University of Nottingham Ningbo China
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International Symposium on Multilingualism and Multilingual Education in China

28 (09:00) - 30 November 2014 (18:00)
We welcome queries about symposium and proposals for paper presentations with a title and an abstract within 200 words. We also welcome participation in the symposium without paper presentation. For all queries, participation and presentation, please contact Helen Zhang at

Societies have become increasingly multilingual/multicultural, and thus multilingual education is key to inclusive development. Up till the end of the twentieth century, discussions on bilingualism and models of bilingual education had predominantly remained in the domain of language education for China’s minority groups.

Since the turn of the century, however, this situation has drastically changed. There has been a rapid increase of research and literature that deal with not only bilingualism but also trilingualism and multilingualism. Diverse forms of bi-, tri-, or multi-lingual education have mushroomed not only in minority regions but all over the country. This increase was largely attributed to the spread of English throughout the world including China. In most provinces and areas where the majority Han group dominate, researchers and scholars have turned their attention from English as a foreign language teaching to English-Chinese bilingualism and bilingual education. In minority regions, while discussions about bilingualism and bilingual education continue, there has been a speedy rise of research and scholarship in trilingual education and trilingualism in ethnic minority home language (L1), Mandarin Chinese (L2), and English (L3). Adding to this are debates on dialectological issues in language education.

This symposium is focused on language provisions for minority groups in China, but it also aims to bring researchers and scholars in these three closely-related fields together to discuss and juxtapose theories, models and challenges in bi-, tri-, or multi-lingual education.


  • To discuss and adopt a common definition of multilingualism and multilingual education and enhance understanding of the characteristics in the Chinese context;
  • To determine the factors that enable effective, efficient and sustainable multilingual education by sharing lessons learned and challenges in multilingual education practice; 
  • To share ideas in research and to discuss methodological issues in this area; 
  • To launch a book titled Trilingualism in Education in China: Models and Challenges by Springer (edited by Anwei Feng and Bob Adamson). 
  • To launch the Society for Multilingualism and Multilingual Education in China (to be affiliated to the International Association for Multilingual Education registered in Hong Kong).


  • Theories for Multilingualism and Multilingual Education Research and Practice 
  • Practical Models and Issues/Challenges 
  • Curriculum Development for Multilingual Education
  • Trilingual/Multilingual Teacher Training
  • Material Development for Multilingual Education
  • Third Language Acquisition
  • Ethno-linguistic vitality studies
  • Ethnicity and national identity
  • Research methodology
  • Social equality
  • Projects relevant to multilingualism and multilingual education
  • Projects at various stages (presentations by junior researchers and doctorate students are welcome)


  • Key-note speeches will be given by renowned scholars (see below) from different minority regions in China and from abroad
  • All researchers in bilingualism, trilingualism and multilingualism
  • All senior or junior researchers in bilingual, trilingual and multilingual education
  • Researchers in multiculturalism and interculturalism
  • PhD or EdD research students in these areas
  • Teachers of languages in minority regions

Renowned scholars and researchers from various regions in China and from abroad will attend the symposium (and many of them will present too). They include:

  • Professor Bob Adamson, Head of the Department of International Education and Lifelong Learning, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong
  • Professor Cao Xianghong, Dean of the School of Foreign Languages, Xinjiang Normal University, Urumqi 
  • Associate Professor Dong Fang, Inner Mongolia Agriculture University, Hohhot
  • Professor Feng Anwei, Head of the School of Education, University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC), Ningbo
  • Professor Hu Deying, Dean of the School of International Education, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming
  • Professor Kong Lingcui, Dean of the School of Foreign Languages, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu
  • Professor Liu Chengyu, Vice Dean of the School of Foreign Languages, Southwest University, Chongqing
  • Professor Liu Quanguo, School of Foreign Languages, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou
  • Professor Ma Fu, Dean of the School of Foreign Languages, Qinghai University for Nationalities, Xining
  • Dr Kirk Person, Director for External Affairs, SIL International, Mainland Southeast Asia, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Professor Wang Jiniun, Director of Institute of Bilingual Education Research, Qujing Normal University, Yunnan
  • Professor Yuan Yichuan, Vice President, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming
  • Professor Zeng Li, Director of Foreign Affairs Office, Guizhou University for Nationalities, Guizhou
  • Professor Zhang Zhenai, School of Foreign Languages, Yanbian University, Yanji

Working language: English in principle, but you can submit your presentation in Chinese with slides in English, or bilingually.


  • School of Education, The University of Nottingham Ningbo China
  • Faculty of Arts and Education, The University of Nottingham Ningbo China
  • Department of International Education & Lifelong Learning and the Centre for Lifelong Learning Research & Development, Hong Kong Institute of Education

Provisional programme

Date and time 27 November 28 November 29 November 30 November
9:00-9:30 Arrival and registration Opening ceremony and book launch Presentations Field trip
9:30-12:30 Presentations
12:30-14:00 Lunch  Lunch
14:00-17:30 Presentations  Election and Launch of the Society for Multilingual Education in China
18:30-21:00   Symposium Dinner Dinner