Teaching development grants final and financial report: Cantonese as a second language: Learning, teaching and assessment

Wai Ha LEUNG, Ho Kin TONG, Hon Kin KAN, Oi Ping KWONG, Yuen Man Anna LEE, Hon Fong Connie POON

Research output: Other contributionTeaching Development Grants (TDG)


The Development Blueprint of the Institute stated that Internationalization and outreaching to the Mainland is one of the strategic areas which will take priority in the coming years. With more and more Mainland students enrolled in the Institute's programmes, language support to these students is an important issue. Cantonese is the medium of instruction (CMI) of many core modules and tool of communication in daily life in Hong Kong. The ability to understand and communicate in Cantonese is an essential skill for Mainland students' education, employment and leisure in this region. As most Mainland students are not native speakers of this dialect, they encounter many problems in their study and daily life (Ku et at., 2003 ). It is important for the Institute to provide quality programme on Cantonese as a second language for these students to address their study and communication needs. To address this issue, Chinese Department and CLE have completed a project on 'Elementary Cantonese' in 2006-07 and received very positive feedback from participated students. However, both students and Field Experience Coordinators suggested that 30 hours' training on Cantonese was not sufficient to well prepare students for academic activities and teaching practice. In response to students' request, there is an urgent need for HKIEd to provide more Cantonese training to Mainland students. Learning languages contributes to mutual understanding, a sense of global citizenship and personal fulfilment (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, 2007 ). Through learning Cantonese, Mainland students could learn to appreciate local culture and people. The relationship between culture and language is well established (Holme, 2003 ; Kaplan, 2001 ; Kramsch, 1998 ; Maina, 2003 ). Although Cantonese learning packages are available in bookshops, most of them targeted at English speaking people. Also many of these materials are published by Mainland publishers thus cannot address the cultural difference between the two regions and to meet the needs of Mainland students in Hong Kong. Quality language programmes should be developed by professionals with reference to language learning theories, needs of society and learners (Yang, 2001 ; Liu and Han, 2003 ). The project will develop two modules on Cantonese as a second dialect in the context of HKIEd . Each module consists of 30 hours' learning and teaching materials, and attainment targets. The modules aim at developing students' language learning strategies, and language skills in Cantonese. Creativity will also be developed though using imagination to express thoughts and ideas. Intercultural understanding is encouraged too. Effectiveness of the course and difficulties of learning Cantonese for Putonghua speaking people will be investigated by assessment results, questionnaire and focus group interviews.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Leung, W. H., Tong, H. K., Kan, H. K., Kwong, O. P., Lee, Y. M., & Poon, H. F. (2009). Teaching development grants final and financial report: Cantonese as a second language: Learning, teaching and assessment. Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Institute of Education.


  • Teaching Development Grant (TDG) Report
  • TDG project code: T3296
  • Period: TDG 2007-2008
  • Teaching Development Grant (TDG)


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