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Volume 7 Number 2, Summer 2010, Pages 1-359   

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English as the Language of Instruction at Secondary Level: Challenges and Pedagogical Implications

    Stella Kong and Philip Hoare

This paper explores two major challenges facing students using English as a language of instruction (ELI) in secondary education and discusses some pedagogical principles teachers need to apply to help students meet these challenges. The two challenges explored are: 1) learning complex curriculum content; and 2) learning the complex language of the content, with academic language becoming a focus of learning. Three pedagogical principles are discussed: 1) plan from the content; 2) integrate content and language teaching; and 3) teach the language of the content explicitly. The paper presents three examples of secondary ELI pedagogy to illustrate how the challenges can be met by applying these principles. The three examples show how ELI teachers 1) model the language of the content to students, 2) elicit from students the language of the content, and 3) help students write the language of the content. In all the three examples, the ELI teachers identify the language of the content through knowledge relationships, suggesting that this can be an effective aspect of pedagogy in an ELI context. The paper uses data from four projects that researched ELI classrooms in Hong Kong and Xi'an in Mainland China.

Keywords: content-based second language teaching, content-language pedagogy, language of instruction, secondary language education