It’s a long way from downtown Montreal to the Sheung Tak Estate, but eight McGill students were more than eager to leave their chilly hometown earlier this year to experience a different side of Hong Kong.
The Education students spent eight weeks working alongside local English teachers at the Pok Oi Hospital Chan Kwok Wai Primary School and Pok Oi Hospital Chan Kai Memorial College Secondary School, as part of their English Co-Teaching Program.
Now in its fourth year, the partnership with McGill enables Education undergraduates to gain hands-on teaching experience with qualified colleagues in an international environment.
McGill group members were also exposed to daily Hong Kong life, away from the usual tourist areas, while forming close bonds with local children and teaching staff.
“I thoroughly enjoyed working at the school,” says Vinorthan Joseph, BEd’12. “The students had plenty of opportunities to practice English with us and our co-teachers gave us plenty of support and inspiration,” he says.
“At the same time, the school organized many fun activities to immerse the students in English environments.”
The visit attracted local media coverage with particular interest focused on the McGill group’s impressions of the Hong Kong students.
“The amount of enthusiasm from these students is tremendous and this is very heartwarming for me,” said Dominique Doyon-Harvey, BEd’12, as quoted in the Sing Tao Daily.
“I’ve taught in several different schools,” she told the paper. “But this is really the first time I’ve had such a special and wonderful feeling.”
“The McGill students strive to fit into our system and they do an admirable job,” says Maureen Ridgway, the primary school’s Native English Teacher.
“Our students benefit from more exposure to native speakers of English, while the McGill students practice their teaching skills and must develop effective ways to communicate if the students don’t understand. “
“The partnership is a win-win situation for all involved.”
To encourage further links between Hong Kong and McGill, an informal gathering during the visit offered the visiting students local career advice as well as contact with alumni working in the territory’s education sector.
The McGill-Hong Kong teaching partnership is supported by generous donors in Hong Kong. If you wish to support similar programs or know of other local schools interested in partnering with McGill, please contact:
Alvin Chung, MA’99
Director, Development and Alumni Relations
McGill University Hong Kong and Mainland Office
- By Richard Andrews