English exchange

English exchange

Students explain why games and activities are a great way to learn a language


Students and teachers from DBS and HCSS got together to help promote language learning through fun activities.
Students and teachers from DBS and HCSS got together to help promote language learning through fun activities.
Photo: Jonathan Wong/SCMP
Playing games and taking part in other fun activities can be the best way to inspire English speaking.

That's exactly what students from Diocesan Boys' School (DBS) aim to do with their English Student Exchange Programme. It has helped students from Holy Carpenter Secondary School (HCSS) enhance their language skills.

Jason Lee Shing-hin, a Grade 11 student at DBS, says it's important for HCSS students to have more confidence in English.

The DBS boys are encouraging HCSS students to speak up through activities such as treasure hunts and cooking classes.

Jason and his team spent a long time planning the lessons, but it wasn't easy for HCSS students to understand them at first. However, the DBS boys persisted, and with their friendly attitude, they made the young participants feel at ease.

Elaine Hong Yee-ling, a Form One HCSS student, says: "The games were entertaining and enjoyable. I'm glad I could learn in such a fun and interactive way. I like the idea of learning outside the classroom. Not only did I expand my vocabulary, I also honed my English communication skills."

Form Two student Caroline Lai Xin-ming says the experience taught her that, if she tries hard, she can learn a lot.

"We had to complete various tasks in the treasure hunt," she says. "I could only understand 20 per cent of Jason's instructions, but the game really made me try hard to learn the words. With the support of my teammates, I gained a lot."

And it's not just the HCSS students who benefited from the exchange programme; it was a two-way street.

Jason says: "We've gained OLE [other learning experiences] and leadership skills. Most importantly, we've learned to manage our time well, especially [under pressure]."

The HCSS students were not chosen based on their grades. Instead, those who were most enthusiastic were accepted. This was to ensure that those who took part were eager to learn, and would therefore benefit most from the programme.

The English workshop, now in its fourth year, was started by Reverend Chan Kwok Keung, pastor at the Hong Kong Anglican Church, which is affiliated to both schools.

Chan was aware that DBS and HCSS used different methods to teach English.So he suggested the two schools jointly organise English classes to help improve the students' language skills.

HCSS vice-principal, Tse Che-yau, is happy to see his students' English improving. He believes the programme will continue to benefit the participants in the years ahead.

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