First, the Hong Kong Government focuses on the improving the quality of teachers who require to degree status and the upgrading of graduate posts in primary schools. Most of the primary schools tend to assign the one who are major in English to teach English. They are professional to teach the specific subject. Beside of improving the teachers’ quality, language Benchmarks were designed to provide a level of quality assurance in the use of English among teachers. But the test put pressure on them and bring greatly criticized
Thirdly, most of the Chinese teachers do not have the same intonation as same as the English native speaking. Thus, the Native-Speaking English Teacher Scheme (NETS) is necessary to issue for English language enhancement. However, the native speakers can easily to carry on the phonics lessons but they are difficult to deal with other English teaching works. Since the English curriculum in the schools have not much changes to match the NETS. Fourthly, English Language Teaching Assistant (ELTA) Scheme is introduced in all public sector primary schools from the 2002-03 school year.
It aims to support and strengthen English language teaching and learning by providing an authentic environment for children to learn English and developing their confidence in using English for communication. (Education Department) Actually, it is a positive support to the teachers. However, different schools would assign different tasks for them which may not be helpful or not. Coupled with this, the establishment of the QEF is one of the major recommendations of the Education Commission Report No.
7 (ECR7). The QEF provides an effective channel for worthwhile projects from the schools to be funded. If the primary schools can gain the fund, it is better to spend on the learning of the students. For example, the fund can be spend on providing more outing activities for students which gives more environment for them to communicate with others people in English. On the other hand, the ECR7 suggested that many school and system problems centered on the lack of a quality culture.
Many schools do not have development plans linked to goal achievement, no clear targets for students, lack of assessment to criticize the performance of principals and teachers. There are also inadequate teacher training programmers. Therefore, the funding is used inflexibly according to the ECR7. In addition, primary schools will all change to the whole-day school by 2005/06 school year that can build up a wholly school life for learning English and the Chinese. A massive infusion of Information Technology into schools will also helps the students to learn English or play English games by CD-ROM.
Then more interactive learning would be appeared and aroused students’ interest. Suggestions In the primary school classroom, mixed-code teaching should be replaced by one single language as the medium of instruction. It is essentially to develop students’ written and spoken English effectively and consistently as well as good thinking skills to express themselves in either language. To achieve these standards, primary school teachers should arouse awareness on using single language – English to be the medium of instruction.
Teachers can choose the suitable content or write parts of a drama for the lessons. From the drama, teachers can encourage the students to make choices and decisions in their actual play. Students can also give comments for their peers. It enhances their critical thinking skills. Teachers know what the students need to make the reform inside the classroom suitably, but they do not have the power outside the classroom to get the material, professional development, feedback and collegial support to achieve the target for the subject of English language.
Porter (1989) argues that individual teachers know their students’ better than any outside source, so teachers are in the best position to determine which techniques work best for their students. However, he also argues that many responsibilities are outside the teachers’ expertise and are thus best controlled by administrators. Therefore, the government should consider the elements of curriculum intentions, resources and the reality before issuing reforms. The quality of new issues and the planning should be well prepared.
According to Curriculum Development Council’s ‘Learning to Learn, 2001′, students should learn English for purposeful communication, independent and freely learning. Teachers play games with students, such as role-playing games. The games will raise the interest of learning and students can be motivated to learn English effectively. On the other hand, group discussions are useful for establishing the ability of speaking and listening. Providing more chances of group discussions, students will have more chances to speak and so they will speak fluently.
Even the teacher’s pass the Benchmarks, it does not demonstrate the teacher with some clear changes to professional status inside or outside of the classroom. Teachers should have peer observation and team teaching for improving their teaching skills. Policymakers need to keep in mind to provide a balance on the impacting teachers but supporting teachers to create successful reform. Without this support, reforms will continue to fall short of their goals. Maybe more importantly, policymakers must consider districts, unions and parents as separate. Professional development is also important.
Without proper training, reform is unsuccessful. New and experienced teachers also need to have proper training. Hereafter, Life-long learning should be the way to cope with the challenges and demands in all facets in life in the 21st century for the teachers. Conclusion Throughout this work, I found that reforms repeatedly fell short of their intended goals due to a lack of support on how to implement, how to continue, how to make sure the quality and effect on the reforms. Teachers’ roles have not only to be impacted but also supported to achieve school change.
Teachers must be supported through opportunities for professional development, through an assessment or evaluation feedback loop to allows for growth but not punishment. The government should encourage incentive programs for the teachers and try to minimize the teachers’ workload from the coming reforms. That vital first step in your child’s education is one of the most important. The 21st century will be a dynamic and fast-changing age. It will be absolutely necessary to go beyond formal education in order to cope with the ever-changing and ever-increasing demands made on the next generation.