Kwai Chung Methodist College
While everyone keeps talking about the benefits of developing school based teaching materials to replace textbooks nowadays, Kwai Chung Methodist College is a pioneer in this respect. They have already created and implemented their own materials based on English Builder for three years.
Using English Builder to create school-based teaching materials
- The school has been integrating English Builder into their curriculum for F.1 to F.3 for three years. With the self-designed school-based learning materials, the school is no longer using textbooks from publishers for the junior forms. They review the content every year and replace it with more suitable and interesting content.
- There is a theme for each module. For example, there is a theme called “Culture” for F.3 students. They select 12 passages about culture from English Builder and then include question types for TSA or HKDSE. The school also includes some writing tasks in each lesson so that students can practice their writing skills. Teachers will go through the answers with students in class and teach students techniques for answering the questions.
- Even though it creates heavy workloads for teachers, especially in the first year when they developed these school-based learning materials, the teachers still think that it is worthwhile as it better fits the English standard of their students. They include phonics and vocabulary, which aid in building the foundation for students’ English skills. They also include moral values in the themes, such as loving animals for F.1, role models for F.2 and racial discrimination for F.3, which helps students build good character along with learning English. For teachers, since they know the rationales behind each of the materials, it is easier for them to prepare for their teaching.
- The school also uses English Builder as their self-access learning programme for students. In order to motivate students to learn better, it assigns ten percent of their daily marks to English Builder. Five percent of the marks go to the completion rate and another five percent go to the average scores. The subject teacher of each class is advised to check the progress report every week, and then reward or penalise the students accordingly.
- In order to address learning diversity, teachers will assign students at the beginning of the school term to the level that is suitable for them. When they see any students showing good progress in their learning, they will adjust their levels immediately.
Miss Lau (Left) and Miss Tsang (Right)
“Some passages and themes in English Builder are quite up-to-date. I see their efforts in introducing more NSS elective passages in these past few years. If teachers can use these passages as the morning reading materials for students, or if students can come across these topics when they do the online programme when they are in the junior forms, it will be very helpful. Moreover, the question types provided in the programme are closely related to the public exams, which can help familiarise students with the exam formats.” Miss Lau (English Teacher)
“I like the UE lessons developed for Level 7 this year as they are very similar to the public exams. Students are more eager to do the lessons if they think that the practice papers are in the exam formats. Also, I think the services of English Builder are very good. The staff are supportive in responding to our requests.” Miss Tsang (English Panel)
The school-based learning materials are called “Readikipedia”. They are comprehension books integrated with the content of English Builder.
What do students think about EB?
Katie (Left), Yanus (Middle) and Rico (Right)
“We have been using English Builder for five years. I like its contents as they are attractive and have a wide variety. We can be exposed to different topics and techniques for learning English every week. It includes almost all the major areas we should know for the exam, so I think it is quite practical. I found my vocabulary has improved a lot. Since the lessons in English Builder are similar to the format of the HKDSE, I think it is useful for exam preparation.” Katie (a F.5 student)
“In every lesson, English Builder will highlight some difficult vocabulary for us. We can learn the pronunciation and meaning of these vocabulary words simply by pressing the buttons, which is really convenient! Frankly, I don’t usually watch English news programmes when I am at home, but since English Builder is a compulsory programme in our school, we have to do it and so have the chance to come across those lessons developed from the NGC or BBC clips. English Builder helps break through the traditional learning models in the classroom. It is a good platform for us to watch videos and train our listening through authentic English. When we practise the past exam papers, all the listening passages are read clearly and precisely, but we can get used to listening to more native English in English Builder, which is helpful to enhance my listening skills.” Rico (a F.5 student)
“English Builder is a comprehensive programme that helps us learn reading, listening and speaking. It is self-access learning, so we can review the lessons even we are at home. We can correct our own pronunciation after listening to the vocabulary in authentic English. The topics provided are fresh to us so it helps broaden our horizons. I found my reading skills have improved after using the programme.” Yanus (a F.5 student)
SKH Bishop Baker Secondary School
SKH Bishop Baker Secondary School was the ”School of the Year” in 2008/09 and was ranked in the top positions continuously in the past few years. For having such a good performance, the credit should go to the English Panel and the subject teachers who have contributed so much in implementing the online programme in the school.
- After receiving the progress report every Monday, English teachers will identify those students who have not completed the lessons on time. They will give the students a grace period of one day to finish it before taking any penalizing actions.
- Although it will create a heavier workload for teachers to check the reports twice a week, the school believes that it is more fair to the students, as sometimes there may be some forgivable reasons for failing to complete the assignments.
- For those who always fail to finish the lessons, the school will arrange for them to catch up in the MMLC after school.
Ms. Kwok (left ) and Ms. Wu (right)
“ I like the reading section in English Builder. It is very practical. Students can always refer back to the passage and gain some insight on what they have learned.” Ms. Kwok (English Teacher)
“It is important to show our students explicitly how serious we are in implementing the programme. It is part of their learning” Ms. Wu (English Panel)
What do students think about EB?
“I have been using English Builder for 7 months. I find the video clips, especially those informative videos, in the lessons very interesting. I can now learn English not only in the English class, but also learn it through watching something interesting
With the writing exercises, I have a chance to practise my vocabulary, which helps me do well in dictation. Actually I have acquired more vocabulary since using English Builder; I understand not only the words’ meaning but also their pronunciation.
I used to find listening quite difficult. After continuous practicing, I have overcome most of the difficulties and can now manage it well.” Bobo Mak (F. 1A)
“I think my English has improved a lot after using English Builder, which can be substantiated by my better exam results. With the training of English Builder, I find my listening skills have been improved because I can comprehend what I am taught in class more easily now. I also find English Builder helpful in improving my grammar and vocabulary.
My friends and I like collecting virtual gifts too. We like to exchange the gifts with each other to get a full collection!” Yolanda Wong (F.1B)
Hong Kong True Light College
To implement self-access learning programmes successfully in schools, both encouragement and teachers’ dedication are important. Hong Kong True Light College will share with you how they promote English Builder in the school.
- The school organises bi-monthly inter-class competitions. The top 2 classes of each grade will be given some gifts as rewards. To accommodate the inter-class competition, English Builder provides tailor-made reports for the school to monitor the results. The school appreciates the helpful and timely support in this matter.
- For individuals, if the students complete 80% of the lessons for the period, they will get 3 stamps. Students who ranked in the top 40% in score will get 5 stamps. These stamps will be converted into their daily marks.
- Some teachers make use of the progress reports to monitor the students’ learning situation. Take Mr. Lo as an example: after reviewing the weekly progress reports, he will ask those students whose completion rates are unsatisfactory to catch up on the lessons at school any time they want.
- The school also encounters learning diversity, but they assign students to different levels according to ability at the beginning of the school term, so students have found the difficulty of the work to be well suited to what they can handle.
Ms. Hassel Cheung (left), Mr. Wilson Lo (right)
“I think the monthly highlights are quite good. Since all English teachers will receive it too, they can have a preview of the topics for the coming month and suggest that students pay attention to a particular lesson if they think it is useful.” Mr. Wilson Lo
“I like the topics, the current issues and the up-to-date content of English Builder. As far as I know, there are teachers using the passage in the reading section for dictation. It can help students become more diligent in their learning.” Ms. Cheung