Alphabet Headaches - Literacy challenges for non-alphabetic English learners
The Chinese Learner

Three books on the Chinese Learner that largely focus on the Hong Kong setting are:

Watkins, D.A. and Biggs, J.B. (1996).The Chinese Learner: Cultural, Psychological and Contextual Influences. Melbourne: Australian Council for Educational Research.

Watkins, D.A. and Biggs, J.B. (2001). Teaching the Chinese Learner: Psychological and Pedagogical Perspectives. Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre, University of Hong Kong.

Chan, C. and Rao, N. (2009). Revisiting the Chinese Learner. Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre, University of Hong Kong.

My Doctoral thesis, entitled Alphabet Headaches: Hong Kong's English Literacy Challenge (Charles Darwin University, 2007) is now available electronically through the university library at:

It is also available through the National Library of Australia's TROVE collection at:

There is a full chapter on Chinese Learners, Language and Literacy.
(a pdf of this chapter is available here)

Another chapter on developments in Cognitive Science presents some valuable research findings on the neurological differences involved in processing written Chinese and English.

*Also see the Publications page on this website.

A personalised account of my research experiences in Hong Kong secondary schools can be found in Borjian, M. (ed.)(forthcoming, 2016). Perspectives on Language and Globalization: An Autoethnographic Approach. (Routledge). My chapter is entitled, "Biscriptal English Learners: A 'Blindspot' in Global English Language Teaching".
It is available online here:

Dr Tan Lihai of the University of Hong Kong
- has done some amazing neuroscientific research into the ways in which the human brain processes both the Chinese and the English scripts. He has published widely and many of his papers are available here:

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