NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. This thesis contains 3rd party copyright material. ----- This thesis is a study of trilingual education in a Hong Kong Institute of Vocational
Education (HKIVE). The research is significant because Hong Kong's language policy
has changed from pre-handover vertical bilingualism to post-handover horizontal
trilingualism. As a result of this change, a number of difficulties have arisen in relation
to issues such as the status of each of the languages (English, Mandarin and Written
Chinese) and parental support for trilingual education. These difficulties prevail in the
HKIVE where this research was conducted, and the question of whether trilingual
education in this institute is successful has not been researched before. Therefore, the
goal of this thesis is to determine whether its trilingual education is successful.
This project evaluates whether trilingual education is successful at the HKIVE, a
post-secondary college offering diploma and higher diploma courses to students to equip
them for future employment or further studies. The evaluation is made with reference to
Canada's French Immersion Program (FIP), a programme internationally renowned for its
immersion method and its success in bilingual education. In order to evaluate the success
of trilingual education in the HKIVE, both the criteria established to evaluate the
programmes of the FIP and the factors that contribute to their success were used, modified
and adapted. The primary aim is to evaluate the success of trilingual education in the
HKIVE by applying the criteria used to evaluate the bilingual programmes of the FIP.
The secondary aim is to ascertain what can be learnt from the FIP to help determine the
criteria that will be used to evaluate the HKIVE's future trilingual education.
The data analysis for this study consists of responses from 141 students. Data were
collected from questionnaires, interviews and classroom observations. From the
information gathered, it is concluded that the success of trilingual education at the HKIVE
can be accounted for by most of the FIP criteria, but that other factors highlighted by this
study would further enhance its trilingual education programmes.
In short, the findings show that certain FIP criteria that contribute to successful trilingual
education existed at the HKIVE, while other FIP criteria indicated areas for improvement.
There were, therefore, both positive and negative relationships between the criteria used to
evaluate the FIP and the HKIVE's assessment results.
My research makes two contributions to the field. Firstly, the research is relevant to the
HKIVE 's trilingual education. It is important that one of the criteria used to evaluate the
success of bilingualism in the Canadian FIP, namely interactive teaching, is related to my
teaching work. In other words, this is applied research that can help to shed light on how
improvements can be made in the profession. Secondly, the research is of practical
importance to the HKIVE's trilingual education. The FIP was chosen not only because of
its success in helping students in Canada to become bilingual, but also because of its
working language training. This research seeks to discover whether the FIP, which helps
Canadian children to use French as a working language, can help Hong Kong students to
use English and Mandarin as working languages. Also, the research sheds light on how
trilingual education at the HKIVE could be improved, which in tum should help to better
prepare students for the world of work. Future research should focus on the other factors
that can facilitate effective trilingual education, such as the role of leadership, and on
institutions other than HKIVEs.