Teacher Diaries: Ms. Holly – Teaching Philosophy

Having graduated from the University of Sheffield with a Master’s degree in Language and Education, I have been particularly interested in Communicative Language Teaching, which is a language teaching approach that emphasises interaction and communicative competence of students without exposing them to a threatening language-learning environment. With my personal experience of learning English as a second language in Hong Kong, I believe it is one of the most effective approaches of learning a second language.

However, with the intense competition in the academic context of Hong Kong, pure Communicative Language Teaching might not be sufficient to train students, particularly more mature students, to encounter the demanding language-learning environment. Therefore, it is essential to incorporate examination techniques into teaching English as a second language in Hong Kong.

While some would deem examination techniques and Communicative Language Teaching incompatible, I believe otherwise. Learning how to play by the rules of examinations does not necessarily mean students have to suffer from tedious English lessons focusing only on examination drills. In fact, take the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) as an example, elements of the communicative approach such as creating specific contexts at which the language is used can be observed. Therefore, it is entirely possible to use Communicative Language Teaching as an effective approach to teach even senior students. It is, of course, my ultimate goal to help my students achieve proficient and near-native level of communicative competence in English, but it is also important to me that their efforts would not be undermined just because they are not familiar with rules of the game.

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