The misleading academic discourse on Chinese-English bilingual education in China

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87 Citations (Scopus)


Although official promotion of content-based English language teaching started in mainland China only at the turn of the century, this form of language instruction, widely known in China as "Chinese-English bilingual education," has gathered great momentum in the last 6 years and is now rattling across the country like a juggernaut. So-called Chinese-English bilingual education has always been controversial. Although small numbers of opponents have raised concerns about potential negative consequences and the constraints compromising optimistically envisioned goals, their voices have been drowned in the overwhelming academic discourse by a growing contingent of vocal advocates. This discourse is a driving force behind "the great leap forward" for Chinese-English bilingual education. This article problematizes the prevalent discourse on bilingual education in China. Based on analysis of systematically selected data sources, it contends that the academic discourse with its misconceptions, misrepresentations, and misinterpretations has misled stakeholders of bilingual education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-231
Number of pages37
JournalReview of Educational Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Bilingual instruction for majority language students
  • Bilingualism
  • Chinese-English bilingual education
  • English proficiency as symbolic capital
  • English-medium instruction
  • Medium of instruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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