The issue of medium of instruction and questions related to effective learning constitute an important part of the current debates on language education and the planning of education policy in Hong Kong. Since the transfer of sovereignty in 1997 a growing body of research is generating new insights into this fraught question of policy and planning. We report here the results of the first study that has adopted the phenomenographic framework of learning. This approach allows a perspective to be developed on the actual functioning of communication within content classrooms and throws light on the effectiveness of the acquisition of learning, key concepts and extended or deep understanding in terms of the language of instruction. It has direct consequences on the choices to be made within the framework of language policy in Hong Kong and is relevant to similar contexts in other settings.
Cantonese medium of instruction Chinese language education concept development deep understanding English medium of instruction language policy and planning phenomenography