of such policies reflects the
governments political will in addressing the needs of these groups albeit the effectiveness and
controversies of its policies. Nonetheless, this is the vigor that seems to be inexistence in Hong
Kong.

From history, we can tell that there is no single language policy that would appease all the
stakeholders as the process of formulation, renewal or fine-tuning is subject to the variability
40

of the political interests and landscapes in a country. For instance, in India, Srivastava (1984)
cites the unwelcomed bilingual language policy (English and Hindi) for the language
minorities in the literacy programme eventually resulted many of the minorities with imparted
literacy skills and became semilingualists. In other words, the learners were just averagely
competent in either English or Hindi because the bilingual language policy failed to look at
their languages/dialects of the minorities.

Likewise, in Mexico, Stavenhagen (1984) mentions that the Hispanization language policy
adopted for the Indigenous Indian was also an erosion of their language and their culture. In
the former case, there were more than 410 mother tongues spoken in India, it would be
difficult for the Indian administration to instill the varying linguistic needs and demands, thus
for the sake of an efficient administration, the two official languages (Hindi and English) were
taught in schools at the expense of the 410 mother tongues. In the latter case, it appears that
the Mexican administration was employing forced assimilation to overcome the possible fear
of separatism or issues surrounding the fair treatment of these linguistic minorities. We may
wonder at this point as to whether from the two cases, the current arrangement in Hong Kong
would lead to the same scenario.

Ironically, Hong Kong is part of China and she is not only greater than Hong Kong in its size
but also in its policy provisions for the linguistic minorities. The term ethnic minority is
known as shaoshu minzu (Clothey 2004:23) in China. The term is a blended-loan word from
Japanese (minzoku). Min means people and zu means ethnic group. This term is widely
used in the literature of the Chinese Language policy. China is no exception to its
controversies surrounding its language policy (Bass 1998, Borchigud 1995, Hansen 1999), the
minzu were indoctrinated with the Han values (the largest minority group) and these learners
seemed to be unaware or know anything of their own roots after undergoing these language
41

programmes. It appears that the ethnic minorities of the current generation recognized the
growing chauvinism of Putonghua as it would get them enrolled in prestigious schools and
better career development. As a result these learners culture and language started to erode.

According to Blancford (1999), there are 56 recognized minority groups populating over 90
million people and it is 8% of the total population. The total population of the minorities is
larger than Great Britain and Germany (Clothey, 2004). Postiglione (1992) mentions that these
minorities occupies 64% of the total land in China; 90% of the border regions and there are 13
nationalities in Xinjiang (Blancford, 1999). There are five nationalities (Uygur, Kazak,
Kirghiz, Uzbek and Tatar) which use the languages belonging to the Turkic branch of Altaic
language family. Russian and Tajik are both from the Indo-European family, whereas Han, Hui
and Manchu use Mandarin.

China has undergone three major periods of major changes in its language policy. Throughout
the changes, the Chinese government wanted to spread Putonghua but the government has
conflicting objectives formulated at the same time. The first objective was to maintain and
develop minority languages and the second objective was spreading Putonghua. Our current
policy makers in Hong Kong are not aware of these developments as they were groomed with
colonial education at their time but time has changed, cross referencing of Chinas experience
allows us to explore what can be learnt form the Chinese experience (1949 to present). The
chronology is explained as follows;

1st Period (1949-1956):


During this period, minority languages were used as the MOI as there was a growth of
minority schools. The central government has always wanted to spread Putonghua through
bilingual education. The government introduced a bilingual education programme in different
42

models. For instance, the Uygurs and Kazaks, used their mother tongue as an MOI and
Putonghua as a subject whereas for Xibao, Putonghua was used as an MOI. The effectiveness
of these bilingual education policies was doubtfully effective. Stautman (1998) mentions that
there were difficulties in implementing a bilingual education policy uniformly as it was
difficult to account for the huge variations in the different written scripts of the ethnic groups
which were completely different from Putonghua.

2nd Period (1957-1977):


There was a political movement known as Great Leap Forward and a cultural revolution. To
maintain unity and possess shared views, assimilation was forcefully enforced. To ascertain
that, the communist regime, reformed the Uygur and Kazaks writing system and bring them
closer to Han for assimilation. This resulted in stagnation of the minority language
development. Previous language policy for all minorities was voided and only one common
language was encouraged.

3rd Period (1978-and after):


This was the era marked by Dengs power. He resumed the minority language work. The
Uygurs and Kazaks were allowed to use their traditional written forms and minority schools
were allowed to adopt their curriculum. According to Stites (1999), prior to the spilt of
Sino-Soviet relations, Chinas government first changed the writing script of Uygurs from
Arabic to Cyrillic as it was costly to print Arabic script (Dwyer 1998) and undermined the
good relationships of Uygurs and Kazaks with the Arab nations. Then, after the split of
Sino-Soviet in 1957, the Romanized writing system pinyin was used to make learning easier.
In 1982, the script went back to Arabic as to foster the previous undermined ties with the
growing prominence of Arab nations in the world economy.

43

It is evident that China has gone through sweeping changes in its three periods of language
policy reform and undoubtedly it was all motivated by the changing political and economic
landscape. One of the underpinning reasons was from the treat of rising separatism and
national instability since 64% of Chinas land was attached to different borders. The
promotion of Putonghua in getting unity in the whole territory seemed to be justified from the
political sense but these conflicting objectives turned the problem into a vicious cycle.

Blachford (1999) suggests that bilingual education policy is not an end to assimilate the
minorities but as a mean to make them integrate. It seems the spread of Putonghua is not as
successful as it was intended. This is accounted for two main reasons, firstly, the nationalities
were concentrated at a localized area and the minorities would resist assimilation as they
found the importance of preserving their culture and using their language to make trade with
the neighboring countries that shares the same language. Secondly, there was insufficient
manpower from the bureau to implement the governments plan and lack of an effective
monitoring mechanism.

Furthermore, Lam (2005) draws our attention to the learning of English for the minorities and
mainstream Chinese in China. She suggests that learners have to maintain their dialects and
acquire a foreign language and Putonghua. The people would have less difficulty in acquiring
Putonghua as there is a language environment for them whereas for acquiring English, they
required more than just self-motivation. The lack of qualified teachers, suitable curriculum and
effective methodologies, these learners might not be able to learn Chinese effectively.

44

3.2.2

Summary of section 3.2

So far in this section of the literature, the discussion establishes the differences between how
the Chinese government and the local government care for the linguistic minorities. The
Chinese government makes changes and embraces the reality; however, the ignoring gesture
of Hong Kongs government shows a lower priority in caring for the NCSS. Ironically, looking
at the experiences shared in the SCG from Taiwan and Singapore, it is a dismay that Hong
Kong is not in terms with its counterparts who predominantly use Chinese as one of their
official language. For instance, in Taiwan, there are various organizations that offer specific
courses to meet the educational or career needs of the NCSS. Private organizations are
established to run such courses to meet the demands. Another example, Singapore, students
are required to take English and their mother tongue language courses in Chinese, Malay and
Tamil.

It is there we can see the inflexibility and inadequacy in catering for the NCSS in Hong Kong.
The learning of Chinese for NCSS is for survival unlike other L2 learners who would consider
affordability while deciding to learn an L2. Hong Kong appears to be way beyond from its
counterparts in having any language policy that caters for the needs of NCSS.

The

experience from China has confirmed that a language policy that forced minorities to integrate
will create chaos and it should serve as a mean rather than an end. In the case of the NCSS, it
is not enough to only work with peripheral touch ups to materialize the biliterate-trilingual
policy in the current manner or being complacent with the work implemented or in progress
but more emphasis should be placed on how NCSS are given opportunities to facilitate their
learning in the rich Chinese Language context in Hong Kong where they can maintain
coherence between their L1, L2 (English) and L3 (Chinese).

45

3.3 The Chinese Language Curriculum for NCSS in Hong Kong


It is generally believed that the Hong Kong students are well-driven for the exam-oriented
curriculums and the Hong Kong parents generally put heavy emphasis on their childrens
examination performance. However, it is quite the opposite for the NCSS. They are generally
believed to be low-achievers in their examination performance and are only capable in
performing well in subject such as English language. The EM parents are more concerned
whether their childrens Chinese learning in school suffices with their childrens career or
educational aspirations (See Chapter 7.2.1). While on the NGO and some watchdogs
perspective (Tse, 2011); there has been an intense debate on demanding EDB to provide an
alternative Chinese curriculum which would address all the anomalies in the current
arrangement. It is premature to conclude that an alternative curriculum is an antidote to the
issue.

There are only few studies or thin governmental reports (EOC, 2011; Ki, 2009; Tsung,
Shum & Ki, 2007a; Tsung et al, 2007b; Tse at al 2007) that look into the design and delivery
of the NCSS Chinese curriculum and there exist a research gap in explaining and evaluating
the effectiveness of NCSS Chinese curriculum implementation at the government level when
the Chinese Language education provision for NCSS become available in 2004. So when one
refers to the term curriculum, what does that actually mean? It is the intent of this research
to probe whether the NCSS Chinese curriculum is implemented effectively from the CCCF to
day to day classroom operations.

3.3.1 Curriculum defined within the context

The term curriculum is perceived differently by different scholars and there is no simple or
straightforward definition or perspective of what curriculum is. For instance Kerr (1968)
46

views curriculum as all planned and guided activities organized by the school; Hopper (1971)
views curriculum as programmes of activities and Sockett (1976) distinct curriculum as being
a plan while the other items as syllabus. While for syllabus, White (1988) refers syllabus as
the content or subject matter of an individual subject and curriculum refers to the totality of
content to be taught and aims to be realized within one school or educational system. On the
other hand, Brumfit (1984) summarizes syllabus as a specification of work that defines the
work of a particular group or class which is linked with time and an ultimate goal that need to
be achieved. In light of the fussiness, translating Whites definition into Hong Kongs context,
the term curriculum is associated with the curriculum framework formulated by the EDB
while the term syllabus is associated with the assessment framework which is used by
HKEAA.

But, some scholars such as Goodlad (1966) would view curriculums from other perspectives.
Huang (,1985); in his work pointed out that Goodlad identifies five different levels of
curriculum depending on the level of proximity with the immediate beneficiary of the
curriculum and the difference between the ideal and actual curriculums in place. For instance,
Level 1(Intended Curriculum) and 2 (Formal Curriculum) are pitched at the policy or
governmental level where the former is an idealistic curriculum that is aimed to be delivered at
the national level while the latter is a curriculum that is interpreted based on the intended
curriculum and formulated by the school. Level 3 (Notional Curriculum) and 4 (Operational
Curriculum) is pitched at teachers level where the former refers to the teachers understanding
of the formal curriculum based on their own interpretation while the latter is based on the
teachers competence in delivering the curriculum. Last, Level 5 (Experiential Curriculum) is
where the actual beneficiary (students) experiences the learning form the curriculum. Based on
the concerns of this study (See Chapter 2.7), Goodlads view on curriculum is adopted in this
study and the research will focus on notional, operational and experiential curriculum.
47

3.3.2 The ideal curriculum review model

The discussion in Chapter 2.5 has shown that there is a gap in the literature in explaining the
synchronization and coherence making between the different stakeholders when the EDB
adopts the Big Market and Small Government principle and allow schools to design and
interpret the CCCF and design their school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum. It is the intent of
the study to probe the practice and determine whether such model is pragmatic with the
provision of Chinese Language education for NCSS.

In light of the synchronization and coherence making, Markee (1997) reviews the strengths
and weaknesses of some well known examples of innovations in second and foreign language
teaching such as the British Councils International Aid Activities in underdeveloped countries,
the Modern Languages Projects Development of notional-functional syllabuses, the Lancaster
Schools work on process syllabuses, Krashen and Terrells work on Natural Approach and
Prabus Bangalore Project and Task-based language teaching. She argues that these models
have not done adequate negotiation between the different levels of planning, namely, strategic
(curricular) and tactical (syllabus) planning where almost all of the models have faced major
setbacks at the actual implementation or did not achieve it intended objectives. In view of that
she expanded Candlins (1984) negotiated model (Figure 3.1) of curricular innovation to
exemplify how the Curricular and Teaching Innovation (CATI) project1 which was an ESL
program at a U.S. school was implemented.

CATI is a laboratory for curricular and teacher innovation, in which teachers develop materials, methodologies
and pedagogical attitudes that are perceive to be new and accumulate knowledge and contribute to the
development of ESL curriculum.
48

Figure 3.1: The CATI projects expanded negotiated model of Markee (Markee, 1997:48)

In her expanded model, she argues that curriculums govern what kind of teaching occurs in the
class, thus the operational planning which is included in the model is concerned with a high
level of detailed and day to day decisions that teachers have to make during the delivery of the
lesson. The effective implementation of a curriculum depends on teachers implementation in
attaining the aims, design, learning targets and learning objectives. The notion of feedback is
then reflected from this level to the tactical and strategic planning for improvising or
accounting for any deficiencies in the project. Through this model, it is noted that problems
occurs as we promote curricular innovation and this reminds us the need for constant review
of the curricular.

Therefore it is important for the change agents to develop contextually appropriate models of
curricula innovation and methodologies which are empirically sound for the teachers to
49

understand the actual interpretations (notional curriculum) into actual practice (operational
curriculum). Although Markees (1997) model exemplifies the process of curriculum and
teacher development based on task-based language teaching, it can help interpret and
understand policy that are made at the strategic level and implemented through a process of
adaptation and mediation with reference to the current study.

As the discussion reaffirms that these models and the SCG only offer steps and flow in
managing the curriculums at individual level and the fulcrum lies in how teachers design and
deliver the day-to-day curriculum. It is evident from the discussion (See 3.3.5) that a gap
exists in the SCG at the operational level on how teachers could make reference to concrete
examples and materials for their notional and operational curriculums.

At the operational level (Markee, 1997), according to F.K. Tsuis postulation (personal
communication, November, 2006), one of the informant for the study always advocate his
1-2-3 theory on the design and implementation of any curriculums in his school. In his theory,
1 refers to the curriculum framework, 2 refer to the subject management and 3 refer to the
learning palates (1st classroom learning, 2nd classroom learning and student work). In his
theory, he argues that for an effective design and delivery of a curriculum (notional and
operational) at a classroom level, it is important that the components in the theory are
negotiated and imparted with each other. If any of the components is omitted or
under-preformed, the learning and teaching of a particular subject will not be effective. Hence,
Tsuis theory (see Chapter 8.3.1) allow us to reflect on what we need to provide teachers at the
3 so that the teachers would have more guidance in interpreting and implementing the day to
day curriculum in the three learning palates.

50

3.3.3 Strategies for reviewing curriculum implementation

Curriculum evaluation as defined by various scholars (Gronlund, 1981; McNeil, 1977;


Popham, 1975; Stufflebeam et al, 1971; Worthen and Sanders, 1987) is as a process where
data on curriculum implementation is collected to measure whether the curriculum in-place is
effective in achieving its intended aims and objectives. The outcome of the evaluation would
then help inform and decide on whether to retain, modify or scrap the evaluated curriculum.

Other than the previous discussions on Taylor & Richards (1979) Means-ends Model and
Markees (1997) Expanded Negotiation Model, numerous of other major scholars in curriculum
evaluation have developed curriculum evaluation models such as Stakes (1967, 1975)
Countenance Model and Matrix for processing descriptive data, Scrivens (1967) Goal- Free
Model, Parlett & Hamiltons (1972) Illuminative Model, and Eisners (1977) Educational
Connoisseurship Model that equip and keep curriculum reviewers abreast of the mechanics of
curriculum evaluation.

As discussed earlier, the EDB formulates central curriculum framework for schools and expect
them to develop and adhere their school based curriculums with the reform principles and
directions, thus the aims and motives of EDBs curriculum evaluation is to explore the actual
progress that has been achieved and solicit opinions and standpoints of the frontline practitioners
(school heads, subject heads and teachers) on the curriculum implementation, thereby enabling
the EDB to measure their difference between the nominal and real pace of their target. Since the
officials perspective is to measure the curriculums effectiveness and depict the actual state of
play, the illuminative model (Parlett & Hamilton, 1972) is adopted. For instance, the EDB (2004)
conducted a Survey on the School Curriculum Reform and Implementation of Key Learning
Area Curricula in Schools 2003 on a territory scale to evaluate the progress of curriculum
51

reform and implementation of Key Learning Area curricula by means of survey questionnaires
and focused interview. Likewise, based on the EDBs report (2001) Learning to Learn: the Way
Forward in Curriculum Development, the bureau conducts a 10-year review of the curriculum
and assessment reform in the year of 2011 and 2012 on a territory-wide scale in a similar manner.
It is the intent of the study to identify whether such review is done with the NCSS Chinese. I
have reservation if the EDB have followed the above practice and coherently followed the
curriculum review model (See Chapter 2. 5 and Chapter 3.3.2).

Along these lines, one of the areas of the current study is to investigate and find out how the
teachers teaching NCSS Chinese are interpreting, designing and delivering their school based
NCSS curriculum based on the recommendation put forward in the SCG in 2008 when learning
Chinese was widely launched in 2004. Based on the remit of the study, the study will only focus
on three traditional high concentration designated secondary schools where views of parents
and students are solicited, therefore the current study should adopt an approach which serves
more than discovering and documenting (Parlett & Hamilton, 1972:2) the progress of
implementation at a national level. This approach will allow an insiders perspective to be
illuminated and depicted the first hand experience of the studied group; NCSS (Pole & Morrsion,
2003). The essence of ethnographic approach of critical ethnography (Carspecken & Walford,
2001) should be adopted since the intention of the research is to unearth the truth and construct
the actual reality and plights of the NCSS Chinese Language learning at secondary school level
(See Chapter 4.2).

3.3.4 Dilemma in CCCF and the SCG

It is the Hong Kongs curriculum culture where greater autonomy is given to schools to design
and deliver their curriculums. The EDB has always maintained a laissez-faire approach (Big
52

Market, Small Government) where schools are given freedom to interpret the curriculum
framework and design their school-based curriculums. With this practice, the fulcrum lies in
how curriculum developers and teachers interpret the framework and design the notional
curriculum and implement the operational curriculum accordingly. The guide is an elaboration
and moderation of the CCCF and it is identical. It is important to look at the CCCF to identify
the dilemma and debatable issues in the guide so as to examine whether the implementation of
the NCSS Chinese curriculum is effective.

If the aims and objectives of the framework designed by EDB are fault-free and teachers
interpretation strongly adheres with the rationale and guiding principles of EDB; that
particular school-based curriculum would be an ideal curriculum. Ideally, as discussed in
Chapter 2, the CCCF is marketed by the EDB as a flexible and robust curriculum framework
where schools can flexibly adopt or adapt the framework for a better design and delivery of
their school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum. However, in reality, concerns exist as to how
the aims and objectives in the framework can cater for the uniqueness of the NCSS language
repertoire and their language acquisition (See Chapter 3.4).

According to Mager (1962) objectives are conventionally stated in behavioral terms which are
intended to be specific, unambiguous and measurable. According to Blooms taxonomy of
educational objectives, objectives are classified under the domains of cognitive, affective and
psychometer. Cognitive domain is concerned with intellectual abilities and operations. This
domain is mainly adapted for comprehension skills in reading. The affective domain is
concerned with values, attitudes and appreciation where development of humanistic
approaches is fostered. While the last domain concentrate with motor skills and competence in
dealing with technical contexts. The present CCCF encompasses all the three domains of
Blooms taxonomy and appears to be distant from behavioral terms as proposed by Mager.
53

Widdosown (1979:6-7) defines objectives as the pedagogic intentions of a particular course of


study to be achieved within the period of the course and in principle measurable by some
assessment device at the end of the course. Although the use of behavioral objectives receive
widespread criticisms in terms of educational and practical grounds such as setting low-level
of objectives or different interpretations of the underlying rationale of the objective
(Davies:1976; Nichollas and Nichollas:1978; Stenhouse:1975; Taylor and Richards: 1979), it
allows educational practitioners to formulate goals to be specific, unambiguous and the notion
of curriculum innovation can take place in subjects which are values and attitudes laden such
the Moral and Civic Education.

Critics of behavioral objectives such as Einser (1972) and Stenhouse (1975) have some
common grounds on the use of behavioral objectives but have certain different perspectives.
Einser mentions that there are three types of objectives, namely, instructional, expressive and
Type III. In instructional objectives, it focuses on behavioral terms while expressive objectives
focus on personal responses and Type III focuses on getting students in inquiry based-learning.
Stenhouses argues that education has four aims such as induction into knowledge, initiation
into social norms, training and instruction. The formulation of behavioral objectives can be
employed while setting training and instruction objectives but not for induction nor initiation
because Stenhouse believes that education looks at ideas but not achieving the ultimate
behavior.

The objectives in the CCCF have both the cognitive and affective domain. The representation
is believed to be wide and broad but the adequacy is questionable since the design of the
CCCF is based on FLA, there appears to be an internal inconsistency in explaining how the
NCSS are catered in the framework with regards to the curricular differences between the L1
and L2/L3 learners. For instance, how can we expect the NCSS learning Chinese as L2 or L3
54

to master and articulate the language content (Literature, Chinese Culture and Moral &
Affective Development; CDC, 2008: 7) and thinking competence (Thinking and Independent
Language Learning; CDC, 2008:7) similar to their L1 counterparts in Hong Kong?
Furthermore, if NCSS have to adhere with the language and thinking competence, where
would their unique culture is placed in the current arrangement? On one hand, teachers
interpreting these objectives would definitely be in a paradoxical position whether to
forcefully assimilate the NCSS with these aims or retain them with their own culture. On the
other hand, teachers would be puzzled on the breath and depth they have to go while
interpreting the CCCF.

3.3.5 The deficiencies in the SCG

Although, the officials from the EDB claim and propagate the flexibility and robustness of the
CCCF, the designated schools find it difficult to align and echo their school curriculum
towards the so-called flexible and robust CCCF (See Chapter 6 & 7). The rationale of the
bureau may have been that, the CCCF is adaptable and adoptable for schools to cater for the
diversified learners in the designated schools. Furthermore, the competencies are general
descriptors whereby schools can design a curriculum, which matches the CCCF through
employing different teaching methodologies and pedagogies to attain the respective learning
targets.

As discussed in Chapter 2, many of the stakeholders has been advocating for an alternative
curriculum in the form of a Teaching Chinese as a second language (TCSL) curriculum while
the bureau swiftly compiled an SCG for schools in 2008. Ideally, the guide was meant to be a
document that would help teachers to interpret the CCCF. The four curriculum modes are an
illusion where high concentration designated schools are unable to flexibly and robustly
55

employ the modes due to the hindrance imposed by varying students ability and teachers
curricular competence at the notional and operational level (See Chapter 5 & 6).

SCG, curriculum mode 1: Immersion in Chinese Language Lesson


Although this curriculum mode encourages schools to employ this curriculum mode whereby
NCSS could benefit more in a language rich environment with the Chinese counterparts,
confusion arises as to what constitute a threshold Chinese level for the NCSS under such mode.
It seems that the bureau is also applying the same benchmark of language proficiency of the
TL learners towards the NCSS learners and ignoring the issues of unique language
acquisitions and Chinese Language process of the NCSS.

With no doubt, under such approach the NCSS could improve their Chinese and the TL learner
could improve their English and ultimately students could learn more about each others
culture and racial harmony could be displayed. However, there are some huge implications to
the lessons objectives and the provision of multicultural education during the actual
implementation of this mode. Although the EDB cautioned the prerequisite of having remedial
programmes and having effective diagnostic tools, the lesson objectives have to be clear and
able to cater for the different needs of both types of learners. Cultural allusions and schemata
is an aspect that needs a great deal of mastery when grouping the NCSS and TL learners
together. For multicultural education, the notion is not only confined to displaying racial
harmony but how the embedding of values such as acceptance, respect and appreciation is
addressed in the long term if this curriculum mode is to be sustainable.

SCG, curriculum mode 2: Bridging and Transition


Questions arise on how NCSS can depigeonize the Chinese language through such mode and
able to internalize the private speech to mediate in the Chinese Language environment
56

(Schumman, 1978b; Lantolf, 1994). In addition, it also raises concern on how teachers or
school can flexibly adjust their teaching with reference to the robust Chinese curriculum
framework. The SCG only mentions that teachers can overcome the learners language
difficulties through the comparison of their L1 but without specifying concrete examples to
which teachers can refer to.

The bureau propagate the use of bridging approach to ensure learners could build
fundamentals to learn the Chinese progressively, however, if we look at the experiences of the
Mainlanders (Newly Arrived Children) in Hong Kong who are learning English at their
adolescence, at the end they could not reach the required standard. Although they started
learning English with a lower expectation from teachers and adapted curriculum, they end up
learning progressively but fall short behind the expected level at their age group. This might
be the similar case for the NCSS learners; if the setting of objectives and teaching pace are not
progressive, then these learners will have a similar fate as the mainlanders.

The idea of teaching receptive skills followed by productive skills seems to be reasonable.
Teachers have to be cautious because there are huge implications and huge amount of
workload while teaching them the difference between the spoken and written discourse. Also,
the teaching method [Silent stage Imitation Stage Inter-language Stage] mentioned in the
guide seems to share the properties of audiolingualism, this approach has been heavily
criticized for discarding or taking into account of the learners thought process, in particular,
the case of NCSS who have multiple thought process, then it seems this approach has simply
suggested a method that is not consistent with the learning of the NCSS.

57

SCG, curriculum mode 3: Specific Learning Purposes


There are concerns as to how these learners would be capable in coping with the available
examinations, if they pursued. Although the bureau recommended and labeled international
examinations (at L2 standard) as attainable by NCSS, according to Ullah (2008), in his
comparative study on the relative suitability between the local and foreign examination, it was
found that the performance of the NCSS in both examinations were below-par. Under such
condition, with this mode solely teaching learners with the training of receptive skills
(Listening and Speaking), it is doubtful how these learners could cope with the examination
requirements even in a simpler examination. Nonetheless, the suggested examinations in the
guide have limited assessment on the practical use of the language.

SCG, curriculum mode 4: Integrated


Metaphorically, this approach is somewhat like a mixed platter (Curriculum mode 1 - 3), if the
chef messes one of the element in the platter or presented in an ill- manner, the whole platter
would not be enjoyed by the eaters. Likewise, the schools are the chef and the curriculum
modes are the ingredients in the platter, this would be a big and daunting task for schools to
initiate their curriculum and assessment. Without a common direction, these high
concentration designated schools will have different interpretations of the CCCF and hence
different teaching outcomes would be entailed.

It might be reasonable to imagine the following hypothetical situation where Beckham and
Capello who were studying together in the same NCSS primary school whereby the school
employs the mixed curriculum mode. At their primary six graduation ceremony, their Chinese
teacher Mr. Ferguson told them their Chinese proficiency is above Key Stage 1 (Primary 3).
Afterwards, they opted for different schools and undergone six years of Chinese learning with
an integrated curriculum mode. At the end Beckhams language proficiency was graded as U
58

(Unclassified grade in the HKDSE Chinese Language examination) whereas Capello at level
1(Level 1 out of Level 5) in their public examination. In other words, they were unable to
meet the benchmark (Level 2) of the assessment framework if they pursue for the L1 Chinese
examination. This is a possible situation that would happen when schools have their own
interpretation and delivery of their own curriculums without a common ground.

All-in-all, the immersion mode (Curriculum mode 1) appeals to schools which have a small
intake of NCSS and large intake of Chinese students. However, when schools adopt this
approach, schools have to give more consideration to the multicultural aspect of assimilation.
For the bridging mode (Curriculum mode 2), the use of the audio-lingual approach
undermines the NCSS opportunity to use their multiple thought process and the use of
intensive remedial teaching would only be a short-fix for learners problem but the grand
objectives of the Chinese Language will hardly be met. For the specific approach (Curriculum
mode 3), it is unjustifiable to only teach the language for communicative purpose and make
the learners sit for an exam that does not reflect their language learning outcome. Also, most
of the NCSS studying in these designated schools is from the grassroots families and third
generation living in Hong Kong and they would not leave Hong Kong in a short-term, so is it
fair to pre-set such a low termination point?

For the integrated approach (Curriculum mode

4), this is intended for schools with a large intake of NCSS, the only concern that would arise
is the schools capability and professional capacity in delivering and managing the different
curriculums for the different group of NCSS.

The SCG offers hint on curriculum organization and seems to be ill-equipped with very little
concrete ideas and tips to teachers in interpreting, designing and delivering a school-based
NCSS Chinese curriculum. The SCG seems to be more suitable for curriculum developers
rather than the curriculum executioner. The teachers have little relevance with the guide as it
59

does not really offer them how to plan, interpret and execute the curriculum and the lessons.

3.3.6 Confused multiple exit assessments

As suggested in the SCG, NCSS can opt for different examinations once they complete their
schooling; the exams include both local and international examinations (at L2 standard).
Ironically, the local examination (HKDSE; Chinese Language and Culture) and CCCF are
designed based on the first language principles, it is hardly surprising to believe that, the
NCSS are taught through the curriculum based on the general descriptors of the CCCF and are
given the option to attend the international examinations (at L2 standard) such as, GCSE,
IGCSE, GCE-AS level or GCE A-level. In short, the NCSS are asked to follow a curriculum
based on the first language principles and sit for an examination that is designed based on the
second language principles. As discussed in Chapter 2, there is no international literature
which makes reference to learning in one curriculum framework but sit for various exit
assessments. It is the intent of the study to look at whether such a practice is an effective
means to enhance ones literacy. Also, the multiple exit assessment for NCSS might have
deceived parents (See Chapter 7.2.1) on their childrens Chinese language competence.

Ullahs study (2008) confirms that the local Chinese examinations requires more particularly
well developed level of competence in Chinese form the NCSS and suggested ten amendments
that could make the NCSS sit for the local examination. Ullah expresses the following
concerns in his studies.

Using the analogy of the local Use of English (UE) test and the UK A-Level English test to explain the term
implicit knowledge, the former is a test for students whose L2 is English whereas the latter assumes candidates
have acquired English as L1. The UK A-level exam assumes that the user is an integrated part of the
English-speaking culture and can understand cultural allusions and idioms. By contrast, UE focuses on the use
of English by L2 users in Hong Kong. In fact, Singapore feels so confident about its populations competence

60

in English that it adopts the UK A-level English in preference to a locally-based English (L2) examination. If
this is the case in Hong Kong, students who have learned Chinese as a second or foreign language may be at a
considerable disadvantage, especially if the examination assumes that testees have direct experience of aspects
of Chinese culture and idiom. By contrast, it might be logical to assume that a Chinese Language examination
offered by an international board and intended for global rather than local consumption might be more
appropriate for Hong Kongs NCSS. (pp.2-3)

Implicit versus explicit knowledge in assessment


Ullah (2008) concludes that the assumptions held behind the design of both types of
examination are broadly similar, but the HKCEE Chinese examinations demand a particularly
well developed level of competence in Chinese in terms of implicit as well as explicit
knowledge. The participants performance in both tests was poor; however they performed
better in the IGCSE Chinese examination. If this is the present state of play, questions exist on
how schools can flexibly adapt their school-based curriculum and gear their NCSS towards the
public examinations basing on those general descriptors laid in the CCCF (See Chapter 5).

Clearly, there is a difference between the learning outcome of the examination between the
foreign and local examinations. It seems that the burden of responsibility is shifted to schools
to design their own school-based curriculum based on the SCG and gear their learners towards
the examinations that schools deem most suitable for the NCSS. If the EDB issued an SCG,
why is there no assessment guide for the NCSS? Students are confused with their choices and
appear that their preference for the examination is done by the teachers (See Chapter 5).

Even, if students are given to choose, they are confused with the choices and it should not be
assumed that if some parents know about assessment arrangement; it should be a rule to all
parents. It is questionable as to why our HKEAA does not have a supplementary assessment
guide for NCSS so that they are well-informed with their choices and questions also arise as to
who should be responsible for the echoing work.
61

3.3.7 Concerns on teachers LTEC

Teachers teaching NCSS might have little awareness of the NCSS language transfers and
unique property of their L1 due to the low proximity between Chinese and NCSS L1 (See
Chapter 3.4). The discussion confirms that the interpretations of the CCCF are subject to the
teachers competence. If the interpretations are aligned with the EDBs aims and objectives, it
would be in ideal situation but if it is distant, then the situation would be abysmal. The SCG
fails to include useful content that are of high relevance to curriculum executioners such as the
recent work on Teaching Chinese as a second language (TCSOL) (OCLCI: 2007). TCSOL
draws on the most recent research insights in the SLA field that could offer teacher teaching
NCSS with a better assistance in interpreting and articulating the CCCF in terms of an overall
framework for the knowledge, abilities and skills required for teachers teaching Chinese to
speakers of other languages.

As Thomas (1987) mentioned a desired LTC and LTEC for teachers are vital with respect to
the role they play in schools, if teachers teaching NCSS have such competence, there would
not be a strong backing for an alternative Chinese curriculum from some front-line teachers.

62

Language Teaching Educator Competence (LTEC):


Competence in teaching how to teach language = Methodological Competence
Explicit knowledge of pedagogic-linguistic theory = Pedagogic-linguistic Awareness
Competence in teaching language
= Pedagogic Competence
Explicit knowledge of language system and use = Language Awareness
Competence in language system and use
= Language Competence
Language Teacher Competence (LTC):
Competence in teaching language
= Pedagogic Competence
Explicit knowledge of language system and use = Language Awareness
Competence in language system and use
= Language Competence
Language Learner Competence (LLC):
Competence in language system and use

= Language Competence

Figure 3.2 Thomas language competence diagram (1987)

In his work, he layered the language competence of a user based on the role they use for a
language. As illustrated in Figure 3.2, the first layer is the basic and fundamental for a
language learner competence (LLC), the second layer imparts the LLC and the pedagogic and
63

language awareness for a language teacher competence (LTC) while the last layer which
imparts LLC and LTC and the methodological and pedagogic-linguistic awareness for a
language teacher educator competence (LTEC). Thomas stresses that a recursive pattern is
needed at each layer; to impart a higher layer of competence, one must need to maintain the
level of competence required at that level and build on the higher layer. For the present study,
the discussion seems to suggest that the teachers require the LLC and LTC for delivering the
curriculum while for the curriculum design an LTEC is required. Thomas work will be used in
the study to review the teachers competence in designing and delivering the NCSS
curriculum.

3.3.8 Summary of section 3.3

To sum up, Goodlands (1966) definition of curriculum is adopted in the study and the levels
of curriculum that is examined in the study are the notional, operational and experiential. The
discussion has established that a gap exists in the literature in explaining and depicting the
curriculum model(s) that is currently employed at the NCSS Chinese curriculum from the
strategic (CCCF) to operational (day-to-day curriculum) level and also there is a gap in
literature in explaining how the coherence making between the strategic, tactical and
operational level is achieved.

This section of literature has also discussed how EDB employs the illuminative approach
(Parlett & Hamiltons 1972) to evaluate the curriculum reforms and implementation; the
author argues that this evaluative model lacks the essence of comprehensiveness in involving
all the stakeholders and insiders perspective in illuminating the genuine truth, therefore the
essence of critical ethnography (See Chapter 4) is employed in the study for evaluating the
implementation of the CCCF and SCG.
64

EDB adopts a culture of designing and formulating a curriculum framework based on a


laissez-faire approach (Big Market, Small Government) that gives autonomy to schools to
interpret, design and deliver their school-based curriculum. In the case of many subjects in
Hong Kong, textbook publishers would take the role of curriculum interpreters and developers
and offload the teachers pressure from designing in-house materials from scratch. By doing so,
the gap between the curriculum framework and the schools curriculum would be narrowed.
However, in the case of NCSS Chinese, the situation is quite the opposite since the market is
very niche and there are no economic incentives for them to explore this niche market.

The discussion has mentioned that there are little formal studies that look at how the
designated schools interpret the CCCF at the tactical level and how the teachers at the
operational level execute the day-to-day NCSS Chinese curriculum. Although the aims and
objectives of CCCF are broad and include both cognitive and affective domain, there is little
evidence to suggest that the CCCF, which is designed based on FLA, addresses the thinking
(Thinking and Independent Language Learning; CDC, 2008:7) and language competence
(Literature, Chinese Culture and Moral & Affective Development CDC, 2008:7) that might be
demanding for NCSS. In addition, it is premature to conclude if the provision of an alternative
curriculum (TCSL) would address the anomalies that exist in the current provision of Chinese
Language education for NCSS.

There are quite a number of oversights in the SCG and it failed to address the actual linguistic
barriers that the NCSS may face in their primary or secondary schooling. The four curriculum
modes seem to connote more with the issue of curriculum organizations or principles rather
than the actual pedagogical approaches where teachers can flexibly employ.

65

3.4 NCSS language acquisition and Chinese language learning

NCSS are multilingual and research gap exists in the existing literature in explaining their
unique language acquisition process and learning of Chinese. NCSS often feel threatened by
their inability to articulate and learn TL; Chinese Language. They are particularly hit hard by
this inferiority when it comes to further schooling or seek employment. We should not be
disillusioned by their up-to-par speaking competence because concerns exist on their Chinese
literacy. The term literacy is referred to the reading and writing competence of the TL of the
NCSS in the current study. When they live in Hong Kong for five years, they can master the
basic spoken competence but the Chinese literacy would not be the same as their spoken
competence. On one hand, NCSS need to catch up with their L3 (Chinese) and L2 (English)
language learning, and on the other hand, their L1 is often suppressed and neglected at school
since the MOI of the NCSS is predominantly English.

The ethnic minorities in Lopers (2004) and Lees (2006) study reflect that the learning of
Chinese Language is for survival and it was pointed out that many of EM youths were not
given any opportunities to either learn Chinese or the Chinese programme in place seemed to
be incapable in meeting Chinese literacy required for occupational needs. Hence, without a
Chinese Language curriculum that caters for their genuine needs, it will ultimately affect their
prospect of further educational and career opportunities in Hong Kong. It is a matter of paper
qualification; the mismatch of competence between their Chinese literacy and spoken
competence would result in dire consequences for the NCSS.

Language acquisition as defined by Bussmann (1996) as the natural acquisition of ones first
language or the natural acquisition of a second/multiple languages or second language
acquisition in a formal learning environment and the relearning of ones first language disorder.
66

Research in this field has formulated four main hypotheses, namely the behaviorist hypothesis
proposed by Skinner (1957), the 'nativism' from Chomsky (1959), the cognition hypothesis by
Rice and Kemper (1984) and the social constitution hypothesis by Miller (1980). Most of the
existing western literature (Brown and Hanlon, 1970; Chomsky, 1959; Duly et al., 1982; Ellis,
1994; Fletcher and Garman, 1986; Fry, 1977; Krashen, 1977,1978, 1981, 1985; Larsen et al.,
1991) on first language acquisition (FLA) and second language acquisition (SLA) focus on
how learners acquire English or other European languages but little research appears to have
been undertaken to address the language acquisition of Chinese language in Hong Kong by the
multilingual NCSS. In addition, those studies mostly make reference to how a learner with a
phonemic language background learn another phonemic language, such as English speaker
learning Spanish language but there is an absence of literature in explaining how a learner
with a phonemic language background (NCSS L1) learn a morphosyllabic and logographic
language (Chinese).

3.4.1 1st Language Acquisition

It is believed that in FLA, if children are given a reasonable exposure to the language,
acquisition is rapid, the children would master most of the language structures within the first
five years (Fry: 1977). The children would go through the systematic stages of development
(Fletcher and Garman: 1986) and generally the acquisition develops from simple contact in a
natural setting without the benefit of correction or feedback (Brown and Hanlon: 1970).
Inevitably, the learners would develop the mental grammars beyond the input they receive and
ultimately, the acquisition of the target first language will be successful.

There are two approaches developed for FLA to explain its process of language acquisition,
namely the nativist and behaviorist approach. The former approach argues that the children
67

are born with a language faculty that is already equipped with a considerable knowledge about
the form that human takes and mental grammars that are to be exposed in an appropriate
manner. The latter approach argues that the linguistic knowledge grows as a result of the use
of progressive and more complex interaction patterns as the learner grows.

However, the situations of the NCSS are somewhat different from these general characteristics
(See Chapter 2.7-2.8). Since many of the NCSS were born in Hong Kong or have settled in
Hong Kong at an early age, they had little opportunities to correct and maintain their L1. Thus,
they acquire their L1 in a similar way as described in the FLA literature but they would
inevitably only master the oral competence of their L1 but not the literacy of it. As their L1 is
not used for any instructional purposes in Hong Kongs schooling system, many of the NCSS
would be unable to maintain or acquire their L1 in a native-like proficiency. Hence, they could
only speak their L1 and use other instructional language such as English for literacy purpose,
thus their instructional language (L2) would replace their L1 in their language repertoire (See
Chapter 5). In my case, I was acquiring my L1 (Pashto) naturally when there is no written
form for my L1, I did not have any opportunities here in Hong Kong to learn Urdu in a formal
setting to a level where I was able to read and write comfortably. As a result, I have to use my
L2 (English) in lieu of my L1 (Pashto). All-in-all, NCSS are used to deal with the
low-proximity of these languages in their language repertoire.

3.4.2

2nd Language Acquisition

In SLA, the L1 characteristics are common but are different in the following manners. First,
the presence of feedback or error correction (Ellis, 1990) does help learners to develop
metalinguistic awareness and knowledge that goes beyond the input they are exposed to
(Bley-Vermon et al., 1988). Second, SLA is not inevitable as second language learners might
68

not be successful despite going through a formal learning (Skehan, 1989) and this is explained
by the notion of conscious and unconscious processing (Ellis, 2004). Explicit knowledge of a
second language is associated with conscious processing and implicit knowledge is associated
with unconscious processing. Ellis (2004) defines implicit knowledge as formulaic and
rule-based knowledge that are held unconsciously by the learners and it is demonstrated by the
learner during their actual performance, while explicit knowledge is declarative knowledge of
phonological, lexical, grammatical, pragmatic and social cultural features of L2 which are held
consciously by the learners.

My study (Ullah, 2008) echoes with Ellis in that, L2 learners do not perform or master the
language well when they are heavily tested or asked on implicit knowledge. The study was
conducted on a group of 13 NCSS, who participated in both tests, on the IGCSE Chinese
examination (designed for L2 learners) and HKCEE Chinese examination (designed for L1
learners) Chinese examination, it was found that the participants mean scores were well
below the threshold level (50%) in both tests. For IGCSE, the participants mean scores were
relatively better than the HKCEE Chinese examination. This help explains why the NCSS
could not perform well in the examinations since the assessment in HKCEE has a strong
connotation of testing implicit knowledge.

There are also two approaches, namely the nativist and cognitivist in explaining the SLA.
The former approach assumes the innate language faculty that functions as in FLA to work
similarly in SLA. The latter approach argues that the second language linguistic knowledge
develops as a result of learners applying meta-cognitive strategies/mechanisms to specific case
of SLA. Although, Krashen (1977, 1978, 1981, 1985) developed his Monitor Theory
composed of four hypotheses that provide a framework for teaching a second language,
namely, The Input Hypothesis; The Natural Order Hypothesis; The Affective Filter Hypothesis;
69

and The Acquisition vs. Learning Hypothesis and allowing us to understand the fundamentals
for the communication-based teaching strategies, his theories and other nativist theorists only
provide an understanding as to how people acquire a second language but fails to explain how
environmental factors such as social, psychological and linguistic factors in second language
acquisition affects the second language learner.

Schumann (1976, 1978a,b) argues that social distance, consisting of eight factors (Social
Dominance, Integration Pattern, Cohesiveness, Enclosure, Size, Cultural Congruence,
Attitude) leads to a successful or failure of a second language acquisition of a learner. He
mentions that the more number of negative social factors affect an L2 learner with the target
language group, the more difficulties will the L2 learner has in acquiring the target language
successfully, vice versa, ceteris paribus. Schumann also argues that psychological distance
(culture shock, language shock and motivation) would have effect on an individuals ability in
acquiring the second language. According to Schumann, culture shock is the second stage of
acculturation into a new society and language shock occurs when the target language is very
different from an L2 learners L1. While if an L2 learner desires for career, education
(instrumental motivation) or to integrate into the mainstream society (integrative motivation),
he would acquire the language more successfully. Schumann elaborated that a high social and
psychological distance from the target language group would cause persistence of
pidginization in the speech of a second language learner. Hence, the development of the L2
learner to achieve the TL gets stagnant.

Along these lines, Steinberg et al., (2006) have suggested that there are two other factors
which might affect the success of second language acquisitions, namely, the psychological and
social factors. The sub-factors of the psychological are the intellectual processing, memory
and motor skills whereas for the social are motivation and attitude. Table 3.1 summarizes their
70

work:
Psychological factors

Social factors

Inductive

Explicative

Memory

Motor Skills

Natural

Classroom

Children under 7

High

Low

High

High

High

Low

7-12

High

Medium

Medium/high

Medium/high

Medium

Medium

Adults over 12

High

High

Medium

Low

Low

High

Table 3.1: Important psychological and social factors affecting second language learning for children and adults. (Steingberg, 2006:128)

Steinberg et al divided the language learners into three groups, namely Children under 7, 7-12
and Adults over 12. In the psychological factors, it is generally believed that the cognitive
processing increases with age, the more complex or abstract the thing is, learners explicative
skills progresses whereas the memory for children under the age of 7 rises because adults have
a wide range of things to cater apart form the language itself. As for motor skills, children
have good motor skills but adults (above the age of 12) pure motor (pronunciation) skills will
fall as they grow. In the social factors, younger learners tend to accept the language and the
cultural allusions whereas older learners would try to maintain their identity and cultural
allusions or customs while learning and communicating the language in a natural setting.
However, this is a reverse in a classroom situation; adult learners tend to perform better in a
classroom as they are accustomed to the classroom settings and have a decent amount of
mastery to the use the language, thus, young learners would require time to adapt to the
classroom learning. Thus, in theory, it might suggest that for psychological factors, NCSS
would be able to cope with the Chinese language and its allusions as they grow, however their
memory will decline as they have to commit their meta-cognition to other initiatives such as
maintaining their other languages and subjects.

Many bilingual studies have found that cognitive and academic development in the first
language has an extremely important and positive effect on second language schooling (e.g.
Bialystok, 1991; Collier, 1989, 1992; Garcia, 1994; Genesee, 1987, 1994; Thomas & Collier,
71

1995). Cummins (1991, 1994) indicates that students acquire their second language better if
they have a robust foundation in their L1. Although these studies suggest that additive second
language acquisition has a positive cognitive benefit for immigrants, who are able to acquire a
high degree of proficiency in both languages,

The development of additive bilingual and biliteracy skills entails no negative consequences for childrens academic, linguistic,
or intellectual development. On the contrary, although not conclusive, the evidence points in the direction of subtle
metalinguistic, academic, and intellectual benefits for bilingual children. (Cummins, 1994: 27).

the situation of bilingual education for the NCSS in Hong Kong are quite different from the
ethnic minorities in the United States and Canada. The ethnic minority in those countries learn
a second language (English) for instructional process across the curricular and academic
content of other subjects with various bilingual education programmes to assist them whereas
the NCSS can choose to study in an English or Chinese medium schools or in many cases,
many enrolled in English medium schools where they can still survive through the schooling
system with English but would be unable to cope with the demand of the Chinese language for
workplace when they complete their schooling. However, the Prism Model of Thomas &
Collier (1997) helps us understand the complex process of second language acquisition within
a school context in the US. In their model, they have included the four major components of
social cultural, linguistic, academic and cognitive process as a multifaceted prism with these
dimensions as interdependent and complex in nature. Their research confirmed that many
policy makers in the US ignored the social cultural and cognitive development processes of
the L2 learners. More importantly, their findings implicate the educational settings to provide
a socioculturally supportive school environment that allows natural language, academic, and
cognitive development to flourish. Likewise, their US experience is a good reference point to
understand the local scenario.
72

3.4.3

3rd Language Acquisition

The notion of Multilingual or Multilingualism appears to have limited literature and is


somewhat under-explored and defining the term seems to be fussy. For instance, Herdina et al.
(2002) defines it as the command and/or use of two or more languages whereas an Oxford
Advanced Learners Dictionary defines as speaking or using several different languages. It is
tempting to believe that most of the studies conducted in language acquisition put more
strength into believing that theories in SLA could be moved to third language acquisition
(TLA) to gauge the literature gap (Hoffman, 2001; Herdina et al,2002; Marx and Hufeisen,
2004; Lee, 2006) of multilingualism.

Therefore, question exists as to whether individual learning differences exist when mastering
several languages simultaneously. Burck (2005) points out that there has been a continuous
debate on the differences between individuals learning several languages simultaneously from
birth, called poly-lingual or compound bilinguals and those who learn one before another,
termed polyglot or coordinate bilinguals. Like in the case of NCSS, Chinese language is
neither their L2 nor L3; possibly it might be their L2.5.

NCSS are multilingual, if language forms thoughts, they should have more than two thoughts
at least. This might not be an issue to the EDB where they have encouraged schools to use
approaches of first/second language acquisition to teach Chinese to the NCSS. For instance,
the SCG (EDB, 2008:39) encourages schools to employ the approach of getting students
through the silent stage and then the imitation stage. In applied linguistics, this approach is
classified as audio-lingual under the school of thought of behaviourism and there have been
divisions between Skinner and Chomsky on this approach. According to Skinner (1957),
language learning goes through experience, imitation and selective conditioning. In his work,
73

he regarded mind and thinking as irrelevant for the use of the language. However, Chomsky
(1959) attacks Skinners theory for undermining an individual of using his/her creativity or
self-thought in using the language. If the audio-lingual approach has been a downfall for first
language acquisition based on Chomskys view, then why is such approach recommended for
the teachers to employ on the NCSS, given the fact that, learning Chinese is complex?

Along these lines, Singh (2001) mentions that learners will choose to learn a particular
language or languages based on their value towards that particular language or languages and
personal preference, both of which can be driven by either extrinsic factors such as the
language being the dominant one in the society or intrinsic ones such as a persons particular
admiration of a language.

The NCSS in Hong Kong are multilingual and competent speakers

of a number of dialects. However, due to the inexistence of opportunities for them to learn
Chinese language effectively, it had created a lot of social problems for them. It appears from
the case studies of Loper (2004) and Lee (2006) that many of the graduated NCSS are actively
seeking means to learn Chinese so that some lights could be shed on their lives as they are
planning to stay in Hong Kong in the foreseeable future (See Chapter 2.9-2.10).

3.4.4

Chinese Language learning for NCSS

There is abundance of research from anthropology, sociology, sociolinguistics,


psycholinguistics, and education (Hernandez-Chavez, 1984; Minicucci and Olsen, 1992;
Oakes, 1985; Ogbu 1993; Spencer, 1988; Wong, 1991) which has provided insights into the
powerful and complex influence of sociocultural processes on SLA, in particular the work of
Schumann (1976, 1978a,b) and Thomas & Collier (1997). Schumann (1978a) mentions that
the pace of a learner learning his/her second language changes over time with his/her degree
of acculturation. In his framework, he assumes that the learners language is pidginize in his
74

early learning stage (Schumann, 1978b) because there are social and psychological factors that
make them less acculturated to the target groups language, however, at a later stage,
overcoming the social and psychological barriers or some improvement in the acquisition of
the target language, the depidginization of the language take place when the learners
acculturate with the target language group.

Along these lines, Berry et al. (2006) supplemented the socialcultural literature by elaborating
two underlying dimensions, namely, the cultural maintenance and participation in the
mainstream societies. They have come up with four acculturation profiles that describes
groups of adolescents with their unique ways of handling the acculturation process, namely,
the integration profile (preference for integration and reject assimilation), ethnic profile
(strong ethnic identity, high ethnic language proficiency and usage and strong contacts with
their ethnic peers), national profile (high national and assimilation attitude) and diffuse profile
(uncertain and ambiguous about their place in the society). Given the fact that there is a rich
and favorable language environment in Hong Kong, from my upbringing experience in Hong
Kong, many NCSS stay in a close bonding with their community and refrain themselves to
acculturate with the Chinese counterparts but view the importance of Chinese learning for
survival, the work of Berry at al. (2006) shed lights to the current study in terms of the
profiling of successful or unsuccessful NCSS Chinese learners.

Lantolfs Sociocultural Theory (SCT) (1994) can also help explain how inadequate
acculturation and not taking advantage of the readily available Chinese language environment
would affect the success of acquiring the TL. SCT as defined by Lantolf as an approach to
learning and understanding of mental development. Its main proposition is that human do not
interact directly to the real world but with the cognitive and material activities which are
mediated by symbolic artifacts, both physically and culturally. The term mediation refers to
75

individual(s) who use the cultural artifacts such as physical or symbolic tools (numbers,
arithmetic systems, music and language) to make connection with the real world so that a
developmental process would take place.

Lantolf argues that human neurobiology is a necessary condition for higher order thinking.
The cognitive processing helps to adjust between the person and the environment and this
adjustment help to mediate the relationship between the individual and the real world. Lantolf
argues that we use language to think and likewise, proponents of this theory (Sapir, 1921;
Vygotsky, 1934; Carroll, 1956) hold that language system with its rules of vocabulary is
necessary for mental activity. Although Steinberg et al. (2006) argues that this theory fall short
behind in looking at the issue of deaf children who pick up the language with the sign
language at the age of three and multilingual who have different thought systems while
acquiring different languages simultaneously would have formed different thought systems.
The present study explores how the NCSS would mediate in such a language environment and
it is beyond the scope of the study to come to terms with the differences of the proponents and
opponents of this theory. Therefore, according to Lantolf, L2 learners would use private
speech to mediate the mental activity; an individual would make appropriate patterns and
meanings of the speech to internalize the discourse. The study would make reference to
Lantolfs SCT theory (2006), Berry et al (2006) acculturation profiles to account for the
Chinese language learning difficulties faced by NCSS and validate to which extend these
theories apply in the context.

Apart from the social cultural issue, based on the findings of the limited studies on Chinese
language acquisition, there are at least three probable reasons to account for the success or
failure of NCSS acquiring the Chinese language. First, the written form of the standard
modern Chinese is not parallel to the spoken form (Cantonese) and its pronunciation. Chinese
76

has a Romanized pronunciation system, i.e., Pinyin which is by far different from the 44
phonemes in English and totally different from Hindi, Urdu and Nepali. Second, in Chinese
sentences, there not only exists the grammatical structure but also the conceptual schemes or
figurative language (mostly metaphors and analogy) used in the sentence structures. Third, the
huge variations in semantics and syntactic system in the Chinese usage which makes it
difficult for L1 learners whose language have a low-proximity with Chinese.

Apparently, learning Chinese for NCSS is difficult because the effort required by the NCSS to
put in the Chinese language is much more than putting in other languages such as French or
English. According to Walton (1992) and Wang (1995), for non-native speakers to reach a
proficiency level in Chinese, they have to require themselves to allocate an additional of 175
percent of effort than studying language such as French, German and Spanish.

The main problem for L2 learners in acquiring the four skills in Chinese learning are in
someway due to the problems arising from learners vocabulary acquisition (Gao, Li & Guo
1993).

As statistics (Wang 1986) suggests that, to be an affluent reader in Chinese, a learner

must have at least acquire 3000 frequently words of which covers 86.7% of reading materials.
That implies a good mental lexicon is essential, however given the complex nature of the
Chinese language, rote memory is not an ultimate mean for the NCSS.

Ironically, EDB

suggested teachers to look at the communalities between the NCSS L1 and Chinese to teach
NCSS vocabulary, syntax and pronunciation. This raises concerns as to how knowledge of the
NCSS L1, which is completely different from Chinese, would effectively help NCSS learn
better in view of the un-imparted proficiencies of the NCSS.

Thus, it might appear to be more difficult for L2 learners to acquire the same mental
representation of the L1 learners as there age progresses. NCSS might have difficulties to use
77

Chinese to mediate their cognitive activity in the cultural linguistic and historically formed
settings in the classroom and the society. Moreover, their Chinese pronunciation will not be
mastered well if they start learning the language at a later stage or the school employs the third
curriculum mode (Learning for specific purpose). Nonetheless, the NCSS would resist to the
Chinese language as they grow because in the process of maintaining their L1 and English,
they will maintain their cultural allusions and customs, more importantly, although they will
be learning better in a classroom situation, this might not be favourable, if the teaching or
learning outcomes employed or initiated by the school is gauged low, then the acquisition
might not progress and their stage of learning might fossilize.

According to Cheng (2000), Chinese is a language which is written in morphemic characters


with most of its words being compound. In her study, it was found that native Chinese
speakers employs their radicals and word structure knowledge to infer the meaning of less
familiar or unfamiliar words effectively whereas for non-native speakers it is not the case.
The study arrives at proposing three pedagogical strategies for three levels, namely, the
beginning, intermediate and advanced. In the beginning level, the L2 learners are taught about
the core words, basic character radicals and knowledge of character structure and in the
process make the learners to apply this knowledge to recognize and memorize words. In the
intermediate level, the L2 learners are taught the knowledge of word structure and related
rules and in the process, get the learners to use the knowledge in a contextualized scenario. For
advanced level, L2 learners are taught the low-frequency words and lexical phrases and in the
process, train the learners to use different strategies to enlarge their mental lexicon. It is also
the intent of this study to infer the difficulties faced by the learners of Chinese from these
studies (Cheng, 2000; Gao, Li & Guo 1993; Wang 1986; Wang 1995) to consolidate the
problems encountered by NCSS while learning Chinese in Hong Kong.

78

3.4.5

Summary of section 3.4

As Kessler (1984) mentions that,


while research does not support the hypothesis that the acquisition of a second language is identical to that
of the first language, neither does it support the position that the two processes are different. (1984, p. 33)

there is almost no literature in explaining the unique language acquisition of the NCSS who
were mostly born or reside in Hong Kong for over an extensive period of time both in terms of
nativist and social cultural perspectives in acquiring the TL. Although, the FLA and SLA
literature offers explanations to the general characteristics of learners acquiring L1 or L2, gap
exists in the current literature in explaining how an NCSS with a phonemic language
background (NCSS L1) learn a morphosyllabic and logographic language (Chinese).
Furthermore, the literature in multilingualism is still somewhat fussy and failed to account for
the language acquisition of trilinguals since most of the current work in TLA is heavily based
on the borrowed theories of SLA. The discussion in the chapter quizzes on what accounts for
the underutilization of readily available Chinese language environment, and the study would
make reference to Schumann (1976, 1978b)s acculturation theory, Lantolfs SCT theory
(2006) and Berry et al (2006) acculturation profile to account for the Chinese language and
validate to which extend these theories apply in the Hong Kongs context.

Although, there are abundance of literature in SLA to explain how new migrants in the United
States or Canada learning an L2 through different types of bilingual education (Ben-Zeev,
1984; Bialystok & Cummins, 1991; Diaz & Klingler, 1991; Malakoff & Hakuta, 1991), the
situation in Hong Kong for the NCSS are quite in sharp contrast. First, many of the NCSS
were born in Hong Kong and unlike in those studies where the focus was emphasized on the
immigrants entering to the mainstream education with the TL, English.
79

Second, the majority of the NCSS learns English as their L2 for instructional purposes where
Chinese is also learnt as an additional L2 as part of their bilingual education, unlike the
provision of L1 programmes for the ethnic minority in the aforementioned studies. Third, the
NCSS have options to sit for multiple Chinese exit assessments whereby they would not be
worried with their academic and intellectual development in other subjects since they are
taught in English so long as they study in English medium schools. It is a concern that the
NCSS are already instructed in other academic subjects through L2 (English), which is not
their L1 and not all NCSS foundation of knowledge, skills and values in intellectual or
academic achievement as indicated in the public examination results are up to par, and this
does affect their overall understanding of the world and parallel development in Chinese.

Fourth, the languages that the NCSS acquire have low- proximity with the Chinese Language,
for instance, the South Asian languages which have a high proximity among each other (Urdu,
Hindi, Pashto, and Nepali) and they belong to Indo-European languages which are phonemic
whilst the Chinese Language which is a Sino-Tibetan language have a low proximity with the
South Asian languages. Thus, the implications for language acquisition process are somewhat
different from the traditional language acquisition literature.

The discussion has also confirmed that many of the NCSS in Hong Kong are un-imparted
linguists where they are only orally competent in their L1 and uses their L2 (English) for
instructional purposes. Hence, many of them can hardly master a native-like proficiency in
any of the languages in their repertoire. Therefore, due to the complexities of their language
repertoire, Chinese Language should not be viewed simply as their L2 because it is not their
L1. On the learning needs of Chinese, NCSS needs will be quite different from the TL
learners (mainstream Chinese) since the time they need to spend on Chinese requires more
80

effort. NCSS would require an effective mental lexicon to acquire the Chinese vocabulary.
Also, the syntactic elements which comprise conceptual and figurative language make it more
challenging for NCSS to build their syntactic knowledge both in terms of their gradual
development in their cognitive and social cultural aspect. Inevitably, the chance of succeeding
in acquiring the language becomes low.

3.5 Research framework and Research questions


By the title of this research, this study is concerned with problems encountered by NCSS
while learning Chinese. In the broadest sense, this study illuminates the issue encountered by
NCSS who have a phonemic language background and learn a morphosyllabic and
logographic language. A major purpose of the study is to achieve an understanding and
reviewing the provision of Chinese Language education for NCSS in terms of its planning and
implementation at governmental, school and classroom level. This would allow us to identify
factors, problems, needs and obstacles in the overall provision, and to propose
recommendations on the Chinese Language education provision that would materialize the
genuine needs and aspirations of the NCSS in learning Chinese.

On the basis of the literature in this chapter, it is clear that there has not been a single study
that addresses the intent purpose of the study. There are a number of research gaps that the
review of the relevant literature has identified such as the unavailability of literature in
explaining the NCSS language acquisition process. The elaboration on how a curriculum
framework is materialized from the interpretation to the actual implementation in day to day
classroom operation of NCSS Chinese learning. Also, the justification of a discrepancy
between the education and employment language policy with respect to NCSS and finally, the
rationalization of learning in an L1 curriculum framework and assessing in an L2 assessment
framework. It is the intent of the study to put these issues under the scrutiny of the readers
81

attention.

Thus, there is no single satisfactory framework appears to exist in the literature to serve as a
theoretical and methodological framework for the current study. Hence, it can be effectively
organized through a framework adapted from the literature review in this Chapter. In the
literature of curriculum review, Markees curriculum negotiation model (1997), Thomas
language competence model (1987) and Parlett & Hamiltons illuminative approach (1972) are
relevant to the study in terms of investigating the manner in which the CCCF is interpreted,
designed and delivered from the governmental to classroom level. In terms of NCSS Chinese
language acquisition and Chinese language learning, Schummans acculturation model (1976,
1978b), Berry et als (2006) acculturation profile and Lantolfs SCT (1994) are quite relevant
in explaining the unique language acquisition process in investigating the social cultural
aspect which will all be integrated into the study.

Based on the above discussion, this study purposes the following hypotheses:
1.

The Hong Kong government has not seriously dealt with the issue of providing
Chinese language education for NCSS which is evident by the lack of theoretical
framework for the measures proposed. The current measures that are in place are all
bureaucratic in nature and done in a manner to appease the concerns raised by NGOs
in LegCo.

2.

Thus, schools have difficulties in interpreting, designing and delivering a


school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum based on the SCG. In order to cope with the
situation, the teachers would set their termination point at GCSE Chinese
examination.

3.

NCSS have learnt the Chinese language for a period of time, their literacy level and
acculturation to the TL community is below-par.
82

4.

Contrary to the evidence, parents and some stakeholders believe that the current
Chinese language education arranged by schools is actually in line with their
aspirations.

In order to test these hypotheses, a series of investigations were conducted in this study. The
results of these investigations also provided answers to the following research questions:

1.

What is the actual Chinese learning outcome of the NCSS?

2.

How is the current implementation of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum in


operations?

3.

What are the major concerns of various stakeholders (parents, teachers, NGOs and
EDB) on the notion of NCSS learning the Chinese Language?

It is also the intention of the author to draw implications for theory building in the field of
language education for ethnic minorities, language acquisition of ethnic minorities and teacher
education, in particular, learning and teaching pedagogies. As for issues concerning the choice
for the research methodology for the study, it will be discussed in Chapter 4.

83

Chapter 4
Research Design
4.1

Introduction

This chapter outlines the design of the study and describes the methodological framework.
This chapter consists of two sections. The first section reviews the nature of the research,
justifies the methodology and set the parameters for the study. Finally, the second section
describes the overview of the methodology which includes the research design, data collection
and the outcome for the study.

4.2

Considerations for the selection for the research methodology

In order to gather data to answer the research questions, the desired end product and the
uniqueness of the situation were taken into account. As discussed in chapters 2 and 3, the
nature of the issues and questions dictated the use of an eclectic approach (Shulman, 1984).
The eclectic approach employed in the study employs both quantitative and qualitative
methods to investigate for the study. The former adopts the literacy test and the latter adopts
the essence of critical ethnography (mainly using semi-structured interview), observation and
documentary analysis.

4.2.1

Descriptions of the eclectic approach

In order to address the research questions, an eclectic approach is employed in the study; the
approach is mainly based on the mixed methods research where critical ethnography is the
main method. Using the mixed methods can help broaden and bolster the study (Yin, 2006).
84

Johnson and Onwuegbuzie (2004:17) defines mixed methods research where researcher
mixes or combines quantitative and qualitative research techniques, methods, approaches and
concept into a single study. In the current study, the two research paradigm, quantitative and
qualitative research methods are included in the study. For qualitative method, semi-structured
interview, documentary analysis and observations are employed while for the quantitative
method, a literacy test is employed to measure the Chinese literacy of the NCSS. Figure 4.1
diagrammatically illustrates the eclectic approach used in the study:

Quantitative Method:
1. Literacy Test

Qualitative Method:
1.
Semi-structured interview
2.
Documentary Analysis
3.
Observation

Figure 4.1 Eclectic approach employed in the study

Furthermore, due to the uniqueness of the situation, as discussed in Chapter 3, there is almost
little formal research (EOC, 2011; Ki, 2009; Tsung, Shum & Ki, 2007a; Tsung et al, 2007b;
Tse at al 2007) that looks at how the NCSS acquire and learn Chinese and what is their actual
learning outcome at their secondary level of Chinese education. Furthermore, the intense
debate between the different camps over the last few years have resulted a great deal of
irreconcilable differences and distrust between them. Thus, an approach that looks at their first
hand experience (NCSS learning Chinese and other stakeholders) and unearths the reality of
their (NCSS learning Chinese) livelihood in learning Chinese to the larger population of Hong
Kong is of paramount importance. The study design emulates the qualitative method of
85

ethnography in general and the critical ethnography in particular and on the other hand, the
study employs quantitative method such as literacy test to help objectify the study.

4.2.2

Justifications for the use of critical ethnography

Williams (1997) states that the only ethical way to conduct qualitative research is not only to
represent a way of life of the studied group but challenge the mainstream discourse or
hegemonic discourse to report the actual or unknown reality of the group.

According to Pole and Morrison (2003:16), ethnography is defined as:

an approach to social research based on the first-hand experience of social action within a discrete
location, in which the objective is to collect data which will convey the subjective reality of the lived
experience of those who inhabit that location.

Thus, the ethnography is able to facilitate a careful and comprehensive analysis of the social
action which is grounded and incorporates a conceptual framework that facilitates an
understanding of the studied topic at an empirical and theoretical level.

Critical Ethnography is one form of ethnography. Carspecken & Walford (2001) introduces
critical ethnography as becoming one of the major methods of researching in the educational
arena. They emphasize the key strengths of critical ethnography lies in its ability for
understanding the perceptions of the group being studied. It helps unearth the truth of the
matter (Madison, 2005:25) unlike other methodologies where the participants are treated as
object of the study. In critical ethnography, participants are treated as equal partner with the
researcher to construct memory, meaning and experience towards the issue. As mentioned in
86

Chapter 3, there are little formal studies that look at the NCSS learning Chinese, thus, treating
the participants equally (Madison, 2005) in the study does help in collecting and constructing
the actual reality of the Chinese Language education provision for NCSS.

Critical ethnography addresses the unfairness or injustice suffered by a group of people within
a society of a particular domain (Madison, 2005). The notion of ethical responsibility is a
moral obligation of the researcher to make some contributions in changing the livelihoods of
the studied group. Nonetheless, the researcher has to go in-depth beyond the surface level of
the problems and go in-depth to dig deeper understanding of the subject. It reflects deeper
truth than just merely verifying superficial facts. As stated by a number of researchers
(Carspecken, 1996; Denzin, 2001; Noblit et al., 2004; Thomas, 1993), the researcher must
avoid domestication the issue and probe further the issue by challenging the status quo of the
issue.

Although, Pole and Morrison (2003:17) further highlight the importance for an educational
ethnographer to collect data that conveys the subjective reality of the livelihood of the people
in the lived domain, Fine (1994) outlines three positions that a qualitative researcher should
hold to address the issue in a more holistic way. They are ventriloquist stance, the positionality
of voices and the activism. The first position seeks to play a narrative role in accounting the
ethnography and the researcher is invisible. The second approach makes the subject as focus
and addresses their voices against the mainstream discourse of the group and the last position;
the researcher portrays himself as an advocate who takes a position in challenging the status
quo.

Thus, the study adopts the positionality of voices so that the mainstream discourse on NCSS
Chinese learning is challenged. In order to accomplish that, the use of semi-structured
87

interview helps solicit views form various participants in the study. As Brewer (2000) and
Silverman (2001) define the function of interview as a verbal stimulus to elicit a verbal
response. Therefore, interviewing is one of the ethnographic methods to know more about the
life of the studied group.

Early research work (Powney and Watts 1987; Hitchcock and Hughes 1995) of interviewing
focused on the interviewing techniques in educational settings but Powel and Morrison (2003)
supplemented the field by highlighting the interpreting role of the ethnographers. Silverman
(2001) examines three perspectives in the discourse of ethnographic interviewing, namely,
positivism, emotionalism and constructivism.

According to his examination, positivist adopts a more standardized approach to collect data,
such as the use of close-ended or multiple choice questions. This perspective connotes the
method of employing random selection of interview samples and generating quantitative data.
As for emotionalist, interviews are used to construct the social world and the ethnographer
will try to generate an authentic insight into their plights. Thus, the interview in the current is
designed with open-ended questions in an unstructured way to probe the participants. For
constructionist, the main goal for the interviewer and interviewee is to engage in construct
meaning. Silverman further elaborates that the meaning constructed by the ethnographer in the
process becomes part of the researchers topic.

On the aspect of the limitations of critical ethnography, ethnographic researchers


(Carspecken,2001; Pole and Morrison,2003) mentions that the doubt raised by quantitative
researchers on critical ethnography is mainly due to its lack of clearly formulated procedures,
in particular, the notion of validity and subjectivity become the main source of concern and
criticisms on ethnography.
88

The lack of vigor has been the main issue with respect to the notion of validity. The main
argument lies in the heavy reliance on the use of descriptive language to make claims and fails
to use numbers to substantiate the claims in the study. Another possible limitation raised by
Gordon (2003) is the issue surrounding the responses provided by the interviewee. Gordon
argues that the interviewee might be affected in the process of data collection. He cites that the
degree of ego threat, degree of forgetting, degree of generalization, degree of subjectivity,
degree of subjective experience and degree of etiquette (taboos, secret, avoidance, and gender)
contributes to validity problems. As for subjectivity, it is argued that the findings in the
ethnography only reveal specific issues compiled by the ethnographer and that offers no more
than anecdotes and opinions since ethnography are confined to a specific location.

The resolution for addressing the validity issue in the study is to include quantitative data (test
results) and conduct multiple layer of triangulation (Greene & McClintock, 1985) in the
different stages (See Chapter 4.3) of data collection help strengthen the claims and make the
findings more convincing and reliable. As for the interview responses concerned, the main aim
of the interview is to understand the views of various stakeholders and social systems, the
present study minimized the concerns raised by Gordon through avoiding the employment of
ones cultural typifications (Carspecken, 1996, 1999). Since the study adopts the positionality
of voices (Fine ,1994), the participants will be treated equal partners in the study so that the
truth account of the NCSS learning Chinese is portrayed; hence the constructivism view will
be held in the semi-structured interview.

This is achieved through the use of multiple sources

of data to triangulate the data and verified the claims made by different level of participants.

The notion of subjectivity was addressed prior to the data collection. Since the population of
the NCSS is small, the three research sites chosen are high concentration schools meaning
that the number of NCSS studying in these schools are significant and representative in nature,
89

thus, the issue of representation is subsequently addressed and subjectivity is hence


minimized.

4.2.3

Expected Outcome

As discussed in Chapter 3, the research questions are directed by an attempt to discover and
understand what the actual Chinese learning outcome of the NCSS are when learning Chinese
become widely available in 2004 and what the state of play of the school-based NCSS Chinese
curriculum is both at the notional and operational curriculums. The aim of the study is to
contribute to the knowledge of NCSS learning and teaching of Chinese by providing a holistic
description and interpretation of the difficulties faced by the NCSS and provides insights to
schools that teach NCSS to design more appropriate curriculums and assessments and foster
and cultivate learners interests and needs in learning the language. Nonetheless constructive
feedback is given to EDB on its work on Chinese Language education provision for the NCSS.
Hence, NCSS would be able to build a Chinese literacy beyond the level where they not only
communicate freely with members of the local community but acquire a near native command
of the language and regard themselves as an integral member of the mainstream society. Thus,
the data collected from the test results, semi-structured interviews, observation and
documentary analysis are able to illustrate, support and challenge some of the misconceptions
or tautological assumptions that are in the communitys discourse.

4.3

The Research Design

As discussed earlier, the study adopts an eclectic approach to investigate and report the
research findings for the aforementioned research questions. To achieve that, the eclectic
approach used in the study is spread over three phases (See Figure 4.2). Thus, the study
90

employed both quantitative (literacy test) and qualitative (semi-structured interview,


observation and documentary analysis) data for an integrative analysis to generate questions
and provide a context for analysis.

Figure 4.2 Research Flow

4.3.1 Phase 1: Literature Review

This stage of the study is intended to investigate and uncover the disparity that exists in the
provision, interpretation and implementation of Chinese Language education for NCSS from
the governmental level to the classroom level. A qualitative, critical examination of the
91

literature in the area of educational language policy in Hong Kong for government and
subsidized schools, the Chinese Language curriculum for NCSS in Hong Kong and NCSS
language acquisitions and Chinese Language learning, is undertaken in order to establish and
locate the research gap for the study (See Chapter 3). Thus, the aim of Phase 1 is to construct
the theoretical framework for the study (See Chapter 3.5).

4.3.2

Phase 2: Data Collection

A series of investigations, which include a survey, literacy test, interviews, documentary analysis
and observations were conducted. The survey was designed to collect data on the language
profile, in particular the Chinese language and their views and aspirations in learning languages
(See Appendix 2). Next, the literacy test (See Appendix 1) was designed to assess students
Chinese literacy and to see if the NCSS Chinese competence is beyond the GCSE Chinese level.
Then, a series of interviews (See Appendix 3 & 6) were undertaken to solicit, clarify and
understand views of different stakeholders concerning the issue for the study and act as a source
for triangulating the results or findings from the survey, literacy test or observation. Finally,
documentary analysis and observation was undertaken to locate and understand the relevant
policies and initiatives of the government. In addition, data collected through observation
(lesson observations, attending schools meeting, teachers interflow and attending NGOs
forums) can also be used to confirm or examine data gathered through other means (Guba and
Lincoln, 1981). Before conducting the data collection, an ethical clearance was sought from
the Human Research Ethics Committee for Non-Clinical Faculties of the University of Hong
Kong and the research design of the study was approved prior to the data collection (Ref:
EA030609).

92

4.3.2.1 Sampling
Schools
The data collection intended to include four high-concentration designated secondary schools
originally, however, in the data collection process, accessibility was a major concern and the
researcher has difficulties in assessing one of the schools which was a government secondary
school, regrettably, that was excluded from the study. The three designated secondary schools
were selected based on the issue of accessibility and its specific nature of representation of the
majority NCSS population. These three schools are considered traditional high concentration
designated schools as they have been serving NCSS for an extensive period of time and the
population of the NCSS in these schools is more than the other designated schools. In addition,
they have been the forefront and state of the art in providing the school-based NCSS Chinese
curriculum for NCSS.

Students
Although there were differences between the schools students standard, there were no
commonly agreed benchmark or scale to identify the different proficiencies level. In order to
make the sampling credible, the researcher made requests to the schools to recruit students of
three different proficiencies, namely, novice, intermediate and advanced so that the data could be
seen as a randomized students sampling population with the dynamics of low-ends, middle ones
and high ends. (See Table 4.1)

Literacy Test

Participants

Gender Breakdown

Nationality Breakdown

45

23 M

19 Pakistanis

22 F

10 Filipinos
9 Indians
4 Nepali
3 Others

Survey

13

6M

6 Pakistanis
93

7F

2 Filipinos
2 Indians
1 Nepali
1 Thai
1 Nigerian

In-depth interview

3M

2 Pakistanis, 1 Filipino

2F

1 Pakistani, 1 Filipino

Table 4.1 Participants breakdown for literacy test, survey and in-depth interview

In light of the difficulties in accessing to student data, the participants for the literacy test were
45 NCSS at S4 and S5 level. Among them, there were 19 Pakistanis, 10 Filipinos, 9 Indians, 4
Nepali and 3 Others (Thai, Sri Lankan, and Nigerian). Of the 45 students, 23 were male and 22
were female. Then, upon the completion of the test and reviewing the performance of the
students, 13 participants (6 males and 7 females), among them were 6 Pakistanis, 2 Filipinos, 2
Indians, 1 Nepali, 1 Thai and 1 Nigerian, were invited to take part in the survey. They were
sampled based on their test performance and representation of each ethnicity so as to best
provide an overall picture from the language utilization survey. The test performance of these
students included 3 low-ends, 7 middle ones and 3 high ends. Last, a total of 5 students were
invited for an in-depth interview to seek their views on their Chinese learning, difficulties
encountered while learning Chinese and suggestions for the current arrangement, among them
were 3 Pakistanis (2 males, 1 female) and 2 Filipinos (1 male, 1 female). They were selected
as they represented the different ends of the sampled students population. Although Pakistani
population appears more often in the data, especially in the interview, this is not because the
research is focusing on Pakistanis or the researchers background because the interviewees
were selected based on their test performance in different ends. However, this alert us that it
may be relevant to find the bipolar syndrome of Pakistanis learning Chinese and this is beyond
the scope of the current study to address this bipolar findings.

94

Parents, Teachers, Principals, NGOs and EDB officials


Ideally, all the parents of the students who took part in the in-depth interview were invited to
take part in the in-depth interview and only three parents agreed to take part and the other two
parents for personal reasons did not want to take part in the study. Similarly, 3 teachers teaching
Chinese were invited to take part in the in-depth interview but only 2 teachers agreed. As
obtaining information on the topic of the current study might have made the other teacher do not
feel free and comfortable to discuss, more data on teachers account was collected from
observation (see Chapter 4.3.2.6). Finally, 2 leading NGOs who advocates for the issue of NCSS
learning Chinese and 3 EDB officials who are taking care of the issues were invited for an
in-depth interview to solicit auxiliary views and triangulate findings from other stages of data
collection.

4.3.2.2 The literacy test


Although Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK), a standardized Chinese test for non-native speakers
of Chinese is globally administered, it does not gear towards the school age of the NCSS and
related to the context of Hong Kong in terms of its spoken form and the character type. In
addition, HSK is unable to adhere with the schools curriculum and echo with the schools
learning and teaching effectiveness, hence it was not adopted for this study. As there was no
standardized assessment instrument available in assessing the literacy level of the NCSS other
than the types of examinations mentioned in Chapter 2 (See Table 2.3), a test was designed
based on the principles of item sampling from adopting the questions from the existing
examination papers of GCE-AS level Chinese examination and HKCEE Chinese Language
examination. Directly adopting one examination paper might not truly reflect the different
level of Chinese literacy, in particular, reading competence, as the difference between an FLA
and SLA assessment lies in their testing of implicit and explicit knowledge (Andrews 2007;
Ellis, 2004; Robinson, 1997; Ullah 2008). Therefore, the items sampled in the test for the
95

study included questions which tested students implicit and explicit knowledge and questions
of both ends (low end and high end) in each respective paper. Although all the NCSS sat for
the Chinese TSA (Key Stage 3, Form 3), the results were not released and only the schools
know it and there were difficulties in accessing it. Since, NCSS are able to converse freely and
meet end needs with their spoken Chinese competence after having been exposed for more
than an average of 6 years in their schooling, the rationale and the main motivation for
administering the test was to scrutinize and investigate their level of Chinese literacy (reading
and writing).

In order to tease out the test specifications of this adopted test, Blooms updated taxonomy on
cognitive domain (1956, 2000) was used to classify the levels in which the test has assessed
the participants. According to Blooms updated taxonomy that reflects relevance to the 21st
century of educational climate, the educational objectives in the cognitive domain have six
classifications, namely, remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating and
creating. The test administered in the study did not include all the sub-categories of the
taxonomy but it was able to examine and reflect the literacy competence of the students. Table
4.2 summarizes the classification of the taxonomy that appeared in the test.

Question (Source)

Classification

Marks

Assessment Point

Reading Assessment
1a (GCE)

Remembering

1b (GCE)

Understanding

1c (GCE)

Understanding

1d (GCE)

Understanding

2a (GCE)

Understanding

2b (GCE)

Understanding

2c (GCE)

Remembering

2d (GCE)

Understanding

2e (GCE)

Understanding

Knowledge of terminology
Knowledge of specific fact
Translation
Interpretation
Explicit knowledge on the language

96

3a (GCE)

Understanding

3b (GCE)

Understanding

3c (GCE)

Remembering

3d (GCE)

Understanding

3e (GCE)

Remembering

3f (GCE)

Understanding

3g (GCE)

Understanding

4a (HKCEE)

Analyzing

Knowledge of terminology

4b (HKCEE)

Evaluating

Interpretation

4c (HKCEE)

Creating

Extrapolation

4d (HKCEE)

Evaluating

Analysis of elements

4e (HKCEE)

Creating

4f (HKCEE)

Creating

Analyses of relationships
Analysis of organizational principles
Implicit knowledge of the language

Writing Assessment
Question
1 (GCE)

Level

Assessment Point

Evaluating

Production of a unique communication

2 (HKCEE)

Creating

Production of a unique communication

3 (HKCEE)

Creating

Judgments in terms of external criteria

4 (HKCEE)

Creating

Table 4.2 Classification of the test paper based on Blooms Taxonomy of cognitive domain

In the reading assessment there were four texts where the participants had to attempt all the
questions while in the writing assessment, participants had to select and respond to one
question with a choice of four. Participants were given two hours to complete the test and they
were asked to think aloud and write their immediate thoughts and feelings about the test on the
note card while they were doing the test.

The level of difficulties for the four texts in the reading comprehension was arranged in the
progressive manner from low end to high end; the first text being the less demanding and the
last as the most demanding. As illustrated in table 4.2, all the texts assess students knowledge,
comprehension and analysis at different levels.
97

The first three texts (Question 1a to 3g) mainly assess students knowledge of terminology,
specific fact, translation, and interpretation while the last text (Question 4a to 4f) was more
demanding by testing their extrapolation, analysis of elements and organizational principles,
hence students required a higher level of textual competence to deal with the text. The first
text was a short passage on how different people view celebrating Spring Festival in England.
There were four questions where students had to respond in English. While the second passage
was less lengthy than the first passage and it talked about the bean curd in China. Students had
to answer five questions in English. The third passage talks about the Loving Heart
Foundation and students had to answer seven questions in Chinese. The question type of these
three passages was limited to basic comprehension such as understanding of facts and no other
high order comprehension questions were included. Finally, the fourth passage was a lexically
dense passage where the passage discusses the space exploration programme in China. The
participants have to attempt six questions in various types ranging form multiple choice
questions to semantic or syntactic question types.

As for writing assessment, the first question was a guided composition where participants had
to write a reply letter to a pen-friend about the exchange programme and it was aimed at
assessing students ability in synthesizing and producing a unique communication.

While the

other three questions were not guided and were somewhat abstract and open, participants were
required to choose between writing a reflective writing (Question 2), creative writing
(Question 3) or an argumentative essay (Question 4). These questions required a higher
competence of evaluation whereby students had to made judgments in terms of external
criteria.

98

4.3.2.3 The Survey


The purpose of the survey, which was adapted from Lams (2005) project on bilingual education
in China, was to compile typical learners profile, which includes the participants pattern of
language use, language competence; attitudes towards Chinese language learning and future
career/educational aspirations. This information would allow us to understand how their
Chinese language is used in their lives, the aspects in which they find learning Chinese as easy
or difficult and finally their needs and aspirations in learning Chinese.

4.3.2.4 The interviews


The interviews were semi-structured and designed to explore the extent, nature and quality of
the participants thoughts and feelings about the issue (students, parents, teachers, principals,
NGOs and EDB). The interviews were guided with semi-structured interview questions and
probed by the researcher. Participants who were unable or not confident with their English were
welcomed to speak in their native language as the researcher has a good mastery of the South
Asian languages (Urdu, Hindi, Nepali and Pashto). The responses from most of the interviews
were audio-taped and transcribed while some of the interviewees who were not comfortable
with the recording were not recorded (principals and NGOs). The text were analyzed to
identify main ideas and used to produce a classification system into groups (McNeill, A et al:
2004) so as to relate the data more directly to the study. On the whole, interview was an
essential source of information and most importantly it can yield information which could not
be collected from documentary review and test administration. Using the multiple sources of
data formed a means for triangulation.

4.3.2.5 Documentary analysis


The documents are dependable sources for data and used as sources of data. Since the SCG
was developed based on the CCCF, locating and analyzing relevant documents such as the
99

Chinese curriculum, government consultation documents, government circulars, school-based


designed materials and some other information booklet were an essential way to obtain certain
information about the study. Thus, the details underpinning the decision making process of the
EDB with regards to the NCSS Chinese can be established through the data.

4.3.2.6 Observation
As mentioned earlier, there were difficulties in assessing to the research sites, collecting certain
types of data or recruiting participants for the study. These instruments were deemed crucial in
testing the hypotheses and answering the research questions; hence, in order to make the data
collected valid, reliable and credible, the method of observation was employed as part of the
data collection strategy. With reference to the background of the study, there are three major
purposes that the use of observation (Guba & Lincoln, 1981). First, the method of observation
can allow the researcher to depict and consolidate a holistic picture of the provision of Chinese
Language education for NCSS from multiple levels, (policy, individual governmental bureau,
school heads, teachers and parents) different sources and employ his knowledge and experience
in interpreting the data. Second, it serves as a mean to capture the reactions of the stakeholders
(principals, teachers and policy makers) or information of the issues that they do not feel
comfortable to discuss, especially on the questions on the effectiveness of individuals
school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum, the support services from the commissioned services
offered by the universities and their personal position towards the issue. Third, the data collected
from observation can also help to triangulate the data collected from the literacy test, survey,
in-depth interviews and documentary analysis.

The observational data for the current study included from four main sources, namely, attending
the governmental level meeting, participating in forums organized by the NGOs or universities,
attending schools academic board meetings and lesson observation. Table 4.3 summarizes the
100

observations that were undertaken in the study:

Date

Observation

Location

Meeting: Governmental Level


28/6/2010

17th Meeting of EM Forum

CMAB, HKSARG

23/12/2010

18th Meeting of EM Forum

CMAB, HKSARG

13/12/2011

Meeting of the Committee on the Promotion of Racial Harmony

Race Relations Unit,


HKSARG

Meeting: School Level


31/3/2010

Academic Board Meeting 1

School B

21/8/2010

School Affairs Meeting 1

School A

25/9/2010

School Affairs Meeting 2

School A

30/10/2010

School Affairs Meeting 3

School A

4/12/2010

School Affairs Meeting 4

School A

22/1/2010

School Affairs Meeting 5

School A

22/1/2011

School Affairs Meeting 6

School A

26/2/2011

School Affairs Meeting 7

School A

26/3/2011

School Affairs Meeting 8

School A

30/4/2011

School Affairs Meeting 9

School A

Lesson Observation
Lesson

Form

Curriculum Mode

Bridging

Bridging

Bridging

Bridging
Forums

Date

Title

Organizer

15/8/2009

Fine-tuning the MOI for secondary schools

24/7/2010

Towards a better language policy for NCSS Communities

Christian Action

5/3/2011

Conference on enhancing the teaching and learning of

University of Hong Kong

HKSKH Lady Maclehose Centre

Chinese for NCSS


Table 4.3 List of observations conducted in the study

A total of three governmental meetings, ten schools meetings and three forums were attended by
101

the researcher and the researcher assumed the role of a non-participant in the meeting. At the
governmental meetings and the forums, the observation point was to achieve an understanding
as to how the different community leaders on the advisory board, the NGOs and EDB converse
and interact on the agenda item of Chinese language education for NCSS. In addition, the
forums allow the researcher to collect and solicit views and attitudes of the parents and the
impact of the current provision of the Chinese language education has on their children.

In order to achieve the purpose of depicting and collecting insights on the implementation of the
school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum and the learning and teaching effectiveness of the
Chinese language learning, through the school meetings and lesson observations, the researcher
was able to gather information on how the policies are or are not implemented with reference to
the negotiation model of Markee, the manner in which the CCCF is interpreted and the
curriculum modes mentioned in the SCG from the strategic, tactical and operational .
Furthermore, the views of teachers teaching NCSS Chinese and the difficulties they face at the
notional and operational level of the curriculum.

For lesson observations, the objectives of the observations were to facilitate an understanding
how the implementation was taking place and solicit the difficulties faced by the teachers while
delivering the curriculum. There were issues concerning the access to lesson observation, the
four lessons observed were selected based on availability on schools arrangement. In the
literature of observing learning and teaching in second language classroom (Bailey & Nunan,
1996; Gill, 2002; Walsh, 2006; Pica, 1994), there appears to lack a commonly agreed
observation scheme that is satisfactory and relevant for the current study. Thus, the lesson
observation made reference to the lesson observation scheme that the Quality Assurance
Division (QAD) of the EDB employs while conducting the external school reviews and
standards for teachers of Chinese to speakers of other languages form the OCLCI (2007). The
102

lesson observation made reference to the following scheme (See Table 4.4) of the QAD and
incorporate the standards (Module IV, Standard 6), principles and indicators of Chinese
language teaching methodology into the lesson observation scheme.

Domain
Aspect 1

Teaching (Teacher)
Organizing teaching


Aspect 2

Organization of learning activities/tasks

Process of teaching

Learning (Students)
Process of learning


Attitude, Interest & motivation

Use of strategies, resources & feedback

Learning performance

Professional knowledge and attitude

Performance in learning tasks/activities

Chinese Language teaching methodology

Ability to use knowledge and skills

Expectations

Learning atmosphere and class


interaction


Aspect 3

Catering for learner diversity

Feedback and follow-up




Assessment of learning progress

Feedback

Follow-up
Table 4.4 Focus of lesson observation: Domains and aspects

The organizing of teaching, process of teaching and manner of feedback and follow-up were
the focus on the teachers side while for the students, the process of learning and learning
performance was the main focus. For the items of Chinese language teaching methodology in
particular, the observation scheme focused on how the cultural implications, the role of L1 and
the role of teaching materials are addressed by the teacher. Upon the completion of each lesson
observation, the observation scheme was filled and inquiry points were established. The
inquiry points were used during the interviews with the school principals and teachers for a
higher level of triangulation.

103

4.3.3

Phase 3: Outcome

Phase 4 of the study is the recommendations to the amended Chinese Language education for
the NCSS. The outcome of the study will be used to help understand the language learning
outcome of the NCSS; the current situation of the implementation of the school-based NCSS
Chinese curriculum and identify areas in which teachers would necessitate assistance; and
consolidate the propositions of different stakeholders (parents, schools, EDB and concerned
NGOs) and account for the divergence between the different major concerns

4.4

Summary

As discussed in Chapter 3, the research questions are directed by an attempt to discover and
understand what the actual Chinese learning outcome of the NCSS are when learning Chinese
become widely available in 2004 and what have been the difficulties faced by the teachers
while designing and delivering the school-based Chinese curriculum. Finally, the major
concerns of the various stakeholders such as teachers, parents and NGOs are presented.
Therefore, this study seeks to understand, depict and uncover the state of play for the
provisions, interpretation, implementation and delivery of the Chinese Language curriculum
for NCSS. In this chapter, the researcher has described the nature of the research in terms of
the desired end product and the uniqueness of the situation; subsequently choosing the eclectic
approach for the study. Although the main approach for the study is critical ethnography, the
study included quantitative data to objectify the study. The author also justified the use of the
approach and presented the research design in a greater.

104

Chapter 5
Students performance and experience in Chinese Language learning
5.1 Introduction
No one will doubt NCSS conversing ability in the Cantonese dialect and their ability to
communicate colloquially. Concerns exist on what actually happen to their Chinese literacy
when they progresses from their primary to secondary schooling. If what Hau (2008) claims to
be the formula for solving the root cause of the below-par Chinese literacy of the NCSS by
getting them to an early exposure to the Chinese Language learning and getting into the local
education system, why would the NCSS have frustrations or low morale as they reach their
completion of secondary schooling?

Id like to say yes because you know Chinese is really important especially since
I was born here and everything but then, its pretty hard. Honestly, I dont know,
if I could really like you know carry on coz its really hard. (Interview: 27/12/09, Student D)

One possible explanation that might help explain the situation is that the NCSS who are about
to graduate feel that Chinese learning is difficult and the Chinese literacy they have is
inadequate for the workplace despite attaining good examination results in the GCSE Chinese
examinations. If we look at the NCSS performance in the GCSE Chinese examination, we
might be duped into believing that their proficiency in Chinese is above the threshold level.
Table 5.1 summarizes the GCSE Chinese examination results of the sampled schools for the
study.

105

Grade
A*
A
B
C
D
E
F
U
Total Students

2007
71%
12%
12%
/
/
6%
/
/
17

2008
44%
41%
5%
5%
5%
/
/
/
39

2009
48%
18%
13 %
11%
4%
2%
3%
3%
114

2010
35%
17%
18%
11%
7%
6%
4%
3%
158

Table 5.1 The GCSE Chinese examination results 2007-2010 of the NCSS in the sampled schools

These results were confidential and were not compared among the schools individually as
there were concerns from the sampled schools. If grade D is the benchmark for meeting the
second language requirement for pursuing a university education in Hong Kong, one can
conclude that the number of NCSS taking the GCSE Chinese examination has significantly
increased (17 to 158) at a rocketing pace and almost 85% of the NCSS over the period of
2007-2010 met that second language requirement for university admissions locally. With that
in mind, we can refute the claim of Chinese Language as being the main obstacle for NCSS to
pursue their university education in Hong Kong. While only 0.59% (EOC, 2011) of the NCSS
is able to articulate to the certificate, sub-degree and degree courses, hence the remaining
99.41% of the NCSS would have inadequate Chinese literacy to cope with many a course at
vocational schools which are conducted in Chinese.

Henceforth, it is debatable whether the GCSE Chinese examination is a reliable and valid
instrument in reflecting NCSS actual Chinese literacy in Hong Kongs context. For instance,
as discussed earlier (See Chapter 2.9) Khezar Hayat, who obtained the necessary GCSE
Chinese qualifications in 2009, got to realize that his Chinese literacy was far beyond the level
that was deemed necessary to join the police force. If he had known that, he would have taken
remedial measures to account for the disparity over the years in his secondary schooling.
This has been a main source of debate and anarchy between the EDB and the NGOs (See
106

Chapter 7). EDB argues they need time to materialize the promises made in the SCG and
nullify any hope of an alternative curriculum while the NGOs question EDBs work as far
from pleasing. Except EDB, people from the other camps would fight for the necessity of
having a recognized TCSL curriculum with clear stage objectives where teachers are guided
on how to teach students to learn effectively.

5.2

Participants Chinese Literacy


As elaborated in Chapter 4 (See 4.3.2.2) on the purpose and operations of the literacy test, this
section presents the literacy performance of the participants. Overall, participants
performance in the test was abysmal. Students performance in both parts sharply contrasted to
the GCSE Chinese examination performance (See table 5.1).

5.2.1

Reading Assessment Performance

Participants performance in the reading section was relatively better than the performance in
the writing assessment, yet the performance was still beyond the threshold level (i.e., 50).
Table 5.2 summarizes their performance in the reading section.

Max=100
Min=0
Mean
Mode
St. deviation

59.45
0
19.79
16.21
18.52

Table 5.2 Participants performance in reading section

Participants mean score was only 19.79 which was only one-fifth of the total score. The
standard-deviation (SD=18.52) indicates that participants score distribution was left-skewed,
suggesting a significant under-performance. Looking into the actual performance in different
texts of the paper does suggest they are capable of only basic comprehension with the aid of
107

English; otherwise, they face difficulties in comprehending and decoding the texts. Table 5.3
summarizes the mean score of the participants performance across the texts:

Mean

Text 1
28

Text 2
28

Text 3
23

Text 4
9.5

Table 5.3 Participants performance in different texts in the reading section

The breakdown of participants performance in the four passages shows a regressive pattern
across the four passages, meaning that there is an inverse relationship between participants
comprehension competence and the level of difficulties. As participants mean score suggest
that they can attain one-third (mean=28) of the marks in the first two passages where they
have to respond in English while only attaining only one-fifth (mean=23) of the marks while
responding to simple reading comprehension questions in Chinese. Along these lines,
participants can only attain one-tenth (mean=9.5) of the score while they face lexically dense
passage with varied reading comprehension questions from a display level to high-order
questions. The followings are some of their feelings while writing for the reading section:

. I understand what it is about (Text 1 to 3), but when it comes to answering the questions, I dont
really know how to answer.

It was a bit difficult for me (Text 1 to 3) and I use my common sense to answer the questions.

This part (Text 4) is the worst part for me, because I seriously dont understand anything about it. Not
even the questions, passage and how to answer.

I couldnt even get anything out of this text (Text 4). Even though I knew some vocabulary but I couldnt
get the overall meaning.

The hardest part, giving us such a long paragraph (Text 4) and really hard words which most of them I
dont understand.
(TAP, participants reaction to the reading section in the literacy test)

While referring to Blooms Taxonomy (Anderson et al, 2000), the participants were able to
demonstrate their reading comprehension competence at the remembering and understanding
level only. The participants are able to roughly understand brief texts such as text 1 and 2 and
108

able to roughly understand the general messages and detect specific information while
responding in English. The participants have difficulties in articulating themselves in Chinese
despite being able to comprehend the gist of text 3. In addition, the heavy emphasis on testing
implicit knowledge (metalinguistic awareness) in text 4 has made the participants to face with
difficulties in comprehending and reading between the lines to understand the view points or
intention of the author.

In order to help explain the huge variations among the performances in the sampled schools,
there exists a sharp contrast between the schools. Table 5.4 summarizes participants
performance in various schools.

Max=100
Min=0
Mean
Mode
St. Deviation

School A
21.6
5.4
16.21
14.67
4.82

School B
56.75
0
22.56
16.21
15.62

School C
59.46
0
13.06
0
18.83

Table 5.4 Participants performance in reading section among the sampled schools

As the mean (16.21, 22.56 and 13.06) and standard deviation (4.82, 15.62 and 18.83) suggests
that there is a difference in their students performance. The different interpretation and
implementation of the school-based curriculum helps explain these variations. This adds
concerns to what actually happens to NCSS Chinese literacy in the school and what happens
to their five years of schooling in secondary school when they had left the same primary
school (see Chapter 6).

All-in-all, the findings indicates that students were only able to demonstrate their reading
literacy at the level of remembering and understanding of Blooms taxonomy such as the
testing of knowledge of terminology, specific fact and translation. It was also found that the
participants were able to comprehend the passages which put emphasis on testing explicit
109

knowledge (text 1 to 3) whilst they were unable to comprehend and articulate text 4 when
emphasis was placed on testing their implicit knowledge. Hence, expecting the participants to
comprehend their applying, analyzing evaluating and creating level of Blooms taxonomy
such as analysis of elements, relationships and organizational principles seemed to be
distanced from their existing reading literacy.

5.2.2

Writing Assessment Performance

Participants performance in the writing part of the paper was beyond expectation and
appalling. The marking of the composition was based on the GCE-AS level marking scheme
and two domains were assessed; Content & response and Quality of language. Table 5.5
summarizes their performance.
Max=30
Min=0
Mean

9.2
0
2.2

Table 5.5 Participants performance in writing section

Of the 45 participants who took part in the test, 26 of the participants gave up the writing
section and the other 19 students chose questions 1 for the test. The maximum score the
participants got was only 9.2 with a mean of 2.2, in other words, participants who attempted to
write were only able to achieve 7.3% of the total score.

Since, participants were asked to write between 250 and 500 characters and almost all of the
participants could not meet the character count. Table 5.6 summarizes the character count of
the participants.
Max=500
Min=0
Mean

122
0
23

Table 5.6 Participants character count in writing section


110

So far, we can establish that participants have written very poorly and to further examine and
present the probable problems faced by the NCSS while writing, the researcher selected six
representative samples to draw readers attention to the problems in light of their writing
literacy.
Sample 1

Figure 5.1 Participants writing sample 1

In sample 1 (Fig 5.1), it is evident that the participant predominantly used short sentences and
copied big junks of the question prompts without enriching or personalizing the content. The
range of vocabulary and sentence structures appears to be repetitive and very limited. In terms
of the level of response to the question, it is also very limited.
Sample 2

Figure 5.2 Participants writing sample 2


111

In sample 2 (Fig 5.2), the participant has barely responded to the question and the range of
vocabulary and sentence structures is very limited. We can also note that there are isolated
examples of correct language use and at two instances of using pinyin gai and sin instead
of the Chinese characters to complete the writing.
Sample 3

Figure 5.3 Participants writing sample 3

Sample 3 (Fig 5.3) shares some commonalities of the previous two samples where little
information about the content is conveyed. This participant demonstrated little understanding
of language structures in Chinese with the whole text written colloquially and failed to address
to the written conventions of Chinese.
Sample 4

Figure 5.4 Participants writing sample 4

112

In sample 4 (Fig 5.4), the participant demonstrated very limited vocabulary and structures
which are repetitive and stereotyped in nature. The participant tended to omit strokes or
characters to complete meaning. In one instance, the participant omitted strokes and wrote

instead of (Basket) and in another instance the student wrote instead of

(Clothes). Furthermore, there was some confusion with the organization of content where
several ideas were written in the same paragraph and leads to the inability to expand the
supporting sentences for the topic sentence, hence producing the text below the stated
character count.

Sample 5

Figure 5.5 Participants writing sample 5

In sample 5 (Fig 5.5), the participant had barely answered the question where very limited
ideas and understanding for the requirements of the question is addressed. There also appears
to be some L1 interference in the text, for instance the name of the place is written in
English Shek O.

113

Sample 6

Figure 5.6 Participants writing sample 6

In sample 6 (Fig 5.6), the participant was able to present relevant key information and use
fairly accurate straight forward language to convey the idea but the character limit fall short
the mark, and there tends to be a repetition of the content. For instance the idea of protecting
the environment in paragraph 2 is good but this idea lacks expansion and elaboration. This
sample also shares the commonalities of clumsy and stereotyped sentence structures across the
other samples and some inaccuracies that prevented good communication. The followings are
some of the participants feelings while writing for the writing section:

It was very challenging. I didnt understand many words. I hope it was easier. I didnt understand what
is written. The words I know they were no use in this.

The article for Chinese students I think its easy for P5-6 students also, but for me, it was harder even
then a university level.

114

I thought it will be easy because all of the test which I have seen were all easy because I am studying
easiest level of Chinese thats why and when I saw this test, I cant understand even a single word in it.
Too difficult.

I could understand very few points that what is written in the test paper. It was the most difficult
Chinese test for me in my whole primary and secondary school life. This paper is basically Form 1 or 2
(Chinese class) students. This paper is easy for them but for NCSS its very difficult we could only do the
basic Chinese test so therefore these kinds of test shall never be given to NCSS students.

(TAP, participants reaction to the writing section in the literacy test)

On the basis of the writing samples and TAP, the participants were only able to copy from
prompts and provide very brief respond to the requirement of the questions with very common
and basic vocabulary but with limited vocabulary count. The participants were unable to write
some concrete ideas and express their personal opinion and point of view coherently and
cohesively. Also, participants face difficulties in producing accurate characters that is
problem-free in terms of strokes and meanings, let alone the grammatical structures, tone and
appropriate register for the task. In the following section, the writer will further discuss the
findings from this section with reference to the other form of data (survey, observation and
in-depth interview) to account for the underachievement in the literacy test.

5.3

Analysis of findings
The participants performance in the literacy test has established the fact that when we employ
GCSE Chinese examination to measure the Chinese literacy of the NCSS, it cannot provide a
genuine account of the participants Chinese literacy as demanded by the local assessment
mechanism. There is a gap between the L1 and L2 assessment mechanism on the notion of
testing implicit or explicit knowledge. It is inappropriate to use an L2 assessment to assess the
language competence with reference to the CCCF. The findings from the literacy test in
reading section has shown that when it comes to testing implicit and explicit knowledge of
Chinese from the NCSS, they are prone to do poorly when emphasis is placed on testing
115

implicit knowledge whilst relative better with explicit knowledge. In addition, the participants
seem to be uncomfortable and incompetent in producing a text of a length that satisfies the
questions requirement and adheres with the grammaticality and textual competence of the
question. Thus, in this section, the possible reasons that accounts for the underachievement in
the test is teased out through the language utilization survey, observation and in-depth
interview. There are five major reasons to account for their below-par Chinese literacy.

5.3.1

Late access and lower rating of Chinese language literacy in their language repertoire

There should not be any issue concerning the access to Chinese Language education for NCSS
as the learning of Chinese was in place since 2004. However the participants in the study had
a late access to Chinese since the learning of Chinese was not made compulsory and widely
available at their time of schooling. If we look at the mean age of these participants when they
first started to learn their English and Chinese, we can see that these learners started to learn
English at an earlier age than Chinese with a mean difference of 3 years. Table 5.7 summarizes
the age when the students started to learn to read and write Chinese and English.

Formal learning to read


Formal learning to write

English
5 years old
5 years old

Chinese
8 years old
8 years old

Table 5.7 Participants mean age when they started learning English and Chinese

This could be explained by the shifting migration patterns of the NCSS where they enter and
leave the Hong Kong education system or get to learn Chinese formally some time later when
learning Chinese became a policy in their primary schools. Thus, this offers a rationale
account as to how NCSS would rate their Chinese language proficiency in their language
repertoire.

116

In the survey and in-depth interview, the NCSS views English as their main language for
instructions, since none of their L1 is used as the MOI in their schooling. The rating (1=most
proficient to 3=least proficient) of the spoken and written proficiencies of their language
portfolio are illustrated in Table 5.8.

Spoken Proficiency
Written Proficiency

English
1.5
1.2

Chinese
2.5
2.5

L1
1.9
2.1

Table 5.8 Rating of language repertoire

From the table, the students rated their English as their most proficient language (1.5 in
spoken and 1.2 in written) followed by their L1 (1.9 in spoken and 2.1 in written). Chinese
was rated as the least proficient. Although one might perceive that NCSS as imparted language
learners, without a bilingual education program that build their L1 literacy similar to the one
in the North American countries, these NCSS are unable to impart the different languages in
their repertoire. As imparting language is a means of learning a language, regardless of its
effectiveness, learners learn a language but this generalization is a genuine concern as to
whether the NCSS cognitive process of their intellectual and academic purposes do actually
make an effective impartation. Thus, the NCSS are in fact not really imparted language
learners but rather un-imparted language learners. The participants are not highly proficient
with their L1 as compared to English and it is sometimes difficult for them to tell which
language is considered as the most proficient. Since many of the NCSS were born or raised in
Hong Kong, many of them can articulate their L1 but due to the use of English as the MOI in
schools, their literacy level in English surpasses their literacy level in their L1. In many of the
cases, they might have good spoken proficiency in their L1 but relative better literacy in
English. As a result, English replaces their L1s literacy role.

117

However, NCSS still use Chinese in the wider context when they are dealing with the locals
and they are exposed to the language every day. This would only explain their up-to-par
spoken proficiency but not their actual Chinese literacy. Hence, this psychological intuition,
late access to Chinese education and practice of using English at the expense of other
languages, in particular; Chinese, has made the NCSS to believe that their Chinese proficiency
is the least proficient in their language repertoire.
5.3.2 Lower Chinese language Utilization Pattern
The manner in which the participants utilize the Chinese language is low and this helps
further accounts for their below-par Chinese literacy in the test. Table 5.9 summarizes the
language utilization of the participants.

Skill
Speaking

Listening

Reading

Writing

Situation
Conversing with classmates
Conversing with friends
Conversing with parents
Watching TV
Seeing movies
Listening to songs
Newspaper
Magazine
Books
Letters
Making notes
Mean

English
62%
64%
26%
63%
69%
66%
71%
65%
75%
93%
94%
68%

Chinese
3%
6%
6%
17%
9%
3%
19%
4%
13%
6%
3%
8%

L1
25%
30%
68%
20%
22%
26%
7%
31%
12%
1%
3%
22%

Others
10%
0%
0%
0%
0%
5%
3%
0%
0%
0%
0%
2%

Table 5.9 Participants language utilization pattern

Looking at the breakdown on the use of the language, the figures echo with their preference
of using English predominantly (mean=68%) as the main language for their learning and day
to day communication, while their L1 (mean=22%) is reserved for home usage and
entertaining purposes. Others in Table 5.9 refers to the use of a language which is not their
L1, English nor Chinese. Some of the participants have more than three languages in their
language repertoire. While Chinese (mean=8%) is predominately confined to classroom
118

usage only, it is surprising to note that students would read newspaper (19%) and watch TV
(17%) in Chinese if it is curriculum related tasks assigned by their Chinese teachers. This
could be rationalized as meeting assignments or possibly some personal determination and
motivation in maintaining the Chinese language.

I dont... I read English books also but Im also keen on reading Chinese novels.
And for newspaper, I read both Chinese and English. But I prefer reading in
Chinese because I dont know why but because maybe because I watch more
Chinese programs. Like they have subtitles, from that I also learn. And when
I read more Chinese newspaper; they have like many varieties of words, so
I can understand better and from that I can improve my writing skills and
reading skills... (Interview: 27/12/09, Student E)

Unavoidably, from the language utilization pattern we can infer that the NCSS has made
preferences into the language that they would mostly employ. The figures confirm that English
is heavily used in many of the situations while their L1 is confined to speaking with their
parents and their ethnic group. However, this would naturally make the readers to infer that the
NCSS have a diffused acculturation profile (Berry et als, 2007), we cannot conclude that the
NCSS has a diffuse profile to acculturation as the majority of the participants in this study
have reiterated in the survey, in-depth interview and observation that they have instrumental
motivation (Schumann, 1976) to learn Chinese for their survival purposes as they consider
Hong Kong as their home. As they (the majority) would have preference to integrate to the
community for instrumental motivation yet they have strong ethnic identity but below-par
ethnic language proficiency, this situation characterized the participants as having a hybrid
(integration and ethnic) acculturation profile.

This manner of utilizing their language repertoire is worrying since there is a rich language
environment for Chinese in Hong Kong and the NCSS seem to have a paradoxical position; on
one hand they aspire to learn Chinese for meeting their survival needs but not utilizing it on
119

the other as reflected from the survey results and the pigeonization syndrome. They have
opportunities and readily available environment to extent their learning and usage of the
Chinese language but they do not reap benefit from the readily available environment due to
their hybrid acculturation profile.
5.3.3 Chinese language Competence Fallacy
As illustrated in Table 5.1, the NCSS have flying colors in their GCSE examination but
looking at the figures in table 5.4 and 5.5, they offer a contrastive view on the Chinese literacy
of the NCSS. Likewise, as reiterated from the survey, in-depth interviews and observation,
many of the NCSS are actually performing well in their schools summative assessment and
that has made them believe that their Chinese literacy is in the comfort zone.

Because we are doing quite well in our class.

Our teacherour teacher

also says that your standard is a bit higher than the others
(Interview: 27/12/09, Student C)

Actually Im used to write a lot last year. We used to have compositions of


more than 400 words. So that was that was similar to local Chinese students.
So 100 or 200 words is okay for me. (TAP, 9/2009)

For the standard Im learning, I dont think I have any difficulties.


(Interview: 27/12/09, Student E)

It is ironic to comprehend why NCSS are given multiple exit assessments (See Figure 5.7),
where four out of the five assessments are international examinations (at L2 standard) (See
Table 2.3 for details) and designed based on L2 principles of the international examination
body.

Some of the participants admitted in their TAP that the literacy test in the study proved
difficult for them despite the fact that they were in the most capable class in the school and are
120

faced with the GCSE examination and are comfortable with the competence as advised by
their teacher.

For most of the NCS, this test was like a university student test. It was very
difficult for me even though I am in the best class for Chinese in the nonChinese class. I could understand very few points that what is written in
the test paper. It was the most difficult Chinese test for me in my whole
primary and secondary school life. This paper is basically Form 1 or 2
(Chinese class) students. This paper is easy for them but for NCS its very
difficult we could only do the basic Chinese test so therefore these kinds
of test shall never be given to NCS students. But while doing it, I struggled which means we shall
never give up until the end but this paper made me give up easily. (TAP, 9/2009)

This sort of fallacy created for NCSS distant them from the reality. With the students
achieving well in the schools internal examinations, they are given an untrue picture of their
actual Chinese literacy as compared with their local counterparts. One of the interviewee who
is in his tertiary education and took part in GCSE, GCE and HKCEE Chinese examination
was critical of his performance in various Chinese examinations. His experience echoes with
the finding in the study:

for GCSE, its just MC questions. And MC questions, even in my internal


exam. I was very good in MC questions because ah I know I have a clear
direction is and the level of difficulty is just for GSCE is just like, simple
Daily life Chinese and which Im living in Hong Kong, and Im using it in
everyday life. (Interview: 27/12/09, Student D)

For my GCEGCSE exam I got an A* there. For my GCE O-Level, I got


a credit there. And ah the reason for that was I didnt spend so much
time on GCE, I spent more time on HKCEE. And what I end up on HKCEE
was I I got a level 4 in speaking paper, thats the only paper I passed.
And all the rest of the papers, I for most, I got unclassified.
(Interview: 27/12/09, Student D)

This warrants our concern as to whether the schools internal summative assessment genuinely
121

reflects NCSS Chinese literacy and informs them the literacy gap from the TL learners and
the threshold literacy level required for survival needs in Hong Kong. Although, this provision
or concessionary arrangement connotes the essence of catering for individual needs, this
option is likely to be the root cause to all the anomalies in designing and delivering a holistic
and progressive school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum (See Chapter 6) and whether it is
tantamount to assuaging students fear that their Chinese literacy is at bay. Unlike the local
Chinese who have no choice for selecting which Chinese examination to sit but to sit for the
only HKDSE Chinese examination which is based on the CCCF.

Figure 5.7 Multiple exit assessments of Chinese Language education for NCSS

This mismatch between the learning curriculum framework and assessment framework is
unique in the case of NCSS and quite bizarre. These multiple-exit assessments have confused
the NCSS on one hand and make them to be complacent about their Chinese literacy if schools
peg their curriculum with GCSE Chinese examination, unless, if curriculum developers and
executioners in school has a progressive plan to push the NCSS to sit through all the
examinations.

Although learning should not be equated with examination results, the local culture is quite
different (See Chapter 6). Examination results dictate the success or failure of a learner and
teachers teaching competence and the fate of NCSS is no different. In the case of NCSS, with
the option of multiple exit assessments, it is very natural that teachers would transiently peg
their NCSS Chinese curriculum at GCSE Chinese examination and help the NCSS to go
122

beyond this level. Based on the data collected in the study, there is inadequate evidence to
suggest that teachers are pushing the majority of the NCSS to go beyond the GCSE Chinese
examination.
5.3.4 Poor interface between the primary and secondary school-based Chinese curriculum
The patience of many stakeholders have run thin and with the negative publicity and
sentiments towards the Chinese Language education as reported in the newspapers (See
Chapter 1), the students find themselves confused with the present state of play and question
the on-going of the issue. It has been 15 years over the change of the sovereignty, yet the
NCSS are still in the due process of facing constant changes and it demands our attention on
whether the on-going debate is of any good for the NCSS?

Its like all confusing. Its all confused. No one is giving us No one have
a clear direction whats going to be.there is no complete like a
clear framework for those NCSS students. (Interview: 27/12/09, Student D)

Since there is no alternative Chinese curriculum for NCSS, different designated schools have
different school based curriculums for teaching NCSS, resulting in different learning outcomes.
This requires the attention of the educators since there is no mandate or correction practice in
addressing the mismatch between the official and schools implementation of the SCG. As
discussed in chapter 3, learners from the same cohort in the primary 6 would result in
significant difference in their Chinese literacy level if they opt for different secondary schools.
Ironically, despite the different learning outcomes of the school-based curriculums, only a very
small amount of NCSS sat for GCE Chinese examination during the years between 2007 and
2010. Although, the schools are helping NCSS to sit for a higher level of Chinese
examinations, the number of NCSS sitting for GCE examination is still extremely small. Table
5.10 exemplifies the small number of NCSS enrolled for the GCE Chinese examination.

123

Grade
A*
A
B
C
D
E
F
U
Total Students

2007
/
/
/
2
/
/
/
/
2

2008
/
/
/
2
/
1
/
3
3

2009
/
1
6
2
2
/
/
/
11

2010
/
/
1
1
/
/
/
/
2

Table 5.10 NCSS GCE Chinese examination results 2007-2010

As we can see from the table, the number of NCSS sitting for the exam is a sharp contrast to
the figures in Table 5.1. Only 2 students sat for the examination in 2007 while the highest
number of students sat for the examination was in 2009 with 11 NCSS. The numbers in this
table helps explain schools would still preset the GCSE as the frontier while only the most
capable, la crme de la crme, would be given opportunities to sit for GCE Chinese
examination. Similarly, only few students would be prepared for the HKCEE Chinese
examination and many of them would not reach the required benchmark (Level 2). Those who
sit for HKCEE Chinese examination are considered relatively the best student.

Level
5*
5
4
3
2
1
U
Total Students

2007
/
/
/
/
/
4
1
5

2008
/
/
/
/
/
1
7
8

2009
/
/
/
/
/
3
2
5

2010
/
/
/
/
/
3
2
5

Table 5.11 NCSS HKCEE Chinese examination results 2007-2010

It is a pity that these arrangements preset and buoyed these learners at such a low termination
point. Although, the causality may have been two-way instead of one-way when the
relationship between low termination point and low achievement students is compared, in
the current case, basing on the GCSE results in table 5.1, it is highly unlikely that students of
124

the hybrid profile (integration and ethnic) would be low achievement students but rather
students who are only groomed at the notion of low achievement point. As discussed in
Chapter 2-4, this transient arrangement (GCSE as termination point) would limit their
progressive learning and hindering them to meet their occupational needs as reflected in
Khezars case (See Chapter 5.1).

.considering GSCE, if we pass like getting a C, I think like you can get in.
I think for this Chinese, its quiet easy. I dont think for doctor they have
many different difficult, complicated words and I think this Chinese is not
good enough. We need to have a betterso we can first of all, if we want
to be in Hong Kong, we need to know Chinese because majority they are
Chinese people, not all of them can speak in English, we need to know Chinese.
And the one we are learning is just for communication, only enough for
communication. But if we want to be something like doctor, a lawyer, a police,
then we need know more so that we can do more than just communication.
(Interview: 20/10/09, Student A&B)

Many of the NCSS experience curriculum repetition or redundancy in Chinese learning when
they move to secondary schools. Since their Chinese learning portfolio is not passed to the
secondary schools, the secondary schools will start assessing students again and unavoidably
repeat or incorporate curriculum contents that are unnecessary. And in some cases, they
become the victim of evolution when schools try to develop the best curriculum at the
expense of their learning. With the broad aims and objectives in the CCCF, curriculum
developers have difficulties (See Chapter 6) in preparing a curriculum that is recursive in
nature.

Because I didnt learn very complicated Chinese and my Chinese level was
just Primary Three when I completed primary school. And when I went to
form one, I was... I I wanted to learn Chinese, but it was Form One level
of Chinese. And I was very weak in writing and I keep on I spend so much
of my other subject time just to study Chinese so that I can improve it. And
as it proceeded, I gradually improved a bit, but when I go to form four, it was
125

a new high level for me. And when it go for the CE exam, I was just I couldnt ...
Even I spent so much time; I couldnt cope with it because I didnt have the basics
basic Chinese. (Interview: 27/12/09, Student D)

It is very difficult for the secondary schools to gauge their learning and meet their needs and
have an equivalent literacy of the TL learners. Many of the NCSS feel frustrated when they are
in fact learning things that they have already learnt and there seemed to be no progression to
their Chinese Language learning.

What was happening was I was learning some stuff which I already know.
And the students we were seven students; all of our standards were a big
variance. Some of them were more able students because they study in different
primary schools and some were very weak students. And I think there should be
a different level of standard for different student. And for more able students,
some are more able than others, some are really more able that they are very
well in Chinese Language; they dont get a chance (Interview: 27/12/09, Student D)

Even though, the EDB and one of the commissioned institutions produced a four level of
proficiency descriptors in December 2010 for schools to identify the proficiency levels of
learners where different schools would then be able to address the needs, the idea was a good
start but big questions exists on how these descriptors could guide and direct curriculum
leaders to narrow the gap between the different school-based Chinese curriculums (See
Chapter 6) among the similar schools in adhering with the official CCCF, in particular the
bridging of the interface between primary and secondary school.
5.3.5 Unfavorable conditions for NCSS to learn Chinese
Undeniably, one of the main reasons that accounts for the poor performance in learning
Chinese for NCSS are the unfavorable conditions of Chinese Language learning for NCSS.
The first unfavorable condition for NCSS to learn Chinese is the huge variations and low
proximity between their L1 and Chinese, it is difficult for NCSS to learn and acquire Chinese
126

in a similar fashion to the TL learners. Since Chinese is not a phonemic language and
according to the CCCF, it requires schools to expose students to the nine strands and the
values and attitudes while they learn Chinese, however, NCSS find it difficult to catch up with
the local counterparts since many of their learning lacks versatility and progression and in
some cases, stagnant.

We need a very good foundation of Chinese language. And for foundation,


Its started at an early age. It starts in Primary. Its not like from secondary.
I understand its like to helping them a lot to understand but its just start from
the beginning level, like kindergarten level, I already think its the basic step
for them to contact Chinese and start learning it. As they learn English, they
should learn Chinese as well. Andand more assistance (Interview: 27/12/09, Student D)

Based on the TAP collected (See appendix 5) during the test, the NCSS could understand the
topic of the texts and were able to read the characters in isolation but they were unable to
decode the meaning of the characters when they were put together. Some students also had
problems in understanding and locating the information required for the comprehension
questions. While the students, who attempted text 4, they have difficulties in articulating the
figurative aspect of the Chinese language and the semantics and syntactic system of the
Chinese language.

But for HKCEE Chinese, there you goyou go for philosophy of Chinese,
history of Chinese, and a lot of deep understanding of Chinese culture
you need. You know Im noteven though I am born in Hong Kong, my
culture is likethe people I live with are my own people, theyre from
Asian culture not from Chinese culture. And when it comes to, especially
when it comes to Confucius Confucius culture, Im very weak in it
because I dont get like basically, my brain dont get to how does it
work and no one really guide me. All I know is one of the main principal
is respecting their parents. Its just like in context; I dont get it when they
use adjectives to describe those stuff or even they talk about Buddhism
and somesome of articles they are like talking about Buddhism but if
you know, Im a Muslim so I dont know when they talk about Buddhism.,
127

what exactly are they talking about. So I find it very difficult to cope it.
(Interview: 27/12/09, Student D)

As illustrated in the samples of students writing, all students chose the 1st question which was
a guided question and avoided the HKCEE questions which were cognitively more demanding
and abstract, the work exemplified NCSS lack of genre awareness for the task and as well as
the moral and affective aspect of Chinese conventions in their writing. If it was for an L1 user
of Chinese, such situation would not exist.

The second unfavorable conditions for NCSS to learn Chinese is their inability to mediate
with the Chinese language in their learning. Since English is used as their L1, they have
difficulties to maintain and cope with their L2 and L3 in their schooling.

And for those who are learning Chinese, theyre English have gone weak.
They are having learning difficulties. In result, its like a total chaos. People
are starting to loose self-esteem, loosing confidence in learning Chinese,
they end up giving up.

They end up giving up the Chinese Language

(Interview: 27/12/09, Student D)

As elaborated chapter 3.4.4, NCSS learning Chinese is subject to high variability, because they
acquire the language on the unique mediation they receive and the specific goals to which they
learn Chinese (Lantolf, 1994). They will be able to use their private speech to internalize and
mediate with the environment, such as making a purchase of daily necessities in the markets
or exchange of morning discourse with neighbors. However, if the language they mediate is
not Chinese or the density or capacity of their learning of Chinese is low, they would come
across problems in mediating in Chinese. To further illustrate Lantolfs point in the study,
based on the results from the language utilization survey, many of the participants chose to
mediate in English, resulting difficulties in recognizing daily words such as backpack(),
discount (), why (), Hong Kong Bank () and meal ().
128

I mean, reading, its so hard for me, I dont know why, just really
hard for to likeyou knowlike understand all those really
hard characters and stuff. Especially for writing and reading.
(Interview: 20/10/09, Student F)

While during the survey, the participants were also asked to decode and explain how they
decode the following six sentences in the survey.

270 7
2. A

3.
4.
5.
6.
1.

It was found that most students used English to translate question 1-3, while many of the
students sought assistance when unable to decode the text in its semantic sense.

Yea, I agree with H because, like the structure of sentence in Chinese


is totally different from English. Its not only a sentence, its almost
everything is like in Chinese is different from English. Um
if you look at an address, in English is like different and in Chinese,
its totally different.

And uh also the direction, North and South,

North-East, they call it opposite. Its likealmost everything is like


new for us, like if we are like English speaking students. Then its new
for us. Like H said, even me, I forget so many strokes, like
and those things, and even a minor thing like like minor mistake,
the whole thing will get goes wrong. (Interview: 20/10/09, Student A&B)

However, for question 4-6, the students could not make sense of the string of characters
together despite reading aloud the sentences to them. As the language utilization of the NCSS
suggests (See Table 5.9); questions that are testing their knowledge of social issues or general
knowledge may disable their meta-cognition. Therefore, questions exist on how the testing of
implicit knowledge and explicit knowledge are being taught in the schools. In theory, the more
129

complex or abstract the thing is, learners explicative skills progresses on their memory but if
their utilization for Chinese is so low, and their learning is unprogressive, it may be a big
challenge. Thus, the available language environment in Hong Kong brings no benefit in
enhancing the NCSS Chinese competence and broadening their implicit knowledge of the
Chinese language if the pigeonization syndrome is not addressed. If the expected outcome of
the school based curriculum cannot gauge the difference between the curriculum objectives of
the CCCF, then it might be reasonable to infer that the learners mental activity might not be
sufficiently equipped to mediate with the environment around them such as possessing a
Chinese competence that is competent to sit for civil service bureaus examination or mastery
of Chinese like a native speaker in workplace.

The third unfavorable condition is the lack of writing training and exposure to different
genres.
Ancient Chinese text. I have difficulty in that. I cant understand those
compositions and I get lower marks in that. (Interview: 20/10/09, Student C)

Like for Chinese, they have many different ways.

They have idioms, like for

writing skills, they have so many words of writing(Interview: 20/10/09, Student A&B)

The school needs to put emphasis on writing skills and the writing skills;
they need to teach the proper methods of handling questions. Because you
cant just give a question to them, and okay go home and write 300 words
for it or 600 words for it. And what they do what I do when I went back
home is find related articles and start writing it. Its just like copying,
copying, copying and Im not benefiting, its all just memorizing, okay
When this topic comes, ill have this much of sentence to write and when
this topic comes ill have this much this doesnt work. What we need
is comprehensive teaching so we can apply texts into different situations?
and I really think we need a lot of help on that. (Interview: 20/10/09, Student D)

Teachers need to like instruct them to write the compositions. She has to tell
us in details what we need to write. For example, for letters, she needs to tell
us like how we should write and forfor speaking, she will always tell us to
130

communicate with each other and sometimes she will tell us to do some kind
of oral presentations so that we can do it better.
(Interview: 20/10/09, Student E)

Students question whether the manner in which they learn in the class actually helps them to
learn effectively and meet their future societal needs. This is a very strong indication that these
learners are comparing and contrasting the way they are actually learning English and
Chinese.

5.4 Summary of findings


Many of the NCSS who sat for the GCSE Chinese examination usually attain an exemplary
grade. Although, they are dogmatized with their high achievement in the GCSE Chinese
examination, they are frustrated with the reality that they are unable to land into certain dream
jobs with their below-par Chinese proficiency. The participants found the existing assessments
in school or GCSE Chinese examination too easy and believe that their Chinese literacy is
distant from the threshold level of the societal expectations and have difficulties in meeting
their career needs.

The literacy test shows that the participants were only able to achieve a mean score of
one-fourth of the total for the reading section whilst one-tenth for the writing section. It was
confirmed that the participants were relatively better in answering the questions that put
emphasis on testing explicit knowledge whilst abysmally on questions that test implicit
knowledge. The majority of the participants were able to address the comprehension questions
that belong to the remembering and understanding level of Blooms taxonomy only. While for
writing, the participants preformed appallingly. They were unable to produce a decent work
that includes wide range of vocabulary, semantic and syntactic structures. In addition, the
genre awareness and idea organization was somewhat unelaborated and inadequate.
131

The chapter further looked into what contributed to such outcome; the author establishes five
major reasons that accounts for the below-par of the NCSS Chinese literacy. First, as the
participants in the study had a relative late access to the Chinese Language with respect to the
English language learning, many of the NCSS had a psychological intuition that their Chinese
proficiency is relatively the least proficient language in their language repertoire. Second, the
language utilization pattern for Chinese constitutes only 8% in their daily life and that is
mostly confined to the classroom usage. Many of the NCSS have pigeonized their Chinese by
not taking advantage of the readily available Chinese environment beyond the classroom time
despite the majority of the participants having a hybrid profile of acculturation. Third, the
NCSS are disillusioned by the Chinese language literacy where their schools results make
them feel that they are tantamount to a comfortable level of Chinese literacy, hence making the
NCSS complacent.

Fourth, the fussy transition between the primary and secondary Chinese curriculum has
victimized the progressive Chinese learning of the NCSS and the redundant/repeated
curriculum content and continuous evolution of the school-based curriculum has made a grave
concern on how coherence making of the CCCF is achieved. Last, there are a number of
unfavorable conditions faced by the NCSS when learning Chinese, such as the low proximity
between their L1 and Chinese, the heavy reliance of English as the main artifact to mediate
with their Chinese language learning and the lack of opportunities for the NCSS to expose to
the authentic texts for building their writing fluency.

The discussion has also confirmed that many of the NCSS will stay and work in Hong Kong
and serve the local community in future but they are only equipped with the limited level of
Chinese literacy where they barely can survive, work and serve the local community. Why do
132

NCSS have to cope with the 1st language curriculum framework, i.e. CCCF but sit for L2
assessment framework? What justifications is the EDB making with the total mismatch
between the learning curriculum framework and the assessment framework if they are
allowing NCSS to obtain the L2 Chinese qualification in these various assessments when there
is significant disparity in the literacy levels across the local examination (HKDSE) and the
international examinations (GCSE, IGCSE, GCE AS-Level and GCE-A-Level)?

Although readers might be worried about the performance of the participants in the literacy
test and feel pessimistic about their Chinese literacy and hence suggest lowering the Chinese
language learning for NCSS in the form of an alternative Chinese curriculum for NCSS. The
idea of lowering the Chinese learning standard is not justified and negotiable in the discourse
of the current study since it would further pigeonized NCSS Chinese literacy and widened the
Chinese literacy gap between the NCSS and the TL learners. Alternatively, there should be an
uplifted, uniformed, consistent and common Chinese language benchmark formulated in the
form of an alternative assessment in lieu of all the multiple exit assessments. The discussion
has illustrated that many of the participants in the study have a hybrid (integration and ethnic)
profile of acculturation and have instrumental motivation to learn Chinese so that they can
survive or materialize their dreams. If teachers are given one single target to navigate and push
the Chinese literacy of the NCSS, the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum would be
systematically designed in a holistic and progressive manner. In addition, teachers would have
a clearer roadmap and they would be able to systematically uplift the literacy of the NCSS. In
the subsequent chapter, the findings and discussion of the current chapter will be brought
forward to the next chapter and author will scrutinize the Chinese learning of the NCSS at
school level and depict how teachers interpret, design and implement the school-based NCSS
Chinese curriculum both at the notional and operational level.

133

Chapter 6
School-based NCSS Chinese Language curriculum in operations
6.1 Introduction
Based on the discussion in Chapter 2, it was found that the concern groups argue and support
for the provision of a central L2 NCSS Chinese curriculum for the NCSS where they believe
this centralized Chinese curriculum would deliver the Chinese literacy that is needed for
NCSS and hence NCSS would master their Chinese literacy accordingly. It is too tempting to
believe that the provision of a recognized central L2 Chinese curriculum would be a remedy
for all the anomalies of the current provisions and bring benefits to the NCSS. Doubts exist on
whether the central L2 Chinese curriculum would equate to effective Chinese learning for
NCSS and address the problems discussed in Chapter 5.

Skeptics of EDB remain very cynical on whether the central role of SCG in lieu of a central
L2 Chinese curriculum would discharge its intended purpose and objectives in these schools
as proclaimed by the EDB. The discussion in Chapter 3 and 5 suggests that there is a
mismatch between the SCG and the actual Chinese examination syllabus, resulting teachers to
gear the majority of students towards the GCSE examination syllabus and only a limited
amount of students sitting for GCE or higher level of Chinese examination. The provision of
the multiple exit assessments is quite bizarre and creates a vicious cycle of unsatisfactory and
ineffective learning and teaching of Chinese for both the teachers and NCSS.

As discussed in Chapter 5, participants performance in the test did not reach a decent level of
Chinese literacy. For reading assessment, many of the participants were only able to articulate
questions at remembering and understanding level of Blooms taxonomy whilst for writing
134

assessment, the majority of the participants were unable to produce a written text of a level
that satisfies the character count, reasonable display of acceptable semantic and syntactic
structures and fluently communicable (coherent and cohesive) piece of text. It was found that
the participants preformed relatively better in questions that test explicit knowledge of the
Chinese language whilst extremely poor in testing of implicit knowledge in reading section.
However, that does not warrant our concern to lowering the Chinese language standard for
NCSS but rather how to enhance the NCSS Chinese literacy to a level where they could
command a native-like Chinese literacy to survive in the mainstream Chinese society since the
majority of the participants has a hybrid (integrate and ethnic) profile of acculturation. In
addition, if the standards of learning Chinese for the NCSS are lowered, their pigeonization
syndrome will be further intensified.

Despite the myriad of factors and unfavorable conditions hindering NCSS progressive
Chinese learning; their desire and aspiration to learn Chinese is still towering. Thus, the
aforementioned points will be put under the scrutiny of readers attention in this chapter and
also to depict some of the anomalies that exist in the interpretation of the CCCF, SCG and
designing and delivering of their school-based Chinese curriculums at the operational planning
(Markee, 1997), namely at the notional curriculum and operational curriculum (Goodland,
1966).

6.2

Notional Curriculum: Design of school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum


EDB explained that Hong Kong itself has a suitable and good Chinese Language learning
environment for NCSS, therefore it is not difficult for them to master their listening and
speaking skills. EDB believes that there is a conducive environment and ample of
opportunities for the NCSS to build their Chinese literacy in Hong Kong since there is a lot of
printed Chinese (traditional Chinese characters) materials that exists every where in Hong
135

Kong. Henceforth, the EDB believes that the current CCCF has encompassed the curriculum
properties of broadness, robustness, flexibility and adequacy in allowing schools to design
their school-based teaching materials.

Incontestably, the good and hopeful intent of EDB to allow NCSS to learn Chinese for
understanding local culture, integrating into the community and enriching the quality of life
(CDC, 2008) seemed to be theoretically and logically sound but this rationale seemed to
dismiss and contradict participants performance in the literacy test, the pigeonization
syndrome and their affective feelings while doing the test as mentioned in Chapter 5. Although
schools design their curriculums base on their own interpretation (See Chapter 3.3), the
current situation is distant from what is being depicted in the SCG. While reviewing the design
of the school-based NCSS curriculums, in particular, the notional curriculum (design of
teaching materials), a number of general characteristics of the sampled schools were
consolidated through the review of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum documents,
teaching materials and observation (teachers meeting) to exemplify how the different
interpretations of the CCCF have brought ambiguity and anomalies to the design of the
school-based NCSS Chinese curriculums and how the provision of multiple exit assessments
have hindered the provision of a progressive Chinese literacy curriculums for NCSS across the
sampled schools.

6.2.1

Thematic approach: Focus on vocabulary in isolation not attending reading and writing
fluency

As it could be seen from Table 6.1, the curriculum modes employed in all the schools

School A
Mode 1 Immersion

School B

School C

136

Mode 2 Bridging

Mode 3 Specific Learning Purpose

Mode 4 Integrated

Table 6.1 Curriculum modes in School A, B, and C

were mainly mode 2 and mode 3 whilst only school A was able to employ all the curriculum
modes in their school. As all the schools are traditionally high concentration designated
secondary schools, different school-based teaching materials were designed to meet learners
needs.

The breath and depth of the curriculums and the relevant teaching materials were hugely and
drastically adopted and modified from the CCCF. The design of the curriculum had clear aims
and objectives for each module and each unit. Most of the materials were designed with the
rationale form building students listening and speaking skills. One school designed her 12
modules based on a theme and the modular scope of Liberal studies; personal to society and so
on (See Table 6.2).

Modules
1
2
3
4
5
6

Theme
School Life
My family
School Picnic
Festivals
Entertainment
Sports

Modules
7
8
9
10
11
12

Theme
Weather
Food
Human Body & Health
Shopping
Career & Further Education
Information Technology

Table 6.2 Thematic Contents of the school based material

From the review of the materials of the three different schools, students are taught the formal
way of speaking and as well as the colloquial way first, followed by building literacy. Initially,
one of the school employed Yale Romanization to help readers to read the character and
English translations to comprehend the learning and gradually less dependent on English in
the last few modules. The design coupled with a focus on form and function where students
have oral and listening practice in each unit. A glossary with the target word and grammar
137

functions were included to allow learners to grasps the word.

Schools with better intake designed materials that principled with the notion of reading to
learn. In these set of materials, English was only used in the glossary. One school undertook
the initiative to design their curriculum under the Quality Education Fund (QEF) so as to
develop quality materials and professional development for the staff. Despite having the
variety and diversification in the materials in these schools, the magnitude and extend to
which the curriculum framework adopted from the CCCF is questionable.

With regard to the below-par Chinese literacy as presented in Chapter 5, although there
seemed to be systematic vocabulary building with focus on the key words in the main text of
the unit, there were little evidence to suggest that the design of the materials would eventually
build NCSS Chinese literacy to a higher level of Chinese textual competence, competent and
progressive comprehension ability as stated in Blooms taxonomy and finally the written
fluency in a progressive and spiral fashion. This lack of focus and under-scaffolding to
different genres of writing would ill-equipped the NCSS with a below-par literacy for their
survival needs, both for the examination and workplace needs. This flexible adaptation and
adoption of the CCCF explains why the participants in the literacy test were only able to
address the questions that were testing their understanding and remembering level of Blooms
taxonomy and their inability to articulate themselves in written Chinese (Text 3) despite
comprehending the content of the passage. In addition, with little focus on building students
textual competence on lexically dense articles, the NCSS would be unable to attempt
questions that put emphasis on testing implicit knowledge and expressing ones thought in
open-ended questions.

138

6.2.2

Piecemeal consolidation and stagnant progression

Although there were careful pacing for some progressive learning in terms of the level of
difficulties for each subsequent unit/module in many of teaching materials and the rationale
behind the curriculum design of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum among the
schools, it was inadequately progressive to meet the challenges of the GCE Chinese
examination or the higher level of examinations in the multiple exit assessments arrangement.
The design of the units were mostly based on the principles of task-based learning approach
while the emphasis on teaching grammar, vocabulary in a progressive and spiral fashion and
teaching writing for pragmatic purposes was made subsidiary.

The notion of reinforcement where providing learners with repeated encounters with the items
they learnt were piecemeal and learners had little opportunities to recycle what they have
learnt in the lesson. Another reason rationalizing the lack of reinforcement is the lack of
extended learning where students could breakthrough the 1st classroom learning and learn
beyond the classroom where they can extend the depth and breath of their Chinese literacy and
as well as using Chinese for life-long learning. This lack of focus on fostering and cultivating
NCSS habit of using Chinese beyond the classroom time offers explanations as to why the
participants only use Chinese for 8% in their language repertoire and why their Chinese
language is pigeonized. With the different curriculums in place, it is difficult for the schools to
tie the loose ends, organize, synthesize and consolidate their curriculums where learners are
kept well informed about their Chinese learning roadmap and vie for a progressive Chinese
literacy.

From the notional curriculum, not all schools demonstrate and exemplify versatility in their
curriculum design and teaching materials as to how their learners are equipped for different
recognized international and local Chinese examinations. There is a disparity between the
139

internal school examination and the public examination (See Chapter 5.3.4). It is interesting to
note from the Chinese examination results (See table 5.1) provided by the schools and the test
results collected from this study (See table 5.2 & 5.5), nearly the majority of the NCSS who
studied in these schools took the GCSE Chinese examination (See table 5.10) and what would
rationalize the learning under different curriculums but sitting for one GCSE examination only.
Although it would be a short-sightedness to claim that the GCSE for all perception exist in
these schools where schools curriculum are all pitched at GCSE Chinese examination, it is
paradoxical to convince and comprehend why only some, not the majority of the NCSS are
prepared to sit for GCS AS level Chinese examination if the teachers see the need to prepare
the students to survive better in Hong Kong. Were all the teachers unaware of such needs or
were they helpless to deal with the issue when all the fingers were pointed at them? Or were
there little concrete support from the EDB and commissioned services at the notional level of
the curriculum?

The GCSE for all seems to be more of a transient phenomenon than a true misbelieves of the
teachers in these schools. The problem for the stagnant progression of NCSS Chinese learning
at the notional level seems to be originated from the notion of multiple exit assessments
arrangement (See table 2.3). As there are too many choices for the teachers and curriculum
developers to set their termination point for Chinese learning, the majority of the teachers and
curriculum developers pitched their curriculum at GCSE Chinese examination transiently,
hence the breath and depth of the school based NCSS Chinese curriculums were only able to
address the needs of GCSE Chinese examination. Although schools later find a need to push
the NCSS for a higher Chinese literacy, the lack of a foresight and planned progressive
Chinese curriculum at the notional level was unable to respond and remedy for the pigeonized
Chinese literacy of the used-to-be aspiring NCSS in a timely fashion.

140

6.2.3

Limited level of immersing Chinese literature, Chinese culture and Moral & Affective
Development of CCCF

Indubitably, there is no qualm that without the aesthetic and appreciation sense of a language,
a learners language and literacy competence would be dry and plain. As highlighted in the
SCG, the Chinese curriculum should include content that allows or engage the NCSS to sense
the emotions of the people and show self-reflection and sympathy while learning the language,
but many of the materials designed in the sampled schools have little focus in this regard. As
discussed earlier, due to the transient phenomena of low termination caused by the multiple
exit assessments, the inclusion of Chinese culture and Moral & Affective development was
very limited, hence it also offer another explanation to account for the inadequate reading
comprehension competence and writing skills of the participants in the literacy test.

Most of the school-based teaching materials focused on the skills and vocabulary building in
short reading passages. In light of the OCLCI (2007), the notional level of the school based
NCSS Chinese curriculums were unable to reasonably incorporate the Chinese literature and
art to a level that the NCSS implicit knowledge of the Chinese language and a higher level of
textual competence could be build to increase their ability to comprehend and command a
Chinese literacy of a level where they could address the comprehension in the literacy test
(Text 4) and as well as the writing task. The aesthetic sense was only immersed in one school
where it uses traditional Chinese fables or stories to nurture students with the disposition,
thoughts and feelings form the texts. Different question types and different level of
complexities were observed. Table 6.3 summarizes the aesthetic and appreciation elements in
their reading passages.

141

Unit
1

Content

Unit
8

Content

2
3
4
5
6
7

9
10
11
12
13
14

Table 6.3: Thematic Contents of the school based material II (Idioms-based curriculum development)

Topics of ancient Chinese in historical episodes with metaphorical implications are taught to
the students. It is understandable that schools have difficulties in dealing with the inclusion of
a reasonable amount of items concerning the notion of Chinese literature since its essence is
embedded in the Chinese Language. However, it is questionable whether an L2 learner would
be able to cope with the same breath, depth and parameters of the Chinese literature, in terms
of its materialistic, humanistic and spiritual perspectives as expected from the TL learners.
This is an area where no concrete guidance is given in the SCG.
6.2.4

Little resources for audio and interactive materials

During the interview and review of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculums, it was found
that schools are finding it very difficult to design and source materials that best address the
needs of the NCSS students listening skills or interactive learning that are cognitively pegged
with their learning age unlike the abundance materials that are available for ESL learners. The
available materials seemed not directly relevant to the age needs or interests of the NCSS
learners. In addition, it would be very difficult for schools to promote learning Chinese
Language beyond lesson time since there are inadequate and suitable audio or interactive
materials to facilitate the initiative.

142

6.3

Operational Curriculum: Delivery of school-based NCSS Chinese Curriculum


Further to the elaboration of the problems identified at the notional level of the school-based
NCSS Chinese curriculum, it is the aim of this section to examine and elicit how the notional
curriculum affects the operation curriculum or whether some other problems exist at the
operational curriculums which were independent from the notional curriculums affects the
operational curriculums of the sampled schools. As elaborated in Chapter 4 (See Chapter
4.3.2.6), there were accessibility issue concerning the lesson observation and teachers
readiness to allow the researcher to observe their lessons, hence the four lesson observations
were a randomized arrangement based on the principles of availability and accessibility. In
order to make the data more credible, triangulation was achieved through other means of
observation such as attending various schools meeting that discusses their design and delivery
of Chinese curriculums and interflow and in-depth interview with the teachers (See Chapter
4.3). The subsequent findings were the general characteristics of the sampled schools and a
total of four classes were observed which included a total of five periods; two double and
three single periods (See Appendix 7). The information of the lessons observed is listed in
table 6.5.

Form

Class size

Lesson Objective

Curriculum Mode

Lesson 1

25 (17 boys, 8 girls)

Learning Chinese compounds characters

Mode 2: Bridging

Lesson 2

28 (17 boys, 11 girls)

Decoding a comprehension passage

Mode 2: Bridging

Lesson 3

18 (18 boys)

Learning public transportation vocabulary

Mode 2: Bridging

Lesson 4

24 (16 boys, 8 girls)

Test feedback and review

Mode 2: Bridging

Table 6.4 Observed lessons information

The general class practice of the NCSS Chinese class includes the elements of English as MOI
and a certain amount of time devoted to work on students recognition of characters both in
terms of pronouncing and sequencing of the strokes before engaging in repetition of the
143

characters at phrase and sentence level. As for individual lessons; lesson 1 focused on teaching
students how to expand Chinese vocabulary with compounds. Students learnt how to build

vocabulary with the character , and and they have to combine the characters with
another compound word throughout the lessons. Students used Yale Romanization and English
meaning to help recognize the compound characters. Lesson 2 focused on teaching students
how to decode a short passage of 32 characters.

Lesson 3 focused on teaching students the vocabulary of different types of public


transportation and students learnt them at word level while lesson 4 focused on reviewing the
test paper and the teacher checked the answers with the students throughout the lesson.
6.3.1 Heavy reliance on English as medium of instructions in lessons
Ideally, if English is being successfully learnt by L2 learners in ESL, the skilful use of TCSL
would get NCSS to learn Chinese successfully. However, one of the problems that associated
with the TCSL is the heavy dependence on English in Chinese lesson. Most of the observed
lessons employed TCSL approach in the lessons but the approach was not skillfully employed
in catering for the needs of progressive Chinese learning. In the observed lessons, English was
used very frequently and it seems that the teachers were deceived into believing that the use of
more English to teach Chinese is in fact the pedagogy to overcome the problems in
communication and teaching content. The limited use of Chinese as medium in the lessons
warrants our concern, since the language utilization pattern of the participants for Chinese was
only 8% (See table 5.10); it would deprive opportunities for the learners to expose to the use
of Chinese language in the rich environment if the dependence of English do not subsides.

At classroom level, many of the observed lessons share the general characteristics of low
learning capacity, where the learners only learn minimal amount of Chinese due to heavy
144

reliance of English in the delivery process, letting alone the goal of achieving a decent level of
Chinese literacy. For instance, in lesson 3 of Form 1 level, the teacher devoted the whole
lesson on teaching the vocabulary of different forms of transportation at word level and the
students take turns to label the pictures of different forms of transportation. Readers would
question whether the developmental nature of mediation (Lantolf, 1994) from their primary
schools Chinese learning to secondary schools Chinese learning was useless or redundant as
the external forms of mediation (learning transportation vocabulary) have not been
internalized in the NCSS mediation of different forms of transportation at secondary level.
Similarly, as argued by social cultural theorist (Lantolf, 1994 and Thomas & Collier 1997), the
NCSS psychological processes were not effectively fostered and cultivated to emerge their
learning at the relevant maturational moment since their Chinese learning was affected by
their Chinese pigeonization beyond the lesson time and the lack of a progressive and versatile
Chinese curriculum that push the NCSS for a higher Chinese literacy.

Hence, the teachers delivering the curriculum in TCSL approach would focus more on
speaking and listening skills and followed by building literacy. It is rather difficult to
comprehend why schools still build on students speaking and listening skills as they have
long been exposed to them since their primary schooling. The emphasis on building their
Chinese literacy is inadequate and that explains why the participants in the study
under-performed in their literacy test (See Chapter 5.2) and also helps explain why the NCSS
become victimized in the fussy transition between the poor interface between the primary and
secondary Chinese Language education (See Chapter 5.3.4).
When they (NCSS) go home watching programs in Urdu and when communicating
with others, they speak Urdu or even English, they are not willing to speak in
Cantonese. How can you force them to cross that barrier, its rather difficult.
But of course, during Chinese lessons, making them speak in Cantonese is
easier. But how to make them speak more in other circumstances is a big
challenge. (Interview: 1/4/10, Teacher A)
145

Ideally, the use of English as the main medium is inevitable; the role of English should play a
greater role in the beginning when the learners are first exposed to the Chinese language but as
learners acquire a decent amount of literacy, the role of English should gradually diminish. In
some cases, some of the NCSS were acquainted and taught Chinese with Yale Romanization;
this is questionable as its usefulness for their daily life is low and many of the NCSS who are
studying Chinese have already had an exposure to Chinese Language for more than 6 years, so
it is unreasonable to limit their exposure by setting easy barriers in the form of low-learning
capacity to make the NCSS fall into the Chinese language competence fallacy and the comfort
zone of their Chinese literacy (See Chapter 5.3).
6.3.2

Limited effectiveness in learning and teaching

In general, the teachers were able to choose teaching methods or teaching approaches
appropriately to deliver the notional curriculums but the heavy reliance of English has limited
the effectiveness of the pacing and learning capacity in the lessons. In light of the OCLCI
(2007), there was little evidence to suggest that teachers were able to maximize the learning
opportunities for the learners despite contextualizing the linguistic input and integrate some
language skills in the lessons. The notion of promoting learner autonomy and cultivating their
ability to think in Chinese was not present in the observation. Although the design of the
lessons had a clear focus and it draws on learners daily life experiences, the amount of
learning relative to NCSS cognitive ability (Thomas & Collier 1997) and Chinese literacy that
meets the societal needs was inadequate. The learning capacity in the lessons observed (See
Appendix 7) and observations in the schools meeting and teachers interview shows that
teachers were delivering lesson with low level of learning capacity and it confirms with the
participants verbatim that their learning is not effective enough (See Chapter 5). It was found
that the learning content was thin and it was not challenging for the learners despite relating to
146

NCSS daily life.

For instance, in lesson 1, students were learning the characters of compounding in isolation
and lack the essence of built-on. During the observation, it was difficult to see how the
learning of the characters was taught in a recursive and meaningful repetitive manner, so that
students mental lexicon and repeated encounter could be built eventually. Similarly, in lesson
2, although the vocabulary taught was drawn on learners daily life experiences, the characters
in the short passage seems to have been too short and possibly learnt by the learners in the
primary school; thus it lacked the elements of building on their existing learning.

The idea of teaching vocabulary in isolation was ineffective since the NCSS were not given
opportunities to link their previous learning to the current lesson in a systematic manner.
Likewise in lesson 4, the purpose of checking the test paper was meant for reflecting the
learning outcome of the students; quality feedback was not evident and learners were not
drawn to their major strengths and weaknesses of their performance in the test.

Likewise, as reiterated in other means of observation, it was found that not all NCSS who
attained GCSE Chinese qualifications in their Form 5 level were pushed forward to sit for a
higher level of Chinese examination, such as GCE AS level Chinese examination partly
because of the high examination fees and absence of a versatile Chinese curriculum that make
their Chinese meaningful after sitting GCSE Chinese examination. This option in multiple exit
assessments had made NCSS feel their Form 6 Chinese learning as unnecessary and redundant.
This concessionary approach of EDB compromised the Chinese literacy progression of the
NCSS in the process and teachers view to push the NCSS for a higher Chinese literacy level.

147

The SCG has not offered its assistance for teachers to deliver the operational curriculum
effectively and address the anomalies that were resulted from the notional level of the
curriculum. Hence, it is difficult to imagine how most of the other elements mentioned in the
CCCF could be incorporated with the current teaching pace and the notional curriculum. The
impression of the operational curriculum connotes the duty of teacher as gearing the majority
of the NCSS to attain the GCSE Chinese examination only. This confirms that teachers
delivering the curriculum have subconsciously indoctrinated the transient phenomena of
GCSE for all and it raises our concern as to how the different curriculum modes employed in
schools are taking into effect if low learning capacity is the key characteristics in their regular
lessons. Since most of these NCSS will stay in Hong Kong for good, would the learning be
adequate for them to survive with what they have learnt from their schooling? It seems
students are given choices on how much they want to learn.

Thus, this made us believe that teachers expectations on the students were low as it could be
translated from the manner in which students could promptly accomplish the tasks and
engage in other off-tasks behavior in the observed lessons. Undeniably, their ability to
accomplish tasks without challenges make the NCSS perceive that they have a good Chinese
language competence, hence falling into the Chinese language competence fallacy (See
Chapter 5.3.3). In addition, the interaction pattern was one-way and was restrictive in the
lessons, these kinesthetic NCSS were unable to demonstrate and exemplify their generic skills
such as communication skills, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration skills which are
pivotal in language classes.
6.3.3

Absence of a good learning atmosphere

One of the key features of a good language lesson is the existence of students ownership in
the lesson and different learners in the class should be given opportunities to meaningfully
148

contribute towards the lesson. In general, the learning atmosphere in the lessons observed was
generally average and in some cases it was un-motivating. There were no established routine
in the class. As discussed in the earlier section, with the snow-balling effect of low-learning
capacity and little challenge for the students in the lesson, learners were generally not
interested with the lesson and behaved disruptively due to monotonous and little involvement
in the lesson. In some extreme cases, it was appalling to see how some teachers lacked
classroom management skills in managing disruptive behavior, such as students sleeping and
some having task avoidance behavior and no intervention took place. The NCSS are hence
given illusion that the internal examination would be easily comprehensible and they would be
complacent about their Chinese literacy and intensify the problem of their Chinese
pigeonization and underutilization of the Chinese language in their repertoire.

There are two main reasons as to why the Chinese learning environment in the class was
un-motivating, namely, the interaction pattern designed by the teachers in the lesson and
students lack of basic learning strategies. First, the interaction pattern in many of the observed
lessons was somewhat restrictive where the traditional straight-jacket approach was employed.
The NCSS were restricted to the high-frequency of teachers delivering the lesson content
while they were given little or no opportunities to engage in the lessons. Although, there were
quite a number of tasks designed for the learners, the manner in which to solicit their
participation in the lesson was somewhat one-way; teacher-student. No student-student
interaction pattern were arranged to allow learners to engage with their peers to communicate
and collaborate meaningfully.

Second, the absence of basic learning strategies such as note-taking and questioning skills
leads to lack of interest and ownership of the lesson. If the NCSS do not have these skills, it
would be rather difficult for teachers to promote autonomy learning and make the NCSS to
149

undertake any independent learning beyond classroom time where they can maximize their
Chinese learning, both in terms of pre-lesson preparation, while-lesson participation and
post-lesson self-learning. If these training are conditioned in NCSS and formulate as class
routine, NCSS self language learning capacity can be enhanced and favorable conditions
could be developed for progressive learning and teaching of Chinese.

6.4

Analysis of findings
The devil is in the detail, NCSS Chinese learning is not an issue that could simply be resolved
by implementing the SCG or formulating an alternative central Chinese curriculum for NCSS;
after all, the interpretation and implementation are two significant variables that determine the
success or failure of the Chinese Language education for the NCSS. Based on the earlier
depiction of the design (notional curriculum) of the school-based Chinese curriculum and the
delivery (operational curriculum) of the curriculum in the schools, it is evident that the
different interpretation of the CCCF results in too much flexibility and inconsistencies among
the different curricula in the schools and mismatch between the learning curriculum and
assessment syllabus. It was also evident that the schools were unable to deliver a versatile yet
progressive NCSS Chinese curriculum that would cater for the Chinese literacy needs of the
NCSS. The notion of multiple exit assessments seem to be the main source of the trouble and
this concessionary approach of EDB (See Chapter 7.24 & 7.3.4) has created a vicious cycle of
ineffective learning and teaching for the NCSS Chinese. This section discusses and
consolidates the earlier account of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculums in operations
both at the notional and operational curriculums.

150

6.4.1 Teachers dilemma between theory and practice


Unlike the negative sentiments of teachers teaching NCSS in the mainstream schools in the
study of Hau (2008), teachers in these three designated high concentration secondary schools
are somewhat more positive and understanding to the learning plights of the NCSS. Teachers
believe that after the handover in 1997, Chinese has become very important for the NCSS if
they choose to reside in Hong Kong for good.

So first I think I believe that it shouldincrease the interest in learning.


If they have interest they will learn, if they dont have interest, I dont think
they will listen to me. So the first important thing is to raise their interest.
And second is to make them understand the importance of learning Chinese
as they are living in Hong Kong. (Interview: 31/3/2010, Teacher A)

As discussed in section 6.3, teachers find the need to push the Chinese literacy of the NCSS
beyond the GCSE level but due to the notion of multiple exit assessments, teachers and
curriculum developers at the notional level are given too many choices to preset the
termination point and schools tend to pitch most of the curriculum content at GCSE Chinese
examination level. Hence, when the breath and depth of the notional curriculum is drastically
tailored to meet that termination point and absence of other concurrent progressive curricula,
NCSS Chinese literacy is further pigeonized and teachers become helpless at the operational
level of curriculum to address the literacy needs of the learners in a timely fashion. In the
findings of the study, only a very small amount of students are pushed for GCE AS level
Chinese examination (See table 5.10 and 5.11) and the majority of the NCSS are not pushed
forward, it is hard to comprehend why teachers would still make the NCSS acquire and equip
them with this level of Chinese literacy of such level in first place when the teachers are aware
that the NCSS would stay and reside in Hong Kong.

151

As argued before, teachers believe that getting NCSS to master their listening and speaking is
the first priority followed by the gradual development in reading and writing skills. If this is
what teachers believe in the secondary school setting, so what should teachers be teaching in a
primary school setting? It seems that despite the provisions of different curriculum modes,
teachers still begin their teaching from zero where some of the learning might have been
overlapped with their primary schooling and the literacy level of the NCSS would be
somewhat similar to the participants of the study. It is questionable as to why the important
emphasis on gradual Chinese literacy development has not been on the focus, since most of
the NCSS are orally competent in Cantonese. Hence, this belief further explains why there is a
fussy transition between the primary and secondary schooling, since teachers group students
according to the year of exposure to Chinese learning and teachers role are monolithic; there
is no multi-tier learning to cater for individual difference taking place in class to cater for the
aspiring and under-achieved students within the class.

Therefore with such presumption in teachers notional curriculum, they do agree that there are
many difficulties in teaching NCSS Chinese. One way to fill the notional curriculum is to
enhance the teachers understanding of students cultural background and bring in motivation
that relates to their life and eventually motivate them to learn beyond classroom time.

Some of them, they speak very well Chinese; they can communicate with no
problem. But once we come to writing, actually, they would just like set
a wall in front of them. Okay to block everything. Miss, I dont know!
Miss, its very difficult! or Miss, I dont want to learn! So, I think
teaching the writing part it the most important task for me even I think
until now. (Interview: 31/3/2010, Teacher A)

However, as reiterated in the interview, teachers admit that it is not easy to teach NCSS
Chinese because learning Chinese is difficult; especially teaching writing

152

But when I teach reading and writing part, its the most difficult task for me
You know Chinese characters are very complicated. And it is very hard to
raise the interest or motivate them to write. (Interview: 1/4/10, Teacher B)

From the examination of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum design, teaching
materials, delivery of the lesson and presence in schools meeting, there is little evidence to
suggest how schools cultivate NCSS intensive and extensive reading habit of reading in
Chinese. Likewise, it was difficult to witness class routines where teachers would employ
different reading strategies and skills to build the comprehension ability and textual
competence of the NCSS in authentic texts in all the different levels of Blooms taxonomy and
addresses the problems identified in the reading section of the literacy test. For writing, the
relationship between reading and writing was weak and the focus on teaching NCSS to
understand different genres and writing practical text types was somewhat very limited. Hence,
the underachievement and below par performance of the participants in the literacy test could
have been addressed if the aforementioned elements were included in the notional curriculum.

6.4.2

Inadequate provision for enhancing teachers LTEC and LTC

Only one of the schools in the study has all the four curriculum modes but it was found that
nearly the majority of the NCSS are learning under the properties of curriculum mode 2
(Bridging Mode) of the SCG while the other schools only provide mode 2 (Bridging Mode)
and mode 3 (Specific Learning Purpose). As elaborated in table 2.2, the attainable
qualifications for the former is GCE AS level while the latter is GCSE, it was difficult to see
how the different types of curriculums in these schools show effect on NCSS Chinese literacy
if these curriculums were considered progressive (See section 6.2 and 6.3).

153

Many of the teachers at the operational curriculum, as seen in the schools meeting and teacher
conference, are frustrated and helpless as to how to push the literacy of the NCSS beyond the
transient phenomena of the GCSE for all deadlocks. It is questionable as to why the majority
of the NCSS would only sit for the GCSE Chinese examination but not pushed for other
examinations if they have built up their Chinese literacy beyond the GCSE level. The main
source of the problem is not directly associated at the operational curriculum and the teachers
competence in delivering the curriculum but rather at the notional curriculum where teachers
and curriculum developers unskillfully tailor the breath and depth of the school based NCSS
Chinese curriculum to satisfy the bizarre multiple exit assessments to an extent that the
contents and features of the curriculum is made oversimplified, unprogressive and
non-versatile.

Along these lines, the SCG did not play its role in assisting the sampled schools in designing
and delivering the NCSS Chinese curriculum. The SCG only laid the curriculum modes and
included vague descriptions about the CCCF but crucial items that were instrumental for both
notional and operational curriculums were absence, for instance, curriculum design principles,
association between the different curriculum modes, different assessments in the multiple exit
assessments and teaching methodologies/approaches. Based on the discussion in section 6.2,
there seems to be an issue whether teachers are capable of playing the role of a curriculum
developer as they might lack time and knowledge in developing a school based curriculum
since teachers play more the role of an executioner than a developer.

You know Chinese characters are very complicated. And it is very hard to
raise the interest or motivate them to write. Some of them, they speak very
well Chinese; they can communicate with no problem. But once we come to
writing, actually, they would just like set a wall in front of them. Okay
to block everything. Miss, I dont know! Miss, its very difficult! or
Miss, I dont want to learn! So, I think teaching the writing part it the
154

most important task for me even I think until now. (Interview: 31/3/10, Teacher A)

Are these teachers having an up to par language teacher competence (LTC) or language
teacher educator competence (LTEC) as proposed by Thomas (1987)? The answer to the
question is NO. In the current situation of teachers teaching NCSS, they have to manage the
role of a curriculum developer and as well as a curriculum executioner but from the previous
discussion (see section 6.2 and 6.3), the teachers are still cumulating their trade on their
learning curve and this imparted competence have resulted in some imbalances between the
notional and operational curriculum in their classrooms. Emulating on Thomas (1987)s work
to explain the LTEC and LTC of the teachers, Figure 6.1 illustrates the current situation.

Figure 6.1 Adapted Thomas (1987) language competence model

The yellow color indicates the areas which are not imparted by the NCSS Chinese teachers
and which are absence or inadequate in their competence as a teacher. For LTEC and LTC, the
teachers lack the necessary competence for an LTEC and partially inadequate for LTC; their
pedagogic-linguistic and social cultural awareness (Thomas & Collier, 1997) seems to be
inadequate as they were not fully aware of the unique language acquisition process of NCSS,
155

the pigeonization phenomena and the low-proximity between the Chinese language and
NCSS L1 (See Chapter 3.4). In addition, their competence in teaching how to teach NCSS
(Methodological competence) in TCSL was not as skilful as reflected from the various source
of observations. Thus, the implementation of an effective school-based NCSS Chinese
curriculum was therefore hindered.

Under the current arrangement and provision, according to Thomas (1987) framework, there
is an absence of official document or guidelines with respect to teachers school-based
professional development programme. Since teachers lack LTC and LTEC in delivering the
NCSS Chinese curriculum, the recent work on TCSL (See Table 6.5) are the details that are
absence in the official documents or guidelines. These details would help fill teachers
teaching deficiencies in terms of the knowledge, abilities and skills required of teachers of
Chinese to speakers of other languages.

Module
1
2

Module Name
Language Abilities and
Skills
Culture and Communication

3
4

SLA and learning strategies


Teaching Methodology

Professionalism

Details

Chinese Language abilities and skills

Foreign Language abilities and skills

Chinese Culture

Chinese-foreign cultural comparison and intercultural
communication

SLA and learning strategies

Chinese Language teaching methodology

Teaching and assessment

Curricula, syllabi and teaching materials

Technology-enhanced language teaching

Codes and practices

Table 6.5 SLA framework for teachers TCSOL (OCLCI, 2007)

The framework offers useful perspectives if details of it are incorporated in the SCG or a
dummy handbook for teachers teaching NCSS Chinese. For instance, as part of the LTC in
module 2 would be able to help teachers to raise their notion on multiculturalism and the
cultural differences of the majority EM groups residing in Hong Kong and address the issue of
teachers low awareness of the low-proximity between Chinese and the L1 of the NCSS.
156

Another example, as part of the LTEC in module 3 and 4, teachers or curriculum developers
would revive the SLA principles and the useful teaching methodologies and principles while
designing and delivering the curriculum where the concerns raised in the literacy test in
Chapter 5 (See section 5.2 and 5.3) and Chapter 6 (See section 6.2 and 6.3) could be
addressed.

6.4.3

Unskillful incorporation of CCCF

As discussed in section 6.2 and 6.3, the NCSS school-based Chinese curriculum in operations
(notional and operational curriculums) do not appear to be as coherent as it seems between the
tactical and operational level of planning in its process of negotiation (Markee:1997). As there
is no rubrics provided for teachers on developing school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum,
fingers should not be pointed at teachers because these teachers are only trained more to be
curriculum executioner rather than a curriculum developer in terms of their teachers training
and remit of their work mandate.

As discussed in Chapter 3.4, the first view (curriculum as plan) is partially employed by the
EDB where they preset objectives for the CCCF while the second view (curriculum as process)
is held at school level where they make decision at the syllabus, the guidelines concerning the
teaching materials. The third model (curriculum as dwelling) seem to be associated at
classroom level where the teacher look at the situation and needs of the class and design and
implement the day to day curriculum that meet the needs of the students. The third view
(curriculum a dwelling) was further discussed with respect to notional and operational
curriculum at teachers level in section 6.2 and 6.3. However, the negotiation between the
different levels of curriculum planning seems to be rather weak and the SCG was unable to
address the issue of negotiation between the different levels of planning and as well as the
157

different curricula. The review of the design and delivery of the school-based NCSS Chinese
curriculum seemed to be too flexible and inadequate in addressing the progressive Chinese
literacy needs of the NCSS due to the inadequate LTEC of the teachers at the notional
curriculum and affecting the notion of effective learning and teaching at the operational
curriculum.

It is questionable whether the curriculum design and teaching materials developed by schools
are adhering and coherent with the CCCF guiding principles and objectives since their
teaching materials are not vetted by the teaching materials vetting body similar to textbooks
approving committee of EDB prior to the delivery of the materials in class. The teachers have
good intention and there is no doubt with their level of engagement. For instance, based on the
feedback from the tertiary institutions, teachers are bombarded with information and to engage
in positive outcome of various projects or experiments. They are tempted to change the
curriculums but it remains piecemeal changes and no effectiveness is yielded. Thus, it would
be awkward to judge the comprehensiveness of the school curriculums by simply looking at
how much they have included the different strands, values and attitudes into their curriculums.
Rather, it should be viewed from the versatility and progressive perspective and whether a
purposeful integration that have intertwined all the elements of the framework which would
alleviate an effective Chinese curriculum for the NCSS in light of the provision of a
diversified curriculum organization, an effective learning, teaching and assessment.

..I think assessment is not flexible but as you say curriculum, I think its
okay because were sorry that we dont really follow them (Supplementary
Chinese curriculum guide) because I think we are we are early, we set
up the curriculum earlier than they (EDB) put their focus on NCS. I think
we walked earlier than them. So but later on when we refer back to the
guideline, for setting up the Chinese curriculum for NCS, I think mostly
our curriculum match with them. (Interview: 31/3/10, Teacher A)
158

Seemingly, the pendulum is focused on what to teach but not what to learn? As discussed
earlier (See Chapter 5 and section 6.2 and 6.3) students do not extend their Chinese language
learning beyond classroom time which limit their progressive and recursive learning of
Chinese, this is critical since the actual time spent on learning Chinese is conducive and
proportionate to the Chinese language competence; hence equipping students with self-study
skills and fostering a positive attitude towards the Chinese learning is eminent.

The teachers are torn between the dilemma of teaching in the L1 curriculum framework
(CCCF) and preparing students for L2 assessments. With reference to the notional curriculum
reviewed in section 6.2, schools are still trying to bring diversity in their curriculums and
undeniably, due to the mismatch between the negotiation at the tactical and operational level
of curriculum planning and inadequate LTEC of the teachers at the notional curriculum, the
manner in which they decide the breath and depth of the school-based NCSS Chinese
curriculum was questionable and yet there were no comprehensive planning and measures to
push the majority of the NCSS to a higher level of Chinese literacy. Hence, the participants
who attempted the literacy test in the study have exemplified their below-par literacy caused
by the inadequate focus on their weaknesses from their school-based NCSS Chinese
curriculum in the test. In addition, the three strands of language content (Literature, Chinese
Culture and Moral & Affective Development) and two thinking competence strands (Thinking
and Independent Language Learning) of CCCF are under-incorporated in the designed
materials and poorly delivered to the students resulting to a stagnant Chinese literacy of the
NCSS.

159

6.4.4

Poor external support

If the lack of LTEC is one of the causes for a below-par curriculum, then we would believe
that external support would be an antidote to the illness but this is too good to be true. These
commissioned tertiary institutions tried to increase the number of schools for their research
purpose and made the teachers busier than before. With the support from them, teachers view
the process of working together with them as an additional burden and pressure.

They want our stuff more than they provide us, personally speaking. They just have
meetings like teachers all the time have meetings; sometimes you would feel the meeting
is meaningless or bored, and its too frequent. But actually they refused because we sort
of from all teachers in the school last year, we meet like once a week?
(Interview: 31/3/10, Teacher A)

The feelings of a mismatch between what the tertiary institutions are offering and what
teachers are expecting are apparent from the verbatim. Teachers agree that their involvement
help alleviate teachers LTEC in terms of theories, however, teachers are skeptical on the
pragmatics of putting their theories into practices since the institutions and the teachers are
exploring the issue on the same learning curve.

But we also some realize that sometimes these experts or staff from these
institutions is they really able to help our students? We can say that we dont
really have anybody who has a lot of experiences in this aspect, NCS students
learning Chinese, because it is originated from Hong Kong. So under such circumstances,
there are times where there teaching experiences and the situation in our schools do not match.
(Interview: 1/4/10, Teacher B)

In other words, the external support did not play its role as a negotiator and coherence maker
between the tactical and operational level and more appallingly teachers LTEC at notional and
operational curriculums did not benefit in the process.

160

At governmental level, the EDB did not give direct support to these schools which addresses
the concerns between the strategic and tactical level of curriculum planning. Hence, teachers
had problems in articulating their notional and operational curriculums (See section 6.2 and
6.3). It is rather difficult to comprehend and make sense why EDB has to commission the
tasks to tertiary institutions when EDB themselves have the adequate know-how, expertise and
experience with the issue. For a responsible educational body, it is not enough just to
commission and delegate the responsibilities to the tertiary institutions but rather ensure
effective and pragmatic mechanisms are in place to ensure job is well done by these service
providers.

6.5

Summary of findings
In this chapter, the researcher has depicted the current implementation of the school-based
NCSS Chinese curriculums both at the notional and operational curriculums. The recurring
theme of balancing between the designing and delivering an effective Chinese learning and
teaching resonates louder than the provision of an L2 central NCSS Chinese curriculum ever.
As the discussion confirms that providing an alternative Chinese curriculum would not
directly equate to effective teaching since the LTEC and LTC of the teachers are crucial for an
effective notional and operational Chinese curriculum. In addition, there is also inadequacy of
the system to support teachers at the operational curriculum to design a reasonable
school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum that addresses the issues of versatility and
progressiveness.

As conceptualized in Figure 6.1, there is no transformation for teachers in terms of their


teaching qualifications and the absence of formal teacher training for the teachers. The
discussion confirms that due to the varied and volatile LTEC and LTC of the teachers, gaps
exist between the notional and operational school based NCSS Chinese curriculums. Teachers
161

do not regard themselves as curriculum developers but rather a curriculum executioner, the
quality of effective learning and teaching in classroom has been hindered due the anomalies
carried forward from the notional to the operational curriculum. Since, the teachers have gone
through their teaching practicum based on L1 approach and they have no formal training for
teaching L2 learners Chinese, in particular, the NCSS, many of the teachers lack the
understanding of the L1 language system of the NCSS. As a result, many of the teaching of the
language are being taught in isolation and characterized the literacy problems faced by the
participants in the literacy test of the current study. Thus, many of them are unaware of the
possible language interference, transfer, pigeonization phenomena and the degree of
proximities between the different L1s of the NCSS and the Chinese language.

Based on the discussion on the notional and operational curriculums of the school-based
NCSS Chinese curriculum, it was confirmed that there was a mismatch between the
negotiation at the tactical and operational level of curriculum planning as there were weak
negotiation between the different agents at their respective level such as the EDB and the
commissioned services providers while they were providing support to the sampled schools. In
addition, the concessionary gestures of EDB by formulating an SCG and providing the
multiple exit assessments have further complicated the issues rather than addressing the core
issue of enhancing NCSS Chinese literacy as reflected in the literacy test and the analysis in
this chapter. Therefore, at the notional level of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum,
problems such as inadequate focus on building reading and writing fluency; low-level of
immersing the three strands of language content (Literature, Chinese Culture and Moral &
Affective Development) and two thinking competence strands (Thinking and Independent
Language Learning) of CCCF; and piecemeal consolidation and stagnant progression was
observed.

162

In addition, it was found that there seemed to be a transient GCSE for all perception where
schools and teachers have subconsciously administered the low-termination point on the
majority of the NCSS while only a limited amount of NCSS are pushed for a higher level of
Chinese examinations. In the current arrangement, there is no mechanism to check and assist
schools with the teaching priorities to cater different levels of students in the class. To address
this artifact in teachers curriculum paradigm, there is room for EDB to consider formulating
an alternative assessment where NCSS could sit for an examination which is more demanding
than the GCSE and also more relevant to Hong Kongs context. Hence, teachers would
subconsciously design and delivery a curriculum which is pegged with that assessment and
ultimately pushing for a higher Chinese literacy.

While at the operational level of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum, teachers relied
heavily on English as the medium in the lesson rather than an effective pedagogy to enhance
learning and teaching. Due to the low termination point in the notional level of the curriculum,
the majority of the lessons content and teaching pace were characterized by low learning
capacity and hence an absence of a good learning atmosphere. If we want the NCSS to survive
with a decent level of the Chinese literacy in the mainstream society of Hong Kong, the
learning capacity in the lesson should be made progressive.

Although the SCG do offer insights to schools for curriculum organization, critical contents
such as teaching approaches or methodological perspectives were absent and the study has
presented some of the TCSL elements that could be incorporated in the SCG which could
make it more usable to the teachers. There is a worry that NCSS motivation and aspiration for
a higher level of Chinese learning will become stagnant and further pigeonized and the
idealism in the CCCF will always be a utopia point for the NCSS to achieve if more concrete
support and stronger negotiation between the different levels of curriculum planning are not
163

bolstered. It is an actual fact that, the promises made by EDB has never been delivered and a
lot of promises in the SCG are not materialized. At the strategic level of the negotiation, EDB
is making un-materialized claims and the SCG is inadequate to address all the problems that
were discussed in this chapter.

164

Chapter 7
Views: Why differ?
7.1

Introduction

As discussed in the background chapter on the different educational plights faced by the NCSS,
the major issue in their educational plights appears to be the Chinese language education since
the learning of Chinese for NCSS is not for affluent purposes but for survival purposes.
Fingers are always pointed at the Chinese teachers for not doing their job well but as discussed
and exemplified in Chapter 5 and 6, the problem that hinders the provision and delivery of a
progressive NCSS Chinese curriculum is due to the notion of multiple exit assessments rather
than the teachers. Teachers find the needs to enhance the literacy of the NCSS but there is
inadequate support to the teachers at the notional curriculum to design a progressive
curriculum that would allow the delivery of a more progressive Chinese curriculum at the
operational curriculum. The previous chapters (Chapter 5 and 6), looked at the provision of
Chinese language education at a microscopic point of view where the scenario of NCSS
Chinese learning and teaching was thoroughly depicted and discussed.

Based on the depiction of the participants Chinese literacy in Chapter 5, it was found that
their Chinese language literacy was inadequate for survival purposes below par and the
discussion has consolidated a number of key issues which require our immediate attention and
care with respect to the Chinese Language education for NCSS. For instance, the NCSS
un-imparted language and hybrid acculturation profile, their pigeonization syndrome and low
Chinese language utilization pattern in their language repertoire and their victimization
through the evolution in the school-based Chinese curriculums between the primary and
secondary schooling.
165

In addition, in Chapter 6, a number of anomalies were identified concerning the school-based


NCSS Chinese curriculums at the notional and operational curriculum. The discussion
confirmed that teachers appear to be indoctrinated with the transient GCSE for all perception
caused by the multiple exit assessments despite seeing the need to enhance the Chinese
literacy of the NCSS. Hence, the Chinese literacy of the NCSS was therefore stagnant due to
the lack of a concurrent and progressive Chinese literacy curriculum. The SCG itself was
inadequate and was unable to deliver the claims that were made by the EDB. The SCG is only
able to assist in curriculum organization and there were inadequacy in reflecting the diverse
pedagogical needs of teaching between the primary and secondary curriculums, in particular in
the secondary school curriculums. Also, there were concerns on the LTEC and LTC of teachers
in designing and delivering the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum. The absence of these
crucial elements by the EDB requires our sympathy as this is a new experience where they
(EDB) are accumulating their experience and practices of catering an L1 CCCF but teaching
in an L2 acquisition process.

Learning Chinese is important for the NCSS and imperative if they want to pursue for a better
future in Hong Kong. The question of how to provide a better and effective provision of NCSS
Chinese Language education has been the source of debate and there are no doubts that there
will be a lot of challenges ahead to make it better. The debate on the issue has always been on
theoretical fights between the different stakeholders and it is a total waste of time as no
concrete outcome has been materialized since 2004. Therefore, the EDBs energy should
urgently be placed on how to prepare the NCSS for a higher Chinese literacy before
sacrificing them as the 2nd batch of victims of these political fights between the different
stakeholders in the current mayhem.

166

Henceforth, this chapter looks at the provision of Chinese language education from a
macroscopic view of the societal discourse by spelling out the different views and discusses
why there are conflicting views despite all the stakeholders having good intentions for the
issue. This chapter will first provide the major concerns of different stakeholders on the
provision of Chinese Language education for NCSS followed by analysis of the different
views.

7.2

Major concern of stakeholders

The major concerns of various stakeholders namely, parents, school leaders, NGOs and EDB
will be presented. Their major concerns were consolidated through the in-depth interviews,
documentary analysis, observations and findings grounded from chapters 5 and 6.
7.2.1

Parents Major Concern


Ensuring the competitiveness for their children

There are no parents that would not want to see their children successful, in particular the EM
parents who have had a painstaking experience being a member of the grassroots and took odd
jobs to support the family on one hand and aspire their children to climb the social ladder
through education on the other.

With no exception, this was the ordeal that I had gone through while my parents who had put
total faith in the schools where they expected the deliverables in the form of decent academic
achievements. Although they were very concerned, they were unsure of what was happening
in schools and did not know what to do if we required assistance with our school work or
counseling for further education. The issue of learning Chinese was thorny; our parents at that
time were not told about the importance of learning Chinese or the aftermath of not learning
Chinese, which was a big frustration to many of us who missed Chinese learning during the
167

time between the 1990s and 2000s.

To our dismay, the current generation of parents are no differ from ours, since many of the EM
families have no strong financial backing or educational background, they have no choice but
send their children to designated schools and a small amount to mainstream schools. These
parents have high expectations on the teachers and they would concern about their childrens
education, ultimately wanting their children to be highly or decently educated. However, it
seems to me that parents are only shown the small picture about their childrens learning but
the bitter part of the reality is not holistically shown by schools or the NGOs they affiliate with
nor the EDB that they have faith in. For instance, as the account of the participants Chinese
literacy show a gloomy picture of the reality in Chapter 5, parents are still made to believe that
their children get good grades or even high marks in the Chinese examinations and assumed
that their childrens Chinese learning is effectively taking place. This information gap is only
surfaced when their children have difficulties in seeking jobs after their graduation or drop-out
from schools.

7.2.2 Curriculum Leaders Major Concerns


Curriculum leaders in this section refer to the principals and school curriculum heads that
oversee and project the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum in the schools and there are
two major concerns from their perspectives.
7.2.2.1 SCG as SUPPLEMENTARY & ABSTRACT in nature
As reiterated from the interview with the school principals, the practices endowed by the EDB
in the SCG are the state of art of the sampled schools, in particular, schools experiences of
designing and delivering of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum. After 2007, EDB
consulted the schools and collected and grounded their ideas into the SCG. In other words, the
168

schools TECHNICALLY employed the curriculum modes and most of the elements
mentioned in the guide do not offer any additional insights from their existing practices.

School leaders are well aware of what they need to do and they are in-line with the principles
outlined in the SCG in terms of their curriculum modes and sending students to sit for exit
assessments. The school would interpret the CCCF and make drastic changes to meet students
needs. To the sampled schools, the purpose of the guide seemed to be redundant as there were
no rubrics, exit standard and concrete language objective framework for NCSS at different key
stages. For instance, as discussed in Chapter 5 and 6, due to the below-par Chinese literacy of
the NCSS and the inadequate LTEC of the teachers, there was a mismatch between the
notional curriculum and the multiple exit assessments. In addition, one of the school leaders
mentioned his strong dissatisfaction with the performance of the NCSS where only 30% of the
total population met the benchmark of a school-based spoken assessment. Likewise, one
principal argued that attaining a distinction in GCSE does not equate to meeting the societal
competence which is required for the workplace.

The teaching of Chinese in these designated schools started before the actual delivery of the
SCG and these schools had been pioneering their own method to address the teaching of
Chinese without the guidance of EDB. Therefore, the sampled schools find the SCG simply
another bureaucratic document which is supplementary and abstract to their teachers which do
not address their majors concerns at the notional and operational curriculums of the
school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum (See Chapter 6.2-6.4).

Questions exist from the teachers perspective as to whether the SCG is a primary guide that
should be read before making reference to the CCCF or the other way round. Ideally, the role
of SCG should supplement the CCCF and fill the gaps of the CCCF since EDB assumes
169

NCSS acquire Chinese in a similar manner that the local Chinese do. In reality, the SCG is not
supplementary in any nature and using the analogy of supplementary pills where the function
of supplementary pills is to bring addition to our diet, therefore one should not expect the pills
to reduce nutrients in our diet. Unfortunately, the role and function of the SUPPLEMENTARY
Chinese curriculum guide (SCG) is rather illusive and its name is more confusing than any
bureaucratic-natured document.
7.2.2.2 Teachers competence as curriculum developer in question
The level of involvement of principals in schools varies. In some schools the principal was
highly involved while in some they adopt a hands-off approach. The school leaders view
teachers as busy frontline practitioners and curriculum executioners who have to deal with
problems arising from the operational level of the curriculums, such as the disruptive behavior
in class and catering for individual differences during the course of their teaching, henceforth,
having no time to contribute constructively to the design of the school-based Chinese
curriculum. Since teachers have no experience or research culture as discussed in Chapter 6,
they lack the LTEC as curriculum developers.

With no doubt, school leaders agree that teachers lack the required experience in teaching
NCSS and the craftsmanship and know-how of curriculum development and undeniably it
would take time for teachers to materialize and mature their on-going LTEC. Although the
commissioned service providers offer support to teachers in designing curriculum and
teaching materials, teachers view them as pressure and are critical of whether the support they
receive contribute to their professional growth and ease their daily operations. In reality,
teachers are trying out things designed by the commissioned service providers, whom are
inexperienced in teaching NCSS and barely bring high effectiveness at the notional level of
the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum.
170

7.2.3

NGOs Major Concern

NGOs would argue that the EDB is short sighted and the current Chinese Language learning
initiatives spearheaded by the EDB is nothing more than putting in place the peripheral
measures. Their work is defusing the immediate and superficial problems of Chinese
Language education for NCSS but the bigger issue of equipping NCSS with a Chinese literacy
that is adequate for their workplace or formulating a long term NCSS Chinese language
learning blueprint are absent. The NGOs feel that the EDB plays ignorant and avoid the host
of problems that is derived from the impulse Chinese Language provision since 2004. During
the in-depth interviews with the two NGOs and my various degree of participation in other
similar NGOs forums as a speaker or participant, there are two main concerns that the NGOs
have.
7.2.3.1 Narrow Career Path
As discussed in Chapter 2 and 5, due to the below-par Chinese literacy, many of the NCS
youth get into labor intensive work if they are low achievers in school. While there are
aspiring NCSS who want to get into prospectus job, they are barred because of their Chinese
qualifications. Thus, in recent years many of the NCSS who have some qualifications are
employed in jobs such as teaching assistant, or interpreter but landing into their dream job
such as joining the civil service remains a dream for them. The employers require NCS youth
to have a good command of both the spoken and written competence of Chinese. Currently,
many of the NCSS can land into jobs that are in the service industry where the spoken
competence is only required for the jobs while the NCS youth opting for civil service jobs or
professional careers such as the executive and managerial position would fall short behind the
competence required for the Chinese literacy. Their Chinese literacy acquired from schools
does not equip them to cope with the demand in the workplace.
171

7.2.3.2 NCSS Chinese curriculum as one of the subjects in Chinese KLA


The NGOs believe that the current provision of Chinese Language education for NCSS does
not reflect the cosmopolitan city status and values of Hong Kong. On one hand, the NCSS are
asked to compete with the mainstream society with their L2 Chinese literacy and on the other
hand, there is no heritage programmes where the NCSS are encouraged to learn and acquire
their L1 literacy.

The NGOs believe that there should be an alternative NCSS Chinese curriculum in the form of
a subject (NCSS Chinese) in the Chinese Language Education KLA where it leads to a
recognized qualification and reached a decent level of Chinese literacy. The NGOs discard
EDBs view of labeling effect for such arrangement, since labeling does not necessary have
negative effects because the provision of an L2 Chinese curriculum framework is a positive
measure to accommodate the disadvantaged. It is therefore the responsibility of the
government to place a system where NCSS can learn from a progressive framework with the
explicit and clear stage learning objectives. Thus, schools can then flexibly and robustly
design their school-based Chinese curriculum that would vie for the best interest of the NCSS.

7.2.4

EDBs Major Concerns

There is no government (See Chapter 3.2) in the world that would be able to appease all their
citizens in terms of language education for minorities and Hong Kongs EDB is no exception.
The bureau came under a big scrutiny over the past few years on the manner of how they
addressed the issue (See Chapter 2 & 3). In order to explain and understand, the bureaus
perspective, this section spells out and elaborates EDBs major concerns.

172

7.2.4.1 Firm stance on the CCCF


EDB strongly believes that the current CCCF has broad aims and objectives which are robust
and flexible for schools to adapt for both the L1 and L2 Chinese learners. Since the majority is
Chinese in HK, NCSS need to immerse into the Chinese language community if they pursue
to reside in Hong Kong. Thus, Cantonese and traditional characters are important learning
points in Hong Kong. They advised schools in teaching NCSS (CDC, 2008:11) to:

Start from Listening to Speaking

Character Learning

Chinese Character Writing

Reading Skills Development

Integrating Reading and Writing

According to the CDCs perspective, learning Chinese should not be associated with only
obtaining an examination qualification or seeking employment but rather it should be
associated with the notion of life-long Chinese learning. In many of the forums and meetings
that I participated with the EDB, they stressed that there is a vast difference in needs and
aspirations of the many NCSS, therefore they rationalized that it is inappropriate to develop an
alternative curriculum framework to homogenized the learners and expect that curriculum
provisions to address all the issues concerned.

Another reason the bureau believes that the current CCCF is suitable and versatile is due to its
formulation after the curriculum reform that took place in 2001 with the heavy emphasis on
the notion of Whats worth learning? (EDB, 2004). In view of the crowded situation (68
subjects communities, 41 subjects) in the curriculums at that time, the bureau believes the
CCCF has addressed the shortcomings from the previous provisions and the CCCF helps
173

school to develop their own school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum. Thus, they believe that
the CCCF would not homogenize the curriculums at different schools and the NCSS would
not be labeled as learners of low Chinese literacy.
7.2.4.2 The SCG supremacy
Despite the number of deficiencies identified (See Chapter 3.3.5) and the problems with its
implementation (See Chapter 6.2-6.4), only the EDB would strongly supports its usefulness
and importance. According to the bureau, the idea of formulating the SCG was based on the
needs as many schools were accepting NCSS and offering the Chinese curriculum, thus an
official document was needed to supplement and help explain how the CCCF could be adapted
to design school based Chinese curriculums.

During the interview, as reiterated by one of the senior officers, the SCG includes a lot of
useful information about 2nd language learners, as well as the international experiences from
Singapore, Taiwan and China which was very useful for schools to consider while designing
their curriculums. One of the officers argued that on one end, the critics did not read the SCG
properly and understand its intended purpose while on the other end; the guide received a wide
support from some NGOs because the strategy and intention of developing the guide was well
intended.

The compilation of the guide was to collect ideas from experts professional and
accumulated experiences from traditional high concentration schools. The officers claimed
that the CCCF and the SCG were consolidated based on a lot of research. However, in the
interview they cautioned that there were variables pertaining to the effective interpretation and
implementation of the guide at different levels. The success of the effective delivery relies on
the manner of how the interaction of the variables takes place at different levels. Table 7.1
174

summarizes the relationship between the stakeholders levels and the variables for the
effective delivery of the SCG.

Stakeholders Level

Variable

School leader

School ecology and expectations

Curriculum developers

LTEC and LTC

Teachers

Mindset (LD issue), Confidence (Teaching NCSS


mentality)

Students

Ability and motivation

Table 7.1 Levels and variables pertaining to the effective delivery of the SCG

The bureaucratic response allow us to understand that the effective delivery of the SCG is
subject to a host of thorny issues such as how school leaders create an environment and
expectations for NCSS to learn on one hand and the readiness and competence of teachers in
delivering the curriculum on the other and finally students ability and motivation in learning
the Chinese language. It appears that this elaboration of relationship between the levels and
variables were not mentioned in the SCG for reference.
7.2.4.3 The engaging attitude towards NCSS learning Chinese
The EDB is very dedicated and engaging in helping the NCSS to learn Chinese in light of the
amount of work that they have endeavored. It was particularly impressing with the
Undersecretary of Education and a senior officer who would tirelessly attend the seminars and
forums organized by different NGOs to explain and present the position of the EDB and show
their willingness to help NCSS to learn Chinese effectively. I, myself, being a panel speaker
together with the officials in a number of forums felt that they had an open attitude towards
the views of the parents and NGOs.

I was astonished with the amount of work they have done and are doing for the NCSS. For
instance, in non-designated primary school, there is a school based support programme to
175

develop school-based curriculum for schools where the EDB does coherence making between
the schools curriculum and the CCCF in the primary schools. Apart from designing materials
for the curriculum, the EDB launches seeds project and 2nd classroom activities so as to make
learning effective in these mainstream primary schools. They have placed mechanisms in these
schools for effective transitions to help learners to learn Chinese effectively such as in the
pull-out programmes (A programme that separate NCSS from the mainstream class and
provide remedial language lessons to gauge the learners language competence to a similar
levels of the class) and followed by immersion. They have developed curriculums with
different foci at different levels.

Primary 1: Character Recognition


Primary 2: Reading
Primary 3: Reading and Writing
Primary 4: Integrated Skills
Primary 5: Project Learning
Primary 6: Cultural, Moral & Affective development
The development in primary schools seems quite systematic based on the explanations of the
officers. While the work in secondary schools were commissioned to the universities because
EDB believes there is a strong research culture which could contribute to the effective learning
of Chinese at secondary level since professional assistance was required in the effective
delivery of the curriculum, the bureau reiterated that the responsibility was not outsourced.
The bureau was well informed of the situations in the secondary schools. They solicited
feedback from schools and discussed the materials preparation process and conduct lesson
observation and hold professional dialogue with the tertiary institutions to ensure the quality
was not at stake.

176

Apart from providing direct support to the mainstream and low concentration primary schools
and indirectly overseeing the curriculum support given by the tertiary institutions to
designated secondary schools, the bureau also plays the role of a collector in many regards that
assist the design and delivery of the Chinese curriculum. For instance, they produced an
Educational TV (ETV) programmes on how NCSS can learn Chinese. The bureau also
published the following materials to help NCSS learn better:




Path to Mastery of Chinese Characters (Chinese Character Courseware) in 2008


Path to Moral Excellence (Learning software on Traditional Virtues) in 2008






From Traditional to Simplified Characters (Courseware) in 2008


From Simplified to Traditional Characters (Courseware)in 2008
Lexical Items with English Explanations for Fundamental Chinese Learning in 2009
The language teaching album: A collection of School-based practices (2007-2009)

On the teachers side, the EDB subsidized teachers in the professional courses that takes the
form of in-service training courses run by institutions and network-based territory-wide
professional sharing activities for schools with the intake of NCSS for the professional
development and capacity enhancement of the teachers.

The bureau collaborates with the tertiary institutions for network sharing on teaching ideas and
also set up a resource center in Kowloon Tong and on-line platform for teachers to keep
abreast of the development of NCSS Chinese learning. The network-based territory-wide
professional sharing activities covered a wide range of topics to enhance teachers capacity in
addressing the needs of NCSS, the implementation of the SCG and the adaptation of the
curriculum.

177

7.2.4.4 Alternative assessment: Not viable alternative


Participants public examination result as illustrated in Chapter 5 and teachers design and
delivery of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum in Chapter 6 does indicate that many
of the NCSS studying in the traditional high concentration designated schools are not all
geared for a higher level of examinations and only a small number of NCSS sit for more
demanding Chinese examinations. The idea of creating a local alternative assessment was
ridiculed by the EDB during the interview. The bureau concerns that it would require huge
amount of resources for making it an internationally recognized examination and in addition
there is no currency and a costly initiative for the bureau to undertake. The bureau considers
the recognition of the alternative qualification such as GCSE, IGCSE, GCE AS-level and
GCE-A-Level would suffice.

7.3 Analysis of findings


In the previous section, the different major concerns of the stakeholders were depicted and
their positions were clarified towards the provision of Chinese Language education for NCSS
from a macroscopic view. Therefore, in this section, the aforementioned views and positions
are analyzed and discussed.
7.3.1 Parental Concern
Since the major concern of the NCSS parents is to ensure and provide an opportunity for
education that would entail their children to a better future. The parents are well aware of the
importance of Chinese learning and how it contributes to their childrens success but they have
illusive expectations on their children Chinese literacy due to the examination results reflected
in the school report cards.

Undeniably, the EM parents would have high expectations and

aspirations on how schools and the local education system will deliver deliverables that are
178

materializing their expectations.

Along these lines, a comparative study conducted by the Hong Kong Council of Social
Services (2010) showed that 60% of the EM parents were unfamiliar with the local education
system. This study was based on a survey of 189 EM parents and 191 local parents
respectively. It was found in the study that the EM parents out-preformed (m=3.66> m=3.35)
the local parents with maintaining contact with their childrens teachers while EM parents
were unfamiliar (m=1.69< m=3.095) with the local education system such as the types of
schools being operated in Hong Kong, the NSS academic structure and possible articulation
path for their children. Hence, parents awareness of the benefits and drawbacks on the notion
of multiple exit assessments are in the similar state as implicated in the aforementioned study.

With reference to the current study, this brings our worries as to how the parents are consulted
and informed about their childrens Chinese language learning and the literacy level by the
schools and the EDB. The parents respect the schools and do not interfere with the school
since they feel uncomfortable with their language and this culture has created the information
gap. The discussion in the earlier section adds that parents language barrier act as the main
hindrance for home-school cooperation. The current study yield two additional reasons why
there is such a significant difference between the EM parents and the local parents on their
knowledge about the local education system, namely the low education background of the
parents and their inability to perceive the wider picture from a distorted information channel
that is hijacked by schools, NGOs and EDB. However, the parents are absolutely aware of the
importance of learning the Chinese Language as they have been disadvantaged for not
knowing Chinese

179

I was always trying to tell her that she has to really you known learn Chinese
dialect or language because obviously, she was born in Hong Kong and at the
same time, business is really important. Especially, among the Chinese speaking
people. So I would love her to really learn this so that, not only to be competitive
but to be also able to communicate more. Andyou know, mingle with other
people, and are open and learn more from other people..
(Interview: 19/1/10, Parent C)

They are deceived into believing that their children are doing well in Chinese in the schools
and created a language competence fallacy (See Chapter 5.3.3) where parents are given a false
sense of hope and relieve that their children are at par with the Chinese language competence.

I could not easily gauge the standard of my daughters Chinese dialect.


But umIm optimistic thatah, she will develop it more. I mean have to
get more interested in this language. As far as her school is concerned, ah
I was not disappointed whatsoever. I know that learning is a process.
(Interview: 19/1/10, Parent C)

I hope my daughter continues her education in the medical field. And my so


as well hopes the same. I really hope their future is good and they become
good citizens of the city. (Translated from Urdu, 27/12/09, Parent B)

When the parents get to know the reality of their childrens inadequate Chinese literacy for
survival; they do not understand why there is a mismatch between the schools curriculum and
the societys requirement. It is also believed that parents are also disillusioned by their
childrens oral competence in their daily communication level and parents question why there
is a disparity between their spoken and the literacy competence.

When I first enrolled my children in Primary One schools, there were a lot
of choices for us. During that time, we were told to enroll our children in
International schools and language schools and Chinese is not important
to learn. We were told only basic Chinese was required in which our children
was already fluent, but however, it has become a problem now
(Translated from Urdu, 27/12/09, Parent A)

180

Interestingly enough, they would question why there are so many changes that took place and
made their children became the victims of the constant curriculum evolution

Obviously we want the Government to make this Chinese learning for NCSS
students and easier path so that they can reach further in the future. (Translated
from Urdu, 27/12/09, Parent A)

Parents think that despite their low level of education; they still believe that they can take
certain role in helping schools to help their children learn better at home.

The Chinese teachers cannot explain to us how to improve our childrens Chinese
learning ability because we, ourselves do not understandWhen we visit schools,
the teachers cannot explain to us and I cannot speak Cantonese. So the government
should launch such programs where parents visit schools and call parents to tell
them more about the language. This way, it will arouse the parents interest in the
language. So that, they will encourage their children to learn Chinese.
(Translated from Urdu, 27/12/09, Parent B)

Parents are satisfied with the concessions the bureau made with the alternative examinations
where their children can further their education but no parents are ready to believe that only
less than 1% (EOC, 2011) of their children are going to benefit from this concessionary
approach (See Chapter 5.1). The touchy area of seeking employment (See Chapter 2.10) in
civil service or having near native like Chinese proficiencies upon graduation in the current
arrangement has been shunned by the schools and the EDB. This matter has not been dealt
seriously by the government in an attempt to include the EM youth in the civil service system
and it is the governments attitude and perspective that is demonstrated on how they view
NCSS Chinese Language qualification as so rigid for being the stubborn criteria for successful
recruitment. Regardless of the differences in the perspectives of NCSS learning Chinese or
employability, being a parent myself, it will be a major blow to my investment on having my
children acquired a Chinese literacy to a level where they cannot even survive or aspire for
their career dreams that they have longed for.
181

7.3.2 Curriculum leaders dilemma


There is no doubt that the high level of involvement of the principals in the curriculum design
and delivery of the NCSS Chinese curriculum would help facilitate and mobilize resources
both in terms of financial and manpower for the Chinese Language education in schools.
However, the fulcrum for effective design and delivery of the school-based curriculum in
operations rest more on the level of LTEC that the curriculum developers and the level of LTC
(notional and operational curriculums) that the teacher has in the school.

Although error-free design and effective delivery of the Chinese curriculum will not simply be
resolved by means of the support from the commissioned service providers as they have
provided a piecemeal and on-going assistance to teachers to enhance their LTC and LTEC. For
instance, the exhibition of Chinese picture books created by NCSS would increase teachers
awareness as to what the NCSS Chinese literacy is. Nonetheless, regular conferences on
Chinese Language learning and teaching of NCSS would assist teachers to adopt and adapt
teaching strategies. Schools are highly critical of their support (See Chapter 6.4.4) as there is a
mismatch between the needs and wants of the teachers and the services rendered by them.
Based on teachers verbatim, the commissioned service providers have yet to develop effective
teaching pedagogies that meet the needs of the NCSS and enhance their Chinese literacy level,
cultivate frontline teachers LTEC and foster a professional sharing between the teachers
teaching NCSS.

Regardless of the support, teachers are miles apart from culture of being a curriculum
developer (See Chapter 6.2 and 6.3) due to the lack of LTEC and developing LTC. What
previous was a machine cranking out teachers who learn how to adapt materials from given set
of available resources but being expected to design school based materials from scratch during
182

this evolution seem to be a challenge. The Hong Kong curriculum culture is to issue
curriculum guidelines and school develops their curriculum. Also, the jingoistic cultures in
schools prevent these schools from sharing what they have designed and implemented in a
more frank and open manner. Rather, they are more interested with the readily available
resources to deliver their teaching than engaging in a professional learning community with
the academia. Thus, there is a strong demand for a directive approach in provision of teaching
guide, syllabus and approaches in delivering the curriculum where curriculum developers do
not need to search in the dark and would require EDB to take a leading role instead of their
Big market, Small government curriculum negotiation approach.

Although, this approach benefits the schools with greater flexibility and autonomy to design
curriculum that would meet their schools ecology and students needs, the current LTEC and
LTC of the teachers are not near a comfort zone where they can develop a versatile curriculum
that would appease the learners, parents and other stakeholders expectations. EDB should
take a more leading role in the curriculum development in this process of evolution since
schools teaching NCSS are teaching NCSS in a 2nd language approach while the curriculum
framework which is based on 1st language approach. The bureaus leading role would help
solve the misinterpretation and brings in coherence making among schools who are designing
in the different curriculum modes more effectively and holistically through a multiple layers of
curriculum negotiation. With the bureaus leading involvement, both software (LTC: teaching
skills) and hardware (LTEC: curriculum) of teaching NCSS could be developed in a timely
manner where teachers would be given a breathing space to mature themselves and cultivate
and foster the curriculum development culture.

183

7.3.3 NGOs perceived role


One view that NGOs should change is the belief that fewer NCSS articulating for further
education is associated with the provisions of Chinese Language education for NCSS in Hong
Kong. The issue of fewer NCSS articulating to matriculation or university places is not
directly due to their Chinese literacy since the EDB has already made concessions on the
recognitions of alternative Chinese qualifications in lieu of HKCEE Chinese qualification in
2008. There are other factors that led to the low enrolment rate in the tertiary institutions such
as the poor performance in Mathematics, lack of robust career and guidance counseling in
schools. However, concern on the 99.41% (See Chapter 5.1) NCSS Chinese literacy with
respect to their career and life planning warrants our attention.

We have to ask ourselves whether the involvement of NGOs has raised the stake of the issue
and definitely we would have no reservations about their advocacy. Many NGOs perspective
seemed to be an on-going concern on the latest development of the learning and teaching of
NCSS Chinese Language. From their perspective, one can yield that the NGOs are skeptical
and aloof with Chinese literacy and question whether they can have a level of Chinese literacy
that would help them to survive in the mainstream Chinese society as they handle many cases
associated with EM youths unemployment. Their view of integration to the society adheres
with the bureau, but the NGOs questions what plans are in place to make NCSS integrated.

With surprise, there is no common agenda between the NGOs; on one side some advocate for
the provision of an alternative Chinese curriculum and on the other for more resources in the
mainstream schools. Many of the NGOs use the NCSS issue as an agenda for more resources
and this might make us (EMs) to question their devotion and justice of mind in their high
involvement. NGOs are not addressing the core problems and offer pragmatic solutions but
draw attention for more resources. They have their vested interest for seeking resources from
184

the government in any issues concerning EMs. Where were the NGOs in the late 90s and early
millennium? Language is not the core issue; there are also aptitude issues that are not
addressed by the NGOs.

Based on my involvement in the forums and attendance in number of governmental meetings,


it seems that the NGOs exhaust the same argument from time to time and do not contribute
anything meaningful to make the issue to a higher level because the EDB will only answer
according to what is their internal line of argument which we can locate and extract from the
SCG and other official documents. In addition, they make the participants (parents) in the
forum as their token representatives. I feel it is beyond the EMs comprehension to articulate
the latest development of the issue and the hidden agenda behind the policies. This strongly
indicates our parents need to have an objective information dissemination channel where they
can seek and receive utmost good faith of assistance.
7.3.4 EDBs effort
7.3.4.1 Unattended Agenda
According to some of the NGOs, they labeled the SCG as a PR gesture but I think this is a
milestone for the NCSS who are learning Chinese and teachers who are struggling in teaching
NCSS in the newly emerged designated schools or mainstream schools with fewer NCSS. The
guide serves as a manual for these teachers to have a supplementary understanding of the
CCCF, curriculum modes and some good teaching resources if interpreted and implemented in
a manner which matches the school ecology and beneficial to the learners. Otherwise, it would
be just another bureaucratic document.

During the interviews, I asked the EDB officers whether a gap exists between the EDBs
expectations and the actual implementation of the SCG in light of NCSS Chinese literacy, the
185

teachers LTC & LTEC and the schools school-based teaching materials from the study, they
simply responded to the notion of variability because schools are heterogeneous and
government set goals of 5 to 10 years and would not make sudden changes. The SCG is meant
for general purpose but not a universal guide that addresses all the issues or the shortcomings.
This makes me wonder whether it is appropriate to excuse the guide for not being
well-rounded or we should excuse and wait till the guide to materialize and deliver its
deliverables. Although it takes time to revise and update an official guide (See Chapter 8), the
discussion suggests a number of items that need to be specifically addressed in the guide for
the NCSS if an alternative Chinese curriculum framework is not in the agenda of the EDB.
Also, there are several unattended questions that EDB needs to address:

Why is there no language education policy for NCSS and whether or not it should be
introduced in the education language policy?

How does the current CCCF, which is based on FLA principles, cater for the
multilingual un-imparted language learners? How the notion of low learning
capacity and termination point with reference to the multiple exit assessments are
addressed at bureau level?

Other than having the SCG, what effective and pragmatic measures are in place to
enhance the LTEC and LTC of the teachers, both at the notional and operational
levels of the curriculum? How could the input of the commissioned services be
enhanced?

How could the coherence making between the strategic, tactical and operational
level in interpreting, designing and delivering the CCCF be better achieved?

Will the notion of NCSS Chinese learning be included in the survey on the school
curriculum reform and implementation of key learning area curricula in schools in
2011/12 or 2021/22? If not, what official evaluative measures or interim review of
186

similar capacity will be in place to evaluate the effectiveness of the NCSS Chinese
curriculum?

7.3.4.2 Current Scenario

There is no doubt to the blood and sweat poured for NCSS by the EDB but whether they are
complacent with their current work is questionable. Apparently, one would ask if government
has a vision of planning for 5 years and 10 years ahead, why would they not include the issue
of NCSS Chinese learning prior to the expiration of the British rule such as the early or mid
90s? What has the EDB been doing since 1997? What have they done to actualize their
promises? Why does it give us the feeling of being ad-hoc when it is evident that what the
EDB is currently doing is viewed as peripheral by the stakeholders? Could this ad-hoc feeling
be rationalized as the learning of Chinese for NCSS as a work-in-progress which needs to
undergo many revisions and adjustments before concrete policies could be formulated?

Naturally, we might wonder whether the EDB is complacent about the issue with the
peripheral work they have done so far. Since the bureau believes that the CCCF is based on
knowledge construction, cognitive development and knowledge formation, how this would be
justified when schools are designing curriculum which are not spiral, recursive and extensive
in nature when schools have predetermined and limited the majority of the NCSS learning
point at GCSE examination syllabus. It seems that EDB would want stability and avoid
playing high the NCSS issue and making drastic changes in the higher level of policy
formulation. One can speculate that they believe that NCSS learning Chinese and entering in
Hong Kong education system in an early age would overcome all these issues. These
presumptions have retarded the established SLA theories, ignored the findings and analysis in
Chapter 3, 5 and 6. Perhaps, EDB make things easy with the existing practices and avoided the
187

issue of formulating an alternative NCSS Chinese curriculum. In addition, the bureau did not
negotiate with the civil service bureau and the employment sector on the NCSS qualification
and never informed the concerned people.

The schools were self-conscious and taking assertive measures to adjust their curriculum in
wake of the need for a higher Chinese literacy than that of those learners over the previous
years but it is not yielding any effect. This seem to offer another suggestions as to the SCG is
only able to serve as an abstract (summary and digest) on how to interpret, design and
implement the curriculum but concrete ideas on how to cater for learner diversity, extend
learning beyond classroom and the latest development in TCSL are not mentioned. EDB has
shifted the bulk of responsibilities onto the teachers and left them to search in the dark.

7.4

Summary of findings
This chapter has first depicted the various major concerns of the different stakeholders,
namely the parents, curriculum leaders, NGOs and the EDB followed by the analysis on the
major concerns of each stakeholders. Different stakeholders have different agendas and
perspectives. The parents major concerns was to ensure competitiveness for their children
through the education system and were particularly concerned about their childrens Chinese
literacy while schools view the SCG as merely a supplementary and abstract document and
were worried about their teachers LTEC as a curriculum developer.

For NGOs, they view EDBs work as peripheral and considered them as playing ignorant on
the notion of employability of the NCSS, and believe that the NCSS Chinese should be
considered as one of the subjects in the Chinese Language education KLA. Finally the EDB
has a firm stance on the CCCF and believes the SCG is a useful document to schools which

188

elaborates the framework and would help teachers to further understand the robust and flexible
framework.

Undeniably, they (EDB) have mannered an engaging attitude towards NCSS learning Chinese
and ridiculed the idea of providing an alternative assessment. The discussion confirms that,
although the major concerns of the stakeholders were vastly different, their ultimate aim was
towards the enhancement and betterment for the NCSS Chinese learning and thereby enabling
them to integrate to the mainstream society.

However, the different views held by various stakeholders delay and hinder the effective
delivery of the provision of Chinese Language education for NCSS that is genuinely beneficial
for the NCSS. Figure 7.1 diagrammatically summarizes and presents the major issues and
inter-connected factors that were grounded from the findings in the study that hinder the
effective NCSS Chinese Language education.

The content inside the four big arrows pointing to the centre direction refer to the major issues
that are faced by the six different stakeholders (NCSS, teachers and students, NGOs and
parents and the EDB) which hinder the effective provision of the Chinese language education.
There are a total of eighteen factors (smaller curved arrows) that interact (black-colored arrow)
or entangle (red-colored arrow) between the stakeholders in one way or the other, hence the
irreconcilable differences between them hinders the effective provision of the Chinese
Language education for the NCSS.

189

Figure 7.1 Diagrammatic presentation of the various stakeholders concerns and irreconcilable factors that hinders the effective provision of Chinese Language education for NCSS

190

For instance, the situation between EDB and NCSS; the EDB developed one CCCF for all
learners in Hong Kong and believes that it is robust and flexible in meeting different needs of
different learners, including NCSS, whilst the NCSS desire for occupational Chinese literacy.
The entanglement arises when there is a mismatch between the expectations for learning
Chinese. EDB believes that learning Chinese is for life-long learning while NCSS believe that
their Chinese learning is ultimately for their qualifications and employment purposes.

The situation between NCSS and Teachers & Schools; the provision of Chinese Language
education for NCSS is delivering students with low learning capacity in lessons and
subconsciously the Chinese curriculums geared them for a low termination point. The
entanglement arises when the schools constantly change the contents of their school-based
Chinese curriculums based on the feedback from the tertiary institutions or workshops they
have attended in search of positive outcome for their students but the NCSS could not cope
with the curriculum evolution.

The situation between Teachers & Schools and NGOs & EM parents; owing to the mismatch
between the notional curriculum and the multiple exit assessments, schools are providing
illusive and language competence fallacy to the parents while the parents are duped into
believing that their children have a good Chinese literacy. The entanglement arises when
school thinks parents are reluctant to assist whilst the parents believe they lack the LC to assist
the school, thereby creating a situation where no genuine dialogue on students Chinese
language learning takes place.

The situation between NGOs & EM parents and EDB; as the NGOs have vested interest with
the issue of NCSS Chinese learning, the communication platform between the EDB and
parents is hijacked by the NGOs while the EDB is only involving themselves in peripheral
191

measures and they have distorted the communication channel by only keeping abreast of
parents with abstract objectives but not sharing the materialized claims or promises they have
made from 2004 to present. Hence, the entanglement arises when EDB believe they have
materialized their promises and expect the parents to comprehend the development of the issue
while the parents would still expect EDB to initiate and meet their needs.

As a result, based on the entanglement between the different stakeholders, there exists a major
concerns dichotomy (blue-colored arrows) between the different stakeholders in terms of their
degree of practicality and accountability concerns on the notion of the Chinese Language
education for NCSS. The degree of practicality concerns refer to the learning of Chinese for
pragmatic purpose, functioning in the mainstream society with their competitiveness while the
degree of accountability concerns refer to the provision of Chinese Language education that is
equally provided to all learners and do not trample the rights of the mainstream Chinese
students. Therefore, the slope of major concerns dichotomy help consolidates the notion
Why differ? and Figure 7.2 diagrammatically present the relationship between the
practicality and accountability concerns of each of stakeholder.

Degree of
Practicality Concerns

The slope of Major Concerns Dichotomy

Parents
NGOs
School Leaders
EDB

Degree of Accountability Concerns

Figure 7.2 Degree of practicality and accountability concerns of various stakeholders

The y-axis represents the level of the degree of practicality concerns of the stakeholders while
the x-axis represents the degree of accountability concerns of the stakeholders. Based on the
discussion in the study, parents are more concerned with their childrens Chinese literacy than
192

caring whether the current provision and measures are appeasing the taxpayers or creating
unfavorable conditions for the mainstream Chinese learners in Hong Kong. They would want
their children to land into a successful career and have upward mobility and competitiveness
in the social ladder with their Chinese literacy. For NGOs who are the staunch proponents of
formulating an alternative Chinese curriculum would be more practical in addressing the needs
and solicit funding for their organization. Although, there is a battle ground between the NGOs
and the EDB, the NGOs use Chinese as a political issue for materializing their vested interest;
it is the remit of this PhD study to discuss these side issues since the study is more concerned
on the repositioning of the NCSS Chinese learning.

However, schools would not be as concerned as much as to the practicality concerns of


Chinese learning since their main concern is the implementation of the CCCF and maintaining
good examination results as performance indicators (GCSE examination) for their success or
failure in the provision of Chinese Language education for NCSS. Since schools are held
accountable to EDB, they would view differently from parents and NGOs since they have to
uphold the notion of life-long learning but not only meeting practical needs of language
learning. Similarly, the EDB would be more concerned with the overall arrangement of
Chinese Language education to all the students in Hong Kong under the education mission
Education for all. The bureau views Chinese learning as more than schooling and
employment, hence, learning Chinese for NCSS is no differ from TL speakers.

193

Chapter 8
Conclusion and Recommendations
8.1

Introduction
This chapter summarizes the findings and discussions of previous chapters and proposes
recommendation to the provision of Chinese Language education for NCSS. As explained in
Chapter 1, the aim of the study was to depict the problem encountered by NCSS while
learning Chinese through a critical review of the Chinese Language education provision for
NCSS when the use of Chinese became eminent for the survival and crucial for EMs (Ethnic
Minorities) after the handover, in particular when learning Chinese became widely available in
2004.

A host of issues concerning the educational issues such as fewer EMs securing places in
tertiary institutions, facing employment difficulties and job dissatisfaction, MOI-Fine tuning
policy, the notion of designated and non-designated schools and the Chinese Language
education for NCSS in primary and secondary schools were elaborated in Chapter 2. Based on
the discussions in Chapter 5-7, it was confirmed that the Chinese Language learning at
secondary school generated the main source of debate between the mismatch of school-based
NCSS Chinese curriculum and the Chinese literacy of the NCSS.

As argued in chapter 3, many of those studies that look into the EM issues were mainly
addressing the social plights (Ku, et al., 2003, 2005, 2010; Loper, 2004;Yang, 2000, 2002) of
ethnic minorities in Hong Kong and there were little research (EOC, 2011; Ki, 2009; Lee,
2006; Tsung, Shum & Ki, 2007a; Tsung et al, 2007b; Tse at al 2007) that look into the Chinese
learning of the NCSS. Based on the initial discussion, the study came up with several
194

hypotheses:

1. The Hong Kong government has not seriously dealt with the issue of providing
Chinese language education for NCSS which is evident by the lack of theoretical
framework for the measures proposed. The current measures that are in place are all
bureaucratic in nature and done in a manner to appease the concerns raised by NGOs
in LegCo.
2. Thus, schools have difficulties in interpreting, designing and delivering a
school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum based on the SCG. In order to cope with the
situation, the teachers would set their termination point at GCSE Chinese
examination.
3. NCSS have learnt the Chinese language for a period of time, their literacy level and
acculturation to the TL community is below-par.
4. Contrary to the evidence, parents and some stakeholders believe that the current
Chinese language education arranged by schools is actually in line with their
aspirations.

The results of testing the above hypotheses provided answers to the following research
questions:

1. What is the actual Chinese learning outcome of the NCSS?


2. How is the current implementation of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum in
operations?
3. What are the major concerns of various stakeholders (parents, teachers, NGOs and
EDB) on the notion of NCSS learning the Chinese Language?

195

The study has examined the literature in the area of language policy in Hong Kong for
government and subsidized schools, the Chinese Language curriculum for NCSS in Hong
Kong and NCSS language acquisition and Chinese language learning. On the basis of the
literature, there were no single satisfactory frameworks in the literature to serve as a
theoretical and methodological framework for the current study. This study organized a
framework based on Markees curriculum negotiation model (1997), Thomas language
competence model (1987) and Parlett & Hamiltons illuminative approach (1972) for
investigating the manner in which the CCCF was interpreted, designed and delivered from the
governmental to classroom level. Schummans acculturation model (1976, 1978b), Berry et
als (2006) acculturation profile and Lantolfs SCT (1994) were used to explain language
acquisition and Chinese language learning of NCSS. The above framework was able to
explain why NCSS were unable to learn Chinese successfully and how the present provisions
in terms of the weak negotiations between the different levels of planning (strategic, tactical
and operational) and the implementation (notional and operational) at the teachers level were
unable to yield any concrete effectiveness. The review of the school-based NCSS Chinese
curriculum explained how the current interpretation of the curriculums generated learners with
different learning outcomes, yet below-par Chinese literacy and have invariably and
unconsciously stagnated their Chinese literacy.

In order to realize the aim of the study, the design of the study was detailed in Chapter 4. The
study employed an eclectic approach (Shulman, 1984) where both quantitative (literacy test
and survey) and qualitative (observations, documentary review and in-depth interview)
methods were administered to collect the data for the study. Having regard to that, the essence
of critical ethnography was employed in the qualitative method where in-depth interviews in a
semi-structured manner (Willliam, 1997) were used to understand the NCSS better where they
were treated more than a subject; an equal partners in the study. In addition, my experience
196

and educational upbringing as an NCSS helps shed additional light and explanation to the
issue which allows readers to know more about the life of the participants studied.

To answer the research questions, the study first presented the findings and discussions in
Chapter 5 on the NCSS Chinese literacy followed by the implementation of school-based
NCSS Chinese curriculum at two levels, namely the notional and operational level of the
curriculums in Chapter 6. Finally, based on the findings in chapters 5 and 6, the views of
different stakeholders were presented followed by the analysis of their concerns in Chapter 7.
The concerns of the stakeholders were then diagrammatically consolidated in figure 7.1 and
then elaborated by means of a slope of major concerns dichotomy. In the following section,
the author will summarize the findings and answers to the research questions of the study.

8.2

Answer to the research questions


The following section consolidates the findings and discussion of the study and attempts to
answer the research questions.

8.2.1

Answer to research question 1

What is the actual Chinese learning outcome of the NCSS?

Generally, many of the NCSS in the study had late access to learn Chinese. They started to
learn Chinese in their primary schools and some of the participants in the study only started in
their primary 2 or 3 when learning Chinese was widely available in 2004 and with no doubts,
their spoken competence which was developed over these years allowed them to converse
colloquially with their local counterparts. Naturally, we would tend to associate the number of
years spent on learning Chinese to the desired proficiency they should acquire after years of
learning Chinese, and many of the participants had a late access to Chinese which had affected
197

their Chinese language literacy. Undeniably, as revealed in Chapter 5, the good results of
GCSE Chinese examination of the NCSS during the period of 2007-2010 were too tempting to
make us believe that the NCSS were actually having a Chinese literacy that would meet their
survival or career needs. The findings and discussions in the study showed a mismatch
between the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum and the Chinese literacy of the NCSS.

The results of the literacy test confirms that the NCSS preformed poorly in reading assessment
(m=19.79, SD=18.52) while an abysmally poor performance (m=2.2) in the writing
assessment. The findings echo with Ullahs (2008) study on the notion of testing implicit and
explicit knowledge. The participants performance in testing on explicit knowledge of the
Chinese language was relatively better than the testing on implicit knowledge and based on
Blooms taxonomy, the participants literacy level was only able to address the remembering
and understanding level. They had difficulties in decoding texts that required a higher level of
textual competence and a higher level of cognition in the Chinese language. Participants
performance in the writing assessment raises serious concerns as to what actually happen to
their Chinese language learning when they could not produce written texts that included work
with expanded ideas, the use of complex vocabulary and inclusion of the language content
such as the Chinese literature and the aesthetic sense in the writing which were part of the
examination syllabus and integral part in the CCCF.

The TAP collected during the test and verbatim from the interview reflects that the participants
were frustrated with their inability to secure a satisfying performance in the literacy test and
questioned what they have learnt in school has not well-equipped them with a desirable level
of competence which is readily available for their perusal. If NCSS have been exposed to
Chinese language learning since primary schools, what are the reasons to such a poor literacy?
It made us wonder the effectiveness of the current provision of Chinese Language education
198

for NCSS. To answer this question, the findings and discussion substantiates a number of
reasons to account for such an unexpected level of learning outcome that was preformed by
the participants.

First, the NCSS had a lower rating of Chinese language proficiency in their language
repertoire where it was found that English was rated as the most proficient language for both
spoken and written command followed by their L1 and Chinese as the last. Since, the
discussion in Chapter 3 and 5 has confirmed that, the NCSS are un-imparted language learners
where they were only able to speak their L1 and their literacy role of the language is played by
English. In other words, English replaces their L1 and their L1 is relegated to L1.5 for their
home usage; subsequently, Chinese becomes their L2.5 for curriculum related use in
classroom.

Second, further to the lower rating of Chinese language proficiency, the language utilization
pattern confirms that English was predominately used in the many situations (m=68%) in their
daily life while Chinese only constituted 8%. This disproportion of language use confirms that
Chinese learning for NCSS is confined to the classroom and does not extend beyond from
there. While conducting a survey on their thought process, the NCSS were unable to recognize
the high frequency characters and it seems that the participants tend to avoid Chinese in their
daily life. Therefore, this explains the syndrome of Chinese language pigeonization where the
NCSS pigeonized their Chinese language in a situation where they do not have an adequate
amount of artifact to interact in the environment; hence they are unable to articulate their
thoughts in the Chinese language.

Third, as mentioned earlier, many of the NCSS are geared towards the GCSE Chinese
examination and the data collected in the study confirms that no NCSS has attain a passing or
199

a required benchmark in the HKCEE Chinese examination. Since, many of the NCSS are
geared towards the GCSE Chinese examination, the NCSS are given a fallacy of their Chinese
literacy and made them complacent about their literacy and do not find the need to
unpigeonized themselves beyond the Chinese lessons despite having a hybrid acculturation
(integration and ethnic) profile.

Fourth, there is a fussy transition and poor interface between the primary and secondary
Chinese curriculum, many of the students are made to learn through the redundant and
repeated school-based NCSS Chinese curriculums in their secondary schools and fall victims
to the school-based curriculum evolution. Last, there are a number of unfavorable conditions
that becomes obstacles for their effective learning of Chinese. First, the low proximity
between their L1 and Chinese would disadvantaged their cognition while acquiring a higher
level of Chinese, second the practice of heavy reliance of English as the main source of
artifact to mediate with their Chinese language learning and last, the lack of opportunities for
NCSS to expose to authentic texts for enhancing their literacy level in the notional curriculum.

8.2.2

Answer to research question 2

How is the current implementation of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum in


operations?

First, there is a mismatch between the negotiations at the tactical and operational of
curriculum planning, where the coherence-making for the CCCF incorporation at the notional
and operational school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum was weak and a number of anomalies
were identified (See Chapter 6.2 and 6.3). Second, in Chapter 6, the discussion has confirmed
that the formulation of an alternative Chinese curriculum framework would not necessary
enhance the Chinese literacy of the NCSS since the fulcrum of NCSS learning Chinese
200

effectively depends on the LTEC of the teachers at the notional curriculum. Examining the
notional and operational school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum; it was heartening to see the
situation far from pleasing despite teachers seeing a pressing need to enhance the Chinese
literacy of the NCSS. Third, the contents and the role of SCG are inadequate and illusive yet it
only helps new designated schools to organize their curriculums. The SCG lacks critical
contents such as teaching approaches or methodological perspectives to assist frontline
teachers and several elements of TCSL from OCLCI were suggested (See Chapter 6.4). In
addition, teachers were highly critical of the support they received from the commissioned
service providers and regarded that as time consuming and meaningless.

Adopting the CCCF


The curriculum modes employed in all the schools were mainly curriculum mode 2 and
curriculum mode 3 whilst only one was able to employ all the curriculum modes in her school.
As all the sampled schools were traditional high concentration designated secondary schools,
different school-based teaching materials were designed to meet learners needs. However, it
was found that many of the NCSS in these schools were adopting the second curriculum mode
(Bridging) and questions exist as to where the bridging goes after studying for a material
amount of time. Ideally, if the students master literacy to a level of comfort competence, they
should be dealt with a curriculum which is more recursive and progressive; unfortunately, this
was not the case in the study (See Chapter 6.2-6.4). Although examination should not be a
termination point for learning, it was a common phenomenon that teachers referred more to
the examination guide, such as the GCSE, than the EDBs curriculum documents; hence the
notion of examination becomes the main artifact in their paradigm of their notional and
operational curriculums. Thus, the unconscious transient GCSE for all perception took place
due to the vicious cycle of the multiple exit arrangements and eventually, the learning of these
students becomes stagnated.
201

Notional curriculum of school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum


The discussion in Chapter 6 depicted a number of common undesirable characteristics of the
notional curriculum of the school based NCSS Chinese curriculum. Although the review of the
school-based teaching materials confirms that there was a variety and diversified school-based
teaching materials, the design of the school-based materials had inadequate focus on building
reading and writing fluency, low-level of incorporation of the three strands of language
content (Literature, Chinese Culture and Moral & Affective Development) and two thinking
competence strands (Thinking and Independent Language Learning) of CCCF and piecemeal
consolidation and stagnant progression in the notional curriculum. In addition, during the
interview, teachers reiterated that there were little audio and interactive materials that could be
used in the curriculum for the NCSS. Due to the weak curriculum negotiation between the
different levels of curriculum planning, the different interpretation of the CCCF has resulted
schools with too much flexibility to adopt the framework and raises serious questions as to
whether the schools curriculum is robust and whether the notional curriculum exemplify the
versatility, holistic and pragmatic integration of the CCCF.

Also, it is difficult to explain, how those school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum would
enhance the Chinese literacy of the NCSS if there is a transient GCSE for all perception where
schools and teachers have subconsciously administered the low-termination point on the
NCSS despite seeing the need of pushing their literacy. To address this, there is room for EDB
to consider formulating an alternative local assessment where NCSS could sit for an
examination which is more demanding than the GCSE and also more relevant to their lives in
Hong Kong. Hence, teachers would subconsciously design and delivery a curriculum which is
pegged with that assessment and ultimately pushing for a higher Chinese literacy in their
lesson.

202

Operation curriculum of school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum


For the delivery, through the lesson observation and conferencing with the teachers; the
schools employed the TCSL approach to teach NCSS Chinese and the schools devoted
considerable amount of resources in delivering the curriculum under such mode. It was found
that the teachers relied heavily on English as the medium in the lesson and due to the
anomalies discussed at the design level of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum (See
Chapter 6.2), there was low learning capacity and lower teachers expectations on the NCSS.
It was also confirmed that due to the lack of students basic learning strategies such as
note-taking and questioning, there were an absence of good learning atmosphere in the
lessons.

One typical feature that was also observed in the lesson was that, the learning stopped in the
classroom and there were no indications of learning taking place beyond the lesson time.
Teachers role in the lesson was quite monolithic; the multi-tier learning approach was not
employed to cater for learner diversity within the class. Since teachers pegged their learning
with the assessment and the target of the examinations is far from standard, there was a strong
appeal from teachers to have an alternative local Chinese examination which could lie
between the GCSE and HKDSE Chinese examinations, thus, the teachers would invariably
gear their students towards learning Chinese language to a higher level of Chinese literacy.
Currently,

Recognizing the shortcomings in the design and delivery of the school based-curriculum, the
teachers remained upbeat with their positive and understanding attitudes towards the teaching
of NCSS. The teachers were aware of the difficulties faced by NCSS learning Chinese but
they lack the know-how in addressing the problem. As I argued that the teachers lack the
adequate LTEC in designing the curriculum and the lack of concrete ideas form the SCG, it is
203

very difficult for the teachers to design a curriculum that is multi-tiered, recursive and
progressive for different NCSS learners.

8.2.3

Answer to research question 3

What are the major concerns of various stakeholders (parents, curriculum leaders, NGOs and
EDB) on the notion of NCSS learning the Chinese Language?

I have presented and discussed the different views of the stakeholders in Chapter 7 and I also
reiterate that each of the stakeholders maintain a bona fide to the issue as to how effective
learning and teaching of Chinese could take place. However, there are a number of factors and
irreconcilable differences (See Figure 7.1) had hindered the provision of an effective Chinese
Language education for NCSS. The whole problems seem to be the mismatch between the
language policy and employment language expectations on the NCSS. Although the EDB has
put in place the multiple exit assessments, this provision seems to connote more of the
concessionary essence than accommodative essence in addressing the Chinese literacy of the
NCSS as reflected in Chapter 2, 6 and 7. These differences are explained with the dichotomy
between the practicality and accountability concerns (See Figure 7.2) of various stakeholders.

EM parents expect their children to have competitiveness from the education system and they
view that the Chinese language is an integral element that would alleviate their childrens
future in terms of their career aspirations and standard of living. The parents have no choice
but to expect and trust the local education system as other education system around the world
that help parents to achieve in one way or the other. However, parents are unaware of what is
actually happening to their childrens Chinese learning in the school and they are given
illusive expectations from the internal assessment which is gauged at the GCSE Chinese
examination rather than the mainstream level. In short, according to the dichotomy, parents
204

are more practically concerned as to how their Chinese literacy would assist their children
rather than taking heed to the EDBs idealistic dream of life-long Chinese learning.

The NGOs pictures the government with a reputation for tiptoeing around the NCSS Chinese
learning issue rather than going straight for the jugular. The NGOs believe that despite the
recognition of alternative qualification (GCSE, IGCSE, GCE AS-level, and GCE A-level) for
further education, they argue that the current climate of learning Chinese creates NCSS with
narrow career path and lack bold measures in place to help the newly emerging designated
schools to address the plights of NCSS schooling. Finally, they have bombarded on the idea
of not having an alternative Chinese curriculum framework for NCSS. With reference to the
dichotomy, the discussions have confirmed that the NGOs are similarly concerned as parents
with regard to the practicality concerns of Chinese learning whilst for the accountability, their
focus is on the NCSS but not the other mainstream Chinese students, and hence their
accountability concern is relatively low as compared to the schools and the EDB.

Curriculum leaders interviewed in the study views the SCG as a bureaucratic document which
is abstract and offers no concrete assistance to teachers on how to effectively deliver their
curriculum and assist them in their day to day teaching. Since the curriculum guide is more
focused on curriculum organizations, teachers would not directly find it as appealing as it is
promoted by the EDB. Since it is a general phenomenon that teachers in Hong Kong are
indoctrinated with ready-made textbooks and examination syllabus, therefore with no concrete
teaching pedagogies and useful teaching resource package in the guide, teachers teaching
NCSS Chinese do not highly regard the guide. In addition, as the guide was formulated based
on the state of art of the established traditional high concentration designated schools, it is of
not much relevance to them.

205

Although, the guide lacks vigor to the aforementioned schools, the guide still offers assistance
to the newly emerging designated schools and other mainstream schools that accept NCSS. In
addition, the schools are worried about the level of teachers LTEC as a curriculum developer
and LTC on the effective delivery of the curriculum. The discussion in the study confirms that
schools have different interpretations of the CCCF and due to the low LTEC; the notional
curriculums in the schools are mostly gauged at the GCSE examination syllabus. Thus, the
schools practicality concerns of NCSS learning Chinese is invariably lowered and the
examination results will govern and become an indicator of their success of schooling. They
would be more cautioned on the accountability concerns because they have to be accountable
to the taxpayers and also adhere to the principles and latest initiatives of the EDB.

The EDB maintains a firm stance on the CCCF and the attitude that the bureau has on the
SCG appears to be complacent and last but not least the probability of having an alternative
local Chinese assessment for NCSS is very uninviting. Undeniably, the EDB has held an
engaging attitude towards NCSS as exemplified by the amount of work they had undertaken.
However, this does not remedy the crying of the stakeholders. EDB owes an explanation as to
what made them overlooked the inclusion of NCSS Chinese language learning during the
curriculum reform in 2001 when the CCCF was formulated. The NCSS issue was not on their
agenda only till the pressure groups tabled the matter in LegCo in 2003. These two years of
difference made it very late for the government to make changes to the CCCF and to remedy
the overlooked situation; the bureau consulted the traditional high concentration designated
schools and developed the SCG. Ironically, the formulation of the SCG invited more criticism
from the pressure group and the bureau has to implement different measures to address the
issue.

206

In addition, why is so much flexibility given to schools when the design and delivery of the
curriculum is un-robust and stagnated? Where to put the mismatch when the majority of the
NCSS learn from the CCCF and sit for GCSE Chinese examination? Why schools are not
tackling that and why EDB allows that? If our Band 3 Chinese students English literacy is
below-par, why are they not given similar examination concessions for their English as NCSS
is given for their below-par literacy in Chinese? The current laissez-faire curriculum
negotiation approach (Big Market, Small Government) for the secondary schools has to be
reconsidered and whether a similar high capacity of involvement in mainstream primary
schools and the changing role of the tertiary institutions can be reconsidered. Based on the
dichotomy, EDBs practicality concern of learning Chinese is very low since learning is not
only confined to examination and employment; they expect learning Chinese as life long
learning. Their accountability concern is relatively high since the notion of equality and
fairness has to be strongly emphasized for all the learners in Hong Kong.

8.3 Implications of findings


With regard to the answers of the three questions, there are a number of implications from this
study that require our immediate attention. The analysis and discussion of findings have
confirmed that EDB is not yielding any effective results to the issue. The use of the
laissez-faire curriculum negotiation approach Big Market, Small Government in developing
the NCSS Chinese curriculum has not garnered any appreciation but welcomed quite a number
of entanglements. Although EDB has given a bright picture and optimism in the SCG, yet most
of the claims are to be materialized and a lot of questions are left unattended. In short, the
CCCF and SCG alone cannot address the core problem of the issue.

At school level, the constant school-based curriculum evolutions are victimizing the teachers
and the students. On the one hand, teachers are struggling with their low LTEC and LTC to
207

design and deliver the NCSS Chinese curriculum where their qualification and teacher training
has not equipped them with necessary know-how and good mastery of TCSL to address the
issue. On the other hand, they have to be blamed for doing a poor job in enhancing the
Chinese literacy of the NCSS and they are torn between the dilemma of theory and practice. In
addition, the home-school cooperation is not taking place, so it is rather difficult to extend
NCSS Chinese language learning beyond the classroom time.

At NCSS level, most of the NCSS studying in government and subsidized secondary schools
are in fact from grassroots family and they will reside in Hong Kong and serve the local
community in their future. The paper qualification to NCSS is very important and if they do
not have a good Chinese literacy, their occupational mobility and career prospects will be
narrowed. Hence, we appreciate the concerns of EDB in tackling the NCSS Chinese issues but
we would expect the EDB to have a more long-term planning in addressing this critical issue.

8.4 Recommendations
Based on the findings and discussions on the research questions of the study, this section
proposes recommendations on how an effective design, development and implementation of
the NCSS Chinese curriculum can be achieved.

8.4.1 Enhancement of the existing SCG

The absence of critical contents such as teaching approaches or methodological perspectives in


the SCG demonstrates EDBs over simplistic assumption of NCSS as being monolithic. If the
missing component as discussed in Chapter 3.3.5, 6.2, 6.3 and 7.2-7.5 are remedied, it would
meet the diverse needs of the different backgrounds of the schools. Thus, the guide would
become a wikipedia and a useful tool for teachers who might be struggling in teaching NCSS
208

in diverse environment.

As the guide only provides and suggests the curriculum modes to schools, this seems to be
beneficial to the curriculum developers and designers in the school only. As the discussion in
Chapter 6 and Chapter 7.4.3 confirms that schools are the vehicle that delivers the curriculum
and Tsuis postulation (123 Model, See Chapter 3.3.2) allows us to reflect and extend our
horizon on how items such as a detailed description of the CCCF, the NCSS Chinese subject
management, the learning of Chinese inside and beyond classroom learning, and seeking
parental involvement could be included in the SCG so as to make the guide more useful.

123+P Model
In order to relevant Tsuis 123-model with the NCSS Chinese learning, this adopted model
would be useful and helpful to remedy the grievances of the users. To achieve that, first, the
existing guide should be renamed as Curriculum, Assessment and Teaching Chinese Guide
for NCSS learning Chinese and second it should impart and intertwine the three layers of
Tsuis postulation and add an additional layer (parental involvement) for the successful
implementation of the school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum. Figure 8.1 presents the 123+P
-model that could be included in the SCG.

Figure 8.1 Diagrammatic presentation of the proposed 123+P model for SCG

209

Layer 1 is the elaborated interpretation of the CCCF with officials performance indicators of
specific competence required at different key stages for NCSS and explain inter and intra
relationship of different curriculum modes.

Layer 2 is the subject management of the NCSS Chinese curriculum at school level and
imparts the essence of Layer 1 where the roles of subject panel and how quality assurance
mechanism could be placed and advice on topics for professional development for teachers
could be recommended. Since, these are the schools, who design their curriculums, teachers
LTC and LTEC in particular are important aspects to how they are trained and build their
experience upon. Recent work on TCSL could be included in the guide so that an overall
framework for the knowledge, abilities and teaching methodologies required of teachers
teaching NCSS and principles at the notional and operational curriculums could be revived
(See Table 6.5).

Layer 3 is the learning capacity where teachers are advised on how learning could take place
during and beyond the lesson time. Some teaching approaches or methodologies that are
useful for teachers should be included where practical ideas in dealing with the versatility of
learning attitudes of the NCSS during lessons should be listed so teachers would feel ease at
teaching NCSS, the observation aspects employed for the current study could be included (See
table 4.2) so as to further elaborate on how the different aspects in the lessons could be better
demonstrated and exemplified such as the organizing and process of teaching and feedback
and follow-up. As for learning beyond classroom, principles and ideas in learning beyond
classroom could be elaborated with reference to the number of practices that have been
accumulated.

210

Layer 4 is measures to enhance the parental involvement since learning beyond classroom is
critical to enhance the NCSS Chinese proficiency, there should be some guidelines and
friendly tips on how they can encourage and seek EM parents help even though the parents
are not highly educated.

The curriculum guide should make adequate reference to the assessment where teachers and
students would know the level required for each of the alternative assessment in the multiple
exit assessments while EDB would consider the alternative local assessments where
students/parents would be aware of where their termination point is in the different curricula.
8.4.2 Provision of an alternative local Chinese assessment for NCSS
As Hong Kong is an examination oriented society, despite the curriculum reform, the teachers
mentality and LTEC/LTC in designing their curriculum strictly adheres with examination as
the termination point (See Chapter 6.3); there is no doubt that the schools designing their
curriculum would set the termination point at one of the examinations in the multiple exit
assessments.

It is a natural phenomenon that teachers in Hong Kong would first refer more to the
examination syllabus guide than the curriculum guide; hence the examination guide becomes
the main artifact in their notional and operational level of curriculum. If that is the curriculum
paradigm for teachers, there appears to be a rationale to design and formulate a Chinese
examination that requires a literacy level between the international and local examination for
the NCSS, whereby the NCSS could survive with the Chinese language for entering the
Chinese society of Hong Kong. The discussion in Chapter 5 and 6 has justified and implicated
for the provision of a localized Chinese assessment for the NCSS designed by HKEAA in lieu
211

of the vicious multiple exit assessments. It is reasonable to speculate that teachers believe that
international examinations (at L2 standard) such as GCSE, IGCSE, GCE or equivalent might
lack the cultural factors and learning environment of Hong Kongs NCSS. Hence the proposed
assessment should be relevant to learners experience.

The findings and discussion in the study has confirmed that there was a transient GCSE for all
perception is school despite teachers seeing the needs to push the literacy of the NCSS at the
notional level of the curriculum. The study argues that despite the participants performing
poorly in the literacy test, there is reasonable justification to push the literacy of the NCSS by
means of formulating an alternative local assessment for NCSS to a level where they could
survive with the working language in the mainstream Chinese society in view of their hybrid
acculturation profile. In addition, the notional and operational curriculum would serve as a
common road map for all the schools to enhance the literacy of the NCSS.

There are also other legitimate reasons why the current alternative qualifications failed to
satisfy the needs. First, the content or schema tested in the international examinations (at L2
standard) is not related to Hong Kong. Second, if Singapore could localized a GCSE Chinese
examination and have it recognized, why would it be a problem for the EDB? Third, if we
wish to integrate NCSS into the local community, why are we sending them for international
examinations (at L2 standard)? Finally, why Hong Kong who has Chinese as its official
language would require a foreign country (United Kingdom) but not choosing examinations
from mainland China as the sourcing for alternative assessment?

Before the SCG was formulated, I (Ullah, 2008) proposed ten amendments to the HKCEE
Chinese examination which can make it more approachable for NCSS within the existing
provision, but it has been four years since the guide has been published and the manner in
212

which the school-based Chinese curriculum were implemented (See Chapter 6), the guide is
unable to make the changes or materialized the deliverable as promised (See Chapter 3.3.4 and
Chapter 7.2.4.2). Therefore, in light of Ullahs study, the proposed local assessment could
address the problems that were found in the literacy test of the current study. As the findings
and discussions in Chapter 5 and 6 draws our attention to enhance the literacy of the NCSS for
reading and writing, table 8.1 summarizes the recommendations for the reading and writing
section of the proposed alternative local assessment for NCSS:

Reading Section

Two: One mandatory and one optional section

Number of sections
7:3

Paper Weighting
Assessment Focus

Writing Section

6:4

Mandatory: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Explicit knowledge


Optional: Evaluating, Creating and Implicit knowledge
Mandatory: Daily-life related (email, fax, blogs, letter of advice, dairy)

Text types

Optional: Distant (historical texts, ancient poems, Chinese fables)


Mandatory: English and Chinese

Language of instruction

Optional: Chinese
Number of tasks

Mandatory: Three texts out of four

Mandatory: One out of six

Optional: One out of two

Word limit: 300 characters


Optional: One out of four
Word limit: 300 characters

Duration
Table 8.1

90 minutes

120 minutes

Proposed recommendations for Reading and Writing sections of alternative local NCSS
Chinese assessment

213

The overall design of the assessment should be able to cater for the individual differences of
the NCSS in terms of their Chinese literacy and their acculturation profile. Therefore, it is
proposed that the assessment should be divided into two parts for each section, namely the
mandatory part and optional part whereby the weighting of the mandatory part should be
heavier or slightly more than the optional part. The rationale behind this arrangement is to
allow schools to effectively stream NCSS for respective level of literacy and design a versatile
notional NCSS Chinese curriculum and thereby enhance the learning capacity in the lessons.
The former aims at NCSS who are able to reach a threshold level while the latter aims to allow
NCSS who have a high degree of integration profile to achieve literacy beyond the threshold
level. Thus, this assessment should be criterion- referenced instead of norm-referenced where
the stakeholders would be able to articulate the literacy of the NCSS at various levels.

The assessment focus of the sections should adequately draw reference to Blooms taxonomy
and the notion of implicit knowledge versus explicit knowledge of the Chinese language.
Drawing on the findings and discussions in Chapter 5 and 6, if the aim of the mandatory
section is aim at helping NCSS to achieve a threshold level, the emphasis should be placed on
testing NCSS ability in remembering, understanding, applying and analyzing level of
Blooms taxonomy and explicit knowledge of the Chinese language while for the optional part,
the emphasis should be placed on the remainder of Blooms taxonomy and implicit knowledge
of the language.

In order to achieve the aims and rationale of this assessment, the text-types or materials in the
mandatory section should make adequate reference and relevance to daily-life of the learners
and Hong Kongs context while for the optional part, the text-types could be some-what
distant from learners daily life and the notion of aesthetic sense, literature and Chinese
philosophies could be embedded. In addition, the assessments instruction and number of tasks
214

for each section should be able to reflect and cater for the NCSS who have low literacy, thus,
for reading section, the first two tasks could have a glossary and several questions in English
so as to test the understanding of the comprehension of these learners while the facility of
providing several tasks in each part would provide opportunities for the NCSS to select
questions from a wide of range text types that they have come across in their different
school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum.
8.4.3 Chinese learning opportunities for graduated NCSS cohorts
EDB believes that family support and aspiration help NCSS learn Chinese better. But, during
the interview when the officers were asked why the provision of Chinese Language education
for NCSS was heavily pushed in 2004 but not earlier? The officers responded that the parents
at that time were not ready to send their children for learning Chinese due to the difficulties
involved in learning Chinese.

Therefore it is reasonable for the bureau to shoulder some responsibilities to help the
graduated NCSS for continuing Chinese education so that they would not be left out in the
society due to their incompetence Chinese literacy. A monitoring and advisory role should also
be taken in the courses that are offered by the ERB and the after-school tutorial sponsored by
the CMAB (ref: CMAB/4/4/34/3) so that the collaboration would be vital in making them to
become a successful Chinese language users. The bureau should also review the practicality
concerns and take a greater role in mitigating NCSS who took GCSE and are unable to be
recruited in the civil service posts. EDB has a very good record of helping teachers to top-up
their qualifications in the past. Likewise, the NCSS who were the victims of the Chinese
Language education evolution should be given opportunities to sit for EDB funded and
organized Chinese literacy courses that would increase their literacy and occupational
mobility.
215

8.4.4 Exploring NCSS Chinese textbooks market and direct EDB support to secondary schools
Although the textbook market size of Chinese Language learning for NCSS is small, EDB
could encourage reputable publishers by means of special grant or incentive plans to take the
social responsibility to address the learning needs of the NCSS. As discussed in Chapter 6.2
and 6.3, teachers notional and operational curriculums are transiently pegged at GCSE
Chinese examination and there are limited on-line interactive or audio resources for NCSS
self-learning, this arrangement would offload some of the burden of the teachers in facing the
daunting task of designing a 100% school-based curriculum by themselves.

If the teachers have the designed materials approved by the EDB in hand, it would allow them
to adapt and design materials and divert their attention on how to deliver an effective learning
and teaching environment in classrooms. The current textbooks and school-based NCSS
teaching materials are unable to serve the survival needs of the NCSS. As elaborated and
discussed in Chapter 3, 5 and 6, the relationship between reading and writing in the notional
curriculums were weak and the notion of Chinese literature and art were not adequately
integrated to the teaching of Chinese culture and intertwined in the reading and writing
materials. Hence, if the recommendation of formulating an alternative local NCSS Chinese
assessment is seriously considered, it would give publishers and textbook designers to
contribute an opportunity to tap into this market and address the deficiencies in the notional
school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum.

Although a lot of work and seed projects are conducted in mainstream schools, the bureau
should consider the Her Majesty Inspector (HMI) Approach of England where EDB inspectors
are deployed directly in districts in helping and designing curriculum for the high and low
concentrated designated schools. This would achieve a better coherence making and
216

negotiation between the strategic, tactical and operational planning of CCCFs interpretation
and implementation. Hence, the role of commissioned tertiary institutions could be reduced to
researching on teaching pedagogies, action-research on matters governing curriculum design
and recommendations to the revision of the SCG.
8.4.5 Establishing benchmark for NCSS teachers
Arguably, if teachers teaching English are required a TESOL or equivalent qualification, why
top-up or institutionally accredited courses such as TCSL are not sought from teachers
teaching NCSS Chinese. As illustrated form the discussion (See Chapter 6.2-6.4), teachers
LTEC and LTC requires support and therefore a structured course or benchmark for teachers
teaching NCSS should be established where it would encourage aspiring teachers to enter the
NCSS discipline and enhance their professional content.

A Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCHOLAR) study similar to


the one conducted in 2001 to review the language education in Hong Kong (SCHOLAR, 2003)
should be conducted to review and raise the LTEC and LTC of the teachers teaching NCSS
Chinese. This study can provide a detailed response to the concerns and recommendations of
the current study, Ullah (2008) and the EOC Report (2011) on the notion of teachers LTEC
and LTC in designing and delivering an NCSS Chinese curriculum.
8.4.6 Establishing a strong and direct rapport with the parents
A more favorable dialogue and communication channel should be established with the parents
so that they are kept abreast of the latest development of the provision of Chinese Language
education for NCSS. Hence, parental involvement would only take effect if they know how
they can contribute to their childrens upbringing with their Chinese literacy.

217

The bureau should consider formulating a robust platform through the parent-teacher
association where individual schools concerns could be drawn to their direct attention. In
addition, the bureau should commission an independent study, preferably, a critical
ethnography on EM parents on their childrens educational aspiration to better understand the
genuine needs and reconcile the differences between the EDB and parents as illustrated in
Figure 7.1.

8.4.7 Surveying market needs


Further to the governments report (HAD, 2011) on civil and political rights for the
International Covenant, in particular, Article 27 (Right of ethnic minorities), the government
should consider conducting the market needs survey on the aptitude required for NCSS, in
particular, the Chinese literacy. It is inadequate and irresponsible for the government on one
hand to say it is her long term policy objective to have civil servants well-versed in the official
languages while giving discretion to individual departments to seek exemption of language
proficiency requirements where special expertise is required on the other. This paradoxical
position has made NCSS to aspire the civil service career path as untouchable and clearly a
utopia.

In order to integrate NCSS into the Hong Kongs society pragmatically, it is imperative for the
government to conduct a survey together with major stakeholders such as the Hong Kong
Chamber of Commerce to consolidate employers aptitude expectations on NCSS, so as to
envisage the notion of employability in the Chinese Language education for NCSS.

218

8.5 Significance of the study


8.5.1

At Political Level: Reconception on language education policy for linguistics minorities

The data in this study constitutes a unique source of information on the development of
language education policy for linguistics minorities. The analysis and discussion of findings in
the study has contributed and filled the research gap in explaining the existence of
discrepancies between the language policy of education and employment. In other words, the
NCSS are equipped with L2 Chinese literacy and asked to survive with the mainstream society
who sought for L1 Chinese literacy. This mismatch is a unique situation which is in sharp
contrast with other countries where the language policy for education and employment go
hand in hand, so that education sector provides graduates with literately competent (official
languages) individuals for the society. The biliterate-trilingual language policy in Hong Kong
requires a feasibility study as to how the NCSS could be geared towards the goal and also, a
strong reconciliation and coherence making between the different governmental bureaus is
promptly required for formulation of a language education and employment policy.

In addition, the findings concerning the implementation of the SCG and the CCCF derived
from Chapter 5 and 6 warrants EDBs inclusion of the implementation of NCSS Chinese
Language education in the Survey on the school curriculum reform and implementation of key
learning area curricula in schools which shall take place soon. This report will provide
stakeholders with an understanding of the genuine situation of the implementation of NCSS
Chinese Language education since the matter was tabled in LegCo in 2003.

The detailed illustration in the study helps reconcile and tidy up the current mayhem in the
issue and provide key recommendations in areas that policy makers would take into account
219

before spearheading any new measures.

8.5.2

At School Level: Making up on the provision of training for teachers on language


pedagogy, LTEC and LTC

As a Hong Konger, this study paint light on problems and issues concerning the successful
implementation of a curriculum from vague objectives to detailed lesson implementation.
Markees (1997) model in the context of the study helps explain the notion of interpretation
(notional) and implementation (operational) of a curriculum can be achieved if a strong and
robust coherence and negotiation making take place at the strategic, tactical and operational
level of planning. The discussion in the study argued that the critical success factor for NCSS
learning Chinese cannot be simply resolved by the provision of an alternative Chinese
curriculum framework, rather the fulcrum is on the effective design and delivery of the NCSS
Chinese curriculum.

The findings concerning the delivery of school-based Chinese curriculums in Chapter 6 has
consolidated a number of problems that hinder the progressive Chinese learning of the NCSS.
The problems such as the heavy reliance of English as the main medium (See Chapter 6.3.1)
in the lesson and the low learning capacity and teachers expectation (See Chapter 6.3.2) draw
our attention as to whether the current TCSL pedagogy is an effective pedagogy that is
effectively and skillfully practiced by the teachers.

In addition, the discussion (See Chapter 6.2) in this study constitutes a unique source of
information on the development of teachers LTEC and LTC on the notion of design of the
school-based NCSS Chinese curriculum. As exemplified in the study, teachers notional
curriculum are doctrine with the examination syllabus and unfortunately in the current
arrangement their termination point is transiently pegged at the GCSE Chinese examination.
220

Hence, problems such as the inadequate focus on building reading and writing fluency,
piecemeal consolidation with stagnant Chinese learning progression and the low level of
immersing Chinese literature, Chinese culture and Moral & affective development from the
CCCF in their teaching materials. These findings also warrant EDB attention as to existing
curriculum negotiation practice of providing a flexible curriculum framework (Big market,
Small Government) to let schools interpret and design their own school-based curriculum; in
particular, NCSS Chinese curriculum.
8.5.3

At Learners Level: Filling the literature gap on language acquisitions and language
education policy for linguistic minorities

As discussed in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3, there is a small strand of research (Ku, et al., 2003,
2005, 2010; Loper, 2004; Yang, 2000, 2002) that looks into the plights of NCSS but the
available research (EOC, 2011; Ki, 2009; Lee, 2006;Tsung, Shum & Ki, 2007a; Tsung et al,
2007b; Tse at al 2007) on the issue is limited to peripheral concerns and none of the work
focused on the core issue. The findings concerning the Chinese literacy and language
repertoire of the NCSS and the implications derived from Lantolfs (1994) SCT and
Schumanns (1978b) and Berry et al (2006)s acculturation model and profiling in the study
compared to the available literature in FLA and SLA (Brown and Hanlon, 1970; Chomsky,
1959; Duly et al., 1982; Ellis, 1994; Fletcher and Garman, 1986; Fry, 1977; Larsen et al., 1991)
renders our attention to the limited and vague explanation as to how the multilingual
un-imparted NCSS acquire their different languages, in particular, the Chinese language when
there is a low proximity between their L1 and L2. These studies mostly make reference to how
a learner with a phonemic language background learn another phonemic language, such as
English speaker learning Spanish language but there is an absence of literature in explaining
how a learner with a phonemic language background (NCSS L1) learn a morphosyllabic and
logographic language (Chinese).
221

As an academic, this is a first of it kind of an academic research on the issue of NCSS


acquiring Chinese. It gives international scenario a reference and it draws attention on the
phenomenon that in most western literature when one discusses language acquisition (L1, L2
or L3), most of these studies concern the acquisition of languages with high proximity. Since
learning of a second language is not only psychological, the language system of an L2 learner
poses a different scenario. This study is able to point out that the language acquisitions of
NCSS are entirely different since the proximity between their L1 and Chinese is extremely low,
therefore the whole landscape of learning Chinese should not be solely based on the western
literature and attention should be drawn to the notion of imparted linguists.

The low Chinese language utilization pattern, the pigeonization syndrome and Chinese
language competence fallacy of the NCSS as discussed in Chapter 5 explains why NCSS
resorted English as their main artifact for literacy whereas Chinese as just the side language.
This data in the study warrants teachers awareness on envisaging the important literacy role
and reposition NCSS rating for their Chinese language repertoire through a multi-dimensional
and versatile school-based Chinese curriculum that could extend their Chinese language
learning beyond classroom time.

Last, although, this study focus on the three traditional high concentration designated
secondary schools, it offers useful perspectives to the emerging designated secondary schools
and as well as the primary schools that accept NCSS in wake of keeping the school enrolment
figures to address the provision of Chinese language education for NCSS.

8.6

Implications for future research

This is the first contextualized study that takes a holistic and eclectic approach in looking at
the issue of the provision of Chinese Language education for NCSS at traditional high
222

concentration designated secondary schools in Hong Kong where Chinese language is the
official and societal language. This study gives a detailed account of the Chinese literacy of
the NCSS and by undertaking the essence of critical ethnography, the school based NCSS
Chinese curriculum in operations are vividly depicted. As an NCSS and linguistic minority
myself, the results of the research would help set language standard for the NCSS and help
schools that are accepting NCSS, in particular primary schools where early exposure to
Chinese Language education is of paramount importance.

Some of the findings should be of the interest to the EDB, particularly the Chinese Language
KLA and the QAD on reviewing and evaluating the manner of implementation and delivery of
the NCSS Chinese Language education. The depiction in Chapter 6 provides useful insights to
academics, teachers and EDB officials for reviewing and planning for the provision of a
Chinese Language education at different levels of curriculum negotiation (strategic, tactical
and operational). The discussion on teachers LTC and LTEC may also be of interest to
scholars of teacher education and training, applied linguistics and multilingualism. Thus, the
NCSS would be better equipped with a Chinese literacy that would materialize their career
aspirations. This process would get hold of the desire and standard require for the learning of
NCSS Chinese for NCSS and as well how the curriculum can be effectively developed for
NCSS.

There appears to be justification for undertaking an in-depth research in the manner of


longitudinal studies into reviewing the successful cases of NCSS learning Chinese and how
those experienced could be translated and materialized to the majority of the NCSS. Also, as
discussed in Chapter 7, there are a number of unattended questions which would be
instrumental in contributing to the NCSS Chinese Language education literature, namely;

223

Why is there no language education policy for NCSS and whether or not it should be
introduced in the education language policy?

How does the current CCCF, which is based on FLA principles, cater for the
multilingual un-imparted language learners? How the notion of low learning
capacity and termination point with reference to the multiple exit assessments are
addressed at bureau level?

Other than having the SCG, what effective and pragmatic measures are in place to
enhance the LTEC and LTC of the teachers, both at the notional and operational
levels of the curriculum? How could the input of the commissioned services be
enhanced?

How could the coherence making between the strategic, tactical and operational
level in interpreting, designing and delivering the CCCF be better achieved?

Will the notion of NCSS Chinese learning be included in the survey on the school
curriculum reform and implementation of key learning area curricula in schools in
2011/12 or 2021/22? If not, what official evaluative measures or interim review of
similar capacity will be in place to evaluate the effectiveness of the NCSS Chinese
curriculum?

In addition, the presentation and discussion of various major concerns of the various
stakeholders provides a much better understanding as to why divergence exist with reference
to the major concerns dichotomy. The recommendations in the study allow all the stakeholders
to reflect and review of their bona fide on NCSS which can be translated and interpreted in
real and correct terms. This study readjusts and enriches the literature on NCSS Chinese
Language education in Hong Kong and also supplement literature on the Chinese Language
education policy for NCSS. In addition, this study provides a meaningful discourse for the
different stakeholders to keep them abreast of the development of the issue.
224

8.7

Concluding remarks

In this study, I have presented a critical review on the provision of Chinese Language
education for the NCSS. I have always aspired for becoming a police inspector but there were
no Chinese Language education for us and no one was there to guide and tell us the
importance of Chinese learning. We have always wondered why we were not provided with
the Chinese Language education as we would be working adults under the Chinese rule and
how would we aspire for our dream and survive with no Chinese literacy. To my dismay, I did
not have the opportunities to learn Chinese and this matter only started to be tabled in the
LegCo when I completed my undergraduate studies. It was very late already.

However, the current generation of NCSS is much luckier than me where they have the
opportunities and readily available access to Chinese learning. One would not have predicted
that how the current NCSS Chinese Language education provision would be in a state of
mayhem and gloomy despite the bona fide of all stakeholders. Also, it is an illusion that
satisfying the university entrance requirements with international Chinese examinations equate
to meeting the societal Chinese command. The NCSS Chinese learning is for purely for
survival purpose unlike other L2 learners who learn for affluent purposes.

EDB has good intention and we should commend their hard work but their effort is not
yielding any results. The EDB should not be blamed for all the mayhem, there is no precedent
as EDB has ever encountered a similar experience and no other country has a similar
experience like Hong Kong. Hong Kong can be a show window for the rest of the world in
taking care of the reminiscence of the colonialism where the British did not pave way for the
SAR government.

225

I have been paying attention to the notion of NCSS Chinese Language education and devoted
my masters level dissertation (Ullah, 2008) to it and offered my views on the relative
suitability between the HKCEE Chinese examination and IGCE Chinese examination. I have
also undertaken an active participation in advocating for better and effective arrangement in
place over the years. With this research, I look forward to working together with the EDB,
NGOs and schools for the betterment of the NCSS. I believe that if the essence of this study
could be further put under the scrutiny of the different stakeholders agenda and discourse, the
current generation of NCSS would be able to master the Chinese language to a level where
they can immerse and integrate into Hong Kongs society. Let us speed up and stop
victimizing the next NCSS generation.
--THE END

226

Appendix 1

Test Paper
Chinese Language Test
Question Paper
Name: __________________
Class: __________ (
) Date: _________
School Name: _________________________________________________

Instructions to students:
1. You have 2 hours to complete this examination.
2. The test is divided into two parts, namely Part A and Part B.

3. Part A is reading and there are four questions. You have to answer ALL
questions on the answer sheets.
4. Part B is writing and there are four questions. You have to choose only
ONE question and write between 250- 500 characters on the answer
sheet. Write the question number on top right hand box.

227

Part A. Reading
1)

228

2)

229

3)

230

4)

231

Part B. Writing
1)

2)

3)

4)

232

Chinese Language Test

Answer Sheet
Name: __________________ Class: __________ (
) Date: _________
School Name: _________________________________________________

Part A: Reading

1)

233

2)

234

3)

235

4)

a)

b)

c)

236

d)

e)

237

Part B. Writing

Question Number ___________

238

-End of Paper239

Appendix 2

Language Utilization Survey


Questionnaire for the survey of Non-Chinese Speaking Students
Interview 1: The Pattern of Language Use (001)
Name: __________________________
Please follow the instructions of the teacher to fill in the questionnaire. If you need assistance please raise
your hand and seek assistance form your teacher.
Part 1 Background Information
1.

Place of birth: __________________

Nationality: _________________________

2.

Sex:

Male

Female

3.

Age:

12-14

15-16

17-18

19-20

4.

Length of Stay in Hong Kong (years):


6-10

11-15

16-20

0-5
5.

Language proficiency (1=most proficient..5=least proficient)


Spoken

English

Chinese

L1 (please specify) _____________

Other languages (please specify) __________________________


Written

English

Chinese

L1 (please specify) _____________

Other languages (please specify) __________________________

Part 2 Language Learning Profile


6.

Formal Language Learning Experience(please fill in ascending order with the most proficient first, i.e. A to E):

A.

Language learnt:

B.

Years of learning

yrs

yrs

yrs

yrs

yrs

C.

Learning to read

(age)

(age)

(age)

(age)

(age)

D.

Learning to write

(age)

(age)

(age)

(age)

(age)

E.

Learning to speak

(age)

(age)

(age)

(age)

(age)

F.

Terms per year

G.

Duration per term

months

months

months

months

months

H.

Periods per week

I.

Duration per periods

mins

mins

mins

mins

mins

7.

Language Utilization (Please breakdown the percentage, the summation should not exceed 100% or equal to 0%)

A. English

B. Chinese

Language A

C.

Language B

D.

Language C

E.

Language D

Language E

A.

Conversing with classmates

B.

Conversing with friends

C.

Conversing with parents

D.

Watching TV

E.

Seeing movies

F.

Listening to songs or

240

singing
G.

Reading newspapers

H.

Reading magazine

I.

Reading books

J.

Writing letters

K.

Making notes

Part 3: Chinese Language Learning Profile


8.

Which aspects of Chinese did you find easy or difficult to learn?

A.

Pronunciation
Easy

B.

Did not use Chinese in this way

Neutral

Difficult

Did not use Chinese in this way

Neutral

Difficult

Did not use Chinese in this way

Neutral

Difficult

Did not use Chinese in this way

Neutral

Difficult

Did not use Chinese in this way

Neutral

Difficult

Did not use Chinese in this way

Neutral

Difficult

Did not use Chinese in this way

Writing complex characters


Easy

9.

Difficult

Knowledge of complex characters


Easy

I.

Neutral

Writing a simple letter


Easy

H.

Did not use Chinese in this way

Reading a newspaper article


Easy

G.

Difficult

Reading simple instructions


Easy

F.

Neutral

Knowledge of hanyu pinyin


Easy

E.

Did not use Chinese in this way

Making a speech
Easy

D.

Difficult

Conversation
Easy

C.

Neutral

Please describe any activity in the classroom or advice from your teacher(s) of Chinese classes that you found especially useful
in learning Chinese.

241

10.

Please describe any activity in the classroom or advice from your teacher(s) of Chinese classes that you found not too useful in
learning Chinese

Part 4: Language Use Process


11.

Please indicate how you process the following questions or statement while you think.

A.

270 7
Thought process: (Please list the languages in sequence that you have used in understanding the statement/question and please
explain briefly why that sequence has been used. If you cant read the characters, please write HELP in the right hand corner
of this box.)

=DEPARTMENT STORE) ----- CHINESE


A

EXAMPLE: ENGLISH (270*0.7) ----- URDU (

B.

Thought process: (Please list the languages in sequence that you have used in understanding the statement/question and please
explain briefly why that sequence has been used. If you cant read the characters, please write HELP in the right hand corner
of this box.)

C.

Thought process: (Please list the languages in sequence that you have used in understanding the statement/question and please
explain briefly why that sequence has been used. If you cant read the characters, please write HELP in the right hand corner
of this box.)

D.

I will go to Japan next month and I went to England last year. How would you say that in Chinese?
Thought process: (Please list the languages in sequence that you have used in understanding the statement/question and please
explain briefly why that sequence has been used.)

242

E.

What is the verb for watch TV, see Paul, wear clothes and put on a tie in Chinese?
Thought process: (Please list the languages in sequence that you have used in understanding the statement/question and please
explain briefly why that sequence has been used.)

F.

i.
ii.
iii.

Thought process: (Please list the languages in sequence that you have used in understanding the statement/question and please
explain briefly why that sequence has been used. If you cant read the characters, please write HELP in the right hand corner
of this box.)

G.

Thought process: (Please list the languages in sequence that you have used in understanding the statement/question and please
explain briefly why that sequence has been used. If you cant read the characters, please write HELP in the right hand corner
of this box.)

H.

A.
B.
C.
D.
Thought process: (Please list the languages in sequence that you have used in understanding the statement/question and please
explain briefly why that sequence has been used. If you cant read the characters, please write HELP in the right hand corner
of this box.)

243

Part 5: Personal Views and aspirations in learning language(s)


12.

What are your career/academic needs in learning English?

13.

What are your career/educational needs in learning Chinese?

14.

What are your parents aspirations on your Chinese learning?

15.

What would you like your school or government to do to help you learn Chinese language better?

16.

What examination will you take? Are you confident? Why/Why not?

--THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!!!

244

Appendix 3

List of Interviews
Number

Name

Position

Date & Place

Format & Duration

Student A&B

Students

20/10/09, School

Group, 1 hour

Student C

Student

27/12/09, Restaurant

Single, 1 hour

Student D

Student

27/12/09, Restaurant

Single, 1 hour

Student E

Student

27/12/09, Office

Single, 1 hour

Student F

Student

19/1/10, Coffee Shop

Single, 1 hour

Parent A

Parent

27/12/09, Restaurant

Single, 1 hour

Parent B

Parent

27/12/09, Office

Single, 1 hour

Parent C

Parent

19/1/10, Coffee Shop

Single, 1 hour

Teacher A

NCSS Panel

31/3/10, School

Single, 1.5 hour

10

Teachers

Teachers

31/3/10, School

Group, 1.5 hour

11

Teacher B

Teacher

1/4/10,

Single, 1 hour

School
12

Principal A

Principal

31/5/10, School

Single, 2 hours

13

Principal B

Principal

1/6/10,

Single, 2 hours

School
14

Principal C

Principal

7/6/10,

Single, 2 hours

School
15

NGO A

Director

6/7/10,

Single, 1.5 hours

Office
16

NGO B

Manager

7/7/10,

Single, 1.5 hours

Office
17

EDB Officers

A-C


Senior Education

6/9/10,

Officer

Office

Group, 3 hours

Chief School
Development
Officer

Senior Curriculum
Development
Officer (Chinese
Language
Education)

245

Appendix 4

List of Interview Questions

Students Interview Questions


After looking at your questionnaire, I have a number of questions that I would like you to
explain. You may feel free to express your point of views.
Guided Questions:
1. Can you elaborate why that particular activity (Question 9) was especially useful in your
Chinese learning?
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Can you elaborate why that particular activity (Question 10) was less useful in your
Chinese learning?
What do you think about the way you are learning Chinese currently?
What difficulties have you encountered while answering Part 4 of the survey?
Do you have any other specific difficulties in learning Chinese? If yes, what is it? If no,
how can you make your Chinese learning easier?
Do have any other things that you would like to share with me?

Parents Interview Questions


You being a parent of a non-Chinese speaking student, I have a number of questions that I
would like to ask you about your childs Chinese language learning. You may feel free to
express your point of views in any of the following languages you are comfortable with
English, Chinese, Urdu, Pashto or Hindi.
Guided Questions:
1. What are your aspirations for your childs career/education?
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

What do you think about the importance of Chinese language learning?


What are your expectations on your childs Chinese language learning?
What is your comment on your childs Chinese language learning?
Do you think your child can pick up the Chinese language successfully? Why/Why not?
Do you have any suggestions for the Hong Kong Education Bureau to support your childs

Chinese language learning?


7. Do you have anything that you would like to share with me?

246

Teachers Interview Questions


You being a Chinese subject teacher of the non-Chinese speaking students, I have a number
of questions that I would like to ask you about your students Chinese language learning.
You may feel free to express your point of views.
Guided Questions:
1. What do you think about the importance of Chinese language learning for the NCSS in
Hong Kong?
2. How familiar are you with the supplementary guide? Do you adopt any of the curriculum
modes recommended by EDB? Or do you adopt any other approaches?
3. What difficulties have you encountered while teaching NCSS Chinese over your career
span?
4. According to the test results, the students have preformed quite well in ______ and quite
poorly in _______. What do you think about such findings? What are the possible reasons?
5. Do you have any suggestions that you would like to raise to the Education Bureau so that
they can address the issue in a more fruitful manner?
Principals Interview Questions
You being a principal of the non-Chinese speaking students, I have a number of
questions that I would like to ask you about your students Chinese language learning.
You may feel free to express your point of views.
Guided Questions:
1. What is the curriculum modes employed in your school? Does it match with the EDBs
supplementary guide?
2. So, how were the teaching approaches formulated in the school?
3. How are the students performing based on the existing curriculum modes?
4. What problems have you seen in the implementation of the supplementary guide?
5. What is your impression about the teachers competence?
6. Do you have any suggestions that you would like to raise to the Education Bureau so that
they can address the issue in a more fruitful manner?
7. While the EDB were drafting the curriculum guide, was your school involved or consulted
prior to the release of the supplementary guide?
8. What is your greatest concern about the NCSS learning Chinese?

247

NGOs Interview Questions


You being as one of the concern group for the NCSS, I have a number of questions that I
would like to ask you about their Chinese language learning. You may feel free to express
your point of views.
Guided Questions:
1. What problems have you seen in the ethnic minority youth upon their graduation?
2. Your group has been advocating for the CSL, what makes your group think that there is a
need for it? What is your ideal model?
3. It came to my attention that your institution is offering some Chinese courses, what
difficulties does your group face?
4. What is your view about the provision of language courses for NCSS who have graduated
long before the actual existence of Chinese learning for NCSS?
5. While the EDB were drafting the curriculum guide, was your group involved or consulted
prior to the release of the supplementary guide?
6. What is your greatest concern about the NCSS learning Chinese?
EDBs Interview Questions
You being the official responsible for the compiling of the supplementary guide, I have a
number of questions that I would like to ask you about the NCSS Chinese language
learning. You may feel free to express your point of views.
Guided Questions:
1. What are the principles and assumptions behind the design of the Central Chinese
curriculum framework?
2. Why is there so much flexibility in NCS Chinese curriculum as compared to other subjects
such as English, LS?
3. How was the supplementary guide developed?
4. How are schools helped to interpret and implement the robust and flexible central
Chinese curriculum framework?
5. How does EDB share different schools school-based designed materials?
6. How is the special fund given to designated and non-designated being monitored?
7. Does the attainment of a pass or above in GCSE reflect the real language competence of
the NCSS?
8. Is the EDB working on some labeling/indicators of Chinese Language competence?
9. What trainings and formal courses are provided to teachers to teach NCSS in an effective
manner?
248

Appendix 5

Think Aloud Protocol


By sections of the paper
Part A: Reading
Question
(1)

Question

The reading part is pretty hard, I could understand what the topic is
about, but there are a lot of Chinese characters that I dont really
understand.

It was easy and I understand some questions.

Its okay, the vocabulary plus the text.


Its hard to memorize about the characters.
Easy
Easy

Pretty hard. I cant really understand most of it.


A bit difficult
It was okay.

Very hard
This is quite easy.
Hard
Easy and understandable

It was not so hard


Little hard
Couldnt read those Chinese words
Hard

Dont really understand some of the words, thats why its difficult
to answer the questions

Dont really understand


A bit hard
When I look at the question paper, first question in my mind was
what is this?

Part two, I understand what it is about, but when it comes to


answering the questions, I dont really know how to answer.

It was a bit difficult for me and I use my common sense to answer


the questions.

It started getting harder.


Its really difficult, sometimes even forget what the word mean.
Medium

OK
Pretty hard. I cant really understand most of it.

(2)

249

Question
(3)

OK
Getting little harder

Dont understand the questions.


It is not that hard for part 2.
Cant understand
Easy

It was easy
Cant read the words properly
Couldnt understand the question

Hard
Dont really understand some of the words, thats why its difficult
to answer the questions

Never learned these kinds of words so dont understand.

Hard to read, as I'm new learner


As this is just my 2nd year in Hong Kong so I am not good in
Chinese

The third part, I could answer the questions because of the passage.
Since I am sure and recognize that some answers are in the
passage. It is easy for me to understand.

It was tiring to do as I am not sure of the exact answer and had to


write the whole sentence.

This turned out to be the hardest.


This question was a little bit hard but acceptable. I can still find the
answers.

Hard
Hard

Pretty hard. I cant really understand most of it.

The question we dont understand.


Hard
Medium
Medium
It was hard
Cant read the words properly

It was really difficult


Didnt understand, hard
Hard

Dont really like writing Chinese characters


I can understand 1-5 words from 100 words
250

Question
(4)

This part is the worst part for me, because I seriously dont
understand anything about it. Not even the questions, passage and
how to answer.

I dont understand this passage.


I couldnt even get anything out of this text. Even though I knew
some vocabulary but I couldnt get the overall meaning.

The hardest part, giving us such a long paragraph and really hard
words which most of them I dont understand.

Hard

Super Hard
Pretty hard. I cant really understand most of it.
Dont understand.
Very hard

Quite hard. Cant understand the questions properly.


Very hard
Hard to understand

I felt it was difficult


Hard
Didnt understand some of the Chinese words
Hard

Very confusing the questions


It is very disappointing

Part B: Writing
Question

I understand what they ask me to write, but I wouldnt know how to start
writing. The point questions helps me understand what to write but dont
know how to start and no time to write anymore.

No time to finish and I cannot understand the activity.


I couldnt even try to write one topic because I couldnt understand them
fully.

Its hard to memorize so many words.


The question was easy, ok. The problem is that I dont understand the
vocabulary to use in it.

Hard

OK
Have no idea
Its quite easy

Hard also. Need to write a lot a lot.


Easy and understandable

(1)

251

Its hard
Didnt understand question

Was not so hard, but no time


Very hard
Hard
Cant understand any

It was very challenging. I didnt understand many words. I hope it was


easier. I didnt understand what is written. The words I know they were no
use in this.

Question
(2)

Question
(3)

Question
(4)

I dont know what they are asking us to write.


Hard
Its a pressure, too stressful.
Hard

Difficult
Cant find many things to write.
Easy

Didnt know how to write some of the Chinese words but it was kind of
easy

Very hard
Pretty hard to write

Reading Chinese and answering it in English I find its very hard. Even
though the words used there were very hard.

I also dont know how to write and what they are asking us to write.

Hard
Hard

Difficult
Medium

Very hard
The article for Chinese students I think its easy for P5-6 students also, but
for me, it was harder even then a university level.

Same, I dont know what the question asks.


Dont understand.
Hard
Difficult

Hard to understand
Very hard
I find it very hard.

252

General feelings of the writing paper


Writing
Paper

In writing part: At least I didnt understand the topic of


writing. I want to learn Chinese but its really difficult. I am
working hard but still I cant answer the kind of questions. My
Chinese level is low.

I am thinking that if it comes in GSCE exam than what will I


do? I dont understand it even one word. I dont know what
the reason that I cant learn Chinese is. Its my second year in
HK and learning Chinese but my Chinese progress is
extremely bad.

I have an aim in life. I want to be doctor but if I cant learn


Chinese, I cant even get in university! I am working hard to
learn Chinese but no on understand that we have other
books/subjects to read as well. I reach home at 6 PM and
during four hours I can finish just my homework of other
subjects. I am extremely disappointed.

I feel very challenging, I dint even feel happy because this is


my first test.

I have no idea what I am going to write there. Anyway, I will


just try because its just a test which is not going to add the
marks in our exam.

And now, I am totally going to faint because it is so hard. O


wanted to write but unfortunately, since I am not sure, I have
to end it in a blank paper.

I am very happy about this test but some parts are very hard
for me to catch it easily but I will try next time to do it.

250-500 words are a lot. Thought it would be easy but it was


quite hard.

All I understand was that we had to choose one of the four


topics- again, I was unable to finish the task because I couldnt
even read any of the topics ( they were in Chinese)

When we were told that we are going to do these test, I


thought it will be very east but when I got the paper, I saw I
cant understand more than four words.

I thought I will be easy because all of the test which I have see
n were all easy coz I am studying most easiest level of
Chinese thats y and when I saw this test, I cant understand
even a single word in it. Too difficult.

How can I write an essay while I cant write two lines even of
253

Chinese? These essays only those can write who are good at
Chinese not me.

When I was doing this test, I could only remember the 7


words in the world. For most of the NCS, this test was like a
university student test. It was very difficult for me even
though I am in the best class for Chinese in the non Chinese
class. I could understand very few points that what is written
in the test paper. It was the most difficult Chinese test for me
in my whole primary and secondary school life. This paper is
basically Form 1 or 2 (Chinese class) students. This paper is
easy for them but for NCSS its very difficult we could only
do the basic Chinese test so therefore these kinds of test shall
never be given to NCSS students. But while doing it, I was
struggling, which means we shall never give up until the end
but this paper made me give up easily.

254

Appendix 6

Interview Transcripts
Student A & Student B
I: Interviewer, SA: Student A, SB: Student B
I:

Alright. Uh so, good afternoon. UhXXX and XXX can you hear me?

So, basically,

Uh the purpose of todays interview is, uh, uh I mean after looking at your
questionnaire and also the test. So, I have, ahlike you to find test. So basically I have a
number of questions that I would like you to help me explain and so you may freely express
your point of view. So before we start, uh can you please both of you introduce yourself a
bit so that I can know a little more about you?
SA:

Ah okay. Im XXX. Uh Im class 5B, class number 18.

SB:

Hi, my name is XXX, uhfrom 5C, 41.

I:

Alright, okay. Are you ready to start the interview? Okay, so later, make sure you use the
microphone, uh when you answer the questions, okay? Maybe I ask H first. So, uh in
your questionnaire, uh I want to ask some question about what difficulties have you
encountered while you were answering the Part four of the survey where you have to
translate youyou read and then you help me translate, like your thinking process. So,
how did you find that part of the survey?

SA:

UhI read someuh I had read some newspaper article so I have some Chinese character
I understand it, so, and I know the English meaning of it, so... yea... so thats how I get the
meaning and translate of it.

I:

So uhdid you use any of uh your mother tongue, likeyour tagalong to help you
while you would like to make sense of the whole sentence?

SA:
I:
SA:
I:
SA:
I:
SB:

Not at all, I just use English.


Ah you use English. So there were some words you did not know?
Yes.
So, uh have you not learn them before?
Well, I do learn those but I just forgot it.
How about you?
Yea, um when I was, uh reading the questions and uh there was like many vocabulary
that I I already knew. But, uh as XXX said that, he translated into English but I didnt.
Its likeuh because I knew that vocabulary, so it was like in my mind. I didnt have to
translate into my own language or into English. Uh and there was like some vocabulary I
didnt know, maybe because I didnt practice too much. There...maybe there was some
vocabulary that I encountered first time and there was like some vocabulary that I learned
before but I didnt practice too much so thats why I forgot already.
255

I:
SB:
I:
SB:

Okay. So, maybe we carry on with Y first. So, uh you took part in the test last time right?
Yea, I did.
So can you share your feelings, uh. of doing the test?
Uh actually, ah test was like kind of hard for me. There was like much vocabulary that I
didnt know and I didnt even study before. And then like, the more I was, ah going
through it, like...the more like it made me it made me like giving up. Because I didnt
know many of the vocabulary, so I was just giving up.

I:
SB:

So how about the writing part?


Yea, for writing, I think that was a bit easier, easier than the reading. Coz like ...uh when
Im reading. I have to like...some vocabulary I dont know... I dont even know what do they
mean but like I know how, uh the structure of writing, then I can just copy, I can just read
the passage and I can just match the vocabulary with the vocabulary in the passage. So I can
uh I can get the answer from the passage because just matching the vocabulary.

I:
SA:

Okay. How about you?


Ah actually I and Y almost put the same thing. Uhthe reading is kind of hard also coz
some of the characters we didnt have came through, we didnt learn it yet. And, uh the
story was kind of long so it took a lot of our time to pay attention on it. Yea, so thats all.

I:
SA:
I:
SA:
I:
SA:
I:
SA:

So, uh what exam will you take, uh this year?


The GSCE.
Umm the first language? Or can you describe how your exam is?
In what?
Like your exam format. How is your exam format going to be?
In Chinese?
Yea.
Well, basically I think it might be that there will be uh I know what the reading is. The
reading will be like theres some check, there will be like some pictures to show us, and they
will tell you uh the questions will be in Chinese and telling you what is this today, uh...
some passage, yea.

I:
SA:
I:
SA:

So will there be speaking also in your exam?


Yes, oral. Yes there will be.
What is the exam like? The oral.
Uh... our teacher said that it will record in a videotape. They will give us they will give us
a topic and we have to record in a videotape.

I:
SA:
I:
SA:

So are you confident?


Uhin speaking, yes I am. But Im not really sure about in writing and reading.
So how are you going to uh address that?
I think I should pay more attention in writing then, like practice, coz coz any months our
exams are getting near. So its time for us to study.

I:

Okay. So how about you?


256

SB:

Uh all I know about my exam is, uh the GSCE exam is easier than HKCEE. And then
uh GSCE consists of three parts, listening; I mean listening, writing, and reading. And
uh I mean speaking is also included in listening. And for me, uh I think speaking is the
most, like Im not good speaking at all. Because my pronunciation is not good. And because I
never tried as well. Maybe thats my fault. Uh reading uh so-so. And writing is a bit
good. If you, if you uhgrade them then I will like ...I'm good at like the most I'm good at
is uh writing then reading and then speaking or listening.

I:

So how come you will grade yourself uhgood at writing? Like what gives you the
confidence to

SB:

Coz uh... like I said that, I cannot really memorize uh the sound, the Chinese character
sound. Thats why I cannot speak but uh the characters I can memorize, the shape. I think
there is a link between likethe structure of a character or the sound. Sometimes I forget the
sound but II memorize the term. When I when I am practicing the vocabulary, I make a
picture in my mind. So uh theres a picture in my mind, so uh that picture help me to
write and whenever I look at that term and then the picture the term reminds me of the
picture. So I get the meaning.

I:

Okay. So now uh I would like to ask, uh what do you think about the way that you are
learning Chinese now in the classroom? Can you comment on that?

SB:
I:

Umm... I think
Or maybe not now, or even the last few years as well. Can you please tell me your learning
is?

SB:

Um I think it varies because like when I was in form two, it was uh a bit better. When I
got into form three, it was compared to form three, uhform two, it wasnt like good. And
I got into form four, that was better. But in form five, its worse again. Its even worst
because umI dont really get this teacher. Um I dont know but maybe Im not used to
her but uh I think there should be a teacher like we are used to her. I mean, there should be
a teacher we are we are like familiar with. The way he or she teaches, the way
umbecause uh I think um if there is a teacher who knows the students and the
students know her, and then it can like it can easy for both of them to learn and to teach.
As I dont really get this teacher, the way she teaches, tell you honestly.

I:
SA:

Okay... Alright. And how about you?


Uh actually I agree with XXX also. Our Chinese teacher for now is having some
different change than our last year. Well, when I was in form 1, I have Hanyu with Ms Wong
and form 2, I still have Hanyu. Until form 3, I I I went back to Chinese to group 2
instead of group 1. And our teacher here last year have left us coz she ahs to go to other
school so we have this new teacher. So actually some of us are not used to her coz actually
she was just keep on explaining the Chinese. For some of us, I notice for my Chinese, my
classmates, they have hard time in Chinese some of them. But I think my teacher is not
helping them, shes just like keep on teaching like going straight until she finishes her work.
257

Thats all instead of helping us.


I:

So uh if you were given the chance to uh take part in a teaching, like suggesting how it
should be taught. So what do you think is the best way that you should, both of you should, I
mean every Non-Chinese should be learning Chinese. So can you tell us like, if you guys are
so mature to me, you guys actually did a great analysis. So now if I ask you, what would be
the best way to teach Non-Chinese Speaking Student Chinese? Maybe at your time now, how
should it be done? Perhaps uh anyone can start first, if you have

SB:

Um, firstly I would say that, um we are having many uhtutorials after school but we
dont have any tutorial, I mean Chinese tutorial after school.
um I think we should have some like

We dont have any tutorial. So

Chinese tutorial after school and yea, we have

Chinese lessons on Saturdays. And um I think, uh the school should collaborate um


Non-Chinese students with Chinese students. So, I think when they are like together, they can
talk to each other that can help the Non-Chinese Speaking students to speak Chinese and they
can like, they can be familiarlike can used to be talk to

Chinese people. Maybe like they

are not used to talk to Chinese people that are why they never speak to Chinese people. So if
like um maybe they are hesitating. Maybe if they are like talking to Chinese student, they
can talk to other Chinese people outside.
I:
SB:

Okay.
There should be some activities teaching Chinese, they should be like watching movies,
Chinese movies, and there should be like some subtitles so um while there is like a
movieChinese movie going on, and then we can see the person what he is acting. Because
whatever he is acting, he is speaking. So we know what he is saying and what he is doing.
If we dont know what he is saying, then we can see what he is doing. So, uhall the other
way around, if we know what he is saying, we can see what he is doing.

There should be

some subtitles that can help us read it.


I:
SA:

How about you? What do you think?


Well, XXX almost took some of my ideas, so I kind of ran out. But uh for me, I think we
should for some teachers, they sometimes focus on their own job, they wont like do do
much activities. But I think doing more activities will make the students like make them
awake

I:
SA:

What kind of activities do you mean?


Umsome like uh some Chinese wordslike this would be English and people should
write pair up in teams and write it in Chinese.

I:
SA:
I:

So you mean more language games in the lesson?


Yea not not too much, just sometimes.
So can I just clarify, like what you mean uh theres too much chalk and talk right now?
Like the teacher talks more than actually you guys have more time to participate in some of
the um activities. So can I say that is what you are suggesting?

SA:

Yes, we are.
258

I:

Okay, uh now, what other difficulties do you have in learning Chinese? Do you have any
difficulties in learning Chinese?

SA:
I:
SA:
I:
SA:

Uh writing for me.


Writing?
Yes.
What part of writing do you find it difficult?
Well, some characters I cant memorize it. But some teachers said that theres theres some
small meaning of it. Like like sui is like water and then ice, like yao saam tim like
three dots.

I:
SA:
I:

Using the radicals?


Yes, using those radicals. So sometimes I cant really memorize those.
How about when it comes to the grammar? Do you have any problem when you are writing
the um Chinese sentences?

SA:
I:
SA:

Um sometimes. Sometimes I mix it up with English.


Okay. So you have the um English interference
Yes

I:

When you are writing your Chinese composition.

SA:

Sometime they say time should go first, place

I:
SA:
I:
SA:
I:
SA:
I:
SB:

Right, something similar to the questionnaire that we have done


Yes.
Like last year I went to England and next week I am going to Japan.
Yes
So you mix up the um time and place.
Yes.
Okay. How about you?
Yea, I agree with XXX because, like the structure of sentence in Chinese is totally different
from English. Its not only a sentence, its almost everything is like in Chinese is different
from English. Um if you look at an address, in English is like different and in Chinese, its
totally different.

And uh also the direction, North and South, North-East, they call it

opposite. Its likealmost everything is like new for us, like if we are like English
speaking students. Then its new for us. Like H said, even me, I forget so many strokes, like
saam tim suiand those things, and even a minor thing like like minor mistake, the whole
thing will get goes wrong.
I:

Okay. So how about your... like your parents? So howwhat expectations do they have on
your Chinese language learning?

SB:

For meum my parents, they are forcing me not to speak only Chinese but to write. Like
they want me to uh concentrate more on writing. But they tell me that speaking is not
difficult, you can learn anytime, you go out from school, then you work for one year then you
can speak Chinese. But writing is most difficult, like if you go out from school, you cannot
259

learn writing. So this is what you should concentrate on when you are in school.
I:
SB:

So are you concentrating on this?


Im trying my best but like uhthis year I have a lot of work to do like Im going to take
HKCEE so Im also concentrating on like other subjects. I dont think I can make it because I
have a lot of workload to do. So, ill try my best.

I:
SA:
I:
SA:

How about you?

Your parents uhbecause you are Chinese also, if Im right

Yes, I am.
Youre half Filipino as well, so can you tell us your story?
Well, for me of course I am a half Chinese so my father expects mefor high expectation
but for me, honestly, writing is really hard for me. And Im really good in talking. Like of
course Im talking to my Grandma, my Chinese side, always in Chinese, my relatives,
sothats how I talk to them in Chinese. And writing, yea Im really weak at.

I:

So uh how much do you guys know or are aware that the Government is doing uh to
help the Non-Chinese Speaking students? Do you have any idea like what the government is
doing in relations to helping the Non-Chinese Speaking students to learn Chinese?

SA:
I:
SB:

No.
How about you?
I think government is doingmaybe its doing something but like if the government is
doing something for us, for Non-Chinese students, as I am a non-Chinese student so I should
know whatever government is doing for us. I dont know anything so I think government is
not doing anything. If its doing something I should be I should know that because its
governments job to let me know that what its doing. For me, government is not doing
anything. Yea I know that some of the courses like, the IVE is doing, but they cost a lot. And
its uh maybe some people they cannot afford, but some people as Im a student, I
cannot take those courses because uh the timing is different like I cannot because of
the school timing, so I cannot take those.

I:

So uhif uhyou have the chance to tell the government, on giving them some suggestions,
on like how you guys can learn the Chinese, like helping the Non-Chinese speaking students
to learn Chinese, so what advice will you give to the government?

SA:

Maybe promote more tutorial Chinese classes, like I mean a private Chinese for the nonspeaking coz since we have this uh called Kumon, like for math and English. Why not for
like private Chinese tutorial for non- Chinese speaking students. Somaybe they can
promote.

I:

Okay. How about at policy level? At policy level, do you have any suggestions?

Or you

have no idea at all what is a policy? No? So how about what is your future dream job? Like
Y, I know you want to be a policeman from the survey. But for yours, I didnt have any idea,
can you tell us?
SA:
I:

I want to work in a bank.


In a bank?
260

SA:
I:
SA:
I:
SA:

Yes.
So what do you think your chance is getting into a banking job?
Well, now Im learning Commerce.
Right.
And my topic the topic is about stock market, so but it depends always in the result of
our test. Thats all I can say.

I:

So what do you think about your Chinese subject? If you do well in your Chinese subject, do
you have any. will it bring you any extra benefit?

SB:

Well, yes it will. Because if I communicate with my colleagues in the bank or if I receive
some calls, maybe it could be uh

it could be some Chinese, of course I need to talk to

them and write some notes in Chinese, pass a message.


I:
SB:

So how about you?


I think, uh Chinese is the key of my uh dream future uh future dream.

So I should

uh I know to be a policeman, we should get grade D but I dont really think I can get grade
D but I will try my best but it really depends on my result. If like I cannot make it to grade
D and I can promote to form six, then I can keep uh learning until form six, form seven.
Till I prove that Im good at Chinese. So I can prove my Chinese in form six or seven if I
cannot do best in form 5. So, if I can do well in Chinese in from six or form seven, then I can
still uhI will still have a chance to be a policeman.
I:

Okay. SO I would wish both of you good luck in your uh dream job. So, uh let me just
go back, so what suggestions would you give to schools like to, I mean for teaching the
Non-Chinese speaking students, generally.

SB:

First of all um on the very first day, I dont like the schools policy that non-Chinese
students are like from above third floor, the Chinese students are below third floor. First of
all, the school is teaching us that the Chinese and Non-Chinese students should be different.
They should be likeseparate.

I dont I dont like we are we come here to learn, the

school is teaching us that the Chinese students are different from non-Chinese. So we we
get this difference from school. So we bear we bear this in our mind. When we go out,
we we keep this in our mind that we are different from Chinese people. So, I think uh I
know uh Chinese student they have difficulties they cannot speak English so thats why
non-Chinese and Chinese students they cannot be mixed. I know but like uh schools
should do something that they can merge non-Chinese people with the Chinese people. So it
wont be good only for the non-Chinese students, it will be good for Chinese students as well.
They can uh they can speak English, we can speak Chinese.

So it will be good for both.

And then, there will be more harmony in school because like as you see no Chinese people
speak to non-Chinese student and no non-Chinese student speak to Chinese people. It seems
that we are living in a house but we are like, we dont know each other. So I think there
should be some collaboration.
I:

Okay how about you?


261

SA:

Well, I really totally agree with Y. Uh yes, honestly u gave some Chinese friends also
outside. Like when we play basketball, yea, uh so thats why sometimes he cant speak
English, having a hard time, so I sometimes communicate with him. Soyes, also in
school in school, hmmm I really totally agree with SB. Thats all.
R: Alright. So do you have any other things that you would like to share with me? Uh
about anything like your Chinese language learning, anything that you would like to share
mewith me?

SA:
I:
SA:

I want to change the teacher.


You want to?
Change the Chinese teacher.

I:

Chase?

SA:

Change!

I:

Change. Okay you want to change the teacher. So do you think changing teacher would help
you?

SA:

Uh... I really dont think get me and Y really not use to her thats why. And maybe she is
really not used to us also coz shes just like actually she likes doing her own job thats all.
Just keep on teaching us but some of us really want to ask questions, maybe shes like
ignoring us.

I:
SB:

Okay and
As I said before like uh like form two I got another teacher, form three other one, it
keeps it kept changing but if like if from uh from one to form five, I have one teacher,
the same teacher teaching me Chinese from form one to form five then it will be better
because I will be familiar with the teacher and the teacher will be familiar with me. He will
know my weak points so he will help me more. So I think the teachers shouldnt be changed.

I:

Okay. So anyway, uh maybe uh we can end the interview here for the time being. So if I
have any follow-up questions, I will approach you guys for clarification. Okay thank you.

Student C
I: Interviewer, SC: Student C
I:

Ah... so good morning. Today we have XXX ah XXX for the in-depth interview on the
27th of December 2009. So good morning XXX. So how are you?

SC:
I:

Fine.
So actually, the purpose of todays interview is just to ah follow up with your, ah... the test
that you have taken last time in your school. So actually a few questions Id like to ask you
and you may try your best to elaborate. So what do you think about the way you are
learning Chinese currently? (Pause) So what do you think about the Chinese language
learning?

262

SC:

The Chinese learning now is not hardits okay. Last year, we were learning more difficult
one, the Chinese which the local students are learning. We had a lot of difficulty in it. This
year is a bit better.

I:
SC:
I:

We are also Im also going to take the GSCE exam this year.

So ah what do you think? So you are taking the GCSE this year
Yes.
So before I ask you something about your GCSE can you describe how do you learn
Chinese in school? Like how is the teaching taking place?

SC:

Our school...our form have three different levels of Chinese. First one is a bit high standard;
they learn a bit good one. They learn a book called Chinese Made Easy, the book 3, 2 and 1.
Those who come from Pakistan they now learn book 1, which is the easiest. We learn
book 3, its still okay, not that hard.

I:

So you said there are three different ways. You just said high standard, is there medium
standard and low standard?

SC:
I:
SC:
I:
SC:

Yes
So is that being they just use only one textbook, Chinese Made Easy 3 2 1?
Yes.
So are there any students in your school, or you, learning with the Chinese students together?
We were last year. There were four students altogether. And then this year, we are learning
the easier one.

I:
SC:
I:
SC:

Okay. So ah, you said you are taking the GSCE. So are you confident in taking that exam?
Yes.
Why?
Because we are doing quite well in our class.

Our teacherour teacher also says that your

standard is a bit higher than the others, soshe thinks that we can do well.
I:
SC:

Apart from using the Chinese Made Easy, what other materials do you use?
Not much coz we are taking the GSCE exam, this year, Monday after school we have
some kind of class. The principal suggested us to attend it regularly.

I:
SC:
I:
SC:
I:
SC:
I:
SC:
I:

So who teach you?


Theres a Professor coming from Chinese Uno HKU.
HKU?
Yea
So do you find those extra lessons effective or useful?
Yes, it is.
Like how? What do you learn in that lesson?
He gives us some exercise so we can get a bit better marks in the GSCE.
So are you trying to say that exam focus? I mean that extra lesson focus on teaching GSCE
exam?

SC:
I:

Yes
How about how about other things other than GSCE?
263

SC:
I:
SC:
I:
SC:
I:

No.
No. So in lesson what do you learn? What are those things prepared you for?
Actually in school were just going to prepare for exam, nothing else.
Which exam?
Exam.
Ah no. Like Hong Kong U prepare you for GSCE. So how about your HK I mean, the
using of Chinese Made Easy materials, what exam are they preparing you that for?

SC:
I:

For the school exam.


So okay.

So actually I take a look at your exam paper. You did quite well in reading

comprehensions, both in question 1, 2, and 3. But when it comes to question 4, like what
difficulty did you have?
SC:
I:

It seems that every word is the same.


The sameWhat do you mean by the same?

SC:

I didnt understand much of it so

I:

Can you read the words in this text?

SC:
I:

Not much.
Not much. For for your composition, you also wrote a lot. So can you tell me how did you
manage to write so many words? Like...how?

SC:
I:
SC:

I recite some of these main words. This is not actually much.


So can you XXX, tell us, like the writing, how can you manage to write so many words?
Actually Im used to write this a lot last year. We used to have compositions of more than
400 words. So that was that was similar to local Chinese students. So 100 or 200 words is
okay for me.

I:

So in Chinese, you know like you have to memorize so many characters, how are you able to
memorize these and use it in your daily life?

SC:
I:
SC:
I:
SC:

If we practice and if you study primary in Hong Kong, it wouldnt be that hard.
So where did you study primary school?
I study in Li Cheng Uk. They also had some simpler Chinese. It was not that hard.
So now, another question. Do you have any specific difficulties in learning Chinese?
Yea I have. In writing, there are some kinds of compositions; I dont know what you call
them.

I:

You can tell me in Chinese, what you call them. (Pause) Like how about do you mean like
writing somethinglike different composition types? Like writing a complain letter? Writing
a story? Writing a debate? Speech?

SC:
I:
SC:
I:

... there are some kind of compositions which use the


Sing Yu (Proverbs)
Yea, the old Chinese words that we dont use now.
Maan yi man?

264

SC:

Maan yi man Yea, that one. I have difficulty in that. I cant understand those compositions
and I cant lower marks in that.

I:

So like here. You said youre taking GCSE and are you confident you will do well in
GCSE?

SC:
I:
SC:
I:

Inshallah. (With the blessing of GOD)


Inshallah. Okay, what grade will you get? You think?
A
A So now, what if you ah if I tell you, you are going to apply for an HKCEE Chinese
exam, are you confident?

SC:
I:
SC:
I:
SC:
I:
SC:

No.
Why not?
I tried doing it last year. I starttried studying it. Its really hard. I cant manage it.
Which aspect do you find it hard?
Every aspect.
Every aspect. Can you tell me some like be a little bit specific?
I cant do anything. Even the listening part., so confusing the writing part, the speaking
part, I have to speak fro about 3 or 4 minutes, which I can only do it for very less, so I cant
do it.

I:

Okay, so thank you very much.

Student D
I: Interviewer, SD: Student D
I:

So now with me is XXX, who is the elder brother of SC. He is now currently ah studying
in form 7 and who is about to take the HKAL exam. So ah XXX, a number of questions
that Id like to ask you as a person who has gone through the Chinese learning. So so you
have totry your best to recall as much as you could. So my first question for you is: Could
you describe your Chinese language learning process since your primary school?

SD:

Well ah the Chinese process Ive been through a lot its like when I started in XXX
primary school, basically we do waswe were given points of word that we just copy,
directly copying them and thats how we recite those basic words. But later on, when weas
we proceed to primary six, all I know was... was that my level was just Primary Three of
local students. Then after that, I go to the secondary school. And in secondary school, what I
need to write is form one level of those local Chinese schools because I was studying with
Chinese students and it was quite difficult because I didnt learn so deep Chinese
before, all I know was simple basic words. So I find it very difficult. Well, thats why I find it
very difficult because I didnt learn very complicated Chinese and my Chinese level was just
Primary Three when I completed primary school. And when I went to form one, I was... I I
wanted to learn Chinese, but it was Form One level of Chinese. And I was very weak in
265

writing and I keep on I spend so much of my other subject time just to study Chinese so
that I can improve it. And as it proceeded, I gradually improved a bit, but when I go to
form four, it was a new high level for me. And when it go for the CE exam, I was just I
couldnt ... even I spent so much time, I couldnt cope with it because I didnt have the
basics basic Chinese.
I:

So I I know that basically you have taken the GCSE and HKCEE exam. So, can you
tell me, if you dont mind, your performances in both exam?

SD:

For my GCEGCSE exam I got an A* there. For my GCE O-Level, I got a credit there. And
ah the reason for that was I didnt spend so much time on GCE, I spent more time on
HKCEE. And what I end up on HKCEE was I I got a level 4 in speaking paper, thats
the only paper I passed. And all the rest of the papers, I for most, I got unclassified.

I:
SD:
I:

So what grade did you get? What grade did you get overall?
Overall, I think it was a U.
So why is there such a big discrepancy, like such a big difference between your performance
in HKCEE, GCE and even GCSE?

SD:

The reason for that is, for GCSE, its just MC questions. And MC questions, even in my
internal exam I was very good in MC questions because ah I know I have a clear direction
is and the level of difficulty is just for GSCE is just like, simple daily life Chinese and
which Im living in Hong Kong, and Im using it in everyday life. Thats why no problem for
me. But for HKCEE Chinese, there you goyou go for philosophy of Chinese, history of
Chinese, and a lot of ahah deep understanding of Chinese culture you need. You know
Im noteven though I am born in Hong Kong, my culture is likethe people I live with are
my own people, theyre from Asian culture not from Chinese culture. And when it comes to,
especially when it comes to Confucius Confucius culture, Im very weak in it because I
dont get like basically, my brain dont get how does it work and no one really guide me.
All I know is one of the main principal is respecting their parents. Its just like in context; I
dont get it when they use adjectives to describe those stuff or even they talk about Buddhism
and somesome of articles they are like talking about Buddhism but if you know, Im a
Muslim so I dont know when they talk about Buddhism., what exactly are they talking
about. So I find it very difficult to cope it.

I:

Interesting. So now, what do you thinklike before I ask you that question, are you still
learning Chinese now? No, formally.

SD:
I:
SD:

Formally?
Yea.
In some time, I try to read my newspaper and so I wont forget the language. And in daily
live, everywhere is Chinese, I speak with my neighbors and sometimes watch Chinese drama
so Im still applying it.

266

I:

So ah what do you think about the present situation of the NCSS learning Chinese? Like
you have your younger brother as well, what do you think their present situation is? Whats
your view about that?

SD:

To say it honestly, its like all confusing. Its all confused. No one is giving us a one have a
clear direction whats going to be. While I was learning Chinese, to tell you the truth, the
main reason I was learning Chinese so that in the future when I go for a job, I can use
Chinese language, at least I can go into the government sector but ah there is no
complete like a clear framework for those NCSS students. We will be given onlyyou
will be given support, you will be given tutorials, you will be given teaching materials to
support you, but Im not seeing any results from that. So its basically confusing. And for
those who are learning Chinese, theyre English have gone weak. They are having learning
difficulties. In result, its like a total chaos. People are starting to loose self-esteem, loosing
confidence in learning Chinese, they end up giving up.

They end up giving up the Chinese

language; people are turning back to language such as French, which was use like a substitute
for Chinese. But I think its really disappointing to see this because they are living in Hong
Kong and they will use with the people.
I:

So... well, I understand your mixed emotions and feelings. I hope what Im doing now will
contribute something. So ah, do you have any tips, like what the NCSS should do to learn
Chinese effectively?

SD:
I:
SD:

You mean like the general?


General or specific. As
Yes sir. For me, what I think is they need a very good foundation of Chinese language. And
for foundation, its starts at an early age. It starts in Primary. Its not like its from secondary. I
understand its like to helping them a lot to understand but its just start from the beginning
level, like kindergarten level, I already think its the basic step for them to contact Chinese
and start learning it. As they learn English, they should learn Chinese as well. Andand
more assistance

I:
SD:

Carry on. Carry on.


And for more assistance, I mean like they need proper tutorial lessons and effective ones.
Like when I had, when I was going for my GCSE paper, I went for the tutorial lessons; they
were preparing me for my paper. What was happening was I was learning some stuff which I
already know. And the students we were seven students; all of our standards were a big
variance. Some of them were more able students because they study in different primary
schools and some were very weak students. And I think there should be a different level of
standard for different student. And for more able students, some are more able than others,
some are really more able that they are very good in Chinese language, they dont get a
chance some are weak in some papers and others are not because for what I see in my
school, they put a lot of focus on speaking paper. But then for speaking paper, I I think is
they are living in Hong Kong, their speaking is quite good. But when it comes to writing,
267

listening skills, reading skills, they are really weak in that, especially writing skills. The
school needs to put emphasis on writing skills and the writing skills; they need to teach the
proper methods of handling questions. Because you cant just give a question to them, and
okay go home and write 300 words for it or 600 words for it. And what they do what I do
when I went back home is find related articles and start writing it. Its just like copying,
copying, copying and Im not benefiting, its all just memorizing, okay when this topic
comes, ill have this much of sentence to write and when this topic comes ill have this
much this doesnt work. What we need is comprehensive teaching so we can apply texts
into different situations and I really think we need a lot of help on that.
I:

Okay very critical indeed. So what are your career expectations and what do you think is the
role of Chinese there?

SD:

For me, since you know I didnt do well in HKCEE Chinese, so its completely Im not
going for the Chinese sector. For mine, Im planning for a business administration and for my
future job, Im not going for a Chinese firm, Im going for an American or European firm or
Western firm because when I go to because I had an experience in Form 5, when I go for a
job interview, they look at my Chinese, they say okay you can speak Chinese but we need
someone who is in full set, we dont want someone half, who just knows speaking, we want
someone who can write. Because they can find Chinese in Hong Kong themselves, they can
speak English, they can speak Chinese. So I would rather go for somethingmy English
ability is better than Chinese so ill go for that field. Thats why Im going for the business
field in English.

I:

Okay thank you very much.

Student E
I: Interviewer, SE: Student E
I:

Okay, so today is the 27th December and Im conducting the interview with ah XXX for
the follow up of thesurvey and also the test. So, XXX, how are you?

SE:
I:

Im great. How are you?


Good. So actually I have a few follow-up questions that Id like to ask you. And so you
can try your best to answer. So actually, um I just wanted to know, like in your survey, I
can see you speak a number of languages. Like you have written down at least five: English,
Chinese, French, Punjabi and Mandarin. Can you just tell me like how do you manage these
different languages in your daily life?

SE:

First of all for English, English is our main language in school. And Chinese, its like were
living in Hong Kong, so we have to learn Chinese or else we cant communicate with the
people here. And for Punjabi, because we have to speak at home, we cant use other
language. And for French, its a second language for our school for since primary, so we
have to learn. And for Mandarin, we alsocoz I studied traditional Chinese for a while, so I
268

learned Mandarin then also. And then after that like I could still like catch up with it, I
could still understand it, yea.
I:

Okay. So ahthat sounds great! And ah I can see from the survey, like you use English all
the time. And I assume Punjabi you use it at home, right? So how about Chinese? Can you
tell me likedo you use your Chinese only in your Chinese lesson or you also use it beyond
your Chinese lesson?

SE:

I do use beyond Chinese lessons. I some of my friends are Chinese so I use that to
communicate with them. And coz my small brothers and sisters, they study in Chinese local
schools, so they are more familiar with Chinese than Punjabi. So, with them we also speak in
Chinese. And also, like my otherlike my dad, sometimes he will use Chinese to
communicate with us also.

I:

Alright okay. Thats why you have a good mastery of Chinese. So actually I have another
question is, like in the survey, you mentioned, like I asked the question, like what kind of
activity or advice from your teacher like which are useful for you. And you have written
down like, watch Chinese TV more; talk more in Chinese with your friends. Can you
please elaborate that a little bit?

SE:

Okay. If we watch Chinese, like TV programs, likeits going to like coz they use
Chinese fluently. They dontthey have subtitles and using that subtitles, we can understand
it. So we can know more words. Normally, we know how to communicate, but for more
words, if we watch more, they have different words so we can know more. And if we talk
more with our friends, well feel more comfortable coz they wont laugh at you so you can
keep on trying to improve it. So we will learn better Chinese.

I:

So basically, speaking and listening could improve in that way. So my question is, because in
the test, I could see you have actually written quite I mean, not judging the content, okay,
lets just not judge on the length and everything. But actually the length of your composition
is you have a good length as compared to other participants in the test. So can you tell
us like what do you think about your writing and reading ability in particular?

SE:

I think comparing with Non-Chinese, mine is good because I dont. I read English books
also but Im also keen on reading Chinese novels. And for newspaper, I read both Chinese
and English. But I prefer reading in Chinese coz I dont know why but because maybe
because I watch more Chinese programs and all. Like they have subtitles, from that I also
learn. And when I read more Chinese newspaper, they have like many varieties of words, so I
can understand better and from that I can improve my writing skills and reading skills.yea.

I:

So you said about the novels. So can you tell me what Chinese novel were you talking about?
Or you have been reading?

SE:
I:

Um mostly theyre love. And some of them arelike comics.


Comic?

269

SE:

Like comics and they are not novels obviously. But likefor novels, theyre many
different kinds of like some of them are love and some of them are about the history and
all.

I:
SE:
I:

Like siu sut (novels) you mean? Like ngo tsing sui sut (love novels)?
Yea
So how much do you understand when you read those do you understand the plot when
you read?

SE:
I:

I understand like 99% of the plot.


Okaythats very interesting. I think I should start reading these kinds of things to improve
my Chinese as well.

SE:
I:

It helps a lot.
Helps a lot, indeed. So ah like my question iswhat do you think about the way you are
learning Chinese currently in school? Can you please tell me how you are learning in school?
Like the syllabus that you have, the activities they do in the school. Can you elaborate on
that?

SE:

Yes sure. For us, like we have, for writing we have to do compositions once in a while, like
two to three in a month. Because likeourmy classmates, they cant really write properly.
Teachers need to like instruct them to write the compositions. She has to tell us in details
what we need to write. For example, for letters, she needs to tell us like how we should write
and forfor speaking, she will always tell us to communicate with each other and sometimes
she will tell us to do some kind of oral presentations so that we can do it better. And we have
a lot of dictation and tests, yea. And for our syllabus, I think coz I learned Chinese, so I
think its pretty easy. But comparing for others, its not that because theyre first of all,
they think that Chinese is very difficult coz for them, the English is more easier because they
watch English channels more. And um if they use more Chinese more often, itd be easier
for them.

I:
SE:

Its harder so the content of our Chinese lessons are a bit easy.

So are you suggesting that ah you are not having enough in the school?
Actually I think Im the only one particular student who will think that its quite easy
because... actually in primary, I studied traditional Chinese so my level is a bit higher, I
agree. A bit boring sometimes, but for others, its pretty good sometimes.

I:

Wow. So, ah Im sure there are some difficulties you should be encountering when you
learn Chinese, is there any?

SE:
I:

For the standard Im learning, I dont think I have any difficulties.


Okay, wow. I like the way you put it. How aboutlets put it in this way, comparing to the
main stream, what do you think? Like if you have to compare with a main stream Chinese,
what do you think the difference is between your performance and their performance?

SE:

Comparing with the mainthe people who take Chinese as the main language, I think Im
not good enough, obviously. Coz mine, Chinese is a second-language so only in them, Im
good enough. But for the others, I think I wont be good.
270

I:
SE:

In what aspects?
Like for Chinese, they have many different ways.

They have idioms, like for writing skills;

they have so many words of writing


I:
SE:

Proverbs, expressions
Yeathey have many different kinds of I only know the very basic ones so comparing
with the local Chinese students, I think Im maybe will fail.

I:
SE:

How about reading? Reading?


Reading? I think Im quite good comparing to local Chinese even, I think I can read like
most of the words.

I:
SE:
I:
SE:
I:
SE:
I:
SE:
I:
SE:
I:

Can you read ah historical texts?


Yes I can read.
Like in the test, there was this passage. Did you understand the passage?
I understand but the questions they asked was pretty much not what weve been through.
So basically, when I the passage you were able to read?
Yea. I can read
But did you understand the text?
I understand like 60% of it.
But when it comes to the question type, you were not familiar?
No not at all.
So... ah... can I assume that or can I say that youve like when it comes to listening,
speaking, you wouldnt have much problem

SE:
I:

Yea.
But when it comes to reading, you are given a text, you are still able to understand but for
writing, you have some reservation when you have to write a text with different skills like
proverbs, idioms, you will have some difficulties?

SE:
I:
SE:
I:
SE:
I:
SE:
I:
SE:
I:
SE:
I:
SE:
I:

Yea.
So which exam are you going to take? Or have you taken any public exams already?
No, Im going to take GCSE.
GCSE?
Yea
So what level are you expecting?
Im expecting myself to get a 5*. Like
A
Yea A*.
How about are you going to take any other exams?
For?
For your Chinese. LikeGCE O-Level
No
Or HKCEE?
271

SE:

No. Not HKCEE coz, first of all, many local Chinese cant stand doing that, they cant pass
so I dont think I can pass.

I:
SE:

Why not?
Coz Im learning the basic ones and coz Ive some friends for taking traditional Chinese
and what they learn is very difficult and I dont think I can manage

I:
SE:
I:

Are they good? Are they doing very well?


No. I know many of them but none of them is doing well. Its the hardest subject I think.
What are they what is their problem main problem? As a friend, like you know what
problems are they facing?

SE:
I:
SE:

For learning Chinese?


Yea
Um I think maybe the communication. Because they are Pakistanis, so maybe there are
some kind of communication problem between the teachers and classmates so they cannot
learn properly.

I:
SE:

How about writing?


I think they can write very good but I think the main problem theyve got is the reading
comprehensions, like the one we did. Yeathey have like historical ones so I think its pretty
hard for them.

I:

So finally, what is your future expectation? I saw that you want to be a doctor, is that plan
still.

SE:
I:
SE:
I:

Yea
Or are you planning to change your plan?
No.
No? So do you think what youre learningthe Chinesethat really affect your future if you
just take GCSE? Do you think you should upgrade to a higher level in order to be a doctor or
good for your future? What do you have in this regard?

SE:

First of all, for our university requirements, there wereit was like we have to pass
HKCEEs Chinese. But now there is a new law, considering GSCE, if we pass like getting a
C, I think like you can get in. I think for this Chinese, its quiet easy. I dont think for
doctor they have many different difficult, complicated words and I think this Chinese is
not good enough. We need to have a betterso we can first of all, if we want to be in
Hong Kong, we need to know Chinese because majority they are Chinese people, not all of
them can speak in English, we need to know Chinese. And the one we are learning is just for
communication, only enough for communication. But if we want to be something like doctor,
a lawyer, a police, then we need know more so that we can do more than just communication.

I:

Thank you very much. And I think ah what you have shared is quite enlightening. So thank
you very much XXX, thank you.

272

Student F
I: Interviewer, SF: Student F
I:

So...ah good evening. This is Riz. Today is the 19th of January and Im having an interview
with XXX and her parents in Tung Chung. And the time now is seven seven p.m. So
XXX, how are you?

SF:
I:

Im good.
So ah actually I have some questions that I would like to ask you about your interview and
also the test results that I have ahcollected from your datayour previous data collection.
So actually can you tell me what do you think about the way you are learning Chinese in the
school currently?

SF:

Um I think its okay. Like ah we got to do a lot of exercise and everything. So its pretty
good but yea

I:

So can you tell me what do you mean by doing a lot of exercise? Like ah what kind of
exercises do you do in the lesson?

SF:

Um we have a lot of like um oral exercises where we have to communicate with each
other, like us, you know students. And um like the teacher gives us a lot ofwhat do you
call this? Umlistening exercises especially when you know she gets the stuff and you
know listening is pretty hard so she does a lot of listening exercise with us. And umyea
mostly.

I:

So you said just now you have classmates. Who are those classmates? Are they also
non-Chinese speaking students or Chinese speaking students?

SF:

Umsince we have likein our school since we have like subjects for traditional Chinese
and PSL, the Chinese students are mostly in the traditional Chinese section. And us
non-Chinese students, we are in PSL. So most of us are non-Chinese.

I:

So ahcan you tell me like ah what kinds of activities, during school, like in your Chinese
lesson you find it the most useful and you are benefiting from it? Can you name any?

SF:

Um probably the oraloral exercises coz I mean, reading, its so hard for me, I dont know
why, just really hard for to likeyou knowlike understand all those really hard characters
and stuff. Especially for writing and reading.

But then for oral, its pretty easy coz we just

have to like talk and communicate soyea.


I:

So ah like you said reading is difficult for you.

So what difficulties do you face when

you are reading the Chinese characters?


SF:

I dont really know coz Ive been studying Chinese since Primary One but I dont know
whyI just cant get it. Readingits just so hard I dont know why.

I:

So how about your writing? How is your writing? What do you think about your writing
ability in Chinese?

SF:
I:
SF:

Its kind of better than reading and


Why do you think so its better?
I dont knowI dont know coz I guess memorizingyou know the Chinese characters
273

its much easier than I dont knowreadingwhatever that is there in that thing. So yea I
guess thats why its easier.
I:

So actually can you explain one thing? Im curious to know.

Like when you see something

you know how to write, memorize you know something how to write, but when those words
appear in a passage, are you able to remember those words that you are able to write?
SF:
I:

No.
No? Okay. Try to recall April. Do you have any specific difficulties in learning Chinese? So
if yes, what is it?

SF:

Um as I said before, its just the reading. Basically, its just really hard for me yea thats
probably like the only thing, I guess.

I:
SF:
I:

So if you dont mind, can we talk about your examtest that we have done?
Sure.
Okay. Come on its okay. Like ah lets refresh our memory. Like ah Ive given you some
reading comprehension questions. Like the first one was in Chinese writing and the questions
were in English. So basically, if you look at the passage. Can you tell me why it was like
that?

SF:
I:
SF:

I dont know oh my gosh!


Like it was empty.
Wow. I dont know Im really not good at it. I dont know I just cant I dont know
oh my gosh.

I:

And how about ah like in the second passage, you were able to write something, so that
was good. But how about when it comes to giving you a Chinese passage with Chinese
questions? Why you were not able to write anything there?

SF:

II I told you, I dont know how to read. I dont know how to read like Chinese is so
hard!

I:
SF:
I:
SF:
I:
SF:
I:

Okay. So how about the writing? Why is it blank?


Oh my gosh!
Okay so why is it blank?
I dont know wow! I have no idea! Its blank!
Yea.
Its okay
So actually it doesnt matter. I know you will work hard for your exams. So ah basically
which exam are you going to take in the coming few months?

SF:
I:
SF:
I:
SF:
I:

What do you mean the subjects or.


The Chinese examwhich Chinese exam?
Oh the GSCE.
So are you confident?
Not really.
Why not? Can you give me some reasons?
274

SF:

Um I dont know. Okay...like... Recently we just had this unified test and we had like I
studied! So hard for Chinese but then I still failed in reading and writing and listening! I just
passed Oral!

I:
SF:

How was your oral performance?


I got um it was good. It was pretty easyI dont know it was pretty easy. But for reading,
writing and listening, it was just uh, it was horrible!

I:

Okay, doesnt matter. I think you just ah carry on. Do you still have the motivation to learn
Chinese, even after you finish form five, would you still continue to learn Chinese?

SF:

UmId like to say yes because you know Chinese is really important especially since um
I was born here and everything but then, its pretty hard. Honestly, I dont know, if I could
really like you know carry on coz its really hard. So probably no.

I:

So ah what do you like... if you speak with the government now. What would you tell them
to make you learn Chinese better? What would you want them to do?

SF:
I:

I dont know. I have no idea.


Like what should they doto make you learn better? Like in schoolin exams?
A: Um I thinkI thinkthey have done a lot for us already. I think its just you know
mostly like what do you call this? Like I think its probably us whose supposed to be
you know do a lot of stuff. I mean if we like dont um try our best, theres nothing
they can really do like if we dont have inspiration to learn Chinese then the government
cant really do anything about it, right?

SF:

But are you inspired?

I:

No.

SF:

No?

I:

Okay, thank you very much.

Parent A (Translated from Urdu to English)


I: Interviewer, PA: Parent A
I:

So today is 27th December. And we are going to interview SC and SDs dad on his
perspective on his children leaning Chinese. The interview will be conducted in Urdu. So we
should start now.

PA:
I:
PA:
I:
PA:
I:

Good afternoon.
Good afternoon. How are you?
Im very well, thank you.
So I have a few questions to ask you. Should we start the interview now?
Yes sure.
So my first question is. What hopes do you have about your childs education?

275

PA:

We always have high expectations. Every parent has the same hope that their children can
obtain good education. But in this process, there are some difficulties that every one faces. As
we precede the interview, ill tell you what problems we are facing in the process.

I:

Your children that are currently studying Chinese in school, what do you think about their
Chinese learning education?

PA:

When I first enrolled my children in Primary One schools, there were a lot of choices for us.
During that time, we were told to enroll our children in international schools and language
schools and Chinese is not important to learn. We were told only basic Chinese was required
in which our children was already fluent, but however, it has become a problem now.
Wherever we go now, we are told that our Chinese is very weak.

For example, whenever

we plant a tree, we are desperate to wait till it bears fruits. Similarly, we are facing the
problem. Wherever we go nowadays, people expect us to have a good knowledge and ability
for the Chinese language. When my children do not have the good ability of Chinese, how do
we respond to those requests?
I:

As you mentioned about deep learning difficulties your children face, what is your
comments in this perspective? And in schools now, children who learn Chinese like your
sons, SC and SD, do you have any further comments?

PA:

Obviously we want the Government to make this Chinese learning for NCSS students and
easier path so that they can reach further in the future. So that they can find a good job and to
have a better future. Nowadays, this is the hot topic discussed in home among children and
with teachers in schools about why our children cannot go further in lives? Whatever has
happened in the past, we couldnt change. But I still have to admit, whatever changes that
were not made for our children in the past, the changes has to be made now. Children should
now have good resources and support from the society so that they can have a better future
and go further in lives. Changes should be made now so that when they go further in lives,
they wont face any difficulties regarding their abilities of the Chinese language. Chinese is a
difficult language and it definitely isnt easy to learn it.

I:

Your two sons are in similar cases, SD who is now in Form 7 and SC, in form 4. Do you
think SC can easily pick up the Chinese he is now learning in school?

PA:

We are trying our best. I have talk to his school about it. And you as well are here to help us
so Im glad that you are bringing this issue to the society and government about the NCSS
learning Chinese. I hope that the Chinese language become easier for our children to learn
and people in the society and everywhere in Hong Kong can treat us equally, although it
seems impossible.

I:

If you were the government or worked in the Education Bureau, what would you do
regarding the NCSS learning the Chinese Language in Hong Kong?

PA:

I am not very educated so I cant give very good advice but every educated person hopes that
every individual is treated equally. Every time people have told us that our children are fluent
in English and people thinks its our mother tongue. But you know that English is not our
276

mother tongue, but we are still trying my best to treat every one equally and give them
opportunities to have good jobs and fulfill their basic requirements in lives.
I:

Is there anything that you would want to share with me regarding the NCSS learning
Chinese? Or anything else that you would want to share?

PA:

There is something that I have wanted to share and have tried to voice out my opinion but
there are some things where there are no listeners to hear my opinions and here in Hong
Kong, time is always important. And every time, every individual is busy in their own lives
to listen to others. But whatever you think about my thoughts, I would still want to share it
with you all. The people who have always been living in Hong Kong with their children
studying here, when they are in F2-4, the teachers try to show parents and students their
future path. And I have asked some of my Chinese friends. For example, if we put someone
in the dark, if they are able to find a way out of the dark they will achieve great in life but for
those who are unable to find a way out will always in the dark.. Similarly, an individual
cannot find the right path even with their own strengths. Here in Hong Kong, teachers have
worked very hard in life to become what they are today. Another example, if there is a man
who is destined to be an engineer but if we tell him to be a tailor, and those who are destined
to become a tailor we tell them to become a doctor. Thus, he neither becomes a doctor nor a
tailor. We all have heard the world saying, here in HK as well that the Pakistan education
system is weak, but still it is important to let the children know what they can become in the
future. Europe is very famous for its education system, Europe sends its education system
worldwide, and every man tries to send his children to European universities to obtain
education.

One of the most important reasons is that the time when children begin their

education they have received good education. Parents know less whereas teachers know
more because teachers are more educated. It is not important that all parents are
well-educated and show their children their future paths and what they are capable of being
in life. If a child does not have the ability in a specific field, he will never be successful in it.
If a child is not capable enough, all teachers answer the same way, they tell them to think
about their lives themselves but they are not so wise and experience and mature enough to
think about it. It is a teachers job to give advices to them. Please repeat this question to tell
them to your friends and teachers. Please look into this question and find the answers to these
questions.

277

Parent B (Translated from Urdu to English)


I: Interviewer, PB: Parent B
I:

So today is 27th December, and Im having an interview with SEs father about his
perspective in his childrens Chinese language learning. And the interview will be conducted
in Urdu. So, I think I should start now. Should we start the interview?

PB:
I:
PB:

Yes, sure.
What expectations do you have on your children regarding their education?
Education wise, I have this expectation that they become good citizens of Hong Kong. When
I came to Hong Kong in 1980s, I didnt know anything about Chinese language neither
about the situation of the city. When I had children, so I thought whatever I didnt
accomplish, I hope my children will accomplish it. My children under education now, my
sons and daughter, one is in f6 and one in f5, I hope their future is bright. I hope my daughter
continues her education in the medical field. And my son as well hopes the same. I really
hope their future is good and they become good citizens of the city.

I:
PB:

What do you think about the importance of teaching Chinese?


I have been living in HK for 30 years, so now HK can be regarded as our own country. When
I admitted my children to schools, it was my wish that they must learn their Chinese well.
When my children talk with each other in Cantonese or when they read and watch the news, I
always feel that whatever I wished for, my children are making my wish come true.

I:

Your children who are currently learning Chinese, what do you think about their Chinese
learning ability?

PB:

When my children are at home talking among themselves or with their younger siblings in
Cantonese and they speak with us in Punjabi or our mother tongue Kashmiri, but I like when
they communicate in Cantonese among themselves. Looking at this, I regard my family as
Chinese.

I:

Do you know the Government and the Hong Kong citizens are giving a lot of ideas regarding
the Chinese learning of our children? A lot of discussion is going on. Do you have any idea
about it?

PB:
I:

Do you mean the future?


No currently, when the people think the government is not providing posts to the citizen or
the NGO is saying that the government will decrease the usage and teaching of Chinese, do
you know anything about it?

PB:
I:

Well, Im not very educated


No, its okay. Do you have any suggestions or advice regarding our childrens Chinese
learning?

PB:

Like the childrens parents, themselves who face difficulties, like my own experience, when I
admitted my children to school, the Chinese teachers cannot explain to us how to improve
278

our childrens Chinese learning ability because we, ourselves do not understand. For us
foreigners, it is a must for us to learn Chinese. Ill give you my point of view: I regard
Chinese as a foreign language. When we visit schools, the teachers cannot explain to us and I
cannot speak Cantonese. So the government should launch such programs where parents visit
schools and call parents to tell them more about the language. This way, it will arouse the
parents interest in the language. So that they will encourage their children their children to
learn Chinese.
I:

Do you believe in your children that they will be able to learn Chinese like the locals and use
it?

PB:

Yes of course. When I speak to them sometimes, I have hopes that they would be like the
locals. And when they enter the government field, they wont feel like they are foreigners but
instead their colleagues would treat them like they are locals.

I:

Thank you very much for your interview.

Parent C
I: Interviewer, PC: Parent C
I:

And now ah today is ah19th of January. Now, Im having the interview with SFs dadon
the issue of Chinese language learning in Hong Kong. So, how should I address you sir?

PC:
I:
PC:
I:

...Mr XXX is fine.


Mr. XXX, so are you ready for the interview?
Yes I am.
So you can just try your best to answer the questions and express your point of view. Since I
knew from April you are a pastor, I think you have a lot of you know ah... a lot of
understanding or perhaps maybe while you talk with different people these kind of issues
about educational problems you might have came across vividly in your day to day
ahcommunication.

PC:
I:

Absolutely.
Ok now so actually, my first question is: so what are your aspirations for your childs career
and education in Hong Kong?

PC:

Yea umthats a very interesting question. What I would really like for her to accomplish is
that one day she would become a businesswomen and my aspiration you mean in Hong Kong?

I:
PC:

For SF.
For SFwell, I was tryingI was always trying to tell her that she has to really you known
learn Chinese dialect or language because obviously, she was born in Hong Kong and at the
same time, business is really important. Especially, among the Chinese speaking people. So I
would love her to really learn this so that, not only to be competitive but to be also able to
communicate more. Andyou know, mingle with other people, and are open and learn more
from other people.
279

R: Okay. So what do you think about the importance of Chinese language learning in Hong
Kong?
K: AhI think the importance of learning the Chinese language in Hong Kong, especially for
ah students who were born in Hong Kong; I think its extremely important for them to learn
Chinese. I, myself, being a non-Chinese, Im very interested in learning this dialect for me to
be able to really touch other peoples life and communicate with them.
I:

So actually, what are your expectations on Aprils Chinese language learning? Likewhat
would youwhat would be your target like how competitive should she be? So, what are
your expectations?

PC:

Umyea, thats another good question. AhIm expecting especially fro April, to be really
able to relate to the Chinese speaking people. And communicate with them. Since I myself
being a non-Chinese speaking person here in Hong Kong, that lives here for quite some time, I
would love for het to be able to love me in talking to a lot of Chinese people coz I do have
problems in communication with them.

I:
PC:
I:
PC:
I:
PC:

You mean the church or.


The local people in Hong Kong.
Right. In daily life or
In daily life

Because I live here in Tung Chung and their surrounded by a lot of Chinese. So Im always
stressing to her even to my eldest daughter, for them to really learn this dialect, Chinese
dialect.

I:

So, what is your comment on Aprils current Chinese competence?

What is your comment or

how much do you know see her ability right now?


PC:

I could I could not easily gauge the standard of my daughters Chinese dialect. But
umIm optimistic thatah, she will develop it more. I mean have to get more interested in
this language. As far as her school is concerned, ahI was not disappointed whatsoever. I
know that learning is a process.

I:

Ok. I believe learning is a process, indeed. Actually, do you know like, actually like what the
government has been doing on the issue of like the non-Chinese speaking students learning the
Chinese in Hong Kong? Do you have any idea?

PC:

Right now, I was not aware of anyahwords by the government ah, I do not know
because I was busy, you know, concentrating on my vacation. But I understand that they are
doing their best to be able to help the non-Chinese speaking people, in order to really mingle
or relate to the local people.

I:

So like you yourself, has gone through the process of learning, ahlike in your early life, I
mean as a teenager and also before you get into the society, you have also gone through the
education process. From that perspective, what suggestions do you have for the Hong Kong
Government or schools? Like to support the non-Chinese speaking students to learn the
280

Chinese Language much more effectively?


PC:

Um... because my perspective in schooling is very different from the approach of the HK
Government, I only notice that um the assignments here are too much and ah a lot of time,
ah my girls, my daughters are always spending their time with their homework and less
exposure to other things. Like communicating with others, ahlocal people here in HK. I
dont have any idea what I can give to the government, as far as how to enhance and develop
the abilities of the non-Chinese speaking people. Except that, Im very concerned about the
assignments.

I:

Okay, do you have anything that you would like to share with us? As a parent, having children,
non-Chinese speaking students in Hong Kong, what our children need most in the current
education system, given the fact that the environment we have in Hong Kong?

PC:

I think it would be really good if the students really understood the importance of learning the
dialect because one of the days, the students are going to grow up and be part of our society.
So a motivation would really help, explaining to them, how extremely important it is to learn
the Chinese dialect because when they grow up, whether they like it or not, when they are
studying in Hong Kong, they have to learn the dialect. Motivation is uh I dont know what
kind of motivation could be given, but at least, there would be some sorts of ahclarifying the
importance or the extreme importance of Chinese dialect to the students. Especially, at their
age.

I:

So, have you come across ah any cases in your duties in your church, like some Filipino
parent or students come to you and tell you about the Chinese Language issue? Have you ever
come across these kinds of things in your discussion or in day-to-day contact with the church
mates?

PC:
I:

No I do not have any issues that you mentioned.


Uh okay. Anyway, thank you very much.

Teacher A
I: Interviewer, TA: Teacher A
I:

Alright. Okay, so today is the 31st March and Im here in ah XX with TA, the Chinese
teacher. So ah today I have a few questions that Id like to ask TA for the interview. So are
you ready for the interview TA?

TA:
I:
TA:
I:

. Yes, sure.
So later you need to holdbecause its
Ahokay.
So basically after observing the two lessons, of like one Form Four class and one Form
One class. So I wanted to knowwhat are your pedagogical beliefs of teaching NCSS
Chinese?

TA:

Okay. So actually I think ahteaching NCSS students Chinese is not an easy task as I think
281

Chinese is a quite difficult language to learn, especially fro the writing, the characters are
complicated. So first I think I believe that it shouldincrease the interest in learning. If
they have interest they will learn, if they dont have interest, I dont think they will listen to
me. So the first important thing is to raise their interest. And second is to make them
understand the importance of leaning Chinese as they are living in Hong Kong. Um... to
make the lesson interesting, relate it to their daily lives, then they would feel it is actually
more useful to learn, something that would make them use in their daily lives outside in the
community in Hong Kong. Hmm yea thats all.
I:

So ah what do you think about the importance of Chinese Language learning for NCCS in
Hong Kong in particular, like apart from they are living in Hong Kong? So like as a teacher,
so what is the importance for the NCSS to learn Chinese?

TA:

So what is your view on that?

Ah actually because they are living in Hong Kong, so I think it is important for them to learn
as if they want to find a job especially, they need to learn Chinese. But actually I believe that
the Government understand the case of Non-Chinese students also as they make some
amendments on their employment policy. Like I think around two years ago, they admit
students taking GCSE as Chinese to enter the university as the requirement of one language
subject. Okay so I think it is important for them to If they would like if they are going to
study in Hong Kong to further their studies and also to get a job in Hong Kong. If they dont
know Chinese, I dont think they can find any jobs.

I:

Uh so what do you think, at what level should they be able to master their Chinese? Like at
what levellike you say they need to stay in Hong Kong and work in Hong Kong, at what
level do you think they should have the language competence of Chinese?

TA:

So I think at first, they should be able to speak and listen to Chinese that is the first stage as
they need to communicate with others. For writing and reading, I think it is another advanced
level for them as writing and reading is not easy but I think they would need it if they want a
job in a better prospect or a better job like, working in the government, they would need them
not only know how to speak and understand but they would need to know how to read and
write also.

I:

So ah like now, going back to some technical question. So what are the teaching
approaches or teaching pedagogies used in the school? Like what kind of approaches do you
guys use in the school in teaching?

TA:

So actually, in teaching Chinese, we meet a school-based curriculum for those NCS students.
Its called Chinese as a Second Language, so we just call it CSL in school. Because we
dont think they can catch up with the traditional curriculum so thats why we make a school
based curriculum for them and based on that we start from zero everything. We just treat
them as they have not learned Chinese before, so everything starts from the very basic one
when they were in Form One. Hmm, and especially we want them to be involved in the
lesson. If you look a look at out textbook design, those characters used in the book are used
their names, like the most common names, Ali, Aman, just like their country just like their
282

country name. And also we would start from the closer circle with them, just like school
first, and then family and then further to the community. So start from the very basic and
closest one with them.
I:

So just now like you said, everything start from zero, but like many of these Non-Chinese
speaking students are from the designated Primary schools, like Li Cheng Uk, Sir Ellis
Kadoorie, Delia, like those major schools but they have learned Chinese there already. Like I
guess for at least five or six years, so how about with those students, do they also start from
zero or are there any other policies?

TA:

So I think when we first start with our CSL curriculum, it was six years old, those students
who come from primary schools around six years ago where not very good at Chinese and it
is not common to teach Chinese at that time. But I think in this few years time, we find that
the primary school they all built up a very good and systematic Chinese curriculum for them.
So we also set up a new curriculum between traditional Chinese and CSL. And we call it
Immersion Chinese. So this is a very new we just start it last year.

I:
TA:

Okay so you tell me what this immersion thingis


Okay. So this Immersion Chinese is for those students who have certain level already when
they complete their primary education. We suppose them to have liked primary one level
when they come to our school and then we would try to put them in the Immersion Chinese
One. Actually when they do when they finish their attainment test, we would know their
level. And then if they are capable, we would put them in the Immersion Chinese. So for
Immersion Chinese, it is like primary school level in Chinese

I:
TA:

Primary level
Primary level, yea. But you see in CSL, everything starts from the beginning, it is not
primary.

I:

Yea. Since Hong Kong is exam-oriented, so like correct me if Im wrong, so basically, you
are separating students into three main streams: traditional, immersion and CSL.

TA:
I:
TA:

Yes.
So what exams are these different students geared towards to?
So for Traditional Chinese, of course they would take the HKCSE in the future, that means
the before HKCEE the old one. And for Immersion Chinese students, we would it depends.
If they, like if they are in form 2 or 3, if we find that actually they can go if they are
capable enough, we would put them in the Traditional Chinese. Just see whether we can help
them or not in these few years, if they can catch up, we try to push them back to the
Traditional Chinese. But actually, they are going to take the GCSE, same as the CSL1. So for
Immersion Chinese, we just see whether there is a chance for us to push them to the
Traditional Chinese, when they are in junior forms.

I:
TA:
I:

How about GCE?


GCE ah we havent thought about it yet but our principal want us to do.
So ah... the immersion thing is going on with which class now? Is that Form One?
283

TA:

EhForm One we have 1E, one class with Immersion Chinese and also, just now you see
1A and 1B, actually we combine 1A and 1B and then split into three groups. So group 1 in
1A&1B is also Immersion Chinese.

I:
TA:
I:
TA:
I:

So
Around 50 students
So do you think later I can have some materials to take a look at? Suppose lets say
Yes sure.
If Im a Form One student, what is traditional? What is Immersion? What is CSL? Just
some materials to see

TA:
I:

Yea sure.
So time is limited, ill go a bit quick. Uh so one important thing is when we look at the
central curriculum framework, they talk about the nine strands in learning, and one of it is the
Chinese culture, so what we call it in linguistic is the cultural allusions, maan fa err I dont
know in Chinese, those cultural allusions, and also how are these learners exposed to these
different text types. So how is that integrated in the curriculum in the school?

TA:

So actually for CSL, we dont put much cultural issue in it but maybe when it is some
festivals come, our teacher would arrange some activities for them, like to know more about
the Chinese culture

I:
TA:
I:
TA:

More more sort of enjoyment and


Yes
Simple things
Yes. Because we think that fro CSL, it is too difficult for them to learn culture yet because
they dont have any knowledge about the language.

I:
TA:

How about immersion?


Immersion we try to put some elements of cultural issues but Im not the one who is
in-charge of immersion, Miss XXX, the one who sits behind me, she is. Maybe she can
answer some more questions about it.

I:
TA:

Okay, alright.
We will put some more we notice that in Immersion Chinese, we aimed at putting cultural
issues in it because those students are more capable.

I:
TA:
I:

So traditional is as regular
Yea yes regular
So ahno tell me frankly about this one. What do you think about the support you receive
from the tertiary institutions in Hong Kong? As teachers, what do you think of the support
given to you guys?

TA:

So honestly speaking, I think these few years are better. When we start to build up our
curriculum, there was no support at all. Theres nothing. We just like work in a group,
everything work by ourselves. Ok so there is no support Uh, theres one, Advisor from the
XXX, Mr. XXX invite them but what they support us is like maybe giving comments after
284

writing the textbooks, and they would give some comments on how to amend it, make it
better. But if you say real support, I dont find any real support. And even though, you will
have meetingSo for like just now the XXX University comes to have meetings regularly
with us, I think its kind of a burden to us.
I:
TA:

So you dont see as a professional development?


Its kind of. But actually what they want is they want our stuff more than they provide
us, personally speaking. They just have meetings like teachers all the time have meetings,
sometimes you would feel the meeting is meaningless or bored, and its too frequent. But
actually they refused because we sort of from all teachers in the school last year, we meet
like once a week? Or no

I:
TA:

Bi-weekly?
Uh yeah bi-weekly. Bi-weekly last year. But this year they knew it, because we discussed
with the teachers, because actually Im the panel chair and then I talk to Mr. XXX that its
quite a burden to all teachers so they reduced it to once a month this year. And it will be
better.

I:

So going back to the students, like uh what do you guys do? To make them learn beyond
the lesson time the Chinese. Like I saw the homework, just now in the lesson, like watch a
Cantonese movie, but like what other things are done to encourage the non-Chinese speaking
students to learn Chinese beyond the classroom time? What is done?

TA:

So beyond the classroom time actually what teachers always do is to talk to them in Chinese.
We dontwe justyou know they reply back in English but we just try to speak in
Chinese with them and make sure that they listen more and they will understand.

I:
TA:

How about activities? Do you have activities?


Activities we have one Chinese Chinese and Culture ECA but I dont think many
students join.

I:
TA:
I:

Low response? Low


Yea, low.
Because they use ah English all the time and Chinese is just only 10-15% in their
lifetimethat explains.

TA:
I:

Yea even they dont get used to.


So ah like just now, going back to one question. Like ah you have an attainment test to
screen the difference when the students come into the school for Form One here. And then
you put them into CSL, Immersion or Traditional mode, one of these modes. Or is there
anything else you do as well?

TA:
I:
TA:

You mean in other subjects or Chinese only?


In Chinese only.
No we just do the attainment test and then we stream. Actually after examination, like
first term exam, we re-stream them again but it is not a big change because we dont want
students to adapt to another teachers teaching style, we just stream maybe one, make a very
285

little change maybe only one or two students to be promoted if they be good in exam or if we
find that, actually they are not very capable we will downgrade them maybe to the next
group.
I:
TA:
I:
TA:
I:
TA:
I:

So ah what is the attainment test? Is it a school based-test or a government instrument?


School-based one.
So what is in the attainment test? Reading?
Yea everything. Four papers.
Four papers?
Ah no speaking, only listening, reading and writing. Theres no speaking.
So like apart from like students, their exams, they know their ability. So how they are
standing, so what other things are done to inform the students about their language ability?

TA:

For Chinese, I think they mostly know their ability in exam and during lesson because they
would know that actually they understand the teacher or not, you mean, they themselves they
know

I:
TA:
I:

Yea.
I think during the lesson time when they learn they will know.
So like for example like, I dont know if youd agree with this ahlike the way I think. So
suppose if Im taking CSL, I know already, Im going to take GCSE, so my assessment,
everything is like the way the curriculum design is around, and from time to time, the
students would know if today if I take GCSE, I will get this. They have this clear concept

TA:

I think for the lower form students they dont have this concept yet. As it is like far away
form them, from what we design, even the examination paper, we just follow this GSCE
exam.

I:

So honestly speaking, GCSE I can manage it. Even if I didnt study Chinese in my entire life.
Even I studied in Hong Kong, I studied French. So some of these students, did you allow
them to take GCSE earlier?

TA:

We planned actually like, this year Form Fours, the class that you just visited, and the new
education system, we are going to set that in Form Five.

I:
TA:

Okay.
So theres one more year for them to try, if they failed in form five, they still have one more
try in form six. But if they pass, we would like to encourage those better students to try
IGCSE or GCE in their form six.

I:

So now this is the next question is a very humble and frank question. What difficulties
have you encountered teaching the NCSS students, like from what you told me, you are an
experienced teacher, the way you have told me the way and the manner you have told me.
So Im sure you have overcome a lot of obstacles and difficulties in your career span, so what
are the major difficulties you have faced when teaching these lovely kids?

TA:

You know Chinese characters are very complicated. And it is very hard to raise the interest or
motivate them to write. Some of them, they speak very well Chinese; they can communicate
286

with no problem. But once we come to writing, actually, they would just like set a wall in
front of them. Okay to block everything. Miss, I dont know! Miss, its very difficult!
or Miss, I dont want to learn! So, I think teaching the writing part it the most important
task for me even I think until now.
I:

So ah what do you think about the current issue of NCSS learning Chinese? Like the
government says the central Chinese curriculum is very flexible and very robust. These
NCSS, they dont need a second-language curriculum. What is your view about this?

TA:

So actually, I dont think it is so-called flexible but I dont find it is flexible in what they
have set up. Like GCSE, right now in Hong Kong, they just recognize the examination of
their own... the local HK one, HKCSE and the GCSE. But actually, if you know, GCSE is
quite easy. If they can speak, if they knowif theyre good and listening and speaking, they
can actually at least get a grade C, even though they dont know how to read and write. So I
think there should be one new, it should be new assessment for them to assess these students.
I dont think they can catch up with this local system and GCSE is too easy for them. So that
means they arein between there should be some assessment to assess them.

I:
TA:
I:

Like now youre taking about assessment. How about talking about curriculum?
Curriculum?
Because they say theyre a central curriculum framework. Okay assessment is a tool for us to
know how they have learned but like the learning, the framework. The government says its
very flexible. What do you think about this? Like you said, its not flexible. What do you
think? Like do you guys really refer to the curriculum guide when you guys are designing
your materials?

TA:

No. But actually I think assessment is not flexible but as you say curriculum, I think its okay
because were sorry that we dont really follow them because I think we are we are early,
we set up the curriculum earlier than they put their focus on NCS. I think we walked earlier
than them. So but later on when we refer back to the guideline , for setting up the Chinese
curriculum for NCS, I think mostly our curriculum match with them.

I:

So do you have any suggestions that the education bureau should do? Like any suggestions
that the EDB can address this issue much better?

TA:
I:

You mean curriculum or just teaching Chinese?


Everythinglike the NCSS learning Chinese, things surrounding them. What is your advice?
Suppose I go to meet Kenneth now, Im going to tell him something, what is your view?

TA:

I will put my emphasis on the assessment. Assessment, like just now I said they cant cope
with the local system and GSCE is too easy for them. It seems that there is no one effective
assessment tool for these

I:

How about GCE? AS-Level?

TA:

GCEis also quite difficult.

I:

Because they have one part is like they have English, Ive taken a look, and its not that
difficult compared to IGCSE. Its easier than IGCSE, GCE A-Level. So what do you think
287

about that?
TA:
I:
TA:
I:
TA:

But it is still like international examination not HK examination.


So not localized?
Yes.
So there should be something localized relevant to what they have
Yea like Australia they have their own examination. England they have their own
examination. I think Hong Kong they can also try to build up an assessment tool also. So you
guys will help,

I:
TA:
I:

Im sure our students will learn more from you guys.


I hope so.
The effort you guys put. And also finally, one question is, just going back, Ive written down,
you guys are using the Yale Romanization. So can you tell me like where have this
pioneered? Like why are you guys using this Yale Romanization?

TA:
I:
TA:
I:
TA:

So actually I think you better ask Mr. XXX for this. He is a professional.
No as a user?
As a user? Umactually but next year we will change. Not Yale anymore.
Change to?
Change to the Cantonese one I dont know the name of it. But actually, we dont want
students because in these few years, they are more capable, so in the lesson we dont want
to use much Romanization, we try to use Chinese words instead of Romanization. But for
Yale Romanization, why we use is at the beginning

I:
TA:

Just to make them


Because they have yeah to help them, to help them read because they dont know any
characters and especially there is one dictionary of Yale. So we find that at that time we can
buy those dictionaries and students can also refer to it easily. So thats why we adopt Yale
Romanization. Its also because of the dictionary they have.

I:

So basically if students are going through Immersion, basically they dont need Yale. CSL,
they might need it.

TA:
I:
TA:

Yes.
Okay alright. Thank you very much Ms. Cheung. Do you have anything to add?
No. Thank you. I hope I have helped.

Teacher B (Translated from Cantonese to English)


I: Interviewer, TB: Teacher B
I:

Okay, today is the 1st April and now, Im in School C. And now Im interviewing Mr. B after
observing the two lessons and the interview will be conducted in Chinese.

So Mr. B, can

we start the interview?


TB:

Okay, no problem.
288

I:
TB:

So I have a few questions to ask you. So later you hold this


Oh okay.

I:

So my first question is what are your teaching strategies when teaching NCSS Chinese?

TB:

So we actually have a few scenarios. The first scenarios is when we admit newly arrived
South Asian students, we think that most of them cant speak or listen to Cantonese or we can
even have some that are born in Hong Kong still doesnt know Chinese. So we think it is
quite shocking. The first think we think of is that we hope they will be able to be like the rest
of the Hong Kong people, they are able to communicate like them. Especially in the aspects
of listening and speaking. Also, year after year, we notice that their situation is changing. We
can see that the new students that study here, their Chinese ability is getting better. So we
really hope that they can make Chinese as their second language, live a life in Hong Kong
and be like every Chinese citizen. So when it comes to life, because we realized that their
speaking ability can be similar to that of the native Chinese people. But of course, their
ability in reading and writing is weaker but we are still hoping to improve their ability in
those aspects. So I really hope that they can be like the Chinese citizens in Hong Kong in
life, in career aspects and in the Hong Kong society.

I:
TB:

I think this is our strategy.

Okay. So I want to ask what you think of the importance of NCSS learning Chinese.
We think it is very important. Because we have seen the experience of the South-East Asians
before, but obviously the experience before 1997 is a different story because if they had a
high English standard, it wasnt difficult for them to find a job. But after 1997, when Chinese
became the official language, not knowing Chinese has become a disadvantage. So we think
that Chinese is an important language that they must learn. So when the Principal decided to
admit South Asian students to the school, we were clearly told beforehand that, our aim to
teach Chinese to these students is not only to teach them on daily life conversations but to
make them capable of living their lives like all the other Chinese natives. So this is why we
think learning Chinese is important. Also, the number of Chinese lessons provided to South
Asian students is more than that provided to local Chinese students.

I:
TB:
I:
TB:
I:
TB:

How many classes do you provide?


We have about 7-8 classes according to different levels and other related factors.
So is it for?
Its on weekly basis.
So is the number of classes increasing or decreasing?
Its actually steady but we do notice a steady increase. So having a weekly of 7 classes makes
it equivalent to the number of classes the local Chinese students have. Actually they have an
extra one lesson more than the local students. Because we think if they are living their lives
in Hong Kong, if they dont know Chinese or are unable to read and write Chinese, we think
it would be very hard for them to live their lives. So when we were thinking of teaching
Chinese to these students, we have thought about using Putonghua to teach them or even
teaching them Putonghua. We held a number of meetings about it, but at the end, we still
289

think that if they live in Hong Kong, they need to be able to understand and speak the
Cantonese they come across in their daily lives. And if we use Putonghua to teach them
Chinese, in fact they wont be able to practice their daily conversations in Cantonese. Usually
when they watch the television, they wont watch it in Mandarin, when they talk with people,
they wont use this language. Or even when they read the newspaper, the words printed are
different from what theyve learned. So this will make their learning process very difficult. In
the future, if there is an individual who wants to become a policeman, even if he can speak
Putonghua, it doesnt mean that he will be able to pass the Putonghua requirements needed to
become a policeman.
I:

Okay. So the third question I would like to ask is what teaching strategies does your school
use to teach these South Asian students Chinese? And how do your prepare students with
different ability to face the future examinations?

TB:

This is a big question so Im going to divide it into several parts. Firstly, based on what the
work our school is already doing, we use the approach of small-class teaching. This means
we put students with different abilities together. We have also tried putting students of
different forms together, but since this year, we have enough students to form classes of
different capabilities per form, we did not merge students of different forms together. But
before we have tried it, for example combining two forms together to have five classes and
based on the students ability to further divide them. However, it doesnt mean once the
students are divided, their classes would not change. We can still divide them as their
Chinese ability improves. So, if a student does well in their exam, they will know the chances
for them to change into another better Chinese class is high. Secondly, our teaching materials
are quite different. Different classes are provided with different teaching materials. The
materials have differences in terms of difficulty and easiness. As a Chinese teacher, if you
give me a book to teach a group of students with different ability, my teaching method will
already be biased. But can the teaching materials be prepared in such a way that it is suitable
for the students of different abilities? In fact, in these few years, there has been an increase in
the teaching materials because we have got help and support from the XXX University and
previously, the YYY University has also come to our school to do some work or even so
effective and successful examples. Also, the materials we have now in hand and the different
teaching approaches have both been enriched. So we think that during this time, we have
provided the students with more teaching materials and used different teaching approaches.
We have also used some teaching materials obtained from areas surrounding Hong Kong.

I:

For example, can you give me some examples of teaching materials?

Like I saw Make

Cantonese Easy 1, 2, 3 Is it only these or are there more materials made by your school
TB:

Yes definitely we have some materials that have been prepared by our school.

For example,

a few years ago, in the beginning, we have produced some courses ourselves. That was
produced when our students ability was not very good. It helped students to recognize
Chinese characters and other fairly basic songs to help them start leaning Chinese words.
290

I:
TB:

For example, you have a hand; I have a hand, lets be friends!


Yes something like this. Of course, there were other strategies used in the course, after a
while, we realized when students ability started to improve, we couldnt stay in the same
level using the same material and methods to teach them, so we adapted Hing Sung Hok
Hanyu the material we are currently using, and of course we would also use some useful
teaching materials. Or our teachers would find some reference books and would make some
teaching materials for their own class according to the students ability.

So like now, we

have cooperated with some institutions and with PolyU before in some of their Chinese
related courses. Some will teach students Chinese calligraphy and many other activated
related to Chinese culture. This year, we have cooperated with HKU in regards to the subject,
they have some opinions. And we are doing some listening this year so together we create
some listening materials to improve those materials that we already have.
I:

So now when NCSS learn their speaking and listening, they dont have a big problem. But
when we talking about reading and writing, how will you go in-depth in these topics during
lessons? If we look an example from the central syllabus, they use different text types and
etc, how would you make it effective?

TB:

Well, when preparing the materials, we focus on reading, writing, listening and speaking
altogether. But indeed, our students have their own strength in some aspects. For example, on
the average, the students that we enroll in our school, their speaking and listening abilities are
not very strong. Every year, we will also have students that have newly-arrived to Hong
Kong. But how do we use the skills of listening and speaking in teaching reading and
writing? Actually, excessive reading, like you could see from our Form 1 class where they
are required to read a lot, excessive reading can actually. as in fluent reading can help
students develop a sense of the language. For example, when we learn English through HKs
culture, we will learn very slowly. On the other hand, if we learn English in an
English-speaking country, we would hear and listen to a lot of English even though we dont
know what they are saying, the living environment and the language environment, will
enable us to learn the language faster. So we also hope to create this kind of environment, not
only during Chinese lessons, but also in the entire school premises. So thats why
announcements in our school are conducted both in English and Chinese. Secondly, with a lot
of reading in class, this reading is fluently reading aloud until they develop a relationship
with the Chinese language. Then when they start to write, for example: I am a Pakistani so
when they start to write, they will think, Oh, Ive learned Pakistani and previously they
have also learned I am a secondary school student

I am Siu Ming so they can join what

they have learned together, and construct sentences like I am .. So its not like we are
making them memorize individual words. In fact, if you only learn words and vocabulary on
their own, their aspirations and expectations will also be very high. Because if you force
them to remember it will, they will soon forget it. So that why we hope that through reading
we can increase their memory. Secondly, some short sentences we encounter in our daily
291

lives, lots of practice of these short sentences can help them solve the problems they face
during their daily lives. If they are willing to speak and use it, they will then only remember
it and express it. We dont wish to force them to remember words which they will quickly
forget.
I:

So what do you think of the support provided by the universities and institutions? Have their
cooperation helped you in anyway?

TB:

Lets separate it into two parts. Firstly, if there are any professional or experts input and
theory or knowledge, we will think it is useful. Their input can be very beneficial to us.
But you have already followed me for half a day and you know how busy we are, the
cooperation between the school and those experts can help and of course apply it to the
teaching materials, and then we will use these materials to teach. Later on we will give them
feedback on how the students reacted and such. But we also some realize that sometimes
these experts or staff from these institutions is they really able to help our students? We can
say that we dont really have anybody who has a lot of experiences in this aspect, NCS
students learning Chinese, because it is originated from Hong Kong. So under such
circumstances, there are times where there teaching experiences and the situation in our
schools do not match. We both need to time in this for both parties to cooperate in a meaning
manner where understanding occurs so that the materials can be useful.

I:

So besides the Chinese being taught during lessons, outside the classroom context, are there
any facilities or activities which motivate the students, besides the morning assemble and
such, that will motivate the students to learn Chinese outside the classroom context?

TB:

We are talking about the learning environment, that is, for example, taking the schools
prefect team as an example, during their duty, they might need to face Chinese students so
they will need to speak Cantonese. Even when they talk with their teachers, they need to
speak in Cantonese. Also a lot of our activities, we would put together NCS students with
Chinese students, although the teachers work becomes harder here because they have to
speak in Cantonese and sometimes translate in English, or talks we attend outside, that will
expose them to a Chinese-rich environment. Of course, we will encourage them to participate
in competitions, speech festivals and some will do really well in these competitions.

I:

So my next question. Our NCS, besides the newly arrived one, there are some promoted from
primary schools, so they have already learn Chinese in primary schools. How will you stream
these students? Since they come from different primary schools and the differences in their
abilities are ranging, what will you usually do?

TB:

For us, before the students are allocated to form one class, they have to sit for a Chinese
exam, no matter if they are newly arrived or promoted from primary schools. According to
the test results, we will allocate them to different classes. After the allocation, they will then
start to learn with students that are of similar abilities with them.

I:
TB:

So now how are the groups divided in your schools?


Do you mean how are the classes divided? Apart from Chinese lessons, they are allocated to
292

classes A, B, C, D, but for Chinese lessons, they are allocated to classrooms according to
their abilities. It can be A, B, C combined and put into one class. The smarter kids are put
together, those average kids are in one class, and those that are fairly poor are in another
class. Thats why for form one students, they will be switching classes to go to their own
classrooms. It is different from the other subjects in which the students are separated
according to their English abilities but for Chinese, its according to their Chinese ability.
I:
TB:
I:
TB:

So for you Chinese classes, are they also Group A, Group B, etc?
Yes
So what are the differences among these classes?
Its the students abilities and proficiencies in the language that differs. We have basic
materials that all classes should be taught, even though the standard here is missing. And then
of course, according to their abilities, we would add on to the materials and other resources.
For example, for the same chapter, for example if we are talking about transportation, if the
smarter class, they can write about how they use these transportations or even write a
composition about it. So they will do related coursework, not only on the level of
vocabularies but to the level of sentences and dialogue.

I:
TB:
I:
TB:

So I can say one course is divided into different parts, rather than different courses
No, we cannot do different courses.
So in one course
Yes, because if we make different courses, it will not be able to be handled by one teacher or
even three teachers. If I tell you we have five different courses being carried out at the same
time, it definitely cannot be handled by only a few teachers.

I:
TB:
I:

So is your approach also CSL? Is it?


I dont understand.
So you use Chinese as a Second Language approach to teach and then you divide, for
example the best students get to do more during the lessons but those relatively weaker will
only learn the vocabularies, the better group will also write a composition or attend some
activities after school.

TB:

Well obviously, the weaker students are also required to write. For example, for each
question they are able to write a hundred words, even for the weaker groups of students
because they are form one, the questions are relatively easier and the words they can use are
of a wide range. We will not lower down our expectations. If we say that they learn twenty
vocabulary and then they are done with the unit, we are having a low expectation on them,
making learning easier for them.

I:

So two more questions, you have been a teacher for eleven years, what problems have you
encountered while teaching NCSS students Chinese?

TB:

I think the most important thing is for I enjoyed talking with them. But when I teach
reading and writing part, its the most difficult task for me and I think the biggest difficulty is
their understanding of the culture. Its my understanding of their culture. Because firstly, in
293

the beginning, we thought that their learning when compared to Chinese students is different.
We talked with some teachers and we found that some homes really do not have a table and
chair for the students to work on. So, we always assumed they didnt do their homework at
home but in reality, they dont have a proper table and chair for them to work. They also have
to go to the mosque for three hours, when they get back home, they are already very tired.
Because we assume we give homework to Chinese students and they should take at least two
hours of their time out to do their homework and revision. But it is completely different than
what we perceived. Secondly, their language environment is not very rich. When they go
home, they are watching Cable TV, watching programs in Urdu and when communicating
with others, they speak Urdu or even English, they are not willing to speak in Cantonese.
How can you force them to cross that barrier, its rather difficult. But of course, during
Chinese lessons, making them speak in Cantonese is easier. But how to make them speak
more in other circumstances is a big challenge.
I:

Finally, if you could meet up with the government, what suggestions would you give them?
Like what suggestions or hat they could do to increase the effectiveness of NCSS learning
Chinese?

TB:

For me, I think that the government already has given lots of flexibilities but I think it is still
rather tight. Although it is better than before, it has still not reach to our expectations, to what
we want. Now, our students, they come to school in form one, they cannot speak and
understand Cantonese. What are your expectations on their Chinese Language after six
years? We should not forget that, we as Chinese, completing our Kindergarten, we can speak
and understand, and know a hundred different vocabularies and then after six year of primary
school and six years of secondary school, can we expect the newly arrived students to meet
the standard of form 3 after six years? Because I think that, you are now under secondary
education, our curriculum is so flexible, and any student will have the proficiency after six
years. But you are forgetting that your students already understand and speak Cantonese
before they entered your curriculum. In such a language environment, with a person who
doesnt understand nor speak, and they are learning slowly bit by bit, after six years of
secondary education, if we are able to incorporate all the ten years of what is being taught
into six years for these NCS students, then it is possible to say that our NCSS Chinese
learning is more successful than those local Chinese students. We cant even teach that much
to a Chinese in one year when compared to what can be taught in a year to NCS students.

I:
TB:
I:

So you mean
I think this philosophy is very interesting.
So you think the philosophy has some problem. If NCSS can do it in six years, why do the
Chinese

TB:
I:
TB:

The Chinese use fifteen years to handle what NCS can handle in six years.
So there is an irony here.
Also, now whether or not they are able get acceptance from the universities and institutions.
294

If the government stance is not clear, the universities will follow what the government says.
They would of course not accept those with weaker students as it will affect the schools
image. The safest method is to accept only one or two for trial. So how can we really make
them adapt and integrate into the society? Even in the Mainland, if they are able to achieve
the fourth level of Han Yu, they will be admitted to universities and take courses that are
taught in Chinese. So why arent there such flexibilities in Hong Kong? There arent any
clear guidelines. If there arent any clear guidelines, what would the university do? Of
course, they will seek the governments help. They dont want to accept those who perform
poorly; they rather accept the best students even though the number is little. So that they can
tell people they have accepted the brighter students. And the process is very slow not until
there is a public outrange, they will then think about it. How many years and number of
NCSS have we given up during this process?
I:

Okay thank you!

EDB(Translated from Cantonese to English)


I: Interviewer, OA: Officer A, OB: Officer B, OC: Officer C
I:

So we do the recording now. Okay, so good afternoon everyone. So this is Riz, and I am here
today with OA, OB and your surname is Mr. OC

OC:

Ah you have a good memory

I:

Is it right?

OC:

Its right!

OA:

May I be excused for two minutes?

I:

Okay. So today Im in Wan Chai Wu Chung House in room whatever it is, and today its the
6th of September and we will be having an in-depth interview with three respective
representatives from the bureau.

So should we start off with the questions and please feel

free to addyou can use Chinese, English, and Putonghua, whatever you feel comfortable
with, okay? So my first question is like what are the principles behind the principles and
assumptions behind the design of the Central Chinese curriculum framework?
OA:
I:
OC:

Have you seen.this one?


Yes.
The central one? This is the supplementary guide. We have the one written in Chinese. If
there is anything that needs to be translated, you can ask me.

I:
OC:

Oh okay. Thats good.


You can see the whole structure, you can compare the diagramits the same diagram. This
is the central one. So thats why I think the question you asked the rational behind how the
framework was formed how the Central framework was developed. I think your teacher
has played a part in developing this framework, so she is very clear about it. If you have any
questions, you can ask her.

So here we, ourselves, this one heredo not have an English

version, but I can translate it for you. This oneour whole curriculum reform is like
295

thatthis is knowledge, the generic skills, values and attitudes. We have something like
I:
OC:

Like an inter-relationship.
Like a model here. And as for Chinese, you can see that we have some rationale. The first
one is because we always say that language knowledge is knowledge construction. So we
assume that the children that have learned Chinese can help them construct here the
language, the skills, build on their learning foundation, etc. Thats the first area. The second
area, by looking at Hong Kong, the whole society, majority is Chinese. Well of course, we
are not assuming that the Central framework is catering the native speakers. When we are
developing the framework, we are assuming it will emerge in a Chinese community. There,
in a Chinese society, they are living and learning. So first we will see what languages are
important for them in Hong Kong. For example, Cantonese, or for example traditional
characters. So, they need to learn these two first so that they can communicate with people in
the society. For example, if we talk about the authentic, going to the movies, or learning what
they hear from the football ground. Actually thats what we assume as the use of language in
the society

Thirdly, the development of the language itself. Chinese itself is a developing

language. Its a very important language in the society. The language has its own traditional
areas that are very important, for example, literature, thousand of years of literature tradition.
We have culture as well as a very heavy loaded area called virtues, some traditional values. I
believe every language has these, I think similarly, even the Quran has mentioned about
peace, etc. I heard it from somebody. I heard theres more than a hundred parts mentioning
peace. Similarly, the Chinese, there are also a lot of valuesthose virtues. So it is based on
these three areas that the rationale develops in the curriculum in Hong Kong nowadays to
help the children to learn. As for during the curriculum reform, the above was during 2004,
before this was during 2002 when we had key learning areas. During that time, we used to
ask a question during the curriculum reform, which was Whats worth learning? Because
we can see that many subjects were clouded, the whole school curriculum was much clouded.
During that time, the figures and statistics from the Curriculum Development Council, Im
not familiar with that so I cannot give you a lot of thesis or literature on that. In Hong Kong,
we have a Curriculum Development Council which was for the Chinese Language during
that time, we had 68 subject committees. During the school cert level, we had 41 subjects.
Under such circumstances, the school curriculum was extremely clouded. So thats why
under each key learning area, we would always ask Whats worth learning? What is the
most important thing children should be learning? So from that perspective, the specialist in
Chinese Language used the perspective of the previously mentioned three areas to view the
Chinese subject. Thus, they have agreed on some directions the seven directions of
curriculum development. So this is very simple. Actually this information has been discussed
a little in the supplementary guide, in Chapter two. Chapter two
I:
OC:

Process of learning
In point 2.1.1. Here below, you can see Learning contents of Chinese Language key learning
296

areas. The strands are bolded. We have nine strands But here you can see at the back,
there are some directions printed. So during that time we have seven directionsif you have
interest I can talk about it. Im afraid its going to be too long so some directions are here.
I:

But if we look at the framework at the back, for example if we use first language
assumptions

OC:

Then it wont be very accurate, but under most circumstances it is correct.

Because Hong

Kongs populations mix is 95%... Chineseso most is right. But during that time, we did
not solely assumed the mother language; we also considered some cases of ethnic minorities
living in Hong Kong. So the framework applies to all. But inside the framework, their
definitely are adaptations. Actually, every child attends their first language school, the school
itself has made some adaptations. So, no matter what ethnicity the individual is, there are not
many differences. But we could see that we needed to give more support so we published the
supplementary guide. So the two things have a relationship. Not that a hundred percent we
dont need it, if we say it applies to all then we dont need to have the supplementary guide.
But we published it, we hope that it helps in this aspect,
I:

So you assumed. for example me, or other NCS, who knows Urdu, at home, they speak
Urdu at school they speak English, mother language is Urdu and English is their second
language, Chinese has become their third language or even their fourth. With the current
arrangement, do you think it can cater the.

OC:

The framework itself will actually cater them. The framework is very open.

It is unlike the

exam syllabus which will list out all the contents and will be examining that area. This is
very open framework, because of this, it can accommodate the NCS. However, the problem
is, for children with different language backgrounds, like you, your English and Urdu
background, with no foundation of Chinese, then, these students need more help. So thats
why we published the supplementary guide.
I:

So, if that is the case, Hong Kongs Chinese exam the reality in Hong Kong is that the
students and parents always link up what you study with exams.

OC:
I:

This is not good.


This is the viewpoint of the bureau. How will the school look at this? Will they think the
central curriculum equals to the HKEAA Chinese Language assessment, Chinese
curriculum? The C=A? Curriculum equals to assessment? If you look at the students
learning, if the students learning is not good, for example, what were unable to learn led to
the bad results in the examination? Or, the provision was not good therefore you did poorly
in your examination? So, if I continue to use this paradigm to look at the situation, Hong
Kong itself have a lot of local students, about 30%, that are unable to pass the public HKCEE
Chinese examination.

OC:
I:
OC:

Is it that much?
Im not sure with the figures but approximately around there. The cert level.
I think this part has some problem with from the curriculum developments point of view.
297

Because we know that learning is broader than examination. Examination is limited, not
everything can be tested. In this world there are lots of other things that are important. For
example, praying to God. That nobody can be tested on. One explanation is very simple:
learn and then learning then examination then employment. So, if you ask the parents
whether they want their child to be used by his/her employers for the rest of their lives?
Whatever the employer says, your child does that. He/she does not know anything. So, there
are many things that cannot be tested even in examinations, it is limited. So as curriculum
developers, we do not agree with this equal sign. There is some problem. But we have to
accept the reality. How we can help students do well. For example, in learning, how can we
stretch their learning level to the fullest point? And during examinations, how we can use
different assessments to help them do well in their exams. For example, if students usually
read a lot of materials, how can we use open-ended questions to test them so they can
perform their best level? So that its fairer to distinguish. As for employment, no individual
steps out into the society just to find a job? If you just want to find a job, why study PhD?
Why bother studying after all?
I:
OC:

Self- actualization
We understand that the real situation is very hard to deal with. We also need to deal with it
step by step.

I:

So if we see the chain, bureau, bureau should actually, like you said, viewed from the point
of view of curriculum development, the schools perspective has also changed. Can I say that
the actual gapthere is a gap. You intentions were very good; like in a lot of your documents
you would say the central Chinese curriculum framework is robust and flexible.

So you

had this underlying principle, that learning is the curriculum itself, not only the assessment.
Learning, examination, employment, this equation or formula is only is part of the
paradigm, there are other variables in the formula as well. So focus more on the interest but
we still need to look at reality. This is your view. But schools are central curriculum detailed
as possible and then link up with an assessment so that stake holders would know if this
school is a good school that my students should study. So its an irony I should say.
OC:

I think the gap is prevalent in all parts of the world. But the question is how big is the gap is
magnified because in the world, these curriculum documents can show the curriculums will
as well as in some, the countrys will, the governments will. But this will when compared to
the teachers will, may be different. Each individuals, each schools aims and goals are
different. So in Hong Kongs case, the curriculum development is a very big and clear, a
5-year or 10-year long plan with goals and purposes stated out clearly. Each goal is made for
students benefits. School as well has goals that are best for students however, the duration
and period of time the schools is focusing on in the near future may not be the same as that of
the government. So when you say a gap exists, I think its a universal thing which is present
in every part of the world. Not only NCS problems, but if you investigate further, its
interesting that the examiner has the longest examination history in the world. Chinese
298

people have been sitting for exams for the longest time, over 1000 years. British people
havent sat for that long.
I:
OA:

Okay uh do you have any supplements?


I would just like to add some points in the discussion of the gap mentioned earlier. Firstly, the
central curriculum guide is not written just casually, a lot of research was done before, school
inspections and many other investigations were done before the guide was written. Thus, the
gap isnt actually as big as it seems, the guide is there, the assessment is there, but
somewhere in the middle, this is actually very complex. Because you are talking about the
school ecology which is consist of the school policy. For example, the principle behind the
intake of NCS students in some schools. They may think the NCS are their assets or they
may think a lot of effort has to be put or a lot of problems have to be overcome when
accepting NCS students into our school. These are two mind sets. And these mind sets affect
the policy of how many resources I am going to put to help NCS students to quickly adapt to
their learning. Also, where should I pitch my expectations on NCS students? If I pitch it at a
higher level, schools will be more determined in the students adapting to the school, which
will directly lead to more academic expectations and better teaching materials, etc., Thus, in
the near future, no matter if they take a particular exam or another, it can clearly reflect the
students Chinese ability. Why this is so complicated? Because this is something that is taken
care of by the school leader. But more importantly, what the school principal may not have
control over is the employment. Because its not the principle who teaches. The students
greatly rely on their teachers. The teachers mind set, do they think that although it is a bit
difficult to teach NCS students in the beginning, it can be overcome, like other students with
learning disabilities. This is an issue of the mind set. Secondly, does the teacher have
confidence? Does he/she think they can do it? If you start with a negative, they wont think
of a solution. Thirdly, does the teacher have time to develop resources or think of some other
ways of better teaching their course? Actually the role played by the teacher is also very
important. If we dont improve the parts played by the principal and teachers, then the
outcome would be according to schools. Thats why some schools are so progressive at this
point but sometimes its not solely due to the teachers and teachers. It may sometimes be
depended on the amount of NCS students in school. If you have a high concentration, then
their Cantonese may not be that good. This as well may affect the lesson plan or affect
students short term goals. So, the schools system itself is quite complicated, what we call
the ecosystem. So, as we mentioned earlier, such a loose and flexible course when applied at
school has a lot of different patterns and variations. Secondary and primary schools are two
different worlds. Just now, when you mentioned how it was different during your primary
school day, it definitely should be because since 2004, we had a policy this policybecause
our allocation system has changed, we also think that the opportunities of children has
increased so our expectations for them also raised. So the Primary one children from that the
year onwards, the batch of children in Primary one in 2004, our expectations for those
299

children are that they will blend and contribute into the society. We also hoped that the
Chinese learning would also improve. So from that year onwards, our curriculum design has
become systematic. Because this year, 2009, the batch of form one students, they have
promoted to form one, in these two to three years, we have tracked that these students have
been allocated to a variety of different schools. It is no longer similar to our previous
assumptions that they would only be promoted to certain schools. Lets now talk about the
primary curriculum, we have done a lot of those and it is quite systematic. While we were
doing those, as Mr.OC has introduced the central curriculum, they were designed with the
different strands. Because we think after all we want them to have high expectations and
hopes. So while we were planning, we would refer to the textbooks they used. Of course, we
would not only use the textbooks but textbooks are one of the most important learning
materials they use. Also, during lessons, they would be attending lessons along with the local
students. But we think that we need to help them with one thing, the transition. How can we
make them be able to follow and not lag behind during big class teaching or even make them
feel that some previous experiences has led them to be lagging behind. We have some
pull-out programs. These are designed in such a way so that they are separated into different
levels, because it is impossible for you to finish everything in one go. So in Primary 1, the
bridging mainly focuses on character recognition, character building.

In Primary two, the

focus is on reading and then writing. And then combining the language skills. Followed by, a
deeper combination of the different language skills, like project learning. While in Primary
six, we will incorporate literature, local culture and culture. The reason why you found the
children a while ago so amazing was because since Primary one, they have been following
level by level. If you now ask a P4 or p5 to write two hundred words, it is not a difficult task.
We observed two primary schools last year that had two p6 students that were able to do
script writing. They were able to write a script and also dramatize the script. So you can see
that I wasnt talking about those very clever and talented students, I was talking about an
average NCS student who had undergone a systematic learning approach, this is the product
or outcome. You can see that we are mainly talking about the smaller concentration, as I
mentioned earlier. This year, those who students who are promoted to secondary schools this
year, their results are comparatively better. Our evidences are such that they have been
allocated to the EMI schools or to comparatively higher banding CMI schools, we have a
group of such students. So of course we cannot assume that if those students who are not
allocated to the top local schools are not good students, this is not the case. Because the
allocation is not only dependent on your Chinese language performance but instead your
overall performance.
I:

But low concentration, as you said with reference to the new Primary One Admission, is
the percentage big or not? In the concentration mode, in a school with around ten, correct me
if I am wrong, talking about how many students there are

OA:

If we are talking about I have only two kinds of schools that are like that. And we are
300

talking about each key stage. Each key stage would at least have twenty to thirty people.
I:

So its good for these students that they have entered the low concentration provided that
they have structured learning. But how about those high concentration schools?

OA:

So our method of doing it is the allocation is similar. But we have to provide additional
help because comparatively, theses high concentration students language abilities is not as
good as the students in the school mentioned above. Thats why; we have to provide
additional help and support. For example, will we build in more interim steps, or do we have
to simplify the material during the materials selection process? So we have to do such
modifications. But we continue to maintain the reading, listening, speaking and writing
learning.

I:
OA:
I:
OA:

So in the future, we might be able to see some NCS students working for the immigration.
You will see the generation
Like the next generation?
You cannot expect to see the results in two to three years. We have been investing in this for
so long. Later on, in around September, you will see some ETV programs talking about the
stories of these successful NCS students. How can these children be successful? The two
main reasons mentioned are what I mentioned earlier was greatly related to the school
factor. The other two factors include: one of the childs entire family are pretty fluent in
Cantonese. They told us that there are mainly two reasons that they feel that they have
become that successful. The first reason is their family support is very strong. Family support
does not mean that the family is rich or the parents know Chinese very well. It means that the
family greatly encourages the children to learn Chinese and provide them with a lot of
opportunities to learn Chinese. Although the mother does not know any Chinese and the
father is able to understand Cantonese but can only speak very little Cantonese. This is about
their family aspiration. Secondly, their own efforts, because they said that they would only
use Cantonese to communicate at home, they wont use their first language nor any other
language. Because they believe that it is very important to learn Chinese. They have a
determination that they will learn this language very well. There is a Primary five student
who said he wants to become a Chinese teacher. He wants to teach the other NCS students.
You can see that among the successful cases, it depends on the learner themselves, and what
expectations do they have on themselves.

I:

Okay. It is good to know development in primary schools is being reflected in secondary


schools. Im not sure about the secondary schools. Correct me, if Im wrong, during those
time there was Professor Tai who had a longitudinal study at the beginning. During 2004,
those in secondary school were less fortunate because the focus was put upon Primary One
Admission during their primary school years. The starting point was delayed, and also the
schools administration may not have been up to par, which has dragged their learning pace. I
dont know if I can say these students now studying form four or five, I think they can take
GCSE to help them enroll and get an admission into universities. This is a concession given
301

to them. But If we look closely to this situation, the NCSS in the primary schools now, will
the education bureau give this kind of concession?
OA:

All along the alternative Chinese qualification can be taken as an alternative for admissions
in the local universities. Actually, decisions are not based on which race the students are but,
the criteria are two specified circumstances: the first one, the person has learnt Chinese for
six or less than six years, if he/she has studied Chinese for more than six years but has been
studying a simpler adapted curriculum, not the same Chinese curriculum as the local
students, then of course, they are also exempted and taken under considerations for the
alternative qualification. This flexibility is also permitted. Because we have to give them a
chance, we dont want to the language to affect their chances of admissions. So the scenario
you have mentioned would not take place. Also, I want to add on a point, as you said, before
the year 2004, the student were deprived from learning opportunities, the policy before, it
wasnt intentional but with regards to the NCS parents concerns, they were afraid of some
adaptation difficulties. For example, if the students were allocated to a main stream school,
they would have to study Chinese, during that time, the view is completely different from the
views parents hold nowadays. If the parents indicate that the child cannot study in Chinese,
then during school allocation, these students will be given attention so as not to place them in
main stream schools. So we are not actually depriving them, but we are taking into
consideration parents concern. So if some parents do not check the box which mentions their
childs difficulties in learning using Chinese, using Chinese as the medium of instructions,
then there were chances that these students would be placed in local mainstream Chinese
schools. Because as I said, its not about the race, but about the indication.

I:

Okay, so I will continue. I am not sure how you will look at the second question. So NCS
the flexibility of the Chinese curriculum when compared to other subjects such as English,
Liberal Studies, would we say is more flexible?

OC:

In the beginning we have mentioned that we have set some goals for this centurys
curriculum reform, we have some key learning areas that have their own open framework.
Its not that only the Chinese curriculum has an open framework but every subject has open
framework.

So no matter what race, background the student is from, when he/she studies

these subjects or the key learning areas, it still needs some school adaptations. More or less.
So its not intentional that we discriminate certain students but we can see that more help is
needed for these students in certain areas, such as learning Chinese. So we have the
supplementary guide, the alternative qualifications, and such probations. Not because it is the
Chinese Language, but the rationale behind is our curriculum development aims at every
subjects having an open and flexible curriculum framework so that schools can have some
adaptations.
I:

So if we move on further, we can see that from p.9 of the supplementary guide, primary
schools have a very obvious and clear plan. As mentioned earlier by Ms Leung, primary one,
they have word recognition, then primary two, they do reading, primary three, they move
302

onto reading and writing, and then primary four, they have combination of skills and
combining the language skills followed by, a deeper combination of the different language
skills, like project learning in primary five. While in Primary six, we will incorporate
literature, local culture and culture. So if we look at secondary schools, schools have many
adaptations, I have observed some schools like Broadway, the materials the literature so
Im not sure whether the colors here on the guide have any meanings behind it
OC:
I:

Yes there is some meaning behind the different colors.


These are skills. And the lighter colors here, inside here, Im only looking at Im not
looking at thinking, because I am a Pakistani and I would look at things from Islams point of
view. So I will only focus on these three areas: literature, culture and moral and affective
development. So these few things, from the secondary school perspective, when schools do
school-based curriculum its not so obvious but it has been played down. So whats your
view on this issue?

OC:

We dont have such thing as played down. Because it is obvious here that we are telling
people these are skills its language. We have to teach language and language has to be
learnt. If we dont learn language, what are we going to learn? Besides learning these skills,
each language materials have a lot of content in it, so these will touch on culture, literature,
moral, etc. So when we say thinking we arent talking about thinking from which
perspective, its not about thinking from a religion perspective. What we are talking about is
the thinking competence.

All subjects in the framework have such a thing as thinking, its

about values, attitudes and moral, but because in the Chinese history, the traditional values
and customs has to be taught to children. I have other documents too, not only this guide
book, I have other documents which show how to learn, the pedagogic perspective. One
material can be used in a number of ways. What we call it as multiple use of a single piece
of material. This means that we can use one material in many different ways. There was a
misconception that we have nine strands, so each lesson will look at one of the strands, but
thats not the case. Its actually at one time; we can look at a number of those strands at the
same time. We obviously dont want to play down such things, if you come across such
scenarios you have to inform us about it. But you have to be clear here, we are exploring
academics, in the perspective of exams, there are some visible and very obvious ones. There
is a Reading paper in the exam, but there wont be a paper called Culture but the phase
itself contains culture, literature inside. It is believed that if you do not learn about the culture
and literature during the Chinese Language learning, you cannot learn the language well. You
will always be at the bottom level. Do you think its practical to use these to communicate
with people in the street? Actually, communication itself is divided into several levels, top
and bottom. Some people can speak well while others may not. So you can see the diplomats
nowadays always emphasize on
I:

But you have gone to some of our schools to visit, so you will see the school design some
school-based materials, did you find any of these components in those materials? Especially
303

in the relatively easy materials?


OC:

You can see it. But of course you wont use the one side speaks all approach which means
that you are specifically told you should do this and that in this way. Because the school itself
has to take into consideration a lot of things such as the school aim, the students needs, so
there will be variation. But we have never come across any school that has never
incorporated any bits of culture nor literature. I think its not good if they dont include such
items. Some people may think that it doesnt matter if NCS students dont learn about the
culture or literature, as they will work in the construction site after graduation, as laborers.
We completely disagree with such thinking. We think that such thinking really harms their
interest. We dont want them to work in this field for the rest of their lives. This is similar for
some Chinese students. They have different bandings, like band three students. We have
some teachers who think the same way for these students. They think that these students
cannot learn, so they will not teach them literature, they expose them to the culture. In fact,
this is depriving students from what they need to know. Instead we should take into
consideration their learning standards and according to that, teach them and slowly help them
go in-depth into the topic. After all, we have to help them develop and stretch to their fullest
potential so that they will have knowledge in different aspects so that in the future, they can
secure themselves a safe place. That was what was written in Chapter one of the guide, we
wish every individual can achieve that. Thats why when we look at your example, we are
very happy because you are now living a happy and successful life now being a teacher. It
doesnt matter if you are teaching Chinese or not, but we are happy to see you as a successful
example. Especially the fact that at your time we didnt have such guides, that was even
risky.

I:
OC:

So how was the supplementary guide written?


I assume you have read the introductions in the consultation paper, so I will not talk about
that. So when we were certain that we need to publish such a guide for such a program, we
immediately look at it from the perspective that they were definitely second language
learners. For the learner itself, it is a second language. We had to search for literature and we
found that most of them were English speakers. We then looked at the experiences of
Chinese language communities, including Singapore, Mainland China and Taiwan. How they
dealt with such an issue, also, research online or visits to the US was also referenced to. You
can see from the Consulting paper and towards the end of the guide, in the annex, we have
showed some examples

I:
OC:

Examples from Singapore


Actually, our guide we didnt intend to include these examples. But during that time we
heard from teachers and principals that we should include this information and not to waste
them, so we were asked to put them in the appendix, as you can see in appendix three. So we
have specifically written down the information was collect in 2007, which means the
information is not updated. But during that time we collected information about experiences
304

from other parts of the world and learn from their experiences to know what we should and
should not do. But most importantly, we under went a lot of consultation and I believe there
isnt much differences among the other ethnicities, whichever guidebook we write, we have
to have consultations. Especially for this one, we had to consult NGOs, the ethnic minorities
groups and ask them from their opinions. Some are verbal suggestions while some were
written ones. So it was over a period of one year. From January 2008, we started our
consultation and then you can see November 2008, we uploaded it and in December
I:
OC:

Do you think the consultation was rushed?


If you ask me, I didnt want to rush it but the reason why we did the consultation in such a
short period of time quickly is because we think that, if we have three years to do it, we will
do it comfortably. If you give us five years, we can do it comfortably. But looking at how the
children are rapidly and constantly emigrating to Hong Kong, every year the number is
increasing, especially some ethnicities has shoot up very rapidly, for example Indonesians
has increased in number very rapidly. You can see from the situation the reason why we did it
so quickly. We rather publish it earlier for evaluation so that we can revise it later. At that
time we have also thought about this guide as not like any other guides, with a very long
cycle and no revision or updates. Perhaps this guides evaluation cycle would be carried out
more often. But more often means every three years not every three months. Because then
the school will not feel very certain about the guidebook. Other guidebooks evaluate every
five or ten years, thats why ours was published very quickly. If you honestly ask me if I
wanted to do it in such a short period of time, of course I wouldnt choose to. We put a lot of
effort and human resources into publishing this guidebook.

I:

As you mentioned earlier, the negotiation while publishing this guide, you consulted different
parties like the Chinese language communities to share the experiences

OC:

I think I forgot to mention the most important local experiences including your schools. In
Hong Kong, we have some designated schools that have high concentration of ethnic
minorities, whom have many local experiences that we cannot find. So in that aspect, we
looking around knowing how others provide it is a different story when compared to local
experiences, which is the most crucial factor. Because, if we take Singapore as an example,
their use of Chinese is not the same as that used in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, Chinese is
rather popular.

I:
OC:
I:
OC:

So, if we look at the members, if we look at the list, there arent any NCSS?
Yes we do. We do have schools included that accept NCS students.
Like have any NCSS parents or community leaders were involved in the consultation?
For this, and for any other guide book we publish, we mainly only focus on the education
sector. Its not that we dont listen to parents opinion because first, we never actually did
when publish the guidebook. Secondly, we dont consult parents at this stage. At a later stage,
we would. But after all, curriculum development is very professional. There are some issues
where we can ask opinions of all the citizens in Hong Kong but this is not. The focus was
305

only the education sector. So you can see that professors, teachers have these experiences,
even though we dont have non-Chinese but they have a Chinese name. Some are not
Chinese but they are learning Chinese themselves, we have such teachers but we dont want
to highlight their identity.
I:

But why as you said, you had consultations from various stakeholders such as the NGOs,
but why after that, people were still raising their concerns about the publishing of the
supplementary guide. There was an article in 2008 published at the same time as the guide
which talked about the supplementary guide was just average. Like why despite doing so
much consultations there are still, allow me to use this word, disappointments. Especially
from the NGOs. Why is that the case? Is it because their opinions were not considered or
their opinions were neglected?

OC:

As according to our experiences, whenever we publish guidebooks, it mainly consults the


education sector, although there are submissions from the citizens, it is uploaded on the web.
We have something to defend; we wouldnt only if we didnt do anything. There are
situations where there are so many opinions, some conflicting opinions, one wants awhile the
other wants B, and we dont even know what we should do. From our opinion, we think that
this guide has already included a variety of opinions because this is a curriculum guide, its
not something else. If you expect the guide to tell you things like how much support will be
given to you, then of course it will be a disappointment to you. So thats why it only suggests
some curriculum mode, I am sure that you are familiar with this so I dont want to go into
details of the four modes. The last mode, you can see its called the integrated mode. You can
see the combination, it has combined different factors. For example, a school has high
concentration one group is mode three, one is mode one while the other is mode two. So
we have different teaching materials. So we are supposed to be discussing about such things.
Of course, if you ask me, I will be disappointed when others feel a disappointment on the
guidebook. But of course, working in the government sector, we are faced with people who
have different opinions on issues. It is normal. Many opinions are actually not criticizing the
guide itself. If we look back, there was an organization in 2008, talking about how the guide
is not catering second language. If you ask me, these opinions are definitely unsounded
because they criticize us for not have a second language element. But obviously, we assumed
every learner is a second language learner. Here we have mentioned in paragraph 2.2.2, we
have a very typical process of learning. This was study was actually conducted by HKU and
they provided us with the information that a typical process is such. Also, in the beginning of
chapter five, we have mentioned how first language is typically learnedlearning Chinese
language as a mother tongue, and then how learning Chinese as a second language is. And
then we compare and get our results from research. We actually published a lot of
information for the public in the guidebook. Personally, I think the supplementary guide is
actually written in more details when compared to other guides. It is written rather technical

306

too, in this aspect, the information of second language is provided to them. But unfortunately
those critics did not come across any of these and criticize us for not mentioning it.
OB:

I want to add that the development of the supplementary guide as an additional support, this
measure received acceptance because people knew that the students came from various
backgrounds and their family expectations and their family duration in Hong Kong are vary
so much. In general, the strategy of developing a supplementary guide has been widely
accepted. Thats why I think if you tell me they are not satisfied with the development of the
supplementary guide, I think to me its not reallyhas been perceived by me. In general, they
support this.

OC:

What you have pointed at is note worthy because many EM groups have accepted it. But the
case you were talking about, I have read it too.

I:
OC:

So a lot of NGOs supports it?


They support the strategy of development of the curriculum guide as an additional support.

I:

So how do you look at this issue?

OC:

We will give you the same answer.

I:

That the central Chinese curriculum I dont have it here. Its in another file but I will quote
it here. So how are schools helping to implement the robust and flexible Central Chinese
curriculum framework?

OC:
I:

You are talking about NCS?


Yes NCS. So is the school, independently, on their own take action, such as English, since I
teach English, seek support or such?

OB:

Because I think since these schools are under the designated school policy, very often they
will get our support; they dont necessarily need to ask for it. But there are schools that are
not under the designated school policy and still ask for our support and we will give them.
We will send our colleagues to these schools to talk with not only the principal but also the
teachers. So through the school-based support, we will together develop the school based
curriculum. During the process of developing the school based curriculum, we have to know
that first; students are currently at what stage and situation, how are the teaching staff, and of
course we need to know what kind of support measures does the school have because all of
these should have a coherence making so by looking at these things we can discuss with
them how we could divide the whole syllabus into different levels. Obviously, we wont start
off with six levels, we will go level by level, to help them with the design of the course to the
activities carried out and to the worksheets designed and to the assessment design, we will
help them with that. And then in between, we will visit their lessons to see whether our
designs can cause any difficulties during the process of teaching, are students able to learn
and understand what is being taught? We have to take these evidences so that the next time
when we plan, we will know whether we need to take into consideration students interests
and ability to modify any aspects of the design? So this is within the school curriculum. But
we understand that students learning should not be confines to classrooms only, so we will
307

also look at individual units, for example if the unit is talking about the society, so we will,
for example, we had a school in Ngau Tau Kok, we organized activities that linked to the
community and people of Ngau Tau Kok. Obviously, the aim of the activity remained to be
the use of language but the exposure and context was the public library. So after the visit,
they will have to do a project presentation so thats when you can tell them that language is
used in daily lives. It is actually talking about the culture in Hong Kong, so you dont
actually need to specifically label the lessons as cultural lesson or literature lesson, but that is
how we will design it. Sometimes in schools they will have some cultural activities, so we
will try to see how we can link Chinese to their school culture and other subjects so that the
two can have a better integration. This is how we usually organize their activities. So now,
the primary school learning when compared to that during your time are two different
worlds.
I:

So what you mentioned now happens in primary schools right? So how about the situation in
secondary schools?

OC:

The situation in secondary schools is assisted by the universities, actually the University of
Hong Kong. So the course they design basically is similar to what I have mentioned, except
the actual delivery is different.

I:
OC:
I:
OC:

So can I assume primary schools are supported by the EDB?


The on-site support its only for primary schools because two years ago.
But why is that the university supports secondary schools?
Because firstly, we want to see whether or not, if you look at it from the support point of
view, we want to provide them with the best support, and universities have some expertise,
maybe in the area of research they are better. So if we divide it into two, both sides are
gathering different levels of support , and then in the process, we will see whether or not we
can combine any knowledge and facts so as to give schools a variety and different levels of
supports. After that, the development there may be chances that we will be supporting
secondary schools too.

I:

So EDB, if you yourself did it, you will have your own monitoring procedures, as you
mentioned earlier, like observing lessons, but if you let other universities to do it like the
University of Hong Kong, and also IED

OA:
I:
OA:
I:

IED provides the professional development course...


For teachers. How about Polytechnic University?
Polytechnic did provide but it seems that not this year (2010)
Like HKU, how would you monitor their progress? Because I interviewed some secondary
school teachers and I asked them what they thought about the support given by the
universities. Schools that are provided with supportthey feel pretty hopeless. They feel that
the strong research base of universitiesthe universities continue to put a strong emphasis
on that, but however, during meetings, there is a distance between the levels of the university
academics and the teachers. Its like an individual with a PhD qualification comes to talk
308

with a chief school developer like OA, you must have taught in secondary schools, most
officers have taught in schools before coming to bureau. But then those academics have
never stepped into a classroom, they have no idea how NCS students are, so the teachers
think that they are wasting their time. Because they are talking about things that make the
teachers feel they dont understand their students. In return, you are familiar with primary
schools, you have more experience than us front-line teachers and your perspective is
definitely broader. So, these teachers feel that they feel very uncomfortable its like extra
work, theres no longer any professional essence. Me, myself, when I entered this profession
in 2003, I was employed to teach English, in the beginning I was assigned to handle some
SEED project. My growth was very good, after two years I had to do a different project. But
how will you monitor the effectiveness of these curriculum development, or leading schools
to develop school-based curriculum?
OA:

Although Im not responsible for such projects but I know that the service provider will give
some feedbacks, whether there were any difficulties. The school itself will provide such
feedbacks. They will also provide feedback to the bureau. The bureau itself allocates staffs to
visit schools to collect some feedback, and then with the university providers, they have a
professional dialogue to see how they can continue to develop. I know there are such things.

I:
OC:
I:

But do you sense that the schools


Perhaps.
Because what I see are the negatives. Maybe because I came across it during the interviews
that are why

OA:
I:
OC:

Are you talking about School X?


No its not all School X.
I think there are variations. They have a monitoring mechanism but the qualityThe
problems you have raised is of our concern, we should note it down. But as far as I know,
these projects in schools to be supported, even if it university professors, they should have
experiences in teaching NCS. If you dont have the experience, then its not so good.

I:

So there are some teachers that teach the SSP, for those they hire teachers from Beijing, can it
really benefit the NCS? Or for the SSP, they should hire local teachers that other schools
have hired from networks will that be better?

OC:

You talked about the SSP, are you talking about the universities supporting the designated
schools right? If so, then you are talking about the Chinese language learning support centre.
C: Its another one.

OA:

Because I know that the Chinese language learning support centre has a student support
centre that are held after schools. As far as I know, they have their own requirements when
choosing which teachers can be there to help students after school, even based on their
experiences.

I:

But who is responsible for SSP?

309

OA:

Chinese Language support centre. From the beginning, it is XXX; we have commissioned it
to XXX.

I:
OC:
I:
OC:
I:
OC:

So that is
Faculty of Education.
So they are responsible for SSP. And how about what we have mentioned earlier
That is something else. That is University Support Program.
USP.
Yes youre right. That, the information you found is also mentioned in the LegCo paper but
maybe we did not explicitly name them as University Support Program. In 2009, it has been
written that it was commissioned to XXX for three years.

I:

So, if every school has some school-based material and you would use it for sharing. So, I
want to ask, at the back of the supplementary guide, there are some practices suggested. If
you ask me, NCS students in high concentration schools, they are of similar levels. Thats
what I think. But of course there will be some that do better and some that do very badly in
the group. But the norm is similar.

OC:
I:

Similar to what?
I mean among the NCS, their abilities are similar. This is what I observe from my test. All of
them are weak in writing. As for reading, the first text in the GSCE AS Level paper, they can
do the first text. The second text, they can do half of it. While for text three, I put a text I got
from the HKCESS paper about the Hong Kong Observatory, that they could not handle it.
Even those who answered correctly only guessed the answers because those question types
you could choose the answers. So the design of materials for the curriculum for secondary
schools because I believe as Miss Leung mentioned, it can be observed from the sharing.
But for secondary schools, how can the sharing are done?

OC:
I:

Sharing of what?
Sharing of school based materials. For example, if I designed something for vocabulary
recognition or learning through text about perhaps famous Chinese people like Genghis
Khan. So how will other schools.

OC:
I:

How will they share?


As I see it, why dont hey unify? Because it is for students best interest. I believe the bureau
also wants more sharing.

OC:

Yes more sharing. I think that for secondary schools, I know that USP has an online forum
where they occasionally organize gatherings for schools not only to share their materials but
also, ideas on teaching. There will be such occasionally such gatherings because HKU takes
the lead for USP to organize such events. But for primary schools, I myself go there annually.
They will go from planning to the actually application and divide it into many small
sections

310

I:

I have also done something similar. When you finish teaching and then you go to share. It
was organized by the EDB. So I want to ask here, the USP organize it on their own, so whats
the role of EDB in this?

OA:

For the secondary schools sharing, we will also take part in it. We will also give our
suggestions but the responsibility is commissioned to USP.

I:
OA:
I:
OC:
I:

But I think your EDB sharing is better than what their share
So you mean its more popular.
Yeah more popular. Also the sound of HKU
Academic
I mean the quality I have reservations but of course, I need to back up my claim. I have
attended some sharing by HKU, fro students and parents, but for teachers, I dont understand
what benefits teachers can get for participating in such sharing organized by the USP. This
will link up to the teachers professional development. Teachers are very busy and since the
curriculum development is important, but teachers are teachers after all, they wont have time
for curriculum development. So we know that HKU has a masters course for teaching
Chinese as a second language but other teachers dont really have but maybe because this
is still changing, learning is in the process, but how would you see teachers professional
development or the training in the curriculum development.

OA:

If you talk about the teacher training for them to teach the NCSS, I respect that a lot. Because
we have put a lot of effort into helping the students but if we dont do anything to equip the
teachers, then I dont think there will have any good results. So there a number of different
trainings provided, some long some short. We have mentioned before that we commissioned
PolyU to provide 30 hours of training to help teachers; they have held for at least five times
already. And so far for all these five times, about a hundred teachers have received the
training.

I:
OA:

Which year was this?


I think it was 2006-2007 it started. It is carried out twice every year. I think it started towards
the end of the school year of 2006-2007. There were about hundred or so teachers attending.
Then later on, besides XXX, YYY also provided an eight-week course. So the teacher can go
even during lesson time during these eight weeks not necessarily after school. So the teacher
can attend these 8-week courses, besides, we have also mentioned the Chinese Language
learning support centre or USP, they all provide briefing and seminars about the strategies of
teaching NCS students. I know that every year the Chinese language learning support will
have ten seminars conducted by not only their own teachers but they also invite teachers
from other schools. As for USP, there are online forum sharing. As for us, the EDB also has
annual sharing. Because we have given a lot of support to our designated schools, as we hope
these designated schools have developed their expertise so these valuable experiences are
being shared with other schools, even though they dont have a lot of NCS students. But
through this sharing, other schools teachers will also know about the situation. Also, the
311

materials I talked about, it is also put into the Education Resources Centre in EDB, and so if
teachers need some resources, then they can look into these materials. I think that maybe the
situation is not that they dont have the resources but that they might not have enough time to
look at so many resources. On the Mr. Chengs side, they also developed some learning
materials helped by another branch of Delia. So, if the materials are suitable then they will
print it in the form of a textbook and give it to schools. Now its September, so they will be
passing out the second set, the full set, for primary and secondary schools
I:
OC:

Give it to which schools?


To all We will first give samples to all schools then they will tell us how many NCS students
want to use the textbook and then they will give us more copies, as long as stock lasts. You
can also download it online.
W: And to implement the supplementary guide, it was published in December 2008, and we
have put so much effort in writing it so teachers also need some time to learn and apply the
guide to their teaching practices. So even after the guide was published, there were a lot of
seminars and workshops for teachers. There were different levels of them, some were basic,
some were more advanced course. Through a variety of ways, we are trying to equip the
teachers. Your question is very broad about teachers professional development. Whichever
curriculum reform, we know that they need professional development in order to do well, but
this needs time as you said teachers are very busy and sometimes there arent many
opportunities. So at times when we finish the professional development program, we will
upload the materials to the internet so that they are accessible to the teachers. We may also
publish it into books which teach them about the schools sharing as you can see some on the
table. You said earlier, HKU will have a master course, which is actually a new course. There
are older ones provided by YYY and ZZZ, ZZZ actually provides two, one is about teaching
foreigners Chinese, and one is certified by the Beijing Language and Culture University. And
the other one is from YYY and then XXX; they were established at similar times. So if you
want to study a course from grad school, there are actually a lot of options, as for masters
too. We understand that these experiences have been recently generated by Hong Kong, I
mean there are lots of L2 learning experiences around the world, but it does not come from
Chinese language. This is actually related to the position of the Chinese language in the
world. The global language is English so more people learn English when compared to the
people who are learn Chinese. So with the continuation of these experiences generated, we
believe that Hong Kong as been advancing in this aspect from the past couple of years. So we
are hoping that generally Hong Kong should have more of these experiences so as to help
with this issue. That is why we want teachers to refer to their local experiences, as we
treasure these localized experiences and hoping that it will help them. As Mrs. Wong has
mentioned, since we have published this guide in December 2008, we had a briefing, and
after that there were lots of workshops. The reason why we hold such workshops is to
interpret the guide and introduce our resources and related pedagogy. We cannot do this in
312

the limited time in seminars; seminars are conducted by some other people. The formal
Masters course is also done by others. We are responsible for the workshops according to our
supplementary guide and teach them how to use the materials we made. So we hope that it is
handy for them. Sometimes they would even enquire more. Like today I received a call
asking for more information on the use of some of the materials introduced in the last
seminar. So we are also happy the critical mass is big, but we still need time.
I:

So if I ask, the GSCE in 2011/2012, the exam will change. The SBA component will change,
is this arrangement linked up to the English and Chinese Language curriculum? To increase
the assessments so they have SBA, so teachers do not have to rely on public exams to
determine students abilities but to have SBA do part of it, about 60%.

OA:
I:
OA:

You are talking about GCSE right?


Yes GCSE.
GSCE speaking paper approximately has for different parts. Each part if you are able to get
100% and if you divide it by four then your average will be 25%. I dont have the guide with
me so Im not sure about it. But I remember that for the speaking is thirty percent, this is the
school-based assessment which will start next year in 2011.

I:

I am not sure whether if I have mistaken, but they have a SBA component which will be sent
to the United Kingdom to be marked. Two of the students writing will be selected.

OA:
I:
OA:

So they have four papers. What they will mark is the speaking...
What my concern is that the SBA, why should it be sent to the UK to be marked?
Because GCSE is an overseas exam. Their examination board, Edexel has their own
arrangements around the world. So if we want to sit for the exam, we need to follow them.
Or not, they wont let us take it.

I:
OA:
I:
OC:
I:

So that why I want to ask


Why dont you explicitly tell me whats your concern? Maybe I can answer that.
So we dont need to alternative second language curriculum, as we all understand.
There still is...
Yes, there still is. But why dont we have an alternative assessment? I dont understand why
they have to use the stick and carrot policy, if the school itself does not limit the students
learning but to have a job, I need to take GCSE but like, GCSE has down a very low
termination point, and a lot of secondary students are taking the GCSE. While HKCEE is not
suitable. Is it possible to have an exam that is localized between HKCEE and GCSE AS/AL
Level, to integrate local characteristics in it, for those students who have been brought up in
Hong Kong, will there be such an exam that can assess the students ability? Are there any
possibilities for a localized exam not only for the NCSS but also for the Chinese students? I
am not talking about syllabus A or syllabus B, what I am thinking is advanced level and one
is supplementary level examination. I know to design an exam you need a long time to make
it, you need recognition as well as an international accreditation, but what do you think of
this idea?
313

OA:

Because we can say that, since 2007, we have implement a lot of support measures, our aims
is that through various support measures if they have taken root that our students will have a
sustainable effect on their Chinese. So our aim is that their language proficiency improves
after being exposed to various support measures, level by level from primary schools. We
hope that if their language proficiency has improved, and is similar to local students, we hope
that they will take the same exam, HKCEE now. And in the near future, the HKDSE exam.
But we know that, some NCS students due to various reasons, maybe they are late starters in
learning Chinese, or maybe they do not have full opportunities to learn Chinese, so we have
provided them with an alternative Chinese Language qualification for their further studies or
their work. So which is the most suitable? As you know we have introduced the GCSE to
Hong Kong in 2007, this exam is an international exam, despite some saying that students
might not need to put so much effort in it, they will still attain an international qualification.
So through various means, we hope that students can meet their needs. So you can add on to
the alternative Chinese curriculum.

OC:

So you are saying whether we can have an exam that will suit all NCS students and Chinese
students, so exactly we have now the HKCEE and in the near future we have HKDSE. These
exams are here. There may be some unsuccessful examples or some ideas sparkled but not
applied, or sit for an easier exam. Why were these ideas not taken is because there is no
currency. Because the problem is if you provide them with another venue to enter university
through JUPAS, you may call it a concession but we would rather say we are taking care of
them so that they will feel that if obtaining such a qualification will be beneficial to them.
Sometimes what kind of qualification you want to obtain all depends on your aspirations and
what kind of job you want. But now, they may enter the university with this qualification
through JUPAS, but it all depends on whether the university accepts this qualification later on
in other Chinese courses. You can see the differences in the level. Mrs. Wong has also put a
lot of effort and hard work into decreasing the examination fee to match with the other local
exams so it that it is affordable. So we can say that we have just settled down the system. I
am sure that there are some organizations outside that might give suggestions like why dont
you do this or are there really no other way out? But they have to understand the impact it
might bring to the society as a whole. Even though we fulfill their demands, but what will be
the results to the society? If you say Chinese and Non- Chinese together sit for an exam, and
receive a qualification other than the HKDSE, then a lot of students in Hong Kong will think
that there Chinese is not so good and would want to sit for the alternative exam.

OA:

Actually the local exam is standard referenced reporting; the students are assessed with a set
of level descriptor. They are not compared with other local students but they are being
compared with the standard. From this set of level descriptors, they can clearly know what
they can achieve and what levels.

314

OC:

Because this standard referencing is very important. It is a very organized standard. Only if
they criticize and say this standard is not suitable for them, this standards coverage is very
broad.

I:

Okay, I have another question but this is only what I heard from somewhere. Is EDB doing
something about besides the discussed indicators, are they giving any indicators to
employers, for example, if I get a 5* in GCSE, what kind of skills they have?

OA:

It is not the GCSE. You are talking about the Qualification Framework.

OC:

I know what you are talking about.

OA:

I think what you are talking about is the Qualification Framework because we are developing
the framework and hoping that through this framework, the skills mastered under different
situations can be integrated so that when they are changing jobs, the employers can easily
compare.

I:
OA:

So how is the qualification framework


You can go online and see it; its actually very hard to explain it. In the framework online,
there is a section for Chinese. There four levels in the framework, qualification framework
has seven levels, but the Chinese qualification framework has developed four. They are the
basic levels.

I:

Who is responsible for making this framework?

OA:

Its EDB who made it. I will give you the link.

I:
OA:
I:

It is more for
Its for everyone. Everyone can use it.
Okay. I have another question. Its only yes or no question. When I was working with the
NGOs, I saw that, for example, they will have some courses held for the newly arrived
people by Christian Action or even after school tutorial classes. But when I asked them they
said it was provided by the CMAB, they provided them with the funding to hold such
classes. So I want to know whether CMAB provided such courses.

OA:

I know that CMAB are also very determined to help ethnic minorities so since last year, they
set up four ethnic minorities centre. In these ethnic minorities support centre, they do quite a
number of things. Including some adaptations programme, help them adapt to the life in
Hong Kong. There are also language courses, English and Chinese courses provided. The
four centers do not exactly have the same programs; they will look at the needs of their
community and accordingly organize the activities. For example, there can be computer
courses. There is one centre, besides the adaptation programme I mentioned, they will also
provide translation services. As for the newly arrived, I am not sure if they are included in the
adaptation program but if you say its for the newly arrived students, then us, EDB has also
provided such programs that are in addition to our EDB courses. I dont know whether they
provide it for adults or students.

I:
OA:

So I want to ask, for example, I want to learn Chinese


You are an adult.
315

I:
OA:

I want to learn Chinese, so does EDB have anything to do with it?


Since you are an adult, because we are only catering under education, and you are neither a
secondary school student nor a university student, I can tutor you.

I:
OA:

Night school?
EDB has full curriculum night schools, so we dont only do Chinese Language classes but
the full curriculum. We have a scheme for evening schools so its full curriculum. So its for
form 4, 5, 6 students to sit for HKDSE or now, HKCEE. But if we are talking about only
learning Chinese, there are a number of ways you can learn.

I:
OA:

ERB?
Yes ERB provides some courses, as well as VTC. If some people are unemployed, ERB will
not ask them for the course fee. Also, the Labor and Welfare Bureau, they also have a section
where they organize Chinese courses of different categories for different people. Some
classes are for housewives, if they didnt have a chance to go to school. So we have a variety
of channels. NGOs also provide language courses. For example, CMAB, after receiving
funding, they commissioned the centers to four NGOs. They really had classes for adults that
taught them some Chinese for survival in Hong Kong. Its actually a choice. If they think
they need to learn Chinese in a more structure way then they can go to ERB but if they want
to stay in their own district, then they can go to NGOs to learn something for survival

I:
OA:
I:
OA:
I:
OA:
I:

But EDB has nothing to do with it?


No, EDB does not have anything to do with it. We dont do such things.
Can I say if you dont do it means it doesnt even fall under your monitoring?
Nope, it does not.
So its nothing to do with EDB where they get their funding from?
No, they dont fall under us so its not.
But will they let you participate or ask you for suggestions? Because as you can see, people
from my generation, after 80s, a lot of them did not study Chinese or learnt only very little,
so they want to learn Chinese. But those courses provided are not suitable for them such the
survival Chinese. Even if they go to the Labor Department

OA:
I:
OA:

But the courses are not too difficult now


Its too easy.
Its too easy because you can speak Cantonese, and if I attend the classes, I will be taught
how to buy things, etc. So some people they can speak very fluently but are very bad at
writing, what will they do?
W: I dont think they cant do anything about it. I think ERB, I am not sure if they still have
the course, but I know ERB and VTC, when they were opening their classes, it was for NCS
speakers, even adults, the scope covered the adults. Their courses have taught about the
NGOs and ethnic minorities groups suggestions, they have take into account their opinions,
like which courses are suitable for them. So they reflected through these channels and made
their Survival Cantonese course harder. So they are willing to hold such courses and
316

because I have been in contact with them, I know that their biggest barrier in opening such
classes is that they do not have enough people. They are willing to have it. For example, the
ERB in 2009 and 2010, they had planned to provide courses for these NCS students, if there
was such a demand, they were willing to open a large number of courses, but they said that
most of the time they are willing to gather people, but they would record which courses
people would like to take, but it takes them more than a year to gather the people. I also
suggested them that to seek help from NGOs, and ask the minorities in their districts whether
or not they would like to take these courses but they said they had already tried this path and
were still not able to find enough people. So, thats why they cant open it. Even the ERB, if
they provide normal local courses, there is a quota that they need to meet before they can
open the class. But for these designated courses for NCS, they have are flexible with the
quota. They have actually cut down the quota by half, thats what I heard. But of course, you
dont expect them to open a class with only three or four people right? At least there should
be around eight or nine to justify the use of the resources.
I:
OA:

Sometimes there is demand but the timing, demand and supply does not meet.
Exactly. Thats why I think if they really want to, there is no problem in pulling all those
NCS willing to learn and open up a class. It is possible.

I:

Is there anything you want to add?

317

Appendix 7

Notes to lesson Observation

Teacher A:
Basic Information:
Number of classes observed: 2
Number of lessons observed: 3 (2 double & 1 single)
Classes observed: S1 (25 Ss, 17 Boys & 8 girls) & S4 (28 Ss, 17 Girls & 11 Boys)
Class Level: Poor, Average
Organizing teaching: (S1 and S4)
 S4 lesson focused on teaching students how to expand vocabulary with compounds
 Students learnt how to build vocabulary with the word Yan, Fo and San and they
have to combine the character with another compound word throughout the lessons.
Yan was an example and lead in and the other two characters were classwork.
Students used Yale Romanization and writing English meaning in the process in
recognizing the compound characters.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------







S1 lesson focused on teaching students how to decode a short paragraph in a text.


The teacher employed the scaffolding approach in building students to understand the
passage (32 characters) and games with rewards were used to motivate students to engage
in the lesson

Process of teaching:
 Teacher employed TCSL approach in the teaching and English was used more than the
Chinese in the lesson in both classes. The teacher appeared to have good grasp of

professional knowledge and good attitude towards teaching the NCSS. Only in the S1
lesson, the element of scaffolding and motivation was used to sustain learners interest.
Teachers expectation was below par as students were quite articulated and make jokes in
the lessons. The learning density was low, since students were learning the characters in
isolation and lack the essence of built-on in S4. Similarly, in S1, the learning density is
still considered low as most of the characters might have been learnt in the primary
school by the students.

Although, the vocabulary taught was drawn on learners daily life experiences, the
learning was not challenging enough. Since the school employed flexible grouping
318

catering for diversity was employed at the school level but at the group level it was

inadequate. It appears that the opportunities for different learners to participate was
minimal as there is a lack the awareness of catering for individual needs and there were
no employment of differentiated provisions for individuals
The interaction pattern was one-way and it was restrictive. No student-student interaction

was observed in the S4 group. However in the S1, the use of cue card games makes the
interaction and students motivation vivid.
Throughout the lesson, no IT and other teaching resources was used to enhance the
teaching effectiveness of the lesson. Only blackboard and students course book was
used.

Feedback and follow-up:


 No consolidation was done at the lesson and traces of assessment as learning was not
observed in S4. Consolidation was done in the S1 lesson with the cue card games.
 Since the lesson was employed with the conventional approach: TS; no signs of
feedback were observed.
 No homework or lesson preparation work was assigned to students in S4. A meaningful
homework was given to S1 as Easter assignment where learners have to write a short
report on what Cantonese programme they have observed at home.
Process of learning:
 S4: Students attitude was somewhat care-free and was interested with jokes and happy
moments in the lesson. The notion of learning is a query.
 S1: Students were aroused and sustained throughout the lesson as the elements of games
and competition was used.
Learning performance:
 The learning atmosphere was average since students lacked basic learning strategies such
as note-taking and questioning. Thus, frequent off-task behavior was noted. In the S1
lesson, the lack of basic learning strategies was also an issue but learners were engaged


with the activities due to the competition.


In both lessons, owing to the design of the lesson, students were unable to relate their
knowledge and skills to a higher level. Since the expectations on the students were low,
students could finish the tasks very promptly. No signs of students being able to
demonstrate the use of generic skills such as communication skills, critical thinking,
creativity and collaboration skills.

Overall Comments for Teacher A:


 The teacher employed CSL approach and curriculum in teaching NCSS Chinese. The
school has invested huge amount of resources in building the school-based curriculum to
319

cater for the CSL initiative.




Learners were acquainted with the Yale Romanization but it lacks the appeal in the daily
life. Since most of these learners will stay in HK for good, would the learning be
adequate for them to cope upon the graduation in HKDSE? It seems students are given
choices on how much they want to learn.

The learning density in the lesson is low and students having the ownership of the lesson
was not at par. This might be partly due to the attitude towards Chinese learning and
motivation in the lesson.

With the manner in which the TCSL curriculum is designed, it is difficult to imagine how
most of the elements mentioned (Chinese cultureetc) in the Chinese curriculum
framework could be incorporated with the current pace of teaching. The ultimate
objective might be to get students to pass the GCSE exam and these learners will be left




to survive in the mainstream Chinese society or escape from the mainstream if possible.
Students lacked basic learning strategies for learning in the lesson such as note-taking
and asking questions in the lesson. This might be partly due to the design of the lesson
which did not cater for their need or their ability to relate to their daily lives.
The use of teaching resources was restricted to blackboard so the lesson could not have
been made more interactive.
It seems that students learning were confined to learning only in the classroom and no
obvious indication was there to suggest that Chinese learning takes place beyond
classroom time.
It appears that the school would stream average or poor ability students to TCSL stream.

Teacher B:
Basic Information:
Number of classes observed: 2
Number of lessons observed: 2 (2 single)
Classes observed: S1 (18 Ss, 18 Boys) & S3 (24 Ss, 8 Girls & 16 Boys)
Class level: Poor, Average.
Organizing teaching: (S1 and S3)
 The S1 lesson focused on teaching students the vocabulary of different types of public
transportation
 Students learnt the different vocabulary at word level
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The S3 lesson focused on reviewing the test paper and throughout the lesson the teacher
checked the answers with the students
320

Process of teaching:
 In the S1 lesson, the teacher elicits from the students and lists all the public transportation
on the board. In the process the teacher has to teach students the differences between
public and private transportation and some written or oral form of the vocabulary. While





in the S3, it was just checking answers from section to section.


The teacher lacked skills in managing the classroom behavior; some students were
sleeping and some over having task avoidance behavior. The teacher continued teaching
despite the need for intervention.
The teaching of vocabulary in isolation was ineffective since learners were not given
opportunities to link their previous learning in a systematic manner. While the purpose of
checking the test paper was meant for assessment for learning, quality feedback was not
evident and learners were not drawn to major strengths and weaknesses of their
performance in the test.
Since the school employed flexible grouping catering for diversity was employed at the
school level but at the group level it was inadequate. It appears that the opportunities for
different learners to participate was minimal as there is a lack of the awareness of
catering for individual needs and there were no employment of differentiated provisions
for individuals
The interaction pattern was one-way and it was restrictive. No student-student interaction
was observed.
Throughout the lesson, no IT and other teaching resources was used to enhance the
teaching effectiveness of the lesson. Only blackboard and students course book was
used.

Feedback and follow-up:


 No consolidation was done at the lesson and traces of assessment as learning was not
observed.
 Since the lesson was employed with the conventional approach: TS; no signs of
constructive feedback were observed.
 Only drilling homework was given to the students and students seemed to be reluctant
with the assignment.
Process of learning:
 Students attitude was somewhat care-free and was not interested with the content of
the lesson or motivation in learning Chinese.
Learning performance:
 The learning atmosphere was abysmal and students lacked basic learning strategies such
321

as note-taking and questioning. Thus, a lot of frequent off-task behavior was noted.


In both lessons, owing to the design of the lesson, students were unable to relate their
knowledge and skills to a higher level. Since the expectations on the students were low,
students could finish the tasks very promptly. No signs of students being able to
demonstrate the use of generic skills such as communication skills, critical thinking,
creativity and collaboration skills.

Overall Comments for Teacher B:


 The teacher employed TCSL approach which was ineffective with the two groups that
were observed. Methodologically, students were not engaged and the lesson was
somewhat a chalk and talk approach.
 Learners were generally not interested with the lesson and were disruptive with the

lessons. The learning density in the lesson is low and students having the ownership of
the lesson was not at par. This might be partly due to the attitude towards Chinese
learning and motivation in the lesson.
With the manner in which the TCSL curriculum is designed, it is difficult to imagine how
most of the elements mentioned (Chinese cultureetc) in the Chinese curriculum

framework could be incorporated with the current pace of teaching. The ultimate
objective might be to get students to pass the GCSE exam and these learners will be left
to survive in the mainstream Chinese society or escape from the mainstream if possible.
Students lacked basic learning strategies for learning in the lesson such as note-taking

and asking questions in the lesson. There were no established routine in the class and
students spoke in their L1 frequently. This might be partly due to the design of the lesson
which did not cater for their needs or their ability to relate to their daily lives.
The use of teaching resources was restricted to blackboard so the lesson could not have

been made more interactive.


It seems that students learning were confined to learning only in the classroom and no
obvious indication was there to suggest that Chinese learning takes place beyond
classroom time.

322

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Anderson, W., Krathwohl, R. (2000) A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A
revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives, abridged edition. New York:
Longman
Andrews, S.J. (2007). Teacher language awareness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bailey, K., and Nunan, D. (1996). Voices from the language classroom. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Bass, C. (1998). Education in Tibet: policy and practice since 1950. London: Zed books.
Ben-Zeev, S. (1984). Bilingualism and cognitive development. In N. Miller (Ed.),
Bilingualism and language disability: Assessment and remediation (pp. 55-80). San
Diego: College-Hill Press.
Berry, J. W., Phinney, J.S., Sam, D.L., Vedder, P., (2006) Immigrant youth in cultural
transition : Acculturation, identity, and adaptation across national contexts. New Jersey:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc Publishers
Bialystok, E. (Ed.). (1991). Language processing in bilingual children. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Bialystok, E., and Cummins, J. (1991). Language, cognition, and education of bilingual
children.In E. Bialystok (Ed.), Language processing in bilingual children (pp.222-232).
Cambridge,Mass: Cambridge University Press.
Blachford, D.R. (1999): Language planning and bilingual education for linguistic
minorities in China: A case study of the policy formulation and implementation
process: PHD Thesis, University of Toronto, Canada: Unpublished.
Bley-Vroman, R., Felix, S and Ioup, G (1988). The accessibility of universal grammar in adult
language learning. Second Learning Research, 4, 1-32.
Bloom, B.S. (1956) Taxonomy of educational objectives, handbook I: The cognitive domain.
New York: David McKay Co Inc.
323

Borchigud, W. (1995). The impact of urban ethnic education on modern Mongolian ethnicity,
1949-1966. In Harrell, S. Cultural encounters on Chinas ethnic frontiers (pp.278-300).
Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.
Bourdieu, P. (1985). The forms of capital. In Richardson, J. Handbook of theory and
research for the sociology of education. New York: Greenwood Press.
Brewer, J. (2000) Ethnography. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Brown, R. and Hanlon, C. (1970). Derivational complexity and the order of acquisition in
child speech. In J. Hayes (ed.), Cognition and the development of language. New York:
John Wiley.
Brumfit, C.J. (1984) Function and structure of a state school syllabus for learners of second or
foreign languages with heterogenous needs in British Council. In White, R.V. (1988).
The ELT Curriculum Oxford: Blackwell.
Burck, Charlotte. (2005). Multilingual living: Explorations of language and subjectivity.
Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillam.
Bussman (1996). Routledge dictionary of language and linguistics. UK. Routledge.
Candlin, C.N. (1984). Syllabus design as a critical process. In C.J. Brumfit (Ed.), General
English syllabus design, 29-46. ELT Documents 118. Oxford: Peragmon/British Council.
Caritas Community Centre (2010). Survey on working condition of South Asians in Hong
Kong. Hong Kong: Caritas Community Centre, Kowloon.
Carroll, J.B. (ed.) (1956) Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee
Whorf. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Carspecken, P.F. (1996). Critical ethnography in education research: A theoretical and
practical guide .New York: Routledge.
Carspecken, P.F. (1999). Four scenes of posing question of meaning, and the other
explorations in critical philosophy and critical methodology. New York: Peter Lang
Publishing, Inc.

324

Carspecken, P.F., Walford, G. (2001). Critical ethnography and education. Vol.5: Studies in
educational ethnography. Amsterdam: Jai

Census and Statistics Department. (2006). Population Census 2006: Thematic report, ethnic
minorities. Hong Kong: Census and Statistics Department.

Cheng, Z. (2000) Word structure and vocabulary acquisition: Theory and application to
Mandarin Chinese as a second/foreign language. University of Florida: PhD Dissertation,
Unpublished.
Chomsky, N. (1959). Review of B.F. Skinner Verbal behavior. Language, 35, 26-58
Clem, W. (2008). Study of minorities in mainstream schools ridiculed. South China Morning
Post, 22 November 2008.
Clothey, R.A. (2004): Strangers in a strange place: The experience of ethnic minority students
at the central university of nationalities in Beijing: PHD Thesis, University of Pittsburgh:
Unpublished.
Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, Hong Kong SAR Government (2010). Second
report of the peoples republic of China under the international covenant on economic,
social and cultural rights. Hong Kong: CMAB.
Collier, V.P. (1989). "How long? A synthesis of research on academic achievement in second
language." TESOL Quarterly, 23, 509-531.
Collier, V.P. (1992). A synthesis of studies examining long-term language minority student
data on academic achievement. Bilingual Research Journal, 16 (1-2), 187-212.
Coulmas, F. (1984) Linguistic minorities and literacy. Trends in linguistics. Berlin. New York.
Amsterdam: Mouton Publishers.
Cummins, J. (1991). Interdependence of first- and second-language proficiency in bilingual
children. In E. Bialystok (Ed.), Language processing in bilingual children (pp.
70-89).Cambridge, Mass: Cambridge University Press.

325

Cummins, J. (1994). The role of primary language development in promoting educational


success for language minority students. In Bilingual Education Office (Ed.), Schooling
and language-minority students: A theoretical framework (2nd ed., pp. 3-46). Los
Angeles: Evaluation, Dissemination and Assessment Center, California State University.
Curriculum Development Council (2008). Supplementary guide to the Chinese Language
curriculum for non-Chinese speaking students. Hong Kong: Education Bureau.

Davies, I.K. (1976) Objectives in curriculum design. London: McGraw Hill


Denzin, N. K. (2001). Interpretive interactionism (2nd ed.).Thousand oaks, CA: Sage.
Diaz, R. M., & Klingler, C. (1991). Towards an explanatory model of the interaction between
bilingualism and cognitive development. In E. Bialystok (Ed.), Language processing in
bilingual children (pp. 167-192). Cambridge, Mass: Cambridge University Press.
Dulay, H., Burt, M. and Krashen, S. (1982). Language two. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dwyer, A.M. (1998). The texture of tongues: Languages and power in China. In Safran, W.
(Ed.), Nationalism and ethnoregional identities in China (pp 68-85). London: Frank
Cass.
Education Bureau, Hong Kong SAR Government (2001). Learning to learn: The way forward
in curriculum development. Hong Kong: Education and Manpower Bureau.

Education Bureau, Hong Kong SAR Government (2004). Survey on the school curriculum
reform and implementation of key learning area curricula in schools 2003. Hong Kong:
Education and Manpower Bureau.

Education Bureau, Hong Kong SAR Government (2010a). Support for non-Chinese speaking
students, Project of after-school extended Chinese learning. Memorandum (108/2010)
Available
at
http://www.edb.gov.hk/index.aspx?nodeID=73&langno=1&is_submit=1&search_type=2&cir
cular_subject=&circular_distribution=0A&circular_title=&circular_num=108%2F2010&cir_
date1=&cir_date2 Accessed on 14 August 2010
Education Bureau, Hong Kong SAR Government (2010b). Support for non-Chinese speaking
students, General certificate of secondary education (Chinese) Examination School-based
326

Assessment

in

2011.

Memorandum

(97/2010)

Available

at

http://www.edb.gov.hk/index.aspx?nodeID=73&langno=1&is_submit=1&search_type=2&cir
cular_subject=&circular_distribution=0A&circular_title=&circular_num=97%2F2010&cir_d
ate1=&cir_date2= Accessed on 14 August 2010
Eisner, E. W. (1972) Emerging models for educational evaluation. School Review, 80, 573-90.
Eisner, E.W. (1977) On the use of educational connoisseurship and educational criticism for
evaluating classroom life. Teachers College Record 78(3) 345-58
Ellis, R. (1990). Instructed second language acquisition. Oxford: Blackwell.
Ellis, R. (1994) The study of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ellis, R. (2004). The definition and measurement of explicit knowledge. Language Learning,
54(2), 281-318.
Equal Opportunities Commission (2011). Report on the working group on education for ethnic
minorities. Hong Kong: Equal Opportunities Commission
Fine, M. (1994). Dis-stance and other stances: Negotiations of power inside feminist research.
In A. Gitlin (Ed.), Power and methods (pp.13-55). New York: Routledge
Fletcher, P. and Garman, M. (eds) (1986). Language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Fry, D. (1977). Homo loquens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Garcia, E. (1994). Understanding and meeting the challenge of student cultural diversity.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Gao, Y. D., G. Q. Li and X. Guo (1993). A Report on the Investigation and Study Foreigners
Learning and Using Chinese. Beijing: Beijing Language Institute Press. In Cheng, Z.
(2000) Word structure and vocabulary acquisition: Theory and application to
Mandarin Chinese as a second/foreign language. University of Florida: PhD
Dissertation, Unpublished.

327

Genesee, F. (1987). Learning through two languages: Studies of immersion and bilingual
education. Cambridge, MA: Newbury House.
Genesee, F. (Ed.). (1994). Educating second language children: The whole child, the whole
curriculum, the whole community. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gil, G. (2002). Two complementary modes of foreign language classroom interaction. ELT
Journal Volume, 56(3), 273-279.
Goodlad, J.I. (1966) School curriculum & the individual. Waltham, Mass: Blaisdell.
Gordon, R.L. (2003). Dimensions of depth interview. American Journal of Sociology,
62,158-164
Greene, J & McClintock, C. (1985) Triangulation in evaluation. Evaluation Review, 9 (5)
523-45
Gronlund, N.E. (1981) Measurement & evaluation in teaching. New York: Macmillan Pub.
Co.
Guba, E.G., Lincoln, Y. (1981) Effective Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers
Hansen, M.H. (1999). Lessons in being Chinese: Minority education and ethnic
identity in southwest China. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Hau, K.T. (2008) Report on study on tracking and adaptation and development of non-Chinese
speaking children in mainstream schools. Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong
Kong.
Herdina, P. and Jessner, U. (2002). A dynamic modal of multilingualism. Perspectives of
change in psycholinguistics. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Hernandez-Chavez, E. (1984). The inadequacy of English immersion education as an
educational approach for language minority students in the United States. In Studies on
immersion education: A collection for United States educators (pp. 144-183).
Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education.

328

Hitchcock, G. and Hughes, D. (1995) Research and the teacher. A qualitative introduction to
school-based research, 2nd ed. London: Routledge.
Hoffmann, C. (2001). Towards a description of trilingual competence. The International
Journal of Bilingualism 5(1), 1-17.
Home Affairs Department, Hong Kong SAR Government (2011). Third report of the HKSAR
of the PRC in the light of the international covenant on civil and political rights. Hong
Kong: HAD.
Hopper, R. (ed.) (1971) The curriculum: Context, design and development.
Johnson, K. (1996). Language teaching and skill learning. Oxford: Blackwell.
Johnson, R.B., & Onwuegbuzie, A.J. (2004) Mixed methods of research: A research paradigm
whose time has come. Educational Researcher, 33(7), 14-26. In Yin, R. (2006). Mixed
methods research: Are the methods genuinely integrated or merely parallel? Research
in the Schools, 13, 41-47.
Kessler, C. (1984). Language acquisition in bilingual children. In N. Miller (Ed.), Bilingualism
and language disability (pp. 26-54). San Diego: College-Hill Press.
Kerr, J.F. (ed). (1968) Changing the curriculum. London: University of London Press.
Ki W.W. & Tse S.K. (2009). Teachers handbook on teaching Chinese for non-Chinese
speaking students (Consultation: Hong Kong: CACLER, Faculty of Education, the
University of Hong Kong.
Krashen, S. (1977) Some issues relating to the Monitor Model. In H. D. Brown, C. Yorio and
R. Crymes (Eds.) On TESOL '77: Teaching and learning English as a second language:
Trends in research and practice. Washington: TESOL. pp. 144-158.
Krashen, S. (1978) Individual variation in the use of the Monitor. In W. Ritchie (Ed.)
Principles of second language learning. New York: Academic Press. pp. 175-183.
Krashen, S. (1981) Second language acquisition and second language learning.
Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Krashen, S. (1985). The input hypothesis. Beverly Hills: Laredo.
329

Ku, H.B., Chan, K.M., Chan, W.L. & Lee, W.Y. (2003). A research report on the life
experiences of Pakistanis in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Centre for Social Policy Studies
Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and
S.K.H. Lady MacLehose Centre.
Ku, H.B, Chan, K.M. & Sandhu, K.K. (2005). A research report on the education of South
Asian ethnic minority groups in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Centre for Social Policy
Studies, Department of Applied Social Science, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University,
and Unison Hong Kong.
Ku, H. B., Chan, K.M, Lo, S.L., Singh T. (2010). (Re) Understanding multiracial Hong Kong:
Eight stories of South Asians in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Center for Social Policy
Studies, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Lam, A. (2005) Language education in China: Policy and experience from 1949, University of
Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Lantolf, P.J, Throne, L.S. (1994) Sociocultural theory and second language acquisitions. In
VanPatten, B., Williams, J. (2006) Theories in Second Language Acquisitions: An
Introduction. Routledge pp. 201-220.
Lau, M. (2008). Language guide for Chinese falls short of mark. South China Morning Post, 6
December 2008.
Lau, M. (2009). Activists take their fight all the way to UN. South China Morning Post, 10
July 2009.
Larsen-Freeman, D. and Long, M. (1991). An introduction to second language acquisition
research. London: Longman.
Legislative Council, Hong Kong SAR Government (2008). LCQ7: Education and vocational
training for the ethnic minorities. Press Release. Available at http:
//www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/200801/09/P200801090137.htm. Accessed on 7 July
2010.
Lee, M.S., (2006). Becoming multilingual: A study of South Asian students in a Hong Kong
secondary school. M.A dissertation, University of Hong Kong: Unpublished.
330

Lin, A.M.Y. (1996) Bilingualism or linguistic segregation? Symbolic domination, resistance,


and code-switching in Hong Kong schools. Linguistics and Education 8 (1), 49-84.
Loper, K. (2004). Race and ethnicity: A study of ethnic minorities in Hong Kongs education
system. Hong Kong: Centre for Policy Studies Department of Applied Social Sciences,
the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and S.K.H. Lady MacLehose Centre.
Madison, D.S, (2005) Critical ethnography: method, ethics and performance. California: Sage
Mager, F.F. (1962) Preparing instructional objectives. California: Fearon
Malakoff, M., & Hakuta, K. (1991). Translation skill and metalinguistic awareness in
bilinguals. In E. Bialystok (Ed.), Language processing in bilinguals (pp. 141-166).
Cambridge, Mass: Cambridge University Press.
Markee. N (1997) Managing Curricular Innovation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Marx, N. and Hufeisen, B. (2004). A critical overview of research on third language
acquisition and multilingualism published in the German language. The International
Journal of Multilingualism 1(2): 141-154.
Miller, M. (1980). Sprachliche sozialisation. In K. Hurrelmann and D. Ulrich (eds), Handbuch
der Sozialisation. Weinheim.

Minicucci, C., & Olsen, L. (1992). Programs for secondary limited English proficient students:
A California study. Washington, DC: NCBE.

McNeill, A et al. (2004). Benchmarking modern languages in UK Higher Education: insights


from the language teaching community. Language Learning Journal, 11(30), 12-18

McNeil, J (1977) Curriculum: A comprehensive introduction. Boston: Little, Brown.


Nicholls, A., Nicholls, H. (1978) Developing a Curriculum: a Practical Guide. London: Allen
and Unwin.
Noblit, G. W., Flores, S. Y., & Murillo, E. G., Jr. (Eds). (2004). Postcritical ethnography: an
introduction. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton.
331

Oakes, J. (1985). Keeping track: How schools structure inequality. New Haven: Yale
University Press.
Ogbu, J. (1993). Variability in minority school performance: A problem in search of an
explanation. In E. Jacob & C. Jordan (Eds.), Minority education: Anthropological
perspectives (pp. 83-111). Norwood,NJ: Ablex.
Office of Chinese Language Council International, PRC (2007) Standards for teachers of
Chinese to speakers of other languages. Beijing: Foreign language teaching and research
press
Partlett, M. & Hamilton, D. (1972), Evaluation as Illumination: A New Approach to the Study
of Innovatory Programmes. In Beyond the Numbers Game: A Reader
in Education
Evaluation. Hamilton, D., Jenkins, D., King, C., MacDonald, B., and Partlett, M. (eds)
London: Macmillan.
Pennycook, A. (2002) Language policy and docile bodies: Hong Kong and governmentality. In
J.W. Tollefson (ed.) Language Policies in Education: Critical Issues (pp.91-110).
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Pica, T. (1994). Questions from the language classroom: research perspective. TESOL
Quarterly, 28(1), 49-79.
Pole, C., Morrison, M. (2003) Ethnography for education. Berkshire: Open University Press
Poon, A.Y.K. (2000a) Medium of instruction in Hong Kong: Polices and practices. Lanham:
University Press of America.
Poon, A.Y.K. (2000b) Implementing the medium of instruction policy in Hong Kong schools.
In D.C.S. Li, A.M.Y. Lin, and W.K. Tsang (eds) Language and Education in
Postcolonial Hong Kong (pp.148-78). Hong Kong: Linguistic Society of Hong Kong.
Popham, W.J. (1977) Educational evaluation. N.J. Prentice-Hall.
Postiglione, G.A. (1992). The implication of modernization for the education of Chinas
national minorities. In R.Hayhoe (Ed.), Modernization and Education in China
(pp.307-336). Oxford, New York, Seoul, Tokyo: Pergamon Press.

332

Powney, J. and Watts, M.D. (1987) Interviewing in educational research. London: Routledge
and Kegan Paul.
Rice, M. and S. Kemper. (1984). Child language and cognition. Baltimore, MD.
Robinson, P. (1997). Individual differences and the fundamental similarity of implicit and
explicit adult second language learning. Language Learning, 47(1), 45-99.
Sapir, E. (1921) Language: An introduction to the study of speech. New York: Harcourt, Brace
& World
Sautman, B. (1998). Preferential policies for ethnic minorities in China: The case of Xinjiang.
In W. Safran (Ed.), Nationalism and ethnoregional identities in China
London: Frank Cass Publishers.

(pp.86-118),

SCHOLAR (2003) Action plan to raise language standards in Hong Kong. Hong Kong:
SCHOLAR
Scriven, M (1967) The methodology of evaluation In Stake, R.E. (Ed) Curriculum evaluation,
AERA monograph series on evaluation, No. 1 Chicago: Rand McNally.
Schumann, J. (1976), Social distance as a factor in second language acquisition. Language
Learning, 26: 135143.

Schumann, J. (1978a) The pidginization process. Rowley, Ma: Newbury House.


Schumann, J. (1978b) The acculturation model for second-language acquisition, In R. Gingras
(Ed.) Second-language acquisition and foreign language teaching. Arlington, Virginia:
Center for Applied Linguistics. pp. 27-50.
Shulman, L.S. (1984). The practical and the eclectic: A deliberation on teaching and
educational research. Curriculum enquiry. 14(2), 183-200.
Singh, S. K. (2001). Multilingualism. New Delhi: Bahri.
Silverman, D. (2001) Interpreting Qualitative Data. Methods for analyzing talk, texts and
interaction, 2nd edn. London: Sage

333

Skehan, P. (1989). Individual differences in second language learning. London: Edward


Arnold
Skinner, B.F. 1957. Verbal behavior. London.
Spencer, D. (1988). "Transitional bilingual education and the socialization of immigrants."
Harvard Educational Review, 58, 133-153.
Sockett, H. (1976) Designing the curriculum. London: Open books
Srivastava, R.N. (1984) Literacy education for minorities: A case study from Indian. In:
Coulmas, F. (1984) Linguistic Minorities and Literacy. Trends in Linguistics. S.a.M.26.
Berlin. New York. Amsterdam: Mouton Publishers.
Stake, R. E. (1967) The countenance of educational evaluation. Teachers College Record (68)
523-540
Stake, R.E. (1975) Evaluating the arts in education: A responsive approach. Ohio: Charles E.
Merrill.
Stavenhaghen, R. (1984) Linguistic minorities and language policy in Latin America:
The
case of Mexico. In: Coulmas, F. (1984) Linguistic Minorities and Literacy. Trends in
Linguistics. S.a.M.26. Berlin. New York. Amsterdam: Mouton Publishers.
Stenhouse. M. (1975) An Introduction to Curriculum Research and Development. London:
Heinemann,
Steinberg, D.D., Sciarini, V.N. (2006) An Introduction to Psycholinguistics. England: Pearson
Education Limited
Stites, R. (1999) Writing cultural boundaries: National minority language policy,

literacy

planning, and bilingual education. In G.A. Postiglione Ed., Chinas national minority
education: Culture, schooling, and development (pp.95-130). New York: Falmer Press.
Stufflebeam, D. L., et al (1971) Educational evaluation and decision-making. Indiana: Phi
Delta Kappa
Taylor, P.H. and Richards, C. (1979) An introduction to curriculum studies. Windsor: NFER
Publishing Co.
334

Thomas, J. (1993). Doing critical ethnography. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.


Thomas, R. (1987) Language teacher competence and language teacher education. In Bowers,
R. (ed.) Language teacher education: An integrated programme for EFL teacher
training. (pp.35-42) British Council: Modern English Publication
Thomas, W.P., & Collier, V.P. (1995). Language minority student achievement and program
effectiveness. Manuscript in preparation.
Thomas, W.P., & Collier, V.P. (1997). School effectiveness for language minorities students.
Washington DC: National Clearing House for Bilingual Education
Tsang, P. (2010a). Five languages, but police dont want him. South China Morning Post, 24
May 2010.
Tsang, P. (2010b). Minorities left cold by language courses. South China Morning Post, 9 June
2010.
Tse S.K., Marton F.I., Ki W.W. & Loh E.K.Y. (2007). An integrated perceptual approach for
teaching Chinese characters, Instructional Science, 35 (5), 375-406
Tse, W. (2011). Last warning on help for minorities. The Standard, 12 August 2011
Tsung L.T.H., Shum M.S.K. & Ki W.W. (2007a). Language situation of South Asian students
in Hong Kong. China Langauge and Society Year Book: Social Science Academy.
Tsung L.TH. et al (2007b). Lesson designs and graded materials for SSP in Chinese Language
learning. Hong Kong: The University of Hong Kong
Tsung L.T.H., Shum M.S.K. & Ki W.W. (2008). Teaching Chinese to South Asian students in
Hong Kong: Policies and Issues. Conference on Minority Language Education in China:
Issues and Perspectives. Hong Kong: The University of Hong Kong.
Ullah, R. (2008). An investigation of the relative suitability of a local Chinese examination
and an overseas Chinese examination for non-Chinese speaking students in Hong Kong.
Med dissertation, Baptist University: Unpublished
Unison (2008) Our views to the report on tracking the adaptation and development of
335

non-Chinese speaking children. Paper submitted to the legislative council. 8 December


2008.
Unison (2010) Use of Language Fund to enhance Chinese Language proficiency of EM people
in HK. Paper submitted to the Education Bureau. July 2010.
Vygotsky, L.S. (1934/1962) Thought and Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Wang, H. (ed.) (1986). A Word-Frequency Dictionary of Modern Chinese. Beijing:
Beijing
Language Institute Press. In Cheng, Z. (2000) Word structure and vocabulary acquisition:
Theory and application to Mandarin Chinese as a second/foreign language. University of
Florida: PhD Dissertation, Unpublished.
Walsh, S. (2006). Talking the talk of the TESOL classroom. ELT Journal Volume, 60(2),
133-141.
Walton, R. (1992) Expanding the vision of foreign language education: Enter the less
commonly taught languages. National Foreign Language Center, USA: Occasional
Papers.
Wang, X. (1995) Chinese syntactic system and second language acquisition: Approaches to
the teaching of Chinese as a second language. PhD Thesis: The University of Arizona:
Unpublished.
White, R.V. (1988). The ELT Curriculum Oxford: Blackwell.
Williams, R. (1997). Hegels ethics of recognition. Berkeley, CA: University of California
Press.
Windowson, H.G. (1979) Explorations in Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University
Press.
Wong, F.L. (1991). Second language learning in children: A model of language learning in
social context. In E. Bialystok (Ed.), Language processing in bilingual children (pp.
49-69). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Worthens, B.R. & Sanders, J.R. (1987) Education evaluation: alternative approaches &
practical guidelines. New York, Longman
336

Yang Memorial Methodist Social Service. (2000). Educational needs and social adaptation of
ethnic minority youth in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Yang Memorial Methodist Social
Service.
Yang Memorial Methodist Social Service. (2002). A study on outlets of the South Asian ethnic
minority youth in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Yang Memorial Methodist Social Service.
Yau, E. (2009). Minority report. South China Morning Post, 16 October 2009.
Yin, R. (2006). Mixed methods research: Are the methods genuinely integrated or merely
parallel? Research in the Schools, 13, 41-47.
(2007)
. :
1985

337