Document Type: Conference Papers
Conference: The Global social sciences conference: Education, ethnicity and inequality: Issues and insights (2013: Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China)
An important feature of Hong Kong’ education reform over the past decade has been the articulation of the “no loser principle”. It was meant to signal that all students are valuable and will benefit from both basic and senior secondary education. Yet barriers remain for the 2.9% of students under age 15 who can be classified as ethnic minorities. The educational needs of these students also remained invisible in the school system until the 2008 Racial Discrimination Ordinance and the implementation of inclusive education policy in 2002 (Education Bureau 2010, 2011). The paper examines the policy context in which provisions for ethnic minority students have been made in Hong Kong schools and also classroom practices that operationalize these policies on a daily basis. It then reports the findings of an interview study into 32 teachers’ views of the cross-cultural experience of ethnic minority students, their influence on the performance of these students and how the diverse learning needs of these students are being addressed. This study shows that teachers struggle to conceptualize a new rationale for responding to cultural diversity. They develop a sense of inter-cultural sensitivity, promote cultural responsiveness to diversity, and strengthen the home-school connection. Finally, a framework for the creation of culturally responsive classrooms, based upon the teachers’ new rationale of cultural responsiveness, is proposed.