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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Learning Report Writing in Senior Secondary Chinese in Melbourne and Hong Kong

Dr Mark Shum.

As part of reforms in many national economies referred to as globalization, curriculum reforms with similar educational objectives have been carried out in many parts of the world in the last decade. However, relatively little is known about how these reforms have been realized in classrooms in different cultural contexts. This article explores the hypothesis that although curriculum designers in different countries may frame their objectives in a common rhetoric, the classroom practices resulting from these reforms may differ radically due to the fact that the teaching and learning processes are subject to their (local) contexts of situation and of culture (Malinowski, 1923, 1935).

A cross-cultural case study was conducted into how similar curriculum goals, viz. how L1 learners learn to write Chinese report genres at matriculation level, have been implemented in Melbourne and Hong Kong. A typical post-compulsory level L1 Chinese class in each city was chosen for observation. Firstly, the study explored how the objectives of the reformed sixth form writing curriculum had been trans-lated into class-room practice. Secondly, it examined the written performance of the students in the two classes to explore the relation-ship between teaching and writing, considering variables such as teaching cycles, classroom inter-action patterns, teachers' beliefs and students' expectations.

The results reveal that despite great rhetorical similarities in terms of curriculum objectives within the same global trend of curriculum reform, implementation has led to great differences in practice, both in terms of classroom teaching cycles and in students' learning.


Dr Mark Shum  (China)
Assistant Professor in Chinese Education
Faculty of Education
The University of Hong Kong

  • Learning composition
  • Global curriculum sharing
  • Teaching Chinese
  • Cross cultural study
  • Report writing
  • Sixth form curriculum

(30 min Conference Paper, English)