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This document is originally written in Chinese. In case of discrepancy between the text of this translated version and that of the Chinese version, the Chinese text shall prevail.



Preamble 1

Chapter I – Introduction 3

1.1 Purpose and Rationale 4

1.2 Spoken and Written Chinese Language in Hong Kong 5

Chapter II – Curriculum Framework 7

2.1 The Chinese Language Education Curriculum Framework 7 2.2 Learning Contents Suitable for NCS Students 10

Chapter III - Curriculum Planning 15

3.1 Basic Principles 15

3.2 Practical Experiences in Schools 16

Chapter IV – Curriculum Modes 19

4.1 Immersion in Chinese Language Lessons 19

4.2 Bridging / Transition 24

4.3 Specific Learning Purposes 30

4.4 Integrated 32

Chapter V - Learning and Teaching 35

5.1 Characteristics of Chinese Language Learning 35

5.2 Learning and Teaching Principles 37

5.3 Learning and Teaching Strategies 39

Chapter VI – Assessment 43

6.1 Diversified Modes of Assessment 43

6.2 Internal Assessment for Quality Feedback 43 6.3 Measurement of Chinese Language Learning Standard 43

6.4 External Assessment 43

Chapter VII - Learning and Teaching Resources 45

7.1 Diversified Learning and Teaching Materials 45

7.2 Learning Resource Development 47

7.3 Use of Community Resources 47


Appendix (Learning & teaching materials in Appendices IV – XVII are in Chinese.)

I Linguistic Characteristics of Modern Chinese Language 51

II Radicals and Components of Chinese Characters 53

III Chinese Language Learning Experience in Districts with Large

Chinese Population 63

IV Exemplar on Adaptation of School-based Learning Objectives 67 V Exemplar on Adaptation of Learning Objectives and Learning Modules 84

VI Exemplar on Chinese Language Teaching Plan 87

VII Brief Introduction on School-based Curriculum Framework 89 VIII Brief Introduction on School-based Teaching Materials 93 IX Exemplar I on Chinese Language Teaching Scheme 94 X Exemplar II on Chinese Language Teaching Scheme 102 XI Exemplar on Design of Learning and Teaching Activity - New Year 118 XII Exemplar on Design of Learning and Teaching Activity - The Park 119 XIII Exemplars on Reading Activity - Paired-reading 120 XIV Bridging Programme for Non-Chinese Speaking Students 122 XV Exemplar on Teaching of Speaking and Listening - Differentiating

Words with Similar Pronunciations 123

XVI Exemplar on Chinese Character Teaching - Chanting along the Rhyme 125 XVII Exemplar on Chinese Character Teaching - Radicals and Components 127

XVIII Overseas Chinese Language Examinations 129

XIX Multiple Pathways for NCS Students Upon Completing Basic

Education 130 XX Package Teaching Reference Materials (Suitable for Self-access

Learning of NCS Students) 131

XXI Examples of Learning and Teaching Resources Available 133

References 134

Committee Membership 145



The Curriculum Development Council (CDC) is an advisory body giving recommendations to The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region on all matters relating to curriculum development for school systems at kindergarten, primary and secondary levels. Its membership includes heads of schools, practicing teachers, parents, employers, and academics from tertiary institutions, professionals from related fields or related bodies, representatives from the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) and the Vocational Training Council, as well as officers from the Education Bureau (EDB).

In recent years, CDC has published a series of curriculum guides that propose a flexible, coherent and diversified curriculum framework for primary and secondary schools. These curriculum guides, including “Chinese Language Education Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 to Secondary 3)” (2002),

“Chinese Language Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 to Primary 6)” (2004), “Chinese Language Curriculum Guide (Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary)” (2001),

“Chinese Language Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4 to Secondary 6)” (2007), illustrate the rationale and principle of Chinese language curriculum and describe in different chapters the curriculum framework, curriculum planning, learning and teaching, assessment as well as the use of learning and teaching materials.

Under the common curriculum framework, this Supplementary Guide suggests the principles, strategies and recommendations on the practice of the Chinese Language curriculum, by taking into consideration the learning context of non-Chinese-speaking (NCS) students. It should be read together with the above-mentioned documents for more thorough understanding of the Chinese Language curriculum.

It is crucial to have the curriculum aligned with teaching and assessment, which is an important concept in the primary and secondary school curriculum.

Learning and teaching strategy is an integral part of the curriculum that promotes learning and whole person development, while assessment is not only a tool to assess students’ performance, but also effective in improving learning results. Readers are advised to read all the above-mentioned documents to have a holistic picture for understanding the intertwining relationship among curriculum, teaching and assessment.

The Education Bureau recommends that schools to adopt this Supplementary Guide. The Curriculum Development Council will also review the document from time to time in light of classroom practices as well as the ever-changing demand of students and society. Appropriate support on learning and teaching materials will also be provided for schools. All comments and suggestions are welcomed and may be sent to –


Chief Curriculum Development Officer (Chinese Language Education) Curriculum Development Institute

Education Bureau 12/F, Wu Chung House 213 Queen’s Road East Wan Chai

Hong Kong

Fax No. 2834 7810 / 2119 9065



Chapter I - Introduction

As the southern gateway of China, Hong Kong has long been a prosperous city with a remarkable convergence of both Chinese and western cultures. Hong Kong citizens, regardless of their ethnicities, are all valuable human resources of the community. Ethnic minority citizens have always been making great contributions to Hong Kong. All sectors of the community should help them immerse into the Hong Kong society to promote harmony and prosperity.

As indicated in school enrolment statistics, ethnic minority students in Hong Kong include Pakistani, Filipino, Nepali, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese and Indonesian etc. Most of the ethnic minority students do not know Chinese when they first arrived in Hong Kong. Their usual languages spoken at home are mainly Urdu, English, Nepali, Tagalog, Hindi, etc. In this Guide, these ethnic minority students are generally referred to as “non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students”.

In Hong Kong, public sector schools provide free education for students (including NCS students) of suitable ages at primary and secondary levels.

Curricula for Chinese and English Languages are provided to promote bi-literacy (Chinese and English) and tri-lingualism (Cantonese, Putonghua and English) among students. Foreign languages are also offered in a few public sector schools. Private international schools, according to their students’ originating countries, offer curricula of individual countries like the United States of America, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Korea and Singapore.

All Hong Kong students are recommended to learn Chinese language to build a solid language foundation and enhance their quality and competitiveness.

Chinese Language has long been a core subject in local schools. Upon the implementation of the three-year senior secondary academic system, all students can receive secondary school education for six years. In meeting with the needs of the 21st Century, a three-year senior secondary academic system under the twelve-year free education policy is more effective in the promotion of whole person development.

In this new system, Chinese Language is one of the core subjects.

The Chinese Language curriculum, as designed by CDC, is targeted at all Primary and Secondary school students of Hong Kong. As an enabling tool, Chinese Language is fundamental in Key Learning Areas, facilitating the learning of other knowledge disciplines. The key mission of Chinese Language Education is enabling students to enhance language proficiency, to master the norms of written Chinese, to speak fluent Cantonese and Putonghua, to appreciate the beauty between the lines, to nurture interest in language learning, to develop higher order thinking skills and competence, as well as to nurture aesthetics sense and cultural competence so as to perfect their personality and achieve whole person development.

NCS students settling down in Hong Kong, similar to their Chinese-speaking counterparts, are masters of the future Hong Kong society. NCS students who study in local schools need to adapt to using Chinese in communication and immerse into


the community. Since Chinese is the major instruction medium in local public sector schools, NCS students will have more choices in schooling if they are able to adapt to a learning environment with Chinese as the major language medium. Schools should offer their best in helping NCS students to learn Chinese effectively, eventually enabling them to immerse into the community, preparing them for building Hong Kong’s future.

1.1 Purpose and Rationale

1.1.1 Purpose of the Supplementary Guide

The purpose of developing the “Supplementary Guide to the Chinese Language Curriculum for Non-Chinese Speaking Students” is to supplement the existing curriculum guides on principles, strategies and recommendations for implementing the Chinese Language curriculum in schools in the learning context of NCS students. It is envisaged that this supplementary guide would promote the effectiveness of Chinese Language learning of NCS students in schools of Hong Kong.

This supplementary guide should be read alongside a series of curriculum documents (or their latest versions), including –

• “Chinese Language Education Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 to Secondary 3) (2002)”

• “Chinese Language Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 to Primary 6) (2004)”

• “Chinese Language Curriculum Guide (Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary) (2001)”

• “Chinese Language Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4 to Secondary 6) (2007)”.

1.1.2 Rationale of Language Education

The language education policy of Hong Kong is to promote students’

language proficiency, making them bi-literate (in Chinese and English) and tri-lingual (in Cantonese, Putonghua and English). In the 1997 Policy Address, the Chief Executive reiterated our goal for “secondary school graduates to be proficient in writing English and Chinese and able to communicate confidently in Cantonese, English and Putonghua.” In 2003, the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) recommended in its report on Action Plan to Raise Language Standards in Hong Kong that the policy of “bi-literacy and tri-lingualism”

on language education should apply to students from Primary 1 to Secondary 6.

Schools have different approaches in adopting the medium of instruction (MOI). Most local schools adopt Chinese language as the MOI. For newly arrived NCS students, this might affect their learning progress. But for NCS students who have learnt Chinese at childhood, there are less problems in learning through Chinese.

No matter which MOI (Chinese or English) schools might adopt, we encourage NCS students to learn Chinese for understanding local culture, integrating into the community and enriching the quality of life.


1.2 Spoken and Written Chinese Language in Hong Kong 1.2.1 The Spoken Language of Chinese

China is a multi-language and multi-dialect country, with 56 ethnic groups speaking more than 80 languages. Hanyu (or Chinese language, 漢語) is the language used by the majority of the population in China and also the common language of all ethnic groups. Modern Chinese language includes the standard language (Mandarin, Putonghua) and dialects. Putonghua adopts Beijing pronunciation as the standard pronunciation, northern dialect as the fundamental dialect, and classics in modern baihua (vernacular literary language, 白話) as the norm of grammar. In general, there are seven major dialect groups in Chinese language, namely, Beifanghua (the northern dialect or Mandarin, 北方話), Wu (吳方 言), Yue (Cantonese, 粵方言), Xiang (湘方言), Min (閩方言), Kejia (Hakka, 客家方 言) and Gan (贛方言).

In the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, most citizens and the mass media are using the Yue dialect (Cantonese, 粵語). As the common dialect of Hong Kong society, Cantonese is widely used in different community aspects such as politics, economy, education, and the mass media. Cantonese is also widely used in the Macau Special Administrative Region and some Chinese communities overseas.

In the language, it has preserved quite a number of monosyllabic words in classical Chinese such as “行” (walk), “食” (eat), “醒” (smart). Popular Hong Kong Cantonese has also absorbed lots of foreign loanwords, such as “士多” (store), “巴士”

(bus), “布冧” (plum). As for phonology, it is generally accepted that Cantonese has nine tones. The same syllable pronounced with different tones will become different characters in meaning.

1.2.2 The Chinese Script

There are about 30 character systems being used in China. Among them, the written language of Chinese is represented by Chinese characters (漢字). A character is formed into a square by strokes and components. This is entirely different from most scripts in the world with words spelled out by alphabets.

Therefore Chinese characters are often called “square characters” (方塊字).

Since the 1950s, two systems of Chinese characters have been developed, the traditional Chinese characters ( 繁 體 字 , 正 體 字 ) and simplified Chinese characters (簡化字). The majority of Hong Kong citizens and the media are using traditional Chinese characters. Traditional Chinese characters are also used in Macau, Taiwan and overseas Chinese communities. Simplified Chinese characters are the norm of Chinese scripts in Mainland China, adhering to the standard as announced in the Jianhuazi Zongbiao (General Lists of Simplified Characters, 簡化 字總表) by the State Language Commission (國家語言文字工作委員會) in 1986.

Simplified Chinese characters are generally used in Mainland China and Southeast Asia.


1.2.3 Choice of Spoken Language and Written Language for NCS Students in Learning Chinese

In view of the reality of language environment in the Hong Kong society, generally students would learn traditional Chinese characters at the start. Cantonese is most widely used in Chinese Language lessons. For better integration into the community and effective communication with others, it is in the interest of NCS students to learn first Cantonese and traditional Chinese characters, similar to their Chinese-speaking counterparts. Building on this foundation, NCS students would be able to communicate with more people and read more extensively should they choose to extend their learning to Putonghua and simplified Chinese characters.

There is a predominantly Cantonese language environment in Hong Kong.

The majority of schools use Cantonese in Chinese Language lessons. This has provided NCS students with a suitable environment for learning Chinese spoken language and it is therefore not difficult for them to grasp listening and speaking skills in Cantonese. Publications are generally printed in traditional Chinese characters and most schools also adopt traditional Chinese characters in teaching materials. This offers more opportunities for daily-life contact and learning that is conducive to grasping reading and writing skills in traditional Chinese characters.

[In general, public sector schools in Hong Kong provide the subject of Putonghua apart from Chinese Language. NCS students may learn Putonghua through taking the Putonghua subject in accordance with their needs. Besides, taking the Putonghua subject would expand the students’ exposure to Chinese language. ]

For the linguistic features of modern Chinese language, please refer to Appendix I. For the Chinese learning content for NCS students, please refer to paragraph 2.2 in Chapter II.


Chapter II - Curriculum Framework

2.1 The Chinese Language Education Curriculum Framework

The Chinese Language curriculum designed by the CDC of Hong Kong provides a flexible and robust curriculum framework for schools to adapt their own curriculum in accordance with students’ talents and intelligence, in order to cater for their holistic and personalised development, facilitating them in building a good foundation in Chinese language.

The central curriculum framework is an overarching framework for schools to plan and organise their own curriculum, founded on fundamental and connected concepts within major fields of knowledge which should be acquired by all students at different stages of education. It provides a context for the development and application of generic skills, positive values and attitudes. This curriculum framework is flexible and robust enough for schools and teachers to design the curriculum in different modes, catering for the diversified needs of students. The curriculum framework is composed of the three interconnected components of Key Learning Areas (KLAs), Generic Skills as well as Values and Attitudes.

2.1.1 The learning contents of the Chinese Language Education KLA

Learning contents for the Chinese Language Education KLA consists of nine learning strands in terms of knowledge, ability, interest, attitude and habit, which include Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Literature, Chinese Culture, Moral and Affective Development, Thinking and Independent Language Learning. These learning strands are the mutually intertwining areas of language learning. Chinese language learning, with reading, writing, listening and speaking as key aspects, promotes learning in other learning strands. In the process of learning, different learning strands are mutually correlated instead of fragmented.

In the nine learning strands, reading, writing, listening, speaking, thinking and independent language learning emphasise the development of language skills, while literature, Chinese culture, moral and affective development emphasise nourishment of intrinsic quality such as ideas and feelings. Students develop their language competence through comprehensive and balanced learning in the nine learning strands.

Language, comprising spoken and written aspects, is the most important communication tool in daily life. Language usage involves skills in reading and writing as well as listening and speaking. In Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking, one needs to be accurate, fluent and decent in order to satisfy learning, living and future working needs. In the learning process, language knowledge acquisition, language awareness and sense development, language learning interest fostering, good learning attitudes and habits development are duly emphasised.

Literature learning is an indispensable component of language learning.


Through literature learning, students can feel the beauty of language and sense the truth, the goodness and the beauty between human and nature from the affective aspect of the works. On one hand, it enhances students’ language learning interest and ability. On the other hand, students may learn about the unique and common ideas and emotions by sharing, which strengthens interpersonal communication, mutual understanding and sympathy, at the same time arouses in-depth exploration on daily-life and life experience.

Culture is an important component of language. Knowledge of culture enables communication as well as the succession to culture. Learning Chinese language can enrich students’ knowledge of Chinese Culture, so that they can reflect and know more about the meaning of Chinese culture to the modern world. By learning Chinese language, Chinese students may learn to recognise the splendid Chinese culture and develop their affection towards their country and nationality.

Language is the vehicle of thoughts and feelings. Learning Chinese language is the way to cultivate disposition and morality. From affective stimulation to rational reflection, Moral and Affective Development arouses interest and enriches knowledge from emotions to promote self-examination and moral practice.

Thinking is fundamental to language usage. In enhancing students’

language ability, it is important to develop their necessary thinking skills and competence for language learning, so as to help them analyse and solve problems independently.

Independent Language Learning can break through the limitation of classroom learning. Through life-wide learning, students extend the depth and width of language learning; develop their skills in acquiring, building and utilising knowledge as well as self-monitoring for establishing the foundation of life-long learning.

Generic skills are fundamental to learning. They are commonly developed through the context of eight KLAs of the central curriculum, duly emphasising the mastery of knowledge, construction of new knowledge and the application of knowledge for solving problems. Among the nine generic skills identified across the school curriculum, schools are encouraged to develop students’ communication skills, creativity and critical thinking skills as a start. As the nature of knowledge context differs across KLAs, the emphasis of each generic skill in each KLA may be different.

In the Chinese Language Education KLA, students’ communication, collaboration and study skills are developed mainly through reading, writing, listening and speaking, while creativity, critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills are developed mainly through thinking.

Values are explicit or implicit belief-systems that students should develop for guiding their conduct and decision-making, while Attitudes are personal dispositions towards particular tasks. The two are mutually related. In Chinese Language Education, the development of positive values and attitudes through nurturing moral and affective dimensions, learning of literature as well as Chinese culture has long been emphasised.


Diagrammatic representation of the Chinese Language Education KLA curriculum framework is as follows –

This curriculum framework is a framework that helps schools develop its own plan and curriculum, which sets up the knowledge content, skills, values and attitude students should grasp in different learning stages. The curriculum framework offers schools and teachers ample flexibility and autonomy to design different curriculum modes to cater for students’ needs. Schools are recommended to adapt learning objectives flexibly in accordance with NCS students’ learning needs.

(Please refer to Appendix IV - Exemplar on Adaptation of School-based Learning Objectives and Appendix V - Exemplar on Adaptation of Learning Objectives and Learning Modules.)

2.1.2 Curriculum Organisation

Schools organise their own curriculum with different modes according to the central curriculum framework, learning targets and learning objectives. No matter what modes schools have adopted, they are required to provide students with ample learning experiences in the nine learning strands, generic skills, values and attitude etc, while learning activities should conform to the learning objectives in each key learning area. Meanwhile, teachers are advised to organise learning objectives in

Writing Listening Speaking Literature Chinese Culture Moral & Affective Development Thinking Independent Language Learning

Reading Values and Attitudes

Generic Skills

Goals of Chinese Language Education Curriculum

Learning Targets for Basic Education &

Senior Secondary Learning Stages

Diversified curriculum organisation


Effective Learning, Teaching and Assessment

Learning Strands

(Learning Targets & Learning Objectives) all strands intertwining and integrated


these areas well to maximise learning effect. To organise the curriculum effectively, schools are advised to pay attention to the following points –

(1) To Adopt an Appropriate Curriculum Organisation Approach

There are various approaches for curriculum organisation. Teachers may consider the school’s aims and conditions or even the language environment to select the most appropriate approach according to students’ need and ability; or develop students’ cultural disposition with Chinese culture as the focus of teaching content; or conduct character education with morality and affection to be the focus. No matter what approach is adopted; it must help achieve comprehensive and balanced learning.

(2) Reasonable Arrangement of Learning Objectives

Regardless of the approach being adopted in curriculum organisation, learning objectives need to be arranged from simple to in-depth, from easy to difficult and from concrete to abstract, in accordance with the subject nature and students’

development stages. When organising the curriculum, schools have to be aware of the continuity of learning between junior and senior class levels as well as the connection across learning contents of the same level. This would contribute to sound coherence and progression between class levels, modules and learning objectives, so that students can follow a suitable learning sequence.

(3) Proper Recycling of Learning Objectives

It is crucial to cater for students’ intellectual development for learning in curriculum organisation. Important learning contents should be properly recycled in different learning stages for revision and consolidation. For example, in primary stage, students have already developed the basic ability to narrate through learning activities such as story telling, reading of fairy tales, fables and life stories etc.

However, students in junior secondary level also need to enhance their narrative skill by reading narrative writing.

[ Please refer to P. 15-20, 37-38 of “Chinese Language Education Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 to Secondary 3); P. 7-27 of “Chinese Language Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4 to Secondary 6)”. ]

2.2 Learning Contents Suitable for NCS Students

The above-mentioned Chinese language curriculum framework covers the instrumental and humanistic functions of language. The content of the nine learning strands is applicable to all students. Of course, in designing the learning content, it is necessary to consider various factors of NCS students’ learning, including the influences from their mother tongue, situation of second language learning, Chinese language learning standard, family background, social economic status, cultural competence, intellectual development etc, in order to decide on the most appropriate learning contents.


2.2.1 Character Learning and Writing

Character learning is the first step in language learning. With certain amount of vocabulary accumulated, students can have better comprehension, communication and application of the language. The first languages spoken by NCS students have lots of differences compared to Chinese, so students may encounter difficulties in learning the Chinese language. For example, Chinese character may be a hurdle for NCS students’ learning, but at the same time, it is also the key to reading and writing Chinese. Students may find it difficult to recognise and write Chinese characters in the beginning. However, as long as they grasp certain amount of components, they will find it easier to recognise and write the characters and may improve their learning progress. (For the linguistic features of Chinese language and the comparison between Chinese and the usual languages of Hong Kong NCS students, please refer to Appendix I.)

When learning Chinese characters, both in terms of recognition and writing, students should first master the basic structure of Chinese characters; learn the concept of components and radicals in progression for effectiveness. (Please refer to Appendix II.)

2.2.2 Language Application

When it comes to the applied function of language, there are two aspects:

interpersonal communication and knowledge construction. To learn a new language, as long as a learner grasps certain basic vocabulary and language habit, he/she will be able to communicate with others. When a learner masters more vocabulary and expressions, he/she may further use the new language to acquire knowledge in various areas.

For NCS students, they can communicate with others in Chinese once they learn some basic oral Chinese. In other words, they have already reached the level of “basic interpersonal communicative skills”. If they want to acquire knowledge through Chinese, then they should not limit themselves to this level, and should increase the amount of their vocabulary and develop reading and writing skills that are compatible with their intellectual development, which means to reach the level of

“cognitive academic language proficiency”. When NCS students reach this level, they can use Chinese to enrich their knowledge and broaden their learning scope for continuous improvement.

2.2.3 Literature, Chinese Culture, Moral and Affective Development

Students’ aesthetic sense, appreciation skills, disposition and morality are nurtured through the truth, virtues and beauty in language contents as well as the unique and common thoughts and feelings reflected in different works. From the affective aspect in the works, students could sense the emotions among people and nature. On one hand, it arouses students’ interest in learning the language; on the other hand it strengthens communication, understanding and sympathy. It further enhances self-reflection and moral practices. All of these are very important to students of any ethnicities.


By learning Chinese culture, NCS students may know more about China, the social environment and customs of the place they currently live in. This is helpful to their immersion into the community. Moreover, they can deepen their knowledge on features of various cultures worldwide through the understanding of the unique Hong Kong culture constituted by different ethnicities. As a result, they enhance their own personality, learn to respect different ethnicities and accept diversified cultures around the world with an open mind, facilitating peace and harmony. It is a learning advantage for students to have a diversified cultural environment in Hong Kong.

2.2.4 Auxiliary Learning Approaches

Language learning should not be limited to classroom learning. The purpose of developing independent language learning skills is to allow students to study Chinese language themselves according to their own level and pace. At the elementary stage, students may adopt some auxiliary approaches such as using their mother tongue to mark the pronunciation of characters for easy memory, or using common phonetic symbols such as [ l ] [ n ] [ s ] etc to assist in memorising. Teachers should accept students in using their own ways to learn the language, and should not ask students to use phonetic symbols that they are not familiar with. Teachers should let students understand that Chinese characters or the Chinese language itself is the learning target. Any phonetic symbols are only a means in the process of mastering the language.

Cantonese is the common language in Hong Kong society. A lot of dictionaries in the market use different ways to mark the pronunciation of Chinese characters. Any reference could be adopted as long as NCS students find it easy and convenient to use.

[ Please refer to p.17-19 of “Chinese Language Education Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 to Secondary 3)”; p.7-27 of “Chinese Language Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4 to Secondary 6)”. ]

2.2.5 Process of Learning

The starting point for NCS students in Chinese language learning is different from that for other local students. Firstly, NCS students have needs for application skills. To help NCS students immerse into their school life, master Chinese language and adapt to the environment in Hong Kong as soon as possible, the development of students’ language application skills, especially spoken communication skills usually ranks top on the arrangement of learning contents. When students possess certain ability in listening and speaking, schools should systematically help students learn a considerable amount of vocabulary, and further enhance their reading and writing skills. For the writing of Chinese characters, it is suggested that allow NCS students be allowed to learn writing characters with simple strokes and components so that they can know more about Chinese character structure. Then, they can try to combine radicals and components to form more words. For reading, schools may make use of the context in story books to guide students in reading and to enjoy the fun brought about by words, so as to develop their reading skills and reading strategy.

(For radicals and components of Chinese characters, please refer to Appendix II.)


The teaching of writing should be integrated with reading, so that there are ample vocabulary and concept input in the process of teaching. Based on comprehensive findings from research and school experience, NCS students are advised to follow the steps below to learn the Chinese language. (For learning and teaching strategies, please refer to paragraph 5.3 in Chapter V.)

(1) Start from Listening and Speaking

Since the mother tongue of NCS students is not Chinese, they should first develop their listening and speaking skills in Chinese Language lessons. This can be divided into three levels: the first is to understand the teacher’s instructions in class and be able to join in-class activities and clearly express his/her own thought for effective communication with teachers and classmates; the second is to accumulate colloquial vocabulary and learn the habitual expression of colloquial Chinese language; the third is to learn more formal spoken Chinese through the teachers’

demonstration in class.

(2) Character Learning

After obtaining basic listening and speaking skills, NCS students may start to learn Chinese characters, and fully use the ideographic feature of Chinese characters to learn character structure. At first, students may only learn single words one by one, but after they have built a richer vocabulary, they can learn more vocabulary and build up their language sense by using sentences and paragraphs.

(3) Chinese Character Writing

At the initial stage of learning, NCS students may see Chinese characters as pictures without knowing what strokes and components are. Students are therefore advised to learn writing strokes and some simple components while learning to recognise Chinese characters. This helps them remember and differentiate the shape of characters. By comparing characters with similar shapes, they will find it easier to learn the strokes and structure of Chinese characters. (For radicals and components of Chinese characters, please refer to Appendix II.)

(4) Reading Skills Development

When NCS students have accumulated certain amount of vocabulary, they should start to develop their reading skills systematically. In the selection of teaching materials, schools should consider the intellectual development, daily-life context and language proficiency of students, and simplify, revise or adapt the reading materials appropriately to match students’ learning. When reading, schools are advised to help students master certain effective reading strategies to assist them in reading independently.

(5) Integrating Reading and Writing

The teaching of writing should be integrated with reading. After reading, teachers may arrange a writing task to allow students to imitate the content and


expression in reading materials. In the process of learning, it is important to have rich vocabulary and concept input as the foundation to develop their practical Chinese writing skills or even creative skills gradually in accordance with their intellectual development.


Chapter III - Curriculum Planning

To ensure that students could attain the learning targets, schools are required to take into account students’ abilities, levels and interest, etc. to plan and design a balanced and comprehensive school-based language curriculum that aligns with the curriculum guides prepared by the CDC. This curriculum should be well-organised and progressive to sustain continuity between Key Stages. It has to strike a balance between Key Stages as well as the nine learning strands to ensure that there is a balanced and comprehensive coverage of knowledge accumulation, skills, attitudes and habit development at different Key Stages.

3.1 Basic Principles

Schools should plan their curriculum according to the following principles -

(1) Provide Balanced and Comprehensive Language Learning

Schools are required to provide balanced and comprehensive language learning through the nine learning strands: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Literature, Chinese Culture, Moral and Affective Development, Thinking and Independent Language Learning in accordance with the central curriculum framework and in line with the curriculum objectives.

(2) Curriculum Adjustment in accordance with Students’ Conditions y Flexible Teaching

The Chinese Language curriculum framework in Hong Kong is robust and balanced, which provides schools with flexibility and autonomy. Teachers are advised to make full use of the flexibility and autonomy in adjusting the curriculum planning and teaching strategies according to the curriculum framework and the nationalities, language background, learning need, personality, interest and ability of NCS students, and develop their ability, potential and Chinese proficiency.

y Diversified Learning

Since NCS students have come to Hong Kong at different times, they may be different from local students in terms of education background and age. As a result, older NCS students may not be able to attend the same grade with classmates of the same age. Based on actual learning needs, teachers are advised to assign NCS students to lower grade classes, so that they can adapt to the Chinese Language curriculum progressively and learn to communicate with others by using Cantonese and Chinese characters.


y Diversified Ethnicity and Culture

Students from different ethnic groups have different religion, cuisines, costume etc. In the design of teaching topics or classroom activities, teachers are reminded to pay attention to the various customs, values and psychological needs of different nationalities, as well as to allow full development and exchange of ethnic cultures. For example, teachers may organise ethnic dance activities for cultural exchange to make language learning more interesting and meaningful. It also promotes mutual understanding between students of various cultural backgrounds to achieve the objective of multicultural exchange. For the adaptation of curriculum, teachers are reminded to be aware of sensitive topics related to religion in order to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding. Since there are different practices for different religions, some NCS students may have to go back to their homeland to join religious activities on certain designated dates. It is inevitable that their progress may be affected if they miss the learning of Chinese for a period of time. Language learning should be continuous, so teachers are advised to have special arrangement for students, such as to arrange holiday assignments, remedial classes before and afterschool; adjust learning progress and regulate learning content to alleviate the influence on discontinuous learning.

[ Please refer to p.41-44 of “Chinese Language Education Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 to Secondary 3)”; p.33-36 of “Chinese Language Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4 to Secondary 6)”. ]

(3) Fulfilling Parents and Students’ Aspirations

NCS students may have different aspirations towards their living, further studies or employment in Hong Kong, while parents may also have different aspirations towards their children’s exits. According to different situations, some students may only learn basic spoken Chinese for daily communication, or to learn simple Chinese for daily-life application but some may expect to achieve a relatively high level and use it as the medium of instruction in learning. Since the aspiration of parents and students differ, schools are advised to carefully consider the learning content and its priority for more appropriate curriculum planning, so as to fulfill parents and students’ aspirations.

3.2 Practical Experiences in Schools

Based on the central curriculum framework, many schools in Hong Kong undertake overall curriculum planning, adopt teaching contents and materials as well as design appropriate learning activities and materials in accordance with students’

knowledge of Chinese, their personal needs, interests and abilities. (Please refer to Appendices V, VI, VII, VIII, IX and X.)

From the practical experiences of schools, several modes of curriculum planning are summarised as follows -


(1) Immersion in Chinese Language Lessons

Schools arrange NCS students to study alongside other local students. The strategy is to scatter NCS students into different classes for frequent contact with other local students to speak more Cantonese, so that NCS students can learn Chinese and have equal opportunity to receive education as other local students.

(2) Bridging/ Transition

Schools separate NCS students from ordinary Chinese Language classes to relieve their learning burden caused by not being able to immerse in Chinese Language classes immediately, and allow students at different levels to have their different access points, which is conducive to tackling the problem of uneven progress.

(3) Specific Learning Purposes

Schools select specific Chinese Language learning contents to cope with learning needs flexibly. In a short period of time, students can master basic Cantonese communication to meet fundamental daily-life needs and reach specific learning targets. (Please refer to Appendix X.)

(4) Integrated

If schools have a large intake of NCS students who have diversified backgrounds, different learning progress and learning pace, they may have to adopt several curriculum modes at the same time and integrate the use of teaching modes to meet the diversified learning needs of students. (Please refer to Appendix VI.)


Chapter IV - Curriculum Modes

We hope to help NCS students achieve certain Chinese language level, which can fulfill the expectation of both students and parents, instead of pre-determining that NCS students may only learn the language at a lower proficiency level. Otherwise this will limit NCS students’ development in Chinese language learning, and affect their examination, exit and career, preventing them from gaining social recognition that they deserve. In fact, there are a number of successful examples showing that NCS students can also learn Chinese language well and immerse into Chinese Language classes and the community. Experience indicates that the most effective approach is to provide continuous and targeted assistance by various modes for adaptation in accordance with students’ competence and intelligence.

The following are a few modes for adaptation concluded from actual experiences for schools’ reference and use. Schools are advised to study their current situation, analyse the background and the Chinese language proficiency of NCS students admitted to select one or more modes below. (For experience in Chinese regions other than Hong Kong, please refer to Appendix III.)

4.1 Immersion in Chinese Language Lessons

Whether NCS students plan to stay in Hong Kong for a long time, further their studies or pursue a career in Hong Kong, we encourage them to immerse in the Chinese Language lessons. Some NCS students in Hong Kong have started to learn spoken Chinese as early as in kindergarten. The families which can provide a Chinese speaking environment for NCS students can also enable them to learn the language better. Since NCS students may have specific learning needs in Chinese language learning, schools are encouraged to arrange NCS students in classes with local students and provide them with focused remedial teaching outside lessons to facilitate them in immersion into the Chinese Language lessons.

(1) Prevalent Conditions

• Students arrive in Hong Kong before teenage, have had early contact with Chinese language; they have opportunities to learn Chinese in the family or community, with prior knowledge in Cantonese and traditional Chinese characters.

• Students have learned Chinese in kindergartens providing a Chinese learning environment, which facilitates students’ communication with peers in Cantonese.

• Students have almost reached the Chinese standard (threshold) required for learning in Chinese.


(2) Advantages

y A Rich Chinese Language Environment

A rich Chinese language environment is crucial for NCS students to immerse in the Chinese Language lessons and to enjoy school life in Hong Kong.

Schools may arrange for NCS students to study alongside other Chinese-speaking students, so that they can learn better Chinese through communication, collaborative learning and group discussions. NCS students also acquire the language through varying contexts in authentic situations such as participating in school activities. Under a rich Chinese language environment, NCS students are able to learn, to communicate and to improve their learning in Chinese language.

y Peer Assistance / Collaboration

Peer assistance is the most effective way for immersion. When NCS students learn and communicate with other Chinese-speaking students, they are given chances to learn and apply Chinese. Peer assistance includes Chinese-speaking students who learn with NCS students and provide them with language support in daily life, and also embraces mutual support among NCS students. NCS students of the same ethnicity speaking the same language can also provide assistance to one another to overcome the learning problems, while others, notwithstanding their different ethnic backgrounds speaking different languages, can also make improvements through sharing of learning experiences and collaboration in learning. Teachers are encouraged to acquire a better understanding about the ethnic background of NCS students and make good use of peer collaborative learning so as to help NCS students to integrate into their school life.

y Displaying Racial Harmony

From the experiences of different regions and different stake-holders, it is the most productive and effective way for NCS students to learn Chinese alongside other Chinese-speaking students. Schools may arrange for NCS students to study in different classes with the majority of other local students, so that they are provided with more opportunities to communicate with other Chinese-speaking students. In such a learning environment, NCS students may find it easier and more enjoyable to learn Chinese.

y Merging Different Cultures

Hong Kong, as a place blending Chinese and western cultures, allows us to have easy access to different cultures which constitute precious resources for language learning. Hong Kong teachers can make use of such advantages and design a curriculum with rich cultural elements to broaden students’ views on Hong Kong rituals and Chinese culture. For instance, life-wide learning activities enable students to learn outside classrooms and learn about Hong Kong culture from a different perspective. Moreover, local or cross-border


cultural activities can be organised to promote cultural exchange in the hope of enhancing students’ knowledge and understanding of different cultures in achieving racial harmony.

(Please refer to Appendix XI - Exemplar on Design of Learning and Teaching Activity - New Year; Appendix XII - Exemplar on Design of Learning and Teaching Activity - The Park.)

(3) Challenges

y NCS students studying Chinese Language alongside Chinese-speaking students at school

NCS students who newly arrive in Hong Kong not only have to face adaptation problems in daily routines or cultural differences, but also have to undergo language transition from using their mother tongue to Chinese for communication. However, experience shows us that those problems are only temporary. NCS students can quickly overcome the difficulties and enjoy their learning with the care and support from teachers and other students.

y Demand for remedial programmes outside lessons

Due to the language barrier, NCS students may find it difficult to learn Chinese when they immerse in Chinese Language lessons. Teachers have to observe their classroom performance and evaluate their learning progress so as to provide them with focused remedial teaching outside lessons to facilitate immersion in Chinese Language lessons.

y Need for effective diagnostic assessment tools

Teachers need to make use of effective assessment tools to evaluate NCS students’ Chinese language learning standards and assess their performance on reaching the threshold of learning, such as the amount of vocabulary they have grasped, to ensure their smooth immersion in Chinese Language lessons.

(4) Implementation

To diagnose students’ ability and flexibly adjust teaching strategies to suit the needs: In adjusting the curriculum, teachers need to assess students’ ability in Chinese through observation, course work, tests and examinations and make an appropriate decision. In the follow-up learning/ teaching process, constant diagnosis needs to be made and teaching strategies need to be revised every now and then.

Beyond the threshold: Teachers should set clear objectives when they are to adopt different adjustment strategies to diagnose whether students have attained the required standard. Once the students are proven to have the ability to pass the threshold, the NCS students would smoothly immerse into the Chinese Language lessons and learn alongside other local Chinese-speaking students.

Focused Remedial Teaching: NCS students’ learning of Chinese starts


with a second language approach. Even when schools have made arrangements for their learning together with other local students in the same classroom, teachers still need to attend to their different learning needs and provide them with focused remedial teaching outside classrooms so as to facilitate their integration into Chinese Language lessons. In conducting the focused remedial teaching, it is more appropriate to arrange the learning contents (for instance, there is no [ f ] sound in Nepali, Indonesian and Tagalog; such phenomenon should be taken into consideration when teaching Chinese pronunciation), strategies, and learning materials according to the particular learning characteristics of the second language learners. Supportive remedial teaching could include the organisation of Chinese character learning groups, speaking training groups to focus and reinforce their study.

Self-learning platform for students: Besides formal class or after-class focused remedial learning, schools could set up self-learning platforms such as a web portal for their students to nurture their habits in independent learning. Interactive learning processes like character writing, listening drills, games on strokes etc. could provide a more relaxed learning environment and enable the students to adjust their learning pace and time, with greater interest and effectiveness.

Peer collaborative learning: The help from peer Chinese local students through games and other collaborative learning is important to enhancing both competence and communication of NCS students. In reading simple and pictorial books together, students could advance their recognition of the Chinese characters and words, and eventually their reading ability in collaborative learning. Teachers could arrange for more peer collaborative learning sessions in class on a weekly basis so as to enable students to become more engaged in pleasurable learning. (Please refer to Appendix XIII.)

Teacher interflow platform: Teachers of NCS students have accumulated abundant experiences. The mutual sharing of experiences and resources among teachers of different schools is important for enhancement of teachers’ professional development. The sharing of resources could include successful case studies, school-based curriculum planning, learning materials developed by teachers and other reference materials.

Adaptation and Adjustment: There are four key learning stages (i.e.

lower primary, upper primary, junior secondary and senior secondary), and nine strands (i.e. Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing, Literature, Chinese Culture, Moral and Affective Development, Thinking and Independent Language Learning). In arranging after-school remediation for NCS students, teachers could flexibly make adjustment and adaptation on the curriculum according to students’ needs. (For examples on curriculum adaptation and adjustment, please refer to Appendix V.) The following strategies of curriculum adjustment are advised for schools’ reference -

Diagnosis on students’ learning needs: Teachers need to observe students’

performance in the class, course work and tests so as to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in learning and follow up with supplementing or strengthening relevant learning in the focused remedial teaching sessions.

For example, if students reverse the upper and lower part or the left and the right of the components when writing characters, or they fail to write the


components in appropriate proportions, teachers may offer targeted remedial or corrective measures in teaching to strengthen students’

knowledge of Chinese character strokes and structure, so as to effectively help students immerse into Chinese Language classes. (For radicals and components of Chinese characters, please refer to Appendix II.)

Targeted remedial measures: Effective diagnosis of students’ learning needs is important before teachers could employ appropriate strategies.

For example, in achieving one of the learning objectives ‘using appropriate vocabulary to express oneself in accordance with context’ in the strand of speaking at the upper primary level, teachers might have identified students’

weakness to be the lack of oral vocabulary and/or daily life experience that handicapped their learning. Relevant focused remedial measures need to be made accordingly. In another case at the secondary level, appropriate remedial measures were also required when teachers found that the NCS students failed to achieve the learning objective of ‘understanding the coherent relation between sentences and paragraphs’ in the strand of reading.

¾ Flexible adaptation of learning materials and teaching strategies in different learning stages: According to the above mentioned examples, in the case of upper primary students being found inadequate in oral vocabulary, teachers in remedial teaching sessions could adopt the learning material at lower primary level and supplement students with relevant oral vocabulary. If secondary students are found having difficulty in understanding sentences, teachers could refer to the learning objectives of primary (Reading strand: comprehension of sentence) and focus on strengthening students’ understanding of sentences through a gradual incremental process.

¾ Appropriate access point of learning: According to the above mentioned examples, if students fail to express verbally in ‘appropriate words’ due to the lack of contextual experience, teachers could use some daily life contexts as the access point for their learning during remedial teaching sessions. Students will then be provided with adequate opportunity and environment for applying what they have learnt.

Effective use of students’ strength: Students will show their strengths and weaknesses in different strands which intertwine with each other in their learning process. Teachers should make use of students’ strengths to facilitate their learning in other strands. For example, in the case of composition, students are required to present not only written expression of themselves, but also their thinking (structuring of language and logic) and affection. Some NCS students may not finish or reach the writing requirement within the stipulated time. The reason for that may vary (e.g.

writing speed or insufficient vocabulary). After diagnosis, teachers could capitalise on students’ strengths in verbal expression and ask them to do the composition in an oral presentation and then put it into words. This would train up their expression ability from oral to written to embrace presentation of thoughts and affection as well. (Please refer to Appendix V.)


(5) Public Examinations

Upon completion of secondary education and immersion in Chinese Language lessons for six years or more, NCS students are expected to have reached a certain language standard and can sit for the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE), the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE) or the coming Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination.

Based on their need and actual Chinese language standard, students may also sit for the easier Chinese Language examinations arranged by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.

[ A small number of students who learn Chinese language following an adapted and simpler curriculum, which is generally not suitable for the majority of other students studying at local schools, may also sit for the General Certificate of Education (GCE), the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations arranged by the HKEAA to obtain other recognised Chinese language qualifications. ]

4.2 Bridging / Transition

NCS students come to Hong Kong at different times. Some students who arrive in Hong Kong as late as in their adolescence have less exposure to Chinese language and therefore find it difficult to immerse in Chinese Language lessons.

Providing NCS students only with focused remedial teaching outside lessons may not be the solution to their learning problems. Schools may encourage students to participate in bridging programmes and learn Chinese language in an intensive way.

Schools, for example, may design intensive learning programmes for NCS students in long vacations to strengthen their Chinese language foundation and pave way for subsequent immersion in Chinese Language lessons; or make full use of rich language environment to provide students with chances to use the language, so that they can enhance their standard efficiently for immersion in general Chinese Language lessons.

(Please refer to Appendix XIV.)

After the Bridging / Transition programmes, NCS students should be provided with a “Student Learning Profile” which reveals students’ learning pace, performance and learning standard. Teachers should give descriptions on students’

learning progress in the profile to facilitate adaptation of the curriculum or remedial teaching outside lessons.

(1) Prevalent Conditions

• Students have arrived in Hong Kong at teenage, have late contact with Chinese: they communicate in their mother tongue at home, having little contact with Cantonese and traditional Chinese characters.

• Students have different proficiency levels in various dimensions of Chinese language (e.g. listening, speaking, reading, writing); students have different proficiency levels.


• Students have aspirations to stay in the education system in Hong Kong as well as to seek employment in fields requiring proficiency in spoken and written Chinese.

(2) Advantages

y Provision of Intensive Learning to Enhance Students’ Chinese Language Standards

NCS students are arranged to have intensive studies in Chinese for a relatively short period. For example, schools may arrange intensive programmes for students to learn Chinese in longer vacations, or arrange intensive learning through a special timetable. Upon completion of intensive and targeted learning, students’ Chinese language foundation will be strengthened to pave way for schools’ Chinese Language curriculum. This kind of learning provides students with a rich Chinese learning environment and ample learning opportunities. Such focused learning helps to enhance students’

Chinese language standards within a short period of time and facilitate their immersion in lessons.

y Provision of Focused Learning for Students to Overcome Language Difficulties

¾ Tackling language difficulties through comparison: NCS students have different mother tongues. It is advisable that teachers should begin by comparing the characteristics of languages to help students find out their learning difficulties in Chinese. For instance, the widely used languages of different minority races in Hong Kong have no tones. It is advisable that teachers lay stress on the unique characteristics of Chinese language that various tones carry different meanings. For example, “東”

(East) and “凍” (cold) have various tones ( [ dong1 ], [ dong3 ] ) and so carry different meanings. This should be addressed first so that students could concentrate on overcoming the learning difficulties. (Please refer to Appendix XV.)

¾ Selection of appropriate materials: In adopting the Bridging / Transition mode, teachers have to select appropriate materials according to students’ language ability and learning psychology. Materials need to be simple and direct; vocabularies used have to match with their learning progress. This could help students enrich vocabularies, retain what they learn and communicate effectively. As for the learning contents, learning materials have to be designed according to students’ age and their psychological development.

y Ample Time for Adaptation

NCS students have to undergo a transition period in learning. When their Chinese standards are adequate for communication, they can immerse in Chinese Language lessons.


y Allowance for Lower Chinese Standard at the Start

The Bridging / Transition mode is recommended for those students with a lower level of competencies. Through effective curriculum adaptation, students can learn Chinese intensively within a short period of time. After overcoming the learning difficulties, their Chinese standards can be raised.

(3) Challenges

y Adoption of lower levels of competencies

In schools adopting the Bridging / Transition mode, some NCS students may not have received an education in local kindergartens, resulting in their limited Chinese ability. Because of the limitation, they may find it difficult to pick up this language at the beginning. It is suggested that they learn from a lower starting point.

y Teachers need diagnostic assessment tools

In the bridging period, teachers need to make use of the diagnostic assessment tools to evaluate NCS students’ learning progress. Meanwhile, teachers have to use the formative assessment so as to gauge students’ learning pace and provide them with timely feedback. Moreover, in different key stages, diagnostic assessment tools can help to make sure whether students have reached the Chinese learning threshold for further immersion.

(4) Implementation

In cases where students’ competence in Chinese is not compatible with the general learning requirement, the bridging mode can be adopted to help NCS students build a solid foundation in Chinese. Nevertheless, this is only a bridging phase and during this stage, in consideration of students’ learning progress, Chinese language level and the real situation, teachers may allow students to immerse in general Chinese Language lessons. During the bridging period, teachers could formulate a bridging programme with clear objectives in learning content and material, methodology and assessment, so as to strengthen students’ ability in Chinese for integration into the class. The following measures are suggested as examples for teachers’ reference -

y Principles in practice

¾ Emphasis on functional use: Targeted at students with their second language as the access point for learning, a bridging programme should give priority to the functional use of language in terms of nurturing students’ life skills and adaptation to school life and learning. For curriculum arrangement, it is suggested that students start with their learning of listening and speaking, and then slowly add the teaching content of character writing and reading. When students have certain language accumulation, teachers may combine the teaching of writing with




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