Chinese–English bilingual education in China: a case study of college science majors
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This quantitative study examines current practice and challenges of Chinese-English bilingual education in Chinese tertiary institutions and presents a case study of a bilingual course by investigating learners' attitudes toward this educational and language policy. Using a convenience sampling strategy with an instrument modified from a nation-wide survey on bilingual education, this study involves 153 undergraduate science majors from a university located southeast of China. Results indicate that students held positive attitudes toward bilingual instruction and believed that such a model will not threaten the status of Chinese language and culture; and such an attitude significantly predicted students' academic achievement whereas the level of English proficiency did not. Further, female students outscored their male counterparts in the final examination. Finally, the positive relationship between years of learning English and attitudes toward bilingualism corroborates with the current literature that earlier exposure results in additive bilingualism. We recommend future studies be conducted to identify the threshold for a minimal level of English skills commensurate with distribution of language of instruction so that college students can benefit from bilingual education. In conclusion, despite challenges, Chinese-English bilingual education is still expected to be a legitimate and eventually rewarding educational practice that fits the socio-political environment of developing China. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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