Chinese-English Bilingual Education in China: Model, momentum, and driving forces
Keywords: English-medium instruction, foreign-medium instruction, bilingual education, content and language integrated learning, CLIL, immersion
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Rining WEI is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His papers have appeared in journals including the Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development and English Today. His areas of research include curriculum and instruction in bilingual education, language policy, international spread of English (with a focus on China and Asia),and quantitative research methods. He is currently working on a monograph contracted to be published in 2013 by Springer (Heidelberg), entitled “Initiating and Implementing Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in China: A Shanghai Perspective”.
English-medium academic publications concerning bilingual education (BE) in China, which involves using a foreign language (usually English) to teach part of the subject matter of non-language subject(s), are emerging. This paper aims to clarify some misleading information and to challenge a number of viewpoints arising from these publications. It proposes Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) as a more accurate label than immersion for the most widely used Chinese-English BE model, takes issue with the claim that there is no sign suggesting the strong popularity of BE will dissipate in the foreseeable future, and challenges the evidence used in a discussion of driving forces behind the BE “craze”. It concludes with some suggestions for future research, such as identifying good practices of CLIL..