Bulletin Spring‧Summer 1980

Interview with Professor Francis C. Johnson Professor Francis C. Johnson is Professor of English of this University. Q. In the formulation of language teaching policies for a university, what are the factors that should be taken into consideration? A. There are three factors involved in this. One is a socio-linguistic factor and the other two are pedagogical factors. The socio-linguistic factor answers the question ‘What is the role of the university in terms of language in the community as a whole?' The two pedagogical factors refer firstly to the role of languages as tools of learning and instruction for university students, and secondly to the role of languages in the post- university careers of students. The first factor is a general and social one, i.e. What role does the university play in the community? W e are and we all should be very proud of the fact that at this University Chinese is the principal medium of formal communication. Chinese being the language of over 90% of the people of this society, it is important that at all levels we recognize this, and that there are opportunities for the people to fully participate in all levels of education through Chinese. A university has an obligation to society to provide education for its citizens in their language and this is a socio-linguistic function. However, there are many sensitive issues that need to be explored in Hong Kong. Because of its situation, this University cannot be satisfied with saying simply we are The Chinese University, our medium of instruction is Chinese and therefore w e take no other obligation to our students except to provide instruction in Chinese. W e have to face some of the very sensitive issues at a very practical level, such as the provision of places for students who have had their secondary education in the Chinese medium. Should the University, we need to ask ourselves, be ‘favouring' people who have had 2 0