Steps to Success

Steps to Success


How to Excel in DSE English Speaking

Paper 4 is the ten percent of their overall DSE English grade that people tend to underestimate. Very often, even schools do not provide sufficient training to their students, leaving them to think: Hey, it’s just talking, right? I talk all the time. However, acing this paper requires a few more techniques than you may have anticipated. Elaborate on your ideas It’s easy to begin… Read More

The Beauty of Chinese Characters


/余皓瑋老師   如果要用顏色來形容雪,你的答案可能會是「白色、潔白、白白的、白皚皚、read more… Read More


Expanding Vocabulary through Parts of Speech

Most Hong Kong primary schools teach vocabulary from readers or textbooks, and this means students may know many words in specific areas (e.g. sports or household items) but be missing lots of common words. Many students struggle with reading because they haven’t acquired enough vocabulary items to comprehend a whole text. It is only when they’re asked to cram vocabulary lists in secondary school that… Read More

Making Tenses Fun!

I teach grammar to students of all ages, and the one thing uniting them when they first start classes is a hatred of learning tenses. Students see tenses as a monster that’s both scary and boring! In school, they’re often taught long strings of rules, which they practise with repetitive exercises. As a grammar teacher, I personally enjoy teaching tenses a lot. The rules… Read More

Great Grammar Games to Play

I’ve been teaching grammar for several years and I’ve seen many students who consider grammar to be a set of rigid rules they have to painfully memorise. In fact, your natural use of grammar in everyday English isn’t proportional to the effort you put into cramming grammatical rules. It’s better to get a strong feeling for accurate grammar instead. Playing games is a great way… Read More

Teachers' Childhood Favourites

Four Classics

Those Names in Classical Chinese Literature

Four Seasons

Chinese Poetry

Learning Chinese Online

i-Learner Recommends

Online Educational Games

Educational games are a great way to keep kids learning and having fun too. There are plenty available, teaching everything from letters and numbers for little ones to chemistry and journalism skills for older students. Take a look at the selection below, all tried and tested by i-Learner teachers. For Kindergarten students… Read More

Virtual Field Trips

Our students are doing so well studying from home. They’re working hard in class, doing their homework, and learning lots even during this difficult time. Did you know, students can not only go to school at home, but take a field trip there as well? Go to the zoo, visit a museum, or even fly through the universe, all from the comfort of home! Check… Read More

Free Online Reading Resources

As well as reading lots of books, i-Learner teachers also love to find stories, poems and articles online. We’ve put together lists of our favourite free resources to keep you learning wherever you are. Take a look and find something new today! For Kindergarten students For Lower Primary (P1-3)… Read More

Wider Reading Suggestions

i-Learner teachers love reading. Books are a fun way to engage with languages and to jump into new and exciting worlds. We’ve put together lists of the books we love for students of all ages. Take a look and find your new favourites! For Kindergarten students For Lower Primary (P1-3) students… Read More


The Importance of Positive Reinforcement

As parents and educators, we can encounter occasions when a child refuses to perform a certain task, like reading a book, cleaning their room, or doing homework. Through my work with a range of different children, I’ve come to understand the importance of positive reinforcement in situations like these. It’s both simple and effective!   What is positive reinforcement? Positive reinforcement is the method of… Read More

Reducing Stress for Learning Success

What causes stress for students? Tests? Presentations? Expectations? All of these? As educational demands become more rigorous, so too do students’ stress levels. We all know that stress can have a negative effect on student performance, inside and outside the classroom. It’s important to help students manage this in order for them to have stable, happy, productive lives. For our own well-being, we work hard… Read More

How to Motivate your Young Learner

Most children have an innate motivation to learn and explore. However, like adults, children can get worn out and unmotivated from time to time. In such cases, parents and educators can use a variety of techniques to motivate them. As an English tutor at i-Learner, I’ve had lots of hands-on experience with motivating children in the classroom setting, and I’d like to share some tips… Read More

How to Create a Positive Learning Environment for Young Learners

Positive, engaging learning environments are keys to students’ academic and social success; therefore, creating such learning environments for students is always my top priority here at i-Learner. Below are some techniques that you can deploy to establish an effective learning environment for your child. Build rules collaboratively One key step to creating a positive learning environment is to develop a set of mutually agreed… Read More


Developing Ideas from Spark to Story

As someone who loves reading and writing stories, I often find myself inspired by an amazing idea. Sometimes, it’s a vivid scene in my head, or an amazing back-story for a character. I love to think about these and develop the thought into a full story spark! Yet, no matter how clear the idea, developing it into a story is a completely different challenge.  I’ve… Read More

Why Write poetry?

Writing poems can be a great way for kids to express how they feel and think, and to discover the possibilities of language. My own interest in poetry has stayed with me from childhood; I have now published two collections of poems, and there are more to come. Poems can be any length and can take as much or as little time to create as… Read More

Writing Prompts to do at Home

Students often find writing to be a challenge. ‘How do I start?’ or ‘What should I write about?’ are just some of the questions that come to their minds. However, the best way to start may just be to put pen to paper and get writing. Practising with writing prompts at home can help remove the pressure of getting the ‘perfect’ essay or story down… Read More

Learn Chinese with Your Kids


Every Child is an Artist: Ways to Nurture Young Artists

From a very young age, children display a desire for creative expression. Put them in a room full of crayons, watercolours, paintbrushes, coloured paper, and even recycled products, and you can be sure to see them having lots of fun creating amazing artworks. But many children lose interest in art as they grow up, thinking that they are just not one of the blessed, talented… Read More

Increasing Creativity in the home

Research has shown that creativity is crucial for children’s cognitive and social development. Creativity trains children to think and solve problems in unique ways. It allows them to express themselves freely while also reducing stress and anxiety. It is also an important component of school interviews and English language exams! During my classes, I always make sure that my students are not only working on… Read More

Imagination Building in Primary School

Little children are full of imagination. The stories they tell are wild rides that connect together a thousand different ideas and never want to end. However, once students reach eight or nine, this freewheeling creativity often comes to an end. Children want to find the right way to tell a story, or they are so focused on spelling, grammar and punctuation that their imaginations are… Read More

The Craft of Storytelling

What is the difference between writing and creative writing? Today, I woke up at 7 pm. I brushed my teeth in the bathroom. I ate breakfast in the dining room. Then I left home and went to school. I went to school by bus. I went to class. Classes started at 9:00am. At noon, I ate lunch. I ate spinach and pork with rice. It… Read More

Chinese Speaking

Maths and Science

STEM Resources to Explore at Home

Just like my students, I once had to study for my exams. Some people learn well by repetition and memorising. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. For me to be able to answer questions on a topic, I have to experiment until I fully understand it. There are lots of learners like me, who do better by learning a subject deeply rather than quickly. Read More

Boosting Basic Mental Maths Skills

As a Maths tutor at i-Learner, parents often ask me how to improve their child’s calculation speed and accuracy, and a good mental Maths ability is the answer to that. However, it’s not as easy as diving straight in to practising these skills. In my experience, the key is to stimulate learning motivation first, and then think about the skills. It can be frustrating not… Read More

Chinese Writing


Reading Skills

The Importance of Reading the News

There are many benefits to reading the news, and it’s great to get kids into the habit early. Find out the hows and whys of news reading below: The Benefits of Reading the News: Expanded vocabulary – Teachers and textbooks choose the most important words for a child to learn. However, if you want your young learner to go beyond these, newspapers are… Read More

The Path to Becoming an Engaged Reader

During my five years of teaching young learners, I have often been approached by parents struggling to help their children read. Parents are well aware that learning to read is a crucial step towards reading to learn, and they are eager to help their children become independent learners. I’ve found some useful tips which parents can use at home to support reading and ensure their… Read More

Correcting Common Reading Mistakes

In my Love to Read and Phonics classes, students often make the same mistakes repeatedly when reading aloud. Children in Hong Kong can be under a lot of pressure to read from an early age, and teachers and parents can be tempted to let small mistakes slip by in order to encourage faster reading. However, I make sure to always correct the repeated… Read More

Thinking Skills

Building Critical Thinking Skills

What is most important in your child’s education? Grades? Extra-curriculars? Sports? All of these are, of course, relevant in a child’s school career. However, in our rapidly changing world, it is hard to deny the importance of educating a generation of life-long learners who can think critically and independently. Critical thinking skills are what set top students apart. This means being able to think themselves,… Read More

Boosting Critical Thinking through Games

Critical thinking helps learners analyse new information and solve difficult problems. It’s the key to long term educational success. When I help my students prepare for their exams, parents often ask me: ‘Why can’t my child learn from their mistakes?’ This is a great question, and understanding the answer makes it clear why critical thinking is so important to students. Often, children are overwhelmed with… Read More

Develop Higher Order Thinking Skills through Reading

When children start reading, they begin with the alphabet and then move on to phonics, blending, sight words, etc. Many people see fluent independent reading as the end point of this journey. However, for me, the main reading skill of a child at this stage is still developing, which is the true story-engagement that comes with higher order thinking. Once children are confident with building… Read More


Managing Emotions

Emotion management has been shown to correlate closely with academic performance. When a student is over stressed, he or she is unlikely to perform at his or her best. In extreme cases, exam stress can cause physical symptoms, such as stomach upsets and headaches. Helping your child manage their emotions well can be the key to their future success. One of the most important ways… Read More

What Negative Behaviour Really Means

Unlike adults, children often express their needs through behaviour rather than through their words. Therefore, the emergence of negative behaviours can be a signal of unsatisfied wants. As a tutor of small groups, I often get to witness a variety of different behaviours from children, and I always endeavour to find the root causes of any negativity. Look out for these key issues in your… Read More


Exam Preparation

Exam Tips

Working On Your Kid’s Weaker Skills

As part of the team which works on school specific exam practice, I have regular conversations with parents about their child’s progress on school tests. One question which comes up often is: ‘Why doesn’t my kid’s hard work seem to pay off?’ Parents find it understandably frustrating to see their child studying hard for exams but still getting low grades. This can be especially… Read More

Memory Techniques for Exams and Tests

Have you ever been afraid of your mind going blank when you sit an exam? I have. And many of my students tell me they worry about this too. It would be a nightmare if this really happened, but fortunately, studies show that it’s actually very unlikely. Usually, your memories flood back once you pick up a pen and start answering questions. However, the worry… Read More

Grade boosting tips for struggling students

In my five years working at i-Learner, I’ve helped countless struggling students make fantastic progress and come out of their exams with good grades and a smile. In my experience, if your child is struggling with their exams and revision, the measures to take can be split into short-term and long-term strategies. If your child is having difficulties and their exam is next week, try… Read More


How to Get the Most from Doing Homework

Doing homework can be rewarding if it is done effectively and efficiently. It is a chance for your child to refresh his/her memory of what they learned at school, and a way for you to find out which part your child’s understanding of that material needs a little work. I’ve helped many students improve their study strategies in order to get more from doing their… Read More

How to Structure Revision Time

Preparing for exams should not be a last-minute rush of activity. If you think of it like self-organised homework, this helps you be more productive, get better grades, and feel less stressed. I often help my students prepare for their exams, and it’s always the ones who are organised and structured in their preparation who do best. During my own studies, I learned several useful… Read More

Creative Ways to Get Kids Studying

As parents and educators, we know that sometimes, it can be tricky to get children studying or doing their homework. Throughout my time as an English Tutor, I have found that kids respond best to entertainment and creativity as a tool to engage them in their studies. Here are some of the most effective ways to get them working: 1. Play games Games that… Read More

Plant Symbols in Literature

School Application

Making the transition from Primary to Secondary

Having taught at i-Learner for around five years, I have seen countless students make their journeys through primary school and onto secondary school. From this experience, I have been able to observe the specific ways in which students can best prepare themselves for the jump, ensuring that they adapt well and get the most out of their studies from S1 onwards. 1. Consolidate your primary… Read More

Boost your Application to Top-Tier Secondary Schools

Applying to top-tier secondary schools can be a daunting prospect for P6 students and their parents. To secure a place in a well-regarded school, many parents target its Discretionary Places (DP) instead of crossing their fingers and waiting for the results of Central Allocation. Having coordinated the school-specific exam practice for more than three years here at i-Learner, I have helped numerous parents and… Read More

Making your Kindergartener’s Application Stand Out

A portfolio is an essential tool for showing target primary schools the incredible things your child has to offer. As a teacher at i-Learner, I’ve reviewed many student portfolios. Sometimes, these are stuffed full of certificates, reports and photos, and they look like an encyclopaedic history of a child, however there is nothing in them which particularly catches my eye. As you apply to primary… Read More



How to Get 5** in DSE Maths

Maths can be a very divisive subject – students either love it or they hate it! But I’ve found that everyone can do well in maths if they just learn a few key strategies. I developed these when studying for the DSE myself, and have honed them through my teaching experience. Here are the three main things I focused on to get 5** at DSE:… Read More

Steps to Ace DSE English Paper 3B

The significance of DSE English paper 3B might surprise you. However, it can have a remarkable effect on your overall grade. Strong candidates can go from a 5* to 5**; weaker candidates can use this paper to make a significant jump in their grades. Success in this paper is well within your reach. If you can tackle part B2, then by following a few simple… Read More

Dealing with Uncooperative Candidates in DSE English Speaking

The DSE English Speaking exam feels daunting to a lot of candidates. I felt the same when I took the exam myself some years ago. The exam seemed very hard to prepare for as I knew my performance could easily be affected by circumstances beyond my control. I worried about uncooperative candidates who would perhaps interrupt, dominate or steer the conversation in irrelevant directions. However,… Read More

Common Mistakes in the DSE Writing Paper

You have memorised lists of vocabulary. You’ve done so much writing that your arm is going to fall off. You’ve followed the format of sample essays. You have even picked a topic you’re familiar with. Then why aren’t you getting the grade you deserve in your DSE writing paper? Unfortunately, EVERYONE has done those things to prepare for the HKDSE exam, so you need to… Read More

Early Learners

Why Preschoolers Need Active Learning

You are probably already familiar with the concept of active learning – learning through play and hands-on activities. This can take the form of exploring different materials, learning through guided group activities and crafts, and interacting a lot with classmates. But with the pressures on academics that the Hong Kong school system creates from a very young age, activity-based learning can sometimes get left behind. Read More

Reading Story Books with Early Learners

Reading story books is an essential part of a child’s development. It not only establishes necessary language skills, but also stimulates a child’s imagination and creativity. Having taught many preschoolers here at i-Leaner, I have found reading story books to be an excellent way to encourage these little ones to develop and share ideas. It also helps adults and children to develop a creative bond,… Read More

Teaching Sight Words through Games

As Miss Lucy discussed in last week’s article, sight words, or high frequency words, are those which appear frequently in English writing. Being able to spot them can definitely help a child’s reading speed and fluency. These words can seem very easy to learn (some are only 1 or 2 letters long), however, they can be difficult for young learners since they can have… Read More

Tips for Chinese Learning

Public Speaking

How Parents can Boost Speaking in the Home

As English is a global language, it is important for children to master the art of verbal English communication. This allows them to broaden their minds by sharing thoughts, ideas, and opinions with people from different parts of the world. Here at i-Learner, we strive to improve speaking skills by having conversations with our students and encouraging them to express their thoughts and opinions. In… Read More

7 Fun Discussion Topics for the Family

Parents are great at finding ways to make sure their children are engaged with learning English. From my experience, though, the best results come when parents join in with their children! Speaking English at home is highly beneficial, especially when your child is still young. This makes the language feel stress-free and fun, rather than a chore they need to get through at school. Over… Read More

The Importance of Warming up Before Speaking

Students face a variety of situations in which they need to put their best voice forward: from their very first interview to in-class presentations and speech competitions. A well-prepared voice can make all the difference and help disguise nervousness as confidence. Developing good vocal warm-up habits from a young age will help students grow into confident speakers. From my experience in drama, I have… Read More

Speech Festival Success

Every year, I’m excited to see the poems, prose extracts and drama pieces which are chosen for the Hong Kong Speech Festival. The texts are always full of interesting feelings, which are a lot of fun for students to experience as they read. I have been training students for the Speech Festival for many years now, and I’m always so happy to see my students… Read More