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postgraduate thesis: Implementation of trilingual education in the early years : observations from five kindergartens in Hong Kong

TitleImplementation of trilingual education in the early years : observations from five kindergartens in Hong Kong
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Lee, P. D. [李佩鈴]. (2015). Implementation of trilingual education in the early years : observations from five kindergartens in Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5689274
AbstractExisting research on trilingual education has typically focused on primary and secondary classrooms, and there is dearth of research on implementation of trilingual education in preschools. The Hong Kong government promotes bi-literacy and a trilingual policy, and the Education Bureau has in 1997 officially endorsed teaching of Cantonese, Putonghua and English to kindergarteners from the age of three, with the transfer of sovereignty from British to Chinese rule. Against this background, this thesis (i) portrays the teaching of Cantonese, Putonghua and English in kindergartens wherein vouchers can and cannot be encashed in Hong Kong; and (ii) examines similarities and differences in teaching practices among language teachers within the same kindergarten, and across “voucher” and “non-voucher” kindergartens. One voucher kindergarten was randomly selected from each of Hong Kong’s three regions, and two non-voucher kindergartens were studied as special cases, in order to illustrate the range of prevalent practices. Half-day classes for four- year-olds were chosen for the study. Language lessons across five consecutive school days were video-taped in each kindergarten, and classroom language activities were analyzed using an adapted version of the Communicative Orientation of Language Teaching (COLT) observation scheme. The quality of the classroom environment and literacy curricula were assessed using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) and Curricular Subscales Extension (ECERS-E). Five principals and fourteen language teachers were interviewed on language policies and curriculum, the environment for language teaching, and their teaching practices and beliefs. Curriculum documents and classroom observations suggest that kindergartens attempted to align topics, vocabulary and sentence patterns of the three languages to help children make connections among the languages. Teacher-directed, whole-class teaching was the predominant mode of instruction in all three languages across kindergarten classrooms. Cantonese teachers spent significantly more time on teaching numbers and characters than other teachers, and Putonghua teachers used significantly more time on involving children to present role-play and songs to the class to teach vocabulary and pronunciation. English teachers often used the direct-instruction method to teach phonics and vocabulary. Classroom observations indicate the teaching of Cantonese, Putonghua and English in voucher and non-voucher kindergartens had more similarities than differences although teachers in non-voucher kindergartens provided significantly more lesson time than other teachers for children to give short oral answers, and teachers in voucher-kindergartens used significantly more visual resources than other teachers. Similar language teaching practices were also found among the three groups of language teachers within the same kindergarten, as they were equally affected by similar factors such as curriculum, instruction time, resources, parental demands, and principals’ and teachers’ beliefs. When rated with ECERS-R and ECERS-E, the quality of the learning environment of the five classrooms ranged from excellent to minimal, and non-voucher kindergartens were not necessarily providing the best environment. Although teachers believed that learning through play and interactions was the best ways to learn language, a scripted curriculum with limited language instruction time, parental pressures for more Chinese writing and English reading and writing, backwash effect of primary schools, large class size, insufficient teacher training and lesson preparation time led to significant gaps between beliefs and practice of the teachers. The findings presented here have implications for government policy and pedagogical practice in Hong Kong.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectChina - Multilingual education - Hong Kong
Multilingualism in children - China - Hong Kong
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/222382

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorLee, Pui-ling, Diana-
dc.contributor.author李佩鈴-
dc.date.accessioned2016-01-13T01:23:22Z-
dc.date.available2016-01-13T01:23:22Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationLee, P. D. [李佩鈴]. (2015). Implementation of trilingual education in the early years : observations from five kindergartens in Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5689274-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/222382-
dc.description.abstractExisting research on trilingual education has typically focused on primary and secondary classrooms, and there is dearth of research on implementation of trilingual education in preschools. The Hong Kong government promotes bi-literacy and a trilingual policy, and the Education Bureau has in 1997 officially endorsed teaching of Cantonese, Putonghua and English to kindergarteners from the age of three, with the transfer of sovereignty from British to Chinese rule. Against this background, this thesis (i) portrays the teaching of Cantonese, Putonghua and English in kindergartens wherein vouchers can and cannot be encashed in Hong Kong; and (ii) examines similarities and differences in teaching practices among language teachers within the same kindergarten, and across “voucher” and “non-voucher” kindergartens. One voucher kindergarten was randomly selected from each of Hong Kong’s three regions, and two non-voucher kindergartens were studied as special cases, in order to illustrate the range of prevalent practices. Half-day classes for four- year-olds were chosen for the study. Language lessons across five consecutive school days were video-taped in each kindergarten, and classroom language activities were analyzed using an adapted version of the Communicative Orientation of Language Teaching (COLT) observation scheme. The quality of the classroom environment and literacy curricula were assessed using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) and Curricular Subscales Extension (ECERS-E). Five principals and fourteen language teachers were interviewed on language policies and curriculum, the environment for language teaching, and their teaching practices and beliefs. Curriculum documents and classroom observations suggest that kindergartens attempted to align topics, vocabulary and sentence patterns of the three languages to help children make connections among the languages. Teacher-directed, whole-class teaching was the predominant mode of instruction in all three languages across kindergarten classrooms. Cantonese teachers spent significantly more time on teaching numbers and characters than other teachers, and Putonghua teachers used significantly more time on involving children to present role-play and songs to the class to teach vocabulary and pronunciation. English teachers often used the direct-instruction method to teach phonics and vocabulary. Classroom observations indicate the teaching of Cantonese, Putonghua and English in voucher and non-voucher kindergartens had more similarities than differences although teachers in non-voucher kindergartens provided significantly more lesson time than other teachers for children to give short oral answers, and teachers in voucher-kindergartens used significantly more visual resources than other teachers. Similar language teaching practices were also found among the three groups of language teachers within the same kindergarten, as they were equally affected by similar factors such as curriculum, instruction time, resources, parental demands, and principals’ and teachers’ beliefs. When rated with ECERS-R and ECERS-E, the quality of the learning environment of the five classrooms ranged from excellent to minimal, and non-voucher kindergartens were not necessarily providing the best environment. Although teachers believed that learning through play and interactions was the best ways to learn language, a scripted curriculum with limited language instruction time, parental pressures for more Chinese writing and English reading and writing, backwash effect of primary schools, large class size, insufficient teacher training and lesson preparation time led to significant gaps between beliefs and practice of the teachers. The findings presented here have implications for government policy and pedagogical practice in Hong Kong.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshChina - Multilingual education - Hong Kong-
dc.subject.lcshMultilingualism in children - China - Hong Kong-
dc.titleImplementation of trilingual education in the early years : observations from five kindergartens in Hong Kong-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5689274-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5689274-

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