TEFL Industry Visits
An interesting part of the trip that was specifically tailored to the two TEFL students was the industry visits that allowed us to get an insight into teaching practices in Hong Kong.
The first industry visit was to the British Council on 16th January. We were fortunate enough to be able to observe classes in both the secondary sector as well as some adult classes. There were many classes and the demand for English lessons amongst the children and adults was high. One part of the culture at the British Council that impressed both of us was how hardworking the students are and the demand to have a good level of English. The students in the secondary-aged classes had been to school all day and were then taking extra classes to improve their English in order to pass their end-of-year exams. This was the same with the adults; they had been hard at work all day and were coming to English classes at night with the aim of improving their career prospects. It was very interesting to see how English was taught by the British Council in Hong Kong and the opportunities there for EFL teachers as well.
The classes were small with a maximum of 20 students in each class. They had modern technology and interactive whiteboards with seating in different arrangements for each class, but most of them consisted of small tables where the students can get into groups to work together. The materials that the teachers were using were created by the British Council and specifically targeted the needs of the learners. For example, there was a group of secondary-aged children taking extra classes targeting their speaking skills and the materials reflected common problems and activities that helped them with their speaking. Overall the visit was hugely enriching and really helped us to see what life would be like as an EFL teacher in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
On 18th January we had the privilege to visit Hong Kong Polytechnic University where we were given a tour of the campus with a focus on the Language Centre. It was interesting to see how another university operates and looking at the different aspects of language teaching that they focus on. We also got the opportunity to sit in an English for Food Technology class and observe the teaching, which was interesting as the layout of the classroom was quite different to classes at Coventry University.
The Language Centre at the University was big and quite spacious with various seating spaces, ranging from classrooms to open spaces. It also had many different features within it such as a virtual reality room to provide a more interactive method of language learning. Although the room was not fully functioning on our visit, we were informed that it was to be running soon and would enable a unique teaching method. The library of the Language Centre consisted of a range of resources, for example novels in various languages, DVDs, language and grammar coursebooks. Also, the language department at the University creates their own materials that students can access. For example, there was a range of grammar resources whereby students could practice various aspects of language e.g. verb tenses, academic grammar with focus on using the passive voice, and so on. This was a very useful aspect of the centre and as a university student I also would find those resources very handy.
It was a great visit and we even visited the café on campus and were treated to drinks!!