42 CUHK Outstanding Students Receive Scholarship for Prospective English Teachers from the Education Bureau
For three years running, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has topped other local tertiary institutions in terms of the number of the Scholarship for Prospective English Teachers awarded by the Education Bureau of the HKSAR Government. In 2013, CUHK students garnered 42 out of a total of 87 scholarships awarded to all institutions. The award-receiving CUHK students have come from four programmes related to English training or teaching, namely, three undergraduate major programmes comprising English, English Studies and English Language Education, and Linguistics, and the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).
Eric Chen is currently a year-1 student in the BA (English Studies) and BEd (English Language Education) co-terminal double degree programme. When he was at school, he volunteered as a tutor at the Hong Kong Red Cross Princess Alexandra School where he gave assistance to physically and mentally disabled students. Upon entering the Chinese University, he served as a volunteer tutor and programme coordinator for an English Tutorial Scheme organized by Shaw College of CUHK to provide supplementary English language lessons to students of the Fresh Fish Traders’ School in Aberdeen. Volunteer tutors in this scheme prepare teaching materials themselves and the teaching and learning experiences are made more interesting through games, video sharing and outdoor activities.
‘After our last outdoor activity with the students in the tutorial scheme, we observed that the excited expression on their faces had gone, and that their broad smiles had been replaced with a heavy look and knitted brows. We realized that they were saddened by the end of the programme,’ Eric recalled. ‘We tried to restore their happiness by going through with them the vocabulary they learnt during the programme. They reminded me of my younger days and, more importantly, how my teachers passed on their knowledge to children of my generation and how, in the process, they affected my life. This last session with the children was certainly a very memorable moment,’ Eric added. ‘I hope I may become a respected teacher who can positively affect students’ lives too,’ he concluded.
As a CUHK graduate in linguistics and now a student pursuing the PGDE programme majoring in English, Jacob Chan Ming-wai has always striven to model himself after his English teacher in Form 6, who successfully piqued students’ interests in language learning through unconventional and lively pedagogical techniques. He believes that the acquisition and practice of theories regarding second-language learning will be helpful for his prospective career as an English teacher. Having gained stimulating experience as an English and GCSE Chinese tutor for ethnic minority students at the Po Leung Kuk Ngan Po Ling College last summer, he found that it would be tremendously helpful for ethnic minority residents to acquire a fundamental vocabulary and basic conversation skills in Cantonese as a means to integrate into local society.
Another recipient of the Scholarship, Tracy Cheung Tsz-tung, is a year-1 student majoring in English. Growing up in a family with three teachers – her mother having retired from teaching and her two elder sisters engaged in primary school and pre-school teaching respectively, Tracy has always been enthusiastic about education. Her special interest is in the teaching and learning of English, and she sees herself developing a career as a teacher of English who interacts with her students with love and respect. Coming from a CMI (Chinese as Medium of Instruction) secondary school, Tracy has had the experience of learning to master English in a predominantly Chinese-speaking environment. With the support and help of her English teachers, she joined various English drama competitions as a means to improve her English. She was not only given opportunities to refine her language skills through this experience, but she also earned prizes, including one for an outstanding script and another for being an outstanding actress in the Hong Kong School Drama Festival. She is now quite determined to incorporate the practice of drama into her teaching when she becomes a teacher upon graduation. Now at the Chinese University, Tracy is actively involved in various events and capacities for the promotion of English studies on campus. She is the President of the English Society of Chung Chi College, and plays a part in the Andrew Parkin Cup drama competition this year.
The Scholarship for Prospective English Teachers is set up by the Education Bureau of the HKSAR Government as one of the measures to enhance the professionalism of English teachers in Hong Kong. It aims at attracting students proficient in English to pursue relevant local bachelor’s degree programmes and/or teacher training programmes which will qualify them to become English teachers on graduation.
Local scholarship recipients are each awarded an amount of HK$50,000 per academic year. The Scholarship is tenable for the normal duration of the study programme subject to satisfactory academic progress. Recipients need to undertake that they will teach English full-time in local primary or secondary schools after graduation, contributing in this way to English education in Hong Kong.