Writing in Late Immersion Biology and History Classes in Hong Kong
Keywords:second language content-area writing, writing to learn in a second language, copying and plagiarising, late immersion in Hong Kong
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.
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