Special Issue (GZ 2011) : Guangzhou study tour

By Prof. Eunice TANG (2011-2012) 

A delegate of 27 ELED students, graduates and faculty staff members went for a four-day visit, from 27-30 December 2011, to Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS), English School attached to GDUFS, and Teaching and Research Institute.

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The aims of the study tour were to provide students an opportunity to observe English teaching practices at primary and secondary levels in China and understand their national English curriculum and assessment. The study tour was highlighted by presentations from scholars and officials. Prof. Huhua OUYANG and Ms. Joan Lu from GDUFS delivered talks on “Appropriating CLT in a Chinese danwei institution” and “Dynamics of becoming English teachers: stories from the novice” respectively. Mr. Lu Zhong Gaan and Ms. Hey Chen from the Teaching and Research Institute shared their experience and views on “ELT curriculum and teacher development in China”. Their presentations were informative and inspiring. The study tour also included sharing sessions with serving English primary and secondary school teachers, demonstration lessons by Prof. Tang, Prof. Chun and the graduates, and performance of the ELED students in the New Year variety show of the English School of GDUFS.

This study tour was never easy to organize and co-ordinate because of miscommunication and uncertainties. Great thanks go to the final year student, Jeff Chong, for taking up all the responsibilities from ground zero. He was thoughtful, well-organised, and efficient. He took very good care of big and small things before, during and after the trip. Thank you “Headmaster”! [Note: Watch the drama performance and you will understand.]

This study tour encountered a lot of surprises. Prof. Tang and Prof. Chun were asked to conduct a demonstration lesson to a class of primary school students and a class of secondary students. Students were invited to do a performance on the grand finale of their annual variety show. Thanks our graduates Sammi Chan, Angel Yu and Zenia Lau for brainstorming and executing the teaching ideas. Thanks Tracy Tsang, Darlie Yiu, Ivy Chan, and Heidi Ho for the preparation of the teaching materials. Thanks all ELED students for taking the initiative to help out in the group work. The two demonstration lessons ended with the sharing of some new teaching ideas and the accomplishment of identifiable learning outcomes. Jeff Chong also created a poem using the mottos of the school to recapitulate the learning goals and shared our expectations with the students.

Lead-in and Noticing

– Singing a nursery rhyme
– Identifying rhyming pairs

 One two three four five,

Once I caught a fish alive;

Six seven eight nine ten,

Then I let it go again.

Why did you let it go?

Because it bit my finger so.

Which finger did it bite?

This little finger on my right

Activation of schema & organization of ideas

– Using mind-maps to brainstorm ideas

Task (group work)

– Writing a stanza
– Forming a class poem

Extension

– Introducing different rhyming, patterns & features of poems
– Poem reading “Learning is ….” Created by Jeff Chong using the mottos of the schoolLearning is…LEARNING TO BE a successful person
Your life will be full of amazementLEARNING TO DO all kinds of tasks
Facing challenges you do not need to askLEARNING TO KNOW more than required
You will always be admired

LEARNING TO DEVELOP different skills
You can win with your strength of will

Today the weather is good and sky is blue
May I wish all your dreams come true


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The talents and potentials of our ELED students can never be over-sighted. Within an evening, the whole group of students worked collaboratively and efficiently to come up with scripts and selected songs for a drama performance. They rehearsed and took this performance seriously in order not to disappoint the audience and to impress them with their professionalism. The performance was the most educational one that evening and it conveyed the aspirations and hopes of this group of young teachers-to-be. Thanks Ivy, Fan, Jeff, Caterina, Tracy, Carly, Emily, Anita, Fancy, Vicky, Darlie, Cherry, Rosa, Candy, Karen, Heidi, and Bonnie for the excellent job. I am so proud of you all!

Although the study tour only lasted for 4 days 3 nights, the short encounter with the people, food, environment, and culture has enlightened all participants. They see more about the country, the education system, teaching and learning English, and lifestyle. They see more about themselves and one another. They see more about their own weaknesses and strengths. Probably they also see more about their future.

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