The Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) has recently set up three sub-committees on dissemination of Language Fund products, study of second/foreign language education and language immersion programmes for students.
SCOLAR has since its inception supported over 230 language projects ranging from resource development, teacher development, language learning activities and research.
While some of the materials developed so far have been distributed to schools and research reports have been deposited at major libraries, there is room for wider dissemination of Language Fund projects to a wider audience.
In order to ensure the quality of Language Fund projects, in addition to ongoing in-house evaluation, there is also a need to collect feedback from the real users.
SCOLAR has therefore decided to set up a Sub-committee on Dissemination of Language Fund Products, with SCOLAR member Ms Virginia Ng as its convener, to take stock of the work done so far in dissemination of Language Fund projects and products and collecting feedback from users.
The sub-committee will also consider and recommend to SCOLAR a marketing strategy as to how best to promote further dissemination of Language Fund projects and products, as well as overseeing the implementation and effectiveness of the strategy. Related issues, including dissemination channels, whether a logo for Language Fund products is desirable, pricing of products, and staffing and financial implications, etc. will also be considered.
As the Education Department has also produced many good quality resource products to support language teaching and learning over the years, the sub-committee will co-ordinate the marketing/promotion strategy for Language Fund products with those for the Department's products.
To identify how language education in Hong Kong should be improved, SCOLAR has recently set up a Sub-committee to Study Second/Foreign Language Education.
The sub-committee, with SCOLAR member Professor Chan Wing-ming as its convener, will collate and study information about second/foreign language education in other education systems, including whether there is a clearly stated language policy, language teacher training, how a second/foreign language is taught, pre-conditions for success, and obstacles to success.
It will also compare and contrast the experience of other education systems with that of the local system, with a view to making recommendations on how the teaching and learning of Putonghua and English in Hong Kong can be improved.
As a first step, the sub-committee will go through research projects funded by the Language Fund to identify the research findings which may shed more light on the teaching and learning of a second/foreign language in the local context. It will also conduct literature review and consultations with various sectors through, for example, focus group discussions with the academic and school sectors.
SCOLAR has also decided to set up a Sub-committee on Language Immersion Programmes for Students, as it is generally accepted and proven that a second or foreign language is best learnt in an authentic language environment.
The Language Fund has over the past years provided support for a number of immersion programmes, some for teachers and some for students, and they have all been found to be useful, particularly in boosting the students' confidence in using the second or foreign language. There is still room for expanding immersion programmes so that more students can benefit.
The sub-committee will consider how immersion programmes for students can be strengthened and will, taking into account resource availability, promote the organisation of more immersion programmes for students. Mr Michael Tien, Dr Donald Li and Dr Cheung Kwai Yeung are co-conveners of the sub-committee.