Chinese Primary School English Curriculum Reform

Chapter
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 3)

Abstract

This chapter surveys the historical development of primary school English curriculum in the People’s Republic of China through an analysis of some key national English syllabi and curriculum documents, including English curriculum standards enacted by the Ministry of Education in 2001 and 2011. The author reviews the curriculum goals and benchmarks for primary school English literacy education stipulated in these documents at different historical periods, summarizes the major characteristics of the changes or reforms in these goals and benchmarks, and discusses the motivations that drove these reforms. In accordance with current theories of biliteracy acquisition and based on a brief review of current practices of primary school English education, the author then identifies some major challenges that need to be addressed for successful English literacy teaching and learning in primary schools in China. These include children’s limited access to appropriate print resources in English, lack of research on, and hence knowledge of, how young children develop English literacy in a foreign language context concurrently with acquiring literacy skills in their first language, shortage of qualified primary English teachers, and lack of teacher training in English literacy acquisition theory and pedagogy.

Keywords

Primary School Literacy Skill English Teacher English Learning Curriculum Standard 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Adamson, B. (2001). English with Chinese characteristics: China’s new curriculum. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 21, 19–33.Google Scholar
  2. Adamson, B. (2004). China’s English: A history of English in Chinese education. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Adamson, B., & Morris, P. (1997). The English curriculum in the People’s Republic of China. Comparative Education Review, 41, 3–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen, L. (2008, October). Primary school English education in China. Paper presented at the International Conference on Primary English, Beijing. Retrieved from http://www.chinabfle.org/ylp/newsdetails.asp?icntno=2317
  5. Chinese Ministry of Education. (1978). 全日制十年制中小学英语教学大纲 [English syllabus for ten-year full-time primary and secondary schools]. Beijing: People’s Education Press.Google Scholar
  6. Chinese Ministry of Education. (2001a). 全日制义务教育普通高级中学英语课程标准[实验稿] [English curriculum standards for full-time compulsory and senior high schools (trial)]. Beijing: Beijing Normal University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Chinese Ministry of Education. (2001b). 教育部关于积极推进小学开设英语课程的指导意见 [The Ministry of Education guidelines for vigorously promoting the teaching of English in primary schools]. Retrieved from http://www.edu.cn/20010907/3000637.shtml
  8. Chinese Ministry of Education. (2011). 义务教育英语课程标准 (2011版) [English curriculum standards for compulsory education (2011 version)]. Beijing: Beijing Normal University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cipielewski, J., & Stanovich, K. E. (1992). Predicting growth in reading ability from children’s experience to print. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 54, 74–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1992). Teacher as curriculum maker. In P. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of research on curriculum (pp. 363–401). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  11. Cunningham, A. E., & Stanovich, K. E. (1991). Tacking the unique effects of print exposure in children: Associations with vocabulary, general knowledge, and spelling. Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 264–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cunningham, A. E., & Stanovich, K. E. (1998). The impact of print exposure on word recognition. In J. L. Metsala & L. C. Ehri (Eds.), Word recognition in beginning literacy (pp. 3–40). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  13. Dong, Y. (2003). 从广东省小学英语教育现状看“外语要从小学起”的问题 [Are we ready for “an early start in foreign language learning”? A survey of primary school English education in Guangdong Province]. 现代外语, 26(1), 39–47.Google Scholar
  14. Du, X. (2010). 广州市小学英语教学实施的现状调查与分析 [Primary school English teaching in Guangzhou: Current situation and some analyses].教育导刊, 1, 36–39.Google Scholar
  15. Durgunoglu, A. Y. (1997). Bilingual reading: Its components, development, and other issues. In A. M. B. de Groot & J. F. Kroll (Eds.), Tutorials in bilingualism: Psycholinguistic perspectives (pp. 255–276). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  16. Fang, W., Shao, H., & Tang, L. (2004). 小学英语师资现状的调查与思考 [An investigation on qualifications of primary school English teachers]. 基础教育外语教学研究 , 10, 19–22.Google Scholar
  17. Feng, A. (2005). Bilingualism for the minor or the major? An evaluative analysis of parallel conceptions in China. The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 8, 529–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fu, H. (2006). 对浙江省部分小学英语课程的调查与思考 [An investigation on English curriculum in some primary schools in Zhejiang province]. 基础教育外语教学研究 , 3, 34–37.Google Scholar
  19. Hu, G. (2002). Recent important developments in secondary English-language teaching in the People’s Republic of China. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 15, 30–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hu, G. (2003). English language teaching in China: Regional differences and contributing factors. Journal of Multicultural and Multilingual Development, 24, 290–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hu, G. (2005). English language education in China: Policies, progress, and problems. Language Policy, 4, 5–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hu, Y. (2007). China’s foreign language policy on primary English education: What’s behind it? Language Policy, 6, 359–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hu, X. (2009). 农村小学英语教师素质情况调查及分析—以黑龙江为例 [Investigating qualifications of English teachers in primary schools in Heilongjiang province]. 中国成人教育 , 18, 89–90.Google Scholar
  24. Jin, G. (1992). 上海《九年制义务教育英语学科课程标准 (草案)》简介 [Introducing Shanghai’s English Curriculum Standards for Nine-Year Compulsory Education]. 教育学报 , 2, 13–14.Google Scholar
  25. Koda, K. (2005). Learning to read across writing systems: Transfer, metalinguistic awareness, and second language reading development. In V. J. Cook (Ed.), Second language writing systems (pp. 311–334). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  26. Koda, K. (2008). Impacts of prior literacy experience to learning to read in a second language. In K. Koda & A. M. Zehler (Eds.), Learning to read across languages: Cross-linguistic relationships in first- and second-language literacy development (pp. 68–96). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  27. Lam, A. S. L. (2005). Language education in China: Policy and experience from 1949. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Li, L. (2005). Education for 1.3 billion—Former Chinese Vice Premier Li Lanqing on 10 years of education reform and development. Published jointly by Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press & Hong Kong: Pearson Education Asia.Google Scholar
  29. Li, M. (2007). Foreign language education in primary schools in People’s Republic of China. Current Issues in Language Planning, 8, 148–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lin, H. (2005). 浙江省小学英语教师素质调查 [An investigation on qualifications of primary school English teachers in Zhejiang province]. 浙江师范大学学报, 30(3), 82–85.Google Scholar
  31. Liu, D., & Gong, Y. (2001). English language teaching development in schools in China. In China Education Society (Ed.), Retrospect and prospect – Memoirs for the 20th anniversary of the National Foreign Language Teaching and Research Association. Beijing: People’s Education Press.Google Scholar
  32. Philips, B. M., & Lonigan, C. J. (2005). Social correlates of emergent literacy. In M. J. Snowling & C. Hulme (Eds.), The science of reading: A handbook (pp. 173–187). Malden: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ross, H. A. (1992). Foreign language education as a barometer of modernization. In R. Hayhoe (Ed.), Education and modernization: The Chinese experience (pp. 239–254). Oxford: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  34. Shawer, S. (2010). Classroom-level curriculum development: EFL teachers as curriculum-developers, curriculum-makers and curriculum-transmitters. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26, 173–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shu, D., Li, Z., & Zhang, Y. (2003). 上海市小学英语教学情况的调查与思考 [Primary school English education in Shanghai: A survey and some thoughts]. 外语界 , 3, 54–62.Google Scholar
  36. Sternberg, R. J. (1987). Most vocabulary is learned from context. In M. G. McKeown & M. E. Curtis (Eds.), The nature of vocabulary acquisition (pp. 89–105). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  37. Wang, Q. (1999). 面向21世纪义务教育阶段外语课程改革的思考和意见 [Some thoughts and suggestions on foreign language curriculum reform for compulsory education in the 21st ­century]. 外语界 , 2, 46–50.Google Scholar
  38. Wang, Q. (2002). Primary school English teaching in China: New developments. English Language Teacher Education and Development, 7, 99–108.Google Scholar
  39. Wang, N. (2007a). 12所农村小学英语教育调查报告 [Report on a survey of English education in 12 primary schools in some villages]. 当代教育论坛 , 4, 103–104.Google Scholar
  40. Wang, Q. (2007b). The national curriculum changes and their effects on English language teaching in the People’s Republic of China. In J. Cummins & C. Davison (Eds.), The international handbook of English language teaching, Part 1 (pp. 87–105). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  41. Wang, R. (2009). 甘肃省农村小学英语教学的现状、问题与对策研究 [Primary school English teaching in Gansu province: Current status, problems and solutions]. 西北成人教育学报 , 1, 73–75.Google Scholar
  42. Yang, J. (2005). English as a third language among China’s ethnic minorities. The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 8, 552–567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zhang, L. J. (2004). Extending the reach of middle school EFL teachers in the People’s Republic of China. In W. K. Ho & R. Y. L. Wong (Eds.), English language teaching in East Asia today: Changing policies and practices (2nd ed., pp. 147–162). Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Academic.Google Scholar
  44. Zhang, E. Y. (2007). TBLT-innovation in primary school English Language teaching in mainland China. In K. Van de Branden, K. Van Gorp, & M. Verhelst (Eds.), Tasks in action: Task-based language education from a classroom-based perspective (pp. 68–91). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Google Scholar
  45. Zhang, D. (2010). Print experiences, transfer of L1 morphological awareness and development of L2 lexical inference ability among young EFL readers. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Carnegie Mellon University.Google Scholar
  46. Zhang, D. (2012). Linguistic distance effect on cross-linguistic transfer of morphological awareness. Applied Psycholinguistics. Available on Cambridge Journals Online 2012. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0142716412000070
  47. Zhang, D., & Koda, K. (2008). Contributions of L1 reading sub-skills to L2 reading development in English as a Foreign Language among school-aged learners. Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching, 4(1), 1–17.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Research in Pedagogy and PracticeNational Institute of EducationSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations