Classroom Language Use in Hong Kong's English-Medium Secondary Schools

2000.第15卷第1期(Vol. 15 No. 1).pp. 19–43

Classroom Language Use in Hong Kong’s English-Medium Secondary Schools

Stephen EVANS


In recent years the long-standing debate over the medium of instruction (MOI) in Hong Kong's secondary schools has been reinvigorated by the introduction of a controversial language policy which requires the majority of the territory's schools to adopt Chinese as the teaching medium. Under the new policy, only 114 schools are permitted to continue teaching in English. The government's decision to force most English-medium schools to switch to Chinese while retaining an "elite" English-medium stream has been criticised for being discriminatory and divisive. Since the policy was announced, much attention has been given to the changes which the former English-medium schools will need to undergo in order to adapt to Chinese-medium instruction. However, much less attention has been paid to the implications of the policy for the schools which will retain English as the MOI. The study reported in this article, which investigates language use in the "new" English-medium stream, was designed to find out the extent to which these schools' MOI policy was in fact translated into classroom practice in the years immediately preceding the introduction of the new policy.

Keywords: language policy; language in education; medium of instruction