Understanding traditional classroom culture and student behaviour: The know-how of being a foreign teacher in Hong Kong

Ho Kong Christopher AU YEUNG

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

Abstract

In this chapter, the author, educated and trained in the UK, shares his experience of teaching first language Chinese students in Hong Kong. There is little doubt that there are many talented students in Hong Kong, who are industrious and are driven towards their work. However, at the same time, students from local Hong Kong schools may also appear as quiet and introverted compared with their Western counterparts, and they tend to keep themselves to themselves. Although not unique to Hong Kong, it is not uncommon for a teacher to meet with total silence when raising a question or inviting comments in Hong Kong classrooms. However, this does not necessarily mean students are mentally disengaged but, rather, just being reluctant to speak out. Hence, the question is, why do Hong Kong students appear to be shy? Silence may not be golden in a classroom environment nowadays, where enquiry-based learning is becoming more accepted in Hong Kong international schools. Whereas, Hong Kong students from local schools are still being bounded by traditional Chinese classroom culture, in which the teacher would do most of the talking, while the students maintain their attentive nature and intensive learning required of them. This is further exacerbated by the lack of confidence some students have in their use of English. Foreign teachers wishing to teach in Hong Kong need to adapt their Western teaching model and have an appreciation of the differences of language structure and cultural backgrounds. Copyright © 2017 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLife in schools and classrooms: Past, present and future
EditorsRupert MACLEAN
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer
Pages337-349
ISBN (Electronic)9789811036545
ISBN (Print)9789811036521
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Citation

Au-Yeung, H.-K. C. (2017). Understanding traditional classroom culture and student behaviour: The know-how of being a foreign teacher in Hong Kong. In R. Maclean (Ed.), Life in schools and classrooms: Past, present and future (pp. 337-349). Singapore: Springer.

Keywords

  • Hong Kong
  • Native English teacher
  • TEFL
  • Chinese classroom culture

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