Writing in Late Immersion Biology and History Classes in Hong Kong

Authors

  • Stella Kong Hong Kong Institute of Education

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.v2i1.13

Keywords:

second language content-area writing, writing to learn in a second language, copying and plagiarising, late immersion in Hong Kong

Abstract

Previous research has shown that late immersion education in Hong Kong is not achieving the dual curriculum goals of content and second language learning a late immersion curriculum can expect. This article presents a case study of writing in four late English immersion classrooms in Hong Kong to explain why immersion education in Hong Kong is not achieving its dual curriculum goals. The study used a student writing analysis framework that reflects features of both content and language learning. The analysis shows that students do not demonstrate content and language learning through writing at the expected levels. The teacher and student interview and teacher questionnaire survey data provide contextual information which explains the failure. A major reason seems to be the teachers’ and students’ views of writing as recitation of information for examination preparation purposes rather than as a process of learning. Copying and rote memorisation seem to be the main learning processes. These views of writing and learning are characteristic of the Chinese educational context. The article examines the implications for writing teacher education within an immersion context where the immersion language is from a very different culture.

References

Belcher, D. and Braine, G. (1995) Academic Writing in a Second Language: Essays on Research and Pedagogy. Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex.

Britton, J. (1993) Language and Learning. (Second edition.) Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Boynton / Cook Publishers, Heinemann.

Ding, Y. (2007) Text memorization and imitation: The practices of successful Chinese learners of English. System 35: 271–280.

Emig, J. (1977) Writing as a mode of learning. College Composition and Communication 28: 122–128.

Ferris, D. and Roberts, B. (2001) Error feedback in L2 writing classes: How explicit does it need to be? Journal of Second Language Writing 10: 161–184.

Fortune, T. W. and Tedick, D. J. (eds.) (2008) Pathways to Multilingualism: Emerging Perspectives on Immersion Education. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Garton, A. and Pratt, C. (1998) Learning to be Literate: The Development of Spoken and Written Language. (Second edition.) Malden: Massachusetts: Blackwell.

Gass, S. M. (1997) Input, Interaction, and the Second Language Learner. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Gass, S. M. and Selinker, L. (1994) Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Grabe, W. and Kaplan, R. B. (1996) Theory and Practice of Writing. New York: Longman.

Gu, Q. and Schweisfurth, M. (2006) Who adapts? Beyond cultural models of ‘the’ Chinese learner. Language, Culture and Curriculum 19: 74–89.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1989) Spoken and Written Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1994) An Introduction to Functional Grammar. (Second edition.) London: Arnold.

Halliday, M. A. K. and Martin, J. R. (1993) Writing Science: Literacy and Discursive Power. London: The Falmer Press.

Hand, B., Prain, V., Lawrence, C. and Yore, L. D. (1999) A writing in science framework designed to enhance science literacy. International Journal of Science Education 21: 1021–1035.

Hong Kong Examinations Authority (HKEA) (2000) Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination: Regulations and Syllabuses 2002. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Examinations Authority.

Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) (2002a) HKCEE Question Papers: Biology 1998 –2002. Hong Kong Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.

Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) (2002b) HKCEE Question Papers: History 1998–2002. Hong Kong Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.

Hoare, P. (2003) Effective Teaching of Science through English in Hong Kong Secondary Schools. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Hong Kong.

Hoare, P. and Kong, S. (2006) Enhancing Teacher Education for English-medium Teachers: Report of a Teaching Development Project. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Institute of Education.

Hoare, P. and Kong, S. (2008) Late immersion in Hong Kong: Still stressed but making progress? In T. W. Fortune and D. J. Tedick (eds.) Pathways to Multilingualism: Emerging Perspectives on Immersion Education 242–263. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Hyland, K. (2004) Genre and Second Language Writing. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

Johnson, R.K. (1983) Bilingual switching strategies: A study of the modes of teacher-talk in bilingual secondary school classrooms in Hong Kong. Language Learning and Communication 2: 267–285.

Johnson, R. K. (1997) The Hong Kong education system: Late immersion under stress. In R. K. Johnson and M. Swain (eds.) Immersion Education: International Perspectives 171–189. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Keys, C. W. (1999) Revitalizing instruction in scientific genres: Connecting knowledge production with writing to learn in science. Science Education 83: 115–130.

Kong, S. (2004) Writing in the Hong Kong Immersion Classroom: Developing Students’ Content Knowledge and English Language Proficiency. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, City University of Hong Kong.

Kowal, M. and Swain, M. (1997) From semantic to syntactic processing: How can we promote it in the immersion classroom? In R. K. Johnson and M. Swain (eds.) Immersion Education: International Perspectives 284–309. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Langer, J. A. and Applebee, A. N. (1987) How Writing Shapes Thinking: a Study of Teaching and Learning. Urbana, Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English.

Liu, D (2005) Plagiarism in ESOL students: Is cultural conditioning truly the major culprit? ELT Journal 59: 234–241.

Macken-Horarik, M. (2002) ‘Something to shoot for’: A systemic functional approach to teaching genre in secondary school science. In A. M. Johns (ed.) Genre in the Classroom: Multiple Perspectives 17–42. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Marsh, H. W., Hau, K. T. and Kong, C. K. (2000) Late immersion and language of instruction in Hong Kong high schools: Achievement growth in language and non-language subjects. Harvard Educational Reviews 70: 302–346.

Marshall, S. P. (1995) Schemas in Problem Solving. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Martin, J. R. (2002) Writing history: Construing time and value in discourses of the past. In M. J. Schleppergrell and M. C. Colombi (eds.) Developing Advanced Literacy in First and Second Languages 87–118. Mahwah, New Jersey: Erlbaum.

Martin, J. R., Christie, F. and Rothery, J. (1987) Social processes in education: A reply to Sawyer and Watson (and others). In I. Reid (ed.) The Place of Genre in Learning: Current Debates 58–82. Geelong, Victoria: Deakin University, Centre for Studies in Literary Education.

Marton, F. and Tsui, A. B. M. (eds.) (2004) Classroom Discourse and the Space of Learning. Mahwah, New Jersey: Erlbaum.

Mayher, J. S., Lester, N. B. and Pradl, G. M. (1983) Learning to Write / Writing to Learn. Portsmouth: Boynton/Cook.

Odell, L (1980) The process of writing and the process of learning. College Composition and Communication 31: 42–50.

Pang, K. C. and Cheung, L. M. (2000a) Certificate Biology: Mastering Concepts Workbooks 1–3. (Third edition.) Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.

Pang, K. C. and Cheung, L. M. (2000b) Certificate Biology: Mastering Concepts Volumes 1–3. (Third edition.) Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.

Pennycook, A. (1996) Borrowing others’ words: Text, ownership, memory, and plagiarism. TESOL Quarterly 30: 201–230.

Prior, J. and John, P. D. (2000) From anecdote to argument: Using the word processor to connect knowledge and opinion through revelatory writing. Teaching History 101: 31–34. The Historical Association.

Raimes, A. (1992) Exploring through Writing: A Process Approach to ESL Composition. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Rumelhart, D. E. and Norman, D. A. (1981) Accretion, Tuning and Restructuring: Three Modes of Learning, Report No. 7602. La Jolla, California: Centre for Human Information Processing, University of California at San Diego.

Schumacher, G. M. and Nash, J. (1991) Conceptualizing and measuring knowledge change due to writing. Research in the Teaching of English 25: 67–96.

Silverman, D. (2001) Interpreting Qualitative Data: Methods for Analyzing Talk, Text and Interaction. London: Sage Publications.

Stovel, J. E. (2000) Document analysis as a tool to strengthen student writing. The History Teacher 33: 501–509.

Swain, M. (1985) Communicative competence: Some roles of comprehensible input and comprehensible output in its development. In S. Gass and C. Madden (eds.) Input in Second Language Acquisition 235–253. Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House.

Swain, M. (1993) The output hypothesis: Just speaking and writing aren’t enough. Canadian Modern Language Review, Golden Anniversary Issue 50: 158–164.

Swain, M. and Johnson, R. K. (1997) Immersion education: A category within bilingual education. In R. K. Johnson and M. Swain (eds.) Immersion Education: International Perspectives 1–16. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tsang, W. K. (2008) Evaluation research on the implementation of the medium of instruction guidance for secondary schools. The Hong Kong Institute for Educational Research Newsletter 24: 1–7. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Veel, R. and Coffin, C. (1996) Learning to think like an historian: The language of secondary school history. In R. Hasan and G. Williams (eds.) Literacy in Society 191–231. London: Longman.

Wells, G. (1999) Dialogic Inquiry: Towards a Sociocultural Practice and Theory of Education. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Wolff, D. (2000) Second language writing: A few remarks on psycholinguistic and instructional issues. Learning and Instruction 10: 107–112.

Wolff, D. (2002) Content and language integrated learning: An evaluation of the German approach. In D. W. C. So and G. M. Evans (eds.) Education and Society in Plurilingual Contexts 56–74. Brussels: VUB Brussels University Press.

Wong, W. F. (1996) New Certificate World History, Volumes 1–2. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Educational Publishing Co.

Yip, D. Y., Tsang, W. K. and Cheung, S. P. (2003) Evaluation of the effects of medium of instruction on the science learning of Hong Kong secondary students: Performance on the science achievement test. Bilingual Research Journal 27: 295–331.

Published

2010-06-11

How to Cite

Kong, S. (2010). Writing in Late Immersion Biology and History Classes in Hong Kong. Writing and Pedagogy, 2(1), 13–38. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.v2i1.13

Issue

Section

Research Matters