Innovation in Hong Kong's new senior secondary English language curriculum: Learning English through popular culture

Phil Benson*, John Patkin

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    In the context of the educational reforms that began at the turn of the century, Hong Kong's New Senior Secondary (NSS) English language curriculum was launched in 2009. An important aim of the curriculum reforms is to make teaching and learning more relevant to students' everyday lives through more student-centred approaches to pedagogy. In the context of English language teaching and learning, the reforms also involve an emphasis on 'cultural enrichment' and 'personal involvement', in addition to 'language enrichment'. The main feature that supports these aims is an innovative emphasis on language arts and the introduction of four language arts electives, including one entitled Learning English through Popular Culture. Based on analysis of curriculum documents and resources and student surveys conducted before and after the first round of implementation of the 3-year curriculum, this chapter discusses the role that popular culture now plays in senior secondary English language teaching (ELT). While arguing that the inclusion of popular culture in the NSS English curriculum is largely a positive move, it identifies significant unresolved issues in the implementation of the curriculum, which may limit the degree to which it succeeds in achieving its goals of cultural enrichment and making English language teaching more relevant to students' lives.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEnglish Language Education and Assessment
    Subtitle of host publicationRecent Developments in Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland
    EditorsDavid Coniam
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Electronic)9789812870711
    ISBN (Print)9812870709, 9789812870704
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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