Evaluation of the success of trilingual education in a Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (HKIVE)

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2010
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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.
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