Shedd (1885, cited in Biadasz, Clemons & Possett 2006, p.32) stated,
“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
This sums up my experiences this week, I have taken risks, embraced new challenges and grown as a result. I have had the chance to take on a huge amount of responsibility as a teacher. My first challenge was taking 30 pupils on a school trip. Esther, David, Charlotte and I were the only teachers present so I felt like lives were well and truly in my hands. Luckily, everybody survived and had a wonderful day. It was adorable that the pupils were so excited about showing us around their local community. We went to the Railway Museum, Buddhist Temple and Street Market. I am in agreement with Unicef (2007) that, ‘our children are truly the best teachers.’ I learnt so much about the culture and way of life of the Hong Kong people from the trip with the children. At the market, finding the rarest type of Hong Kong food to show to ‘Miss Olivia’ became an unofficial competition. The pupils thrived on seeing my shocked reaction to duck’s kidney, pig’s lung and much more.
This trip also aided pupils in their learning. The Hong Kong Curriculum Development Council (2004,p.11) states that,
‘schools are encouraged to create a language-rich environment by: providing greater opportunities for learners to use English for purposeful communication both inside and outside the classroom.’
I believe that school trips are essential, so often they create purpose, interest and meaning for learning. The teachers at Jockey Club Primary School appreciated our willingness to take the trip as it was the perfect opportunity for the pupils to practice their English.
A Wonderful Day!
As my class teacher has been absent this week I have had to take over her role. This has involved full responsibility of 5C’s lessons, attending staff meetings, corresponding online with pupils using Edmodo software and much more. The life of a ‘proper teacher’ is not a simple one! I have enjoyed teaching English lessons on synonyms, adverbs of frequency and the solar system. On reflection, I have understood more fully the importance of teaching English to pupils in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Curriculum Development Council (2004,p.13) states that that English is,
‘an integral part of the school curriculum that provides students with a wide range of learning experiences to enhance their:
- English language proficiency
- Personal and intellectual development, and social skills;
- Cultural understanding; and
- Global competitiveness.’
Last week I visited the Kindergarten on campus and observed pupils aged 3 learning English. Therefore, the benefits of teaching languages from an early age has come to my attention. I have seen that learning a language develops an array of other useful skills for the whole development of a person. Therefore, I am critical of the Northern Ireland curriculum which does not include modern languages as compulsory in Primary School.
Elearning Is The Way Forward!
Fortunately, long overdue change could be imminent. DENI (2012, p.7) recommends that, ‘pupils have the opportunity to study at least two languages in addition to their mother tongue from the earliest possible age.’ Undoubtedly, I have been challenged this week professionally. However, this has been valuable because it has helped me to become a more capable teacher.
On a personal note, we entered a University Singing Competition this week. This is a risk we would never take at Stranmillis. However, we rose to the challenge and have reached the final thanks to an ‘interesting’ performance of ‘You belong with me’ by Taylor Swift. We are experiencing ’15 minutes of fame’ because of posters and videos of us up around campus. Every celebrity starts somewhere, watch this space!
Until next time,
Biadasz, P., Clemons, M. & Possett, R. (2006), Powerful People Are Powerful Teachers, Your Daily Guide To Becoming A Powerful Teacher, United States of America: iUniverse.
DENI. (2012), Languages For The Future. [online] Available at: http://www.deni.gov.uk/languages_for_the_future.pdf. [Accessed 11th March 2014].
Hong Kong Curriculum Development Council, (2004), English Language Education Key Learning Area, English Language Curriculum Guide. [online] Available at: http://www.edb.gov.hk/attachment/en/curriculum-development/kla/eng-edu/primary%201_6.pdf [Accessed 10th March 2014].
Unicef, (2007), “Our Children are Truly the Best Teachers.” [online] Available at: http://www.unicef.org/zambia/5108_5176.html [Accessed 11 March 2014].