Bilingual Education

Bilingual Education: Southeast Asian Perspectives

Angel M. Y. Lin Lin
Evelyn Y. F. Man
Foreword by Jim Cummins
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 176
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jc1ss
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  • Book Info
    Bilingual Education
    Book Description:

    Questions regarding whether a first or a second/foreign language should be used as a medium of instruction (MOI) in schools, and if yes, for whom, and when, have been enthusiastically debated in recent years in Hong Kong and many Southeast Asian societies. The public debates, however, have largely not been able to benefit from the existing international body of research in bilingual education as well as the educational experiences of other countries. The reason is that such knowledge is often either couched in specialized, technical language or scattered over diverse journals and books, which are often off-putting to teachers, parents, school principals, policy makers and the general public. There is an urgent need to critically integrate and review the international research literature with a view to informing public debates and policy making regarding the medium of instruction in Hong Kong and other Southeast Asian contexts. This book aims at meeting this urgent need by discussing, in accessible language, research findings on key concepts of bilingual education, and recent developments of bilingual education policies in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. Teachers, students and researchers in the areas of bilingual education, language policy and planning (LPP), and studies of medium of instruction policy and practice both in Hong Kong and other Southeast Asian contexts will benefit from the book. Government officials and policy makers involved in language policy and planning, as well as school principals, parents and university administrators will also find this book especially useful in providing them with a research-based LPP framework for thinking, discussing and studying about important issues in LPP in their respective contexts.

    eISBN: 978-988-8052-07-3
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)
    Jim Cummins

    Every society invests a significant proportion of its economic resources in educating its youth. Despite the fact that there will usually be no economic return on this investment for at least twelve years after students enter school, there is consensus in most societies among business interests, policymakers, and the wider community regarding the importance of education for ensuring future economic productivity and social stability. The way any society organizes its education system reflects its current social priorities and the implicit images it continuously constructs of its own future identity.

    Education is also the gateway to social and economic rewards for...

  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Angel Lin and Evelyn Man

    Questions regarding whether a first or a second/foreign language should be used as a medium of instruction (MOI) in schools (and if yes, for whom, and when) have been enthusiastically debated in recent years in Hong Kong. The public debates, however, have largely not been able to benefit from the existing international body of research in bilingual and immersion education or the educational experiences of other regions. The reason is that such knowledge is often either couched in specialized, technical language or scattered over diverse journals and books, which are often off-putting to teachers, parents, school principals, policymakers and the...

  5. 1 Language Policy and Planning in Southeast Asian Contexts
    (pp. 1-10)

    English has become an everyday presence in many cosmopolitan cities in Southeast Asia. For instance, in international airports in Seoul, Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, bilingual or multilingual signs are everywhere, and among them are always English signs. The global spread of English has arisen from a host of historical, political and socioeconomic factors. In many Southeast Asian contexts such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, where English was historically a colonial language imposed by former British colonial governments, English has carried with it the baggage of colonial histories and exploitations. However, today English has also become a predominant...

  6. 2 Bilingual Education in Different Contexts: Principles and Practice
    (pp. 11-40)

    Bilingual education is a simple label for a complex phenomenon (Cazden & Snow, 1990). It relates to a society’s “debates about the fundamental purposes and aims of education in general: for individuals, communities, regions and nations” and must be considered as situated in complex sociohistorical, economic, cultural and political contexts (Baker, 2001, pp. 183–4). To understand the great variety of bilingual education programmes in the world, one useful perspective is to consider the different sociohistorical contexts that have given rise to the different aims of bilingual education and its diverse programme types.

    Baker (2001, p. 193) cited Ferguson, Houghton...

  7. 3 Key Issues in Immersion Education: Implications for Hong Kong
    (pp. 41-72)

    The well-documented success of French immersion graduates (those who remain in the programme tend to be successful) might have masked a problem that has characterized early French immersion ever since its inception: the relatively high rate of student dropout from the programme due to academic or behavioural problems. Keep (1993), for example, reports that, in the province of Alberta between 1983 and 1984 and between 1990 and 1991, attrition rates from immersion ranged from 43% to 68% by Grade 6, 58% to 83% by Grade 9, and 88% to 97% by Grade 12. On this, Cummins made the following comments:...

  8. 4 History and Development of Bilingual Education in Hong Kong
    (pp. 73-86)

    Hong Kong seems to defy any attempt at a neat classification of its political status. From 1842 to 1997, to the Western political/juridical system, it was seen and run as a British colony by the British Hong Kong colonial government. However, the People’s Republic of China (China) never officially or formally rectified the unequal treaties signed in the nineteenth century by the Qing Dynasty. China had only tolerated the existence of these treaties as “a problem left by history”, as they were signed under British imperialistic military coercion. By these unequal treaties, Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula were...

  9. 5 Research on Bilingual Education in Hong Kong
    (pp. 87-104)

    Studies in the 1970s and early 1980s are characterized by the general aim of proving the superiority of mother-tongue education over English-medium education.

    In 1973, Cheng, Shek, Tse and Wong highlighted the educational problems created among Chinese children by English-medium secondary school education in Hong Kong with their paper, “At what Cost?” They surveyed 170 Cantonese-speaking first-year university students, half of whom had just completed secondary education in the English medium. Seventy-three percent of these students thought that using English as the medium of instruction imposed a heavy burden on them, and yet 54% said they would still choose English...

  10. 6 Negotiating between Nationalist and Globalization Agendas: Lessons from the Divergent Paths of Singapore and Malaysia
    (pp. 105-118)

    Singapore has an ethnically heterogeneous population of about 3.5 million, which is made up of about 78% Chinese, 14% Malay, 7% of Indian origin, and 1% “Others”. Historically, the population spoke a much greater variety of different Chinese, Malay and Indian dialects than the four official standard languages of Mandarin Chinese, Standard Malay, Standard Tamil and English. The Chinese majority in Singapore used to speak mainly Hokkien, a Chinese regional variety, but in the past twenty years, there has been an increasing language shift towards Mandarin and/or English, due to the government’s language policy of encouraging English and Mandarin Chinese...

  11. 7 Contexts of Language Policy and Planning in Southeast Asian Societies: Need for Innovative Approaches
    (pp. 119-142)

    Language planning as a social scientific enterprise informing LIE policy making is roughly four decades old. It first arose as an extension of descriptive sociolinguistics into the prescriptive domains of political planning and social engineering. Whether LPP theorists and scientists explicitly recognize it or not, language planning and LIE policymaking have always been deeply situated in socio-political, historical and ideological conditions and contradictions (Luke, McHoul & Mey, 1990).

    Tollefson (1991) makes a distinction between two broad approaches to language policy and planning which he calls (1) the neoclassical approach, and (2) the historical-structural approach (HSA). The HSA approach differs from...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 143-158)
  13. Index
    (pp. 159-164)