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Stakeholder experiences of a dual-language school: a case study of a private international school in Hong Kong

By Timothy John Fryer

Abstract

Many international schools around the world aim to produce ‘internationally minded’\ud students by providing English language international education. However, a problem often arises as they also aim to incorporate the language and culture of the host country in the life of the school. Such dual aims are complex to achieve and this study explores the effectiveness of their implementation at a dual-language, private international school in Hong Kong. The case Secondary school aims to provide a dual-language education in English and Mandarin and develop global citizens who appreciate both Chinese and Anglo-Western cultural traditions. However, it is questionable whether the dual-language,\ud dual-culture goals are achievable, and the research focuses on the perceptions of students, parents, senior leaders and teachers of the relative success of the school in achieving its goals. The Main Research Question asks, “What do the three main stakeholder groups (students, parents, senior leaders/teachers) expect and experience from the dual-language approach and the international education ethos at the Mandarin International School in Hong Kong?” The study employs a qualitative research approach within the interpretive\ud paradigm, using inductive methods to analyse data collected through semi-structured interviews conducted with eight members of each stakeholder group, selected through maximum variation sampling. \ud \ud All groups agreed that the case Secondary school was not dual-language, but an English\ud medium school with compulsory Mandarin and only the teachers/leaders perceived that the\ud dominance of English served the long-term goals of the students. The dual-language\ud commitment enriches the school, according to the parents and teachers/leaders, but the\ud students converse mainly in English and Cantonese, the vernacular of Hong Kong. The\ud parents were unhappy that Mandarin was not a lingua franca of the students and it is clear that Cantonese and the associated local culture further complicate the dual-language, dualculture dynamic

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/3963

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