Strategies for Planning
and Implementing a
Whole-school Language Policy
Language Learning Support Section
16 November 2011
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Contents
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Decoding Whole School Language
Policy
Language Policy
Observations in language learning and
using language to learn
Considerations in developing WSLP
Reminders on implementation
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Decoding Whole School Language Policy
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Language – learning languages and
using languages to learn
Policy – setting direction which
mandates action
School – contextual
Whole – everyone’s business and
concerted effort of all
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What is the direction of your WSLP?
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Promote biliteracy and trilingualism?
Uphold mother tongue?
Strengthen the use of Putonghua?
Strengthen the use of English?
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What is the requirement of your WSLP?
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Content, instructional strategies and
assessment of different subject syllabi
Language use for whole school dimensions:
- whole school events
- ECA
- communication with parents
- school website and intranet
- conversations in common areas
- written language displayed around the school
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Some observations - Learning
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Unable to use formal English and Chinese to
read, write and make oral presentations
Lack subject-specific vocabulary and unfamiliar
with the ways subject texts are organised
Inhibited to read longer and unfamiliar text
Seldom read or write beyond teachers’
requirement and rely mostly on classroom
learning
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Some observations - Curriculum
Language subjects
 Big gap in KS 2 in particular
 Limited text-types
 Lack of extensive reading and writing
 Language across the curriculum?
Non-language subjects
 Teaching materials employ simplified language
 Tasks/assessments require limited response from
students
Inadequate emphasis on the development of attitudes and
skills for independent learning
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Some observations - Teaching
Lack of systematic scaffolding and instruction to
help students deal with
 longer texts
 more complex sentences
 more subject-specific new vocabulary
 less visual material
 more creative/critical higher-order thinking
skills
Lack of exposure to different text-types
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Developing a whole school language policy
Schoolbased
Studentcentred
Holistic
planning
Whole
school
approach
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Student-centred
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Characteristic (e.g. aspiration, interests,
strengths and weaknesses)
Prior knowledge & performance (e.g. in
internal and external assessment and
learning activities)
Parental expectation and support
Needs in subsequent stages of learning
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Needs & Implications for language learning
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Integrated use of the language skills
Higher order thinking skills
Processing vast amount of information
quickly
A wide variety of text-types
A strong knowledge base needed
Greater linguistic and cognitive demands
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School-based
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School goal/mission
Teachers’ capacity and readiness
Culture & atmosphere – consensus,
collaboration
Availability of resources and support
measures
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Holistic planning
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Curriculum (formal and informal)
Resource deployment (funding, space,
manpower)
Staff development
Time-tabling
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Whole school approach
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Role of different parties (hierarchical and
professional roles)
Mechanism which facilitates
communication and collaboration
Mechanism which enables different
parties to review the process and
outcome of implementation
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Considerations in planning a wholeschool language policy
Outside the school
Outside the classroom
Inside the classroom
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Inside the classroom
Language subjects
Non-language subjects
Curriculum
Incorporate the skills,
knowledge, values &
attitudes required in other
subjects
Apply and re-teach the skills,
knowledge, values &
attitudes taught in the
language subjects
Learning
and
teaching
Create a language rich classroom
Conduct cross-curricular learning activities
Provide self-access learning materials & equipment
Facilitate reading across the curriculum
Be a good language model
Task/
Assessment
Use topics and materials
covered in other KLAs,
design questions that
assess integrated and
higher order thinking skills
Provide students with more
opportunities to
demonstrate their language
skills
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Outside the classroom
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Set up self-access learning corner/room
Provide programmes for different target groups
Create a language-rich campus
Designate reading time
Organise co-curricular activities
Tap expertise of service providers to organise
special activities
Invite guest speakers to provide interesting
talks/activities
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Outside the school
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Organise visits to Putonghua and English
speaking organisations
Partner with community to motivate students to
participate in public/inter-school events
Emphasize the importance of gaining exposure
through the mass media
Collaborate with local/non-local institutions in
organising stimulating activities
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Reminders on implementation
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Goal: motivate/reward students for using their
multilingual skills
Decision making: involve different stakeholders,
adopt an informed PIE process
Resource deployment: be mindful of teachers’
workload
Teacher development: have an overview of the
relationship between thought, language
acquisition and learning
Leadership development: be familiar with
broader policy on language & learning
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A word of caution
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Examples taken from the sample HKDSE
papers are only used to illustrate the cognitive
and linguistic demands on students in learning
the language and non-language subjects
They provide insights into the areas which
need to be addressed when planning the
language and non-language curricula
A “teach-to-the-test” approach is not advocated
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References
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Good practices of primary and secondary
schools in holistic curriculum planning and
classroom practices:
English Language
Chinese Language
Use of Putonghua to teach Chinese
Language across the curriculum
http://www.edb.gov.hk/languagesupport
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Whole-school Language Policy – planning & implementation