chapter  1
22 Pages

Primary English Education in China: Review and Refl ection


In the year 2001, English started to be a required subject in the new curriculum of China’s primary schools (MOE, 2001a). By the year 2008, English was being taught as a subject in an average of 60% to 70% of primary schools, and in several large and mid-sized cities, 100% (Wang, 2008). However, the debate over the necessity and feasibility of teaching English in Chinese primary schools still continues: on the one hand, having an English curriculum for primary schools is being promoted as one of the key missions of the educational reform started at the beginning of the 21st century (Chen, 2008; Wang, 2011); on the other hand, discussions involving schools, teachers and researchers indicate the teaching of English in primary schools is facing some problems and diffi culties (Bao, 2004; Cui, 2004; Fan, 2007; Feng, 2011; Liu, 2001; Wu, 2011; Wu & Yang, 2008; Zou, 2011).