Research & Programs

CARLA Boxes Bar

Archived Content from Conference Held in October 2008 

Philip Hoare

Philip Hoare
Associate Professor, Department of English
Hong Kong Institute of Education

Context and Constraints: Immersion in Hong Kong and Mainland China

The worldwide demand for additive bilingualism through schooling is immensely strong, especially among Asian countries. Immersion education, in different forms and with different names, is a frequently chosen means of achieving this. Educators must, however, balance the promotion of immersion with caution in order to ensure that implementation leads to success rather than disappointment and consequent loss of confidence in the model.

This paper discusses this challenge in the context of two programmes. In Hong Kong, the transition from a colonial education system has resulted in "late immersion under stress". In Mainland China, the demand for more English in the curriculum has resulted in various programme designs, some of which are inspired by immersion in North America.

The paper discusses the contextual features which have been instrumental in the emergence of these programmes and the views of stakeholders towards them. It suggests that the programmes, though they might not always meet the "classic" definitions of immersion, represent a pragmatic response to the political, social and educational contexts in which they operate. Nonetheless, if additive bilingualism is to be developed to the extent that is sought, more attention must be paid to the core features of immersion.

Plenary PowerPoint
Plenary Handout

Philip Hoare is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, in the Hong Kong Institute of Education where he teaches on programmes for teachers of English as a second language and for immersion teachers. He has contributed to the development of late immersion teaching in Hong Kong through teacher education programmes, handbooks for teachers and school-based support and has a special interest in language and content relationships in the teaching of science in English immersion. Research in Hong Kong has led more recently to research and teacher development in Mainland China and he is currently engaged in a project with schools experimenting with immersion and content-based instruction in Xi’an. He is also responsible for organising major study abroad programmes for Hong Kong students in Australia, N America and Britain. He has previously worked in Europe, the Pacific Islands, Outer Mongolia and the Middle East.

Back to Conference Home.

CARLA Boxes Bar