Supporting Non-Chinese Speaking Students to Learn Chinese -
An Inclusive School Environment for A Brighter Tomorrow
Dr Catherine KK Chan
Deputy Secretary for Education
It is Government’s education policy to provide equal learning opportunities for all students with a view to helping them attain all-round development and facilitating cultural integration. Taking reference from the valuable evidence and experiences in teaching Non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students to learn Chinese as a second language and the studious efforts in rendering professional support for schools, we will, starting from the 2014/15 school year, provide schools with the “Chinese Language Curriculum Second Language Learning Framework” ("Learning Framework”)., This will be complemented with enhanced additional funding and professional support in various aspects to ensure that all NCS students in the public sector and Direct Subsidy Scheme schools, in particular those of ethnic minority groups, will enjoy equal opportunities to learn Chinese alongside their Chinese counterparts and contribute to building up an inclusive school environment.
Developed from the perspective of second language learners, the “Learning Framework” provides a clear and systematic set of expected learning outcomes that describes the learning progress of students at different learning stages. In parallel, assessment tools will be provided to help teachers systematically adapt the Chinese Language curriculum in a progressive manner according to individual learner’s learning progression or entry point. Teachers may use appropriate learning and teaching strategies and help NCS students learn in a "small-step" approach effectively with a view to helping them bridge over to mainstream Chinese Language classes.
To facilitate schools’ implementation of the “Learning Framework” and to strengthen teachers’ skills in teaching Chinese Language to NCS students, we will provide practical tools and steps, and second language learning reference materials from the 2014/15 school year. With the assessment tools and full sets of learning materials that include learning modules, Second Language Learning Packages and exemplars for learning outcomes of the Learning Framework, teachers will be able to directly assess where their students are and select suitable learning and teaching materials for use. We will also provide planning tools for school principals, middle managers as well as the subject panel to decide on different modes of implementing the “Learning Framework”, such as grouping by levels, split class, after school tutorial, learning Chinese across the curriculum according to the learning diversity of NCS students in terms of language competencies, age and other needs. Schools could use the new and vastly increased extra funding to employ additional teaching staff and enhance other support measures needed for implementing the “Learning Framework”.
The above would be supported, before the end of August 2014, by a series of professional development programmes for school leaders, middle managers and teachers that would enable every primary and secondary school admitting NCS students to have the professional development opportunity to understand the “Learning Framework”, use the assessment tools and planning tools effectively. From the 2014/15 school year onwards, professional development programmes will be organised regularly to make sure teachers can have ample training opportunities. Our school-based professional support services would focus on supporting schools in using the "Leaning Framework" to enhance the learning effectiveness of NCS students. We would plan and partner closely with schools to generate more good practices that could be shared among the professional community.
In parallel, we would expect schools to optimise their immersed Chinese language environment for NCS students. For example, schools can engage NCS students in community services during long holidays and summer vacation with a view to enhancing their exposure to Chinese language through learning activities outside school, enabling them to learn and grow together with their Chinese-speaking peers, and creating an inclusive environment in schools.
In their life-long learning journey, every learner possesses unique cultural background, aptitude, learning needs, aspirations and interests. At Secondary 3 to 4, schools could make use of the assessment tools to provide guidance to NCS students on planning for their future, attaining different Chinese qualifications for multiple paths that would articulate with their learning performance and aspirations.
Ethnic minority citizens have always been making great contributions to the society of Hong Kong. We believe that with different stakeholders’ genuine concern and concerted efforts, NCS students will be able to learn better Chinese and be able to reach their full potential, pursue further study and career, integrate into the community, and join hands in building a harmonious and prosperous society for all.
15 June 2014