Development of mother tongue language course at tertiary level in Hong Kong


Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Mother tongue has been a core subject in school in many countries. Many studies confirm that there is a deep relationship between language, culture and identity (see Edwards, 2009; Kramsch, 1993, 1998). The mission of mother tongue language education is to develop cultural identity and to encourage pursuing heritage culture in students (see You & N. Liu, 2011). Chinese is the mother tongue of the majority of the population in Hong Kong. However, Chinese teaching and learning in school seem to be language skills oriented instead of culturally based. With less emphasis on culture and literature in school, there is comment that in general Hong Kong students' Chinese language proficiency is becoming weaker. For example, in recent years' Diploma of Secondary Education Examination, only about half of the candidates could achieve the minimum requirement of university admission. To better develop tertiary students' mother tongue language proficiency, the Centre for Language in Education of The Education University of Hong Kong revised the Chinese enhancement course for all non-Chinese major students to build in a larger element of literature and culture. With the objective of developing culturally and socially through learning of the language, a new course was piloted in 2015/16. Students' performance in assessment showed improvement in language proficiency. Students' feedback in questionnaire survey and group interviews was positive. They commented the course has developed their awareness of Chinese culture and morals. The results may have implications on future development of mother tongue language curriculum at school and tertiary levels.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


Leung, W. H. (2017, June). Development of mother tongue language course at tertiary level in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the 11th conference of the International Association for Research in L1 Education: Cultures, Arts & Verbal Communication in L1 Education, Tallinn University, Estonia.


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