Teacher and Learner Roles in the Hong Kong English Language Classroom

1997.第25卷第2期(Vol. 25 No. 2).pp. 43–61


Teacher and Learner Roles in the Hong Kong English Language Classroom


Stephen EVANS


This paper reports the findings of a large-scale investigation into the implementation of Hong Kong's communicative English language curriculum at secondary level. The paper focuses on the roles that Hong Kong teachers and learners play in the instructional process, and the impact of these roles on the patterns of interaction and the nature of language use in the classroom. When the secondary English curriculum was introduced over a decade ago, it was hoped that the adoption of the communicative approach would provide students with greater opportunities for meaningful language use than the existing oral-structural approach. However, the findings of this study, which are derived from 300 students who between them attended 41% of the territory's secondary schools, indicate that the communicative curriculum has had a minimal impact on the Hong Kong English language classroom. Power, authority and control continue to be in the hands of the teacher. Teachers still appear to favor a didactic, transmissional style of teaching, while the students' main classroom role seems to involve listening to the teacher and working individually on examination-focused exercises.