Document Type: Conference Papers
Year published: 2007
Conference: 1st HCLS Conference on Becoming a World Language: The Growth of Chinese, English and Spanish (2007: City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Despite the fact that PMI is not the government policy, an increasing number of schools in Hong Kong have adopted different modes of using PMI in teaching Chinese Language since 1997. Such a trend has caused general concern because Putonghua (the standardized spoken form of Modern Chinese) is not the mother tongue of most teachers or students in the local community. The switch of medium in teaching the language subject may have profound impact on the cognitive development of students because most teachers and students will need to acquire another system of speech sounds and lexicon in handling the subject matter. Nevertheless, as the PMI trend prevails, language teachers are under "pressure" to adjust their teaching medium so as to meet the changing social expectation of equipping students with the standardized form of a world language. This paper reports the findings of a recent study of teachers' views of teaching Chinese through PMI in Hong Kong. Among the group of 20 serving teachers in a postgraduate course, some are proficient in Putonghua and some are not. Through a series of seminar presentation and discussion, these front line teachers revealed the current practices in different school contexts. Insights of these participants represent an "insider's" view of the issue and should inform the development of effective ways of reforming the teaching medium of Chinese in a complex social context.