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Suggested Ways to Create a Rich English Language Environment for Students

 

A rich English language learning environment can be created through making full use of the time and resources both inside and outside the school. Schools may consider the WHY, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHO, and HOW questions in relation to the following two key success factors contributing to the creation of a rich English language environment for students:

  1. Raising students' motivation and interest in English learning; and
  2. Widening students' learning space (physical and cognitive) through effective learning and teaching strategies, flexible curriculum planning and timetabling (to make allowance for life-wide learning and co-curricular activities), and effective deployment of resources.

1. Raising students' motivation and interest

All students should be helped to become aware that better English would allow them to communicate with a wider range of people. Their enhanced interest in learning English does not only open up opportunities for work and study, but more importantly, it provides them with greater opportunities for pleasure and enjoyment in their personal life.

Suggestions:

(Adapted from those in the Final Report of Language Education Review of the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR, 2003)) :-

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When students like the subjects, they are more motivated to learn. Teaching methods which arouse students' interest such as providing more learning activities and making use of multi-media learning and teaching resources should be employed in the English classroom.
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A whole-school language curriculum, which takes into consideration the needs, interests and abilities of students, should be developed to make language learning more related to the daily life of students. Mass media, particularly English television and radio programmes in English, should be more widely used.
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Schools should provide more opportunities for the use of English. The promotion of learner autonomy and Self-Access Language Learning (SALL) encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning as well as monitor and evaluate their own progress.
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Parents should be encouraged to support their children’s language learning by taking up a more active role in helping their children develop good reading habits and enhancing their interest in extensive reading.

2. Widening students' learning space - providing additional opportunities for language learning

Language proficiency is best raised through active and frequent use. It is important to provide students with maximum English exposure as well as meaningful and purposeful activities through which they can learn and apply the language.

Suggestions:-

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Adopting a whole-school approach to promote the learning and use of English through the collaboration of teachers in different key learning areas.
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Introducing cross-curricular enrichment programmes so that students can be systematically exposed to the use of English for a wide variety of subjects in a classroom setting, as well as in extended activities beyond the classroom. In this connection, EDB has commissioned the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to develop a total of 60 teaching modules for Secondary 2 and Secondary 3 students of CMI schools. These modules have been uploaded on the EDB Website. Teachers may tailor them, or develop school-based modules, to cater for the specific needs of their students.
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Providing students with opportunities to explore both the spoken and written English language through appropriate and effective teaching strategies (such as the task-based approach) as well as learning activities which are designed to engage students in the authentic, practical and functional use of language for meaningful purposes, e.g. learning to be effective English camp leaders, finding learning materials for junior form students for the SALL or English corner.
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Using a lot of reading and listening / viewing materials which are in use around the school premises or community resources for classroom or co-curricular language activities, e.g. promoting reading to learn through building in a morning reading time, using cross-curricular learning materials (e.g. those provided by EDB), articles in magazines, youth radio programmes (such as Teen Time or Song Bird) or advertisements / public announcements or selected programmes on television for further language activities (e.g. debates, public speaking or dramatic re-presentations).
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Using the classrooms, display boards, walls, etc. in the school to display students' work, language learning resources, and information related to language learning activities or using the covered playground for activities that facilitate the use of English, e.g. English Caf? a simulated excursion or visit.
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Setting up an English corner or room with resource materials such as multi-media learning materials, educational CD-ROMs, story books, audio tapes, videos to create a comfortable and language-rich environment for self-access learning, providing activities that make explicit links to classroom learning.
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Providing easy access to a wide range of materials, equipment and other facilities that can enhance students' familiarity with English, e.g. authentic materials in English including newspapers and magazines, posters, dictionaries, multi-media resources for language learning.
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Organizing co-curricular and extra-curricular activities using English, e.g. visits to museums with exhibitions presented in English, talks given in English by guest speakers from different professions, dramas or shows performed in English, English club, English day/week, English drama competitions and English camps.
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Using public address / multi-media projecting systems and school assemblies to conduct various language related activities, e.g. presentations and sharing sessions by students or guest speakers from the community, language games, quizzes, story telling, radio stations featuring plays, news reading and dedication of songs.
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Promoting the use of English in school through encouraging class publications and communication by print or electronic means, e.g. newsletters, notices, posters, school magazines, class homepages.
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Using excursions with purposeful follow-up activities to provide authentic and experiential language learning opportunities, e.g. visiting the wet market or some interesting streets in Hong Kong to recommend sites for city-walk to overseas visitors, visiting supermarkets with an agreed focus for information collection.
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Developing a trilingual language environment in the school, by encouraging the use of English outside the classroom among peers and between students and teachers.

 

 

Last revision date: 12 April 2011
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