A Comparative Study of the Two Sets of Chinese Textbooks in Singaporean Secondary Schools

From the Perspectives of the Students’ Perception with Diverse Background


  • Guat Poh Aw Nanyang Technological University
  • Shouhui Zhao University of Bergen
  • Xiangqing Hu Nanyang Technological University




Singapore Mother Tongue Language Textbook, Students Perception on the Teaching Material, Student Survey and Questionnaire


In the ethnically heterogeneous and linguistically hybrid Singapore, its bilingualism education is characterised by the mandatory mother tongue policy for its three main ethnic groups. For Chinese students’ language acquisition, this is practised in a way that Chinese language instruction in Singapore has been differentiated into four streams according to their individual differences in language proficiency. This study reports the findings obtained from a public funded large-scale empirical research project with a focus on the Mother Tongue Language curriculum in Singapore secondary schools. The questionnaire survey consists of 4811 students from 24 Singaporean secondary schools categorised on the basis of three key family language backgrounds, namely: Chinese-dominant, Chinese-English mixed, and English dominant. Using a comparative study methodology, the study seeks to juxtapose the perceptions of Secondary 2 and 3 students regarding their current language textbooks (developed in 2011) against the textbooks published in 2002. The survey revealed two key findings which highlight the diverse learning needs of students from varying backgrounds, thus indicating a greater and more complex challenge surrounding the revision of upcoming Mother Tongue Language instructional materials. It is our hope that the details of main findings manifested in this study can shed some light on the future endeavours in innovating Chinese education in other parts of the world with the similar sociolinguistic context.


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How to Cite

Poh Aw, G., Zhao, S., & Hu, X. (2022). A Comparative Study of the Two Sets of Chinese Textbooks in Singaporean Secondary Schools: From the Perspectives of the Students’ Perception with Diverse Background. Researching and Teaching Chinese As a Foreign Language, 3(2), 134–162. https://doi.org/10.1558/rtcfl.22907