The effects of the medium of instruction in certificate-level physics on achievement and motivation to learn

Dennis Fung and Valerie Yip

A 3-year study was launched in a Hong Kong secondary school to investigate the effects of the medium of instruction (MOI), specifically English and Chinese, on the learning of certificate-level physics. A total of 199 Secondary Four (S4 or tenth-grade) students, divided into three major ability groups, participated in a teaching intervention designed to determine the effects of MOI on their learning achievement and motivation. The results of conceptual assessments and physics examinations revealed Chinese to be a superior MOI in enabling low-ability students to attain a higher level of achievement, whereas English was more suitable for their high-achieving counterparts. However, little conclusive evidence regarding the role of MOI for the medium-ability groups was found. A questionnaire-based survey indicated that students were more motivated to learn physics through Chinese as the MOI (CMI) rather than English (EMI), although significant limitations to its use were identified for the topic of “Heat.” Deficiencies in the vocabulary needed for abstract scientific concepts in Chinese may account for these limitations (for instance, Chinese uses the same word, “re”, for both “heat” and “hot”). Finally, follow-up interviews at the end of the study revealed a sharp contrast between the learning prospects of EMI and CMI students.


Ethnographic performance: a change agent for drama teaching and learning

R. Sallis

This article considers the ways in which an ethnographic performance can be an effective means of data generation, analysis and presentation for a researcher working in collaboration with drama teachers and students in an educational setting. The creation of the ethnodramatic play was part of a three-year Ph.D. educational ethnography conducted by the researcher in the Drama department of an inner-city co-educational government school in Melbourne, Australia. The researcher mapped the development of the play including how the drama teachers and their students collaborated on its development by providing feedback as it was being written and performed. The topic of the play was boys’ participation in drama in a co-educational learning environment, how they ‘performed’ gender in the classes and how this affected, and was affected by, the drama teachers, the female students and other males in the class. The article examines how the development of the ethnodramatic play was a transformative experience for the school community. The ethnodramatic process affected a change for the better in the work habits of the teachers and how some of their students viewed their participation in the drama classes.


Playing with shadows – playing with words: exploring teachers’ ownership through poetic inquiry in a Norwegian–Nepalese preschool teacher education project

Ruth Mjanger

This article explores the use of poetic inquiry in a transnational competence-building Shadow Play Project. Based on journals from four Nepalese preschool teacher educators, I present and interpret examples of data poems that portray the teachers’ experiences of ownership in the project. My discussion intends to make explicit some aspects of the process of my search for the experience of ownership, coupled with a discussion of the search of a poetic form. I will further reflect upon the usefulness and challenges of poetic inquiry, given the use of English as a second or third language of the persons involved. Through this, I seek to develop a critical understanding of poetic inquiry as a way of understanding the experiences of others.