For those considering studying for a career in teaching Chinese as a second language, The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) is an excellent choice. EdUHK offers the first and only BA (Hons) in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language (BA(TCSL)) in Hong Kong. Here, Dr Zhang Ling, who has led the programme since August 2018, shares some information about the programme and the opportunities and experiences offered to students.
The BA(TCSL) programme aims to foster professional teachers of Chinese as a second language. Consequently, all students learn to apply Chinese language materials for teaching in a multicultural and global context through field experience, and via the many opportunities for practicum work. Students must achieve a high level of Chinese and English to qualify.
“In 2018, three of the BA(TCSL) students interned at Elche, in Spain, for 10 weeks,” Zhang says. “It was a chance for the students to teach the Chinese language, as well as teach maths and science lessons in English.” The students were exposed to a different culture and learned new methods for teaching students who were from backgrounds that were very different to their own. Students on the programme also have opportunities to teach at local international schools from kindergarten to secondary level, where they can gain more practical teaching experience.
As part of the programme, students have the chance to teach foreign students outside of Hong Kong. This year’s group of students will attend the Beijing Language and Culture University for teaching practice. Students are assigned a personal supervisor, who oversees the student’s work in lesson design and class planning, and provides feedback. During the practicum, the students gain valuable teaching experience through teaching in teams, as well as on their own.
EdUHK is the first university in Hong Kong to earn recognition from the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban, in Chinese). Hanban is a non-profit organisation which aims to promote Chinese language and culture in foreign counties, “develop friendly relations between China and other countries, foster the development of multiculturalism and contribute to the building of a harmonious world,” the organisation says. After completing the programme, students have an opportunity to teach Chinese in different parts of the world, including Cambodia, Thailand, Russia and the US, through the organisation.
The BA(TCSL) programme offers a “Chinese Language Strand” to its students. After completing this strand, students will be recognised by the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) as graduates of a Chinese major degree, so that they can directly apply for a Chinese PGDE programme upon their graduation.
“Graduates of the programme are well suited to teaching ethnic minorities, and teaching in international schools,” Zhang says. “They may also choose to teach in local schools, in which case they usually work towards earning a PGDE after starting a position in a school.” Graduates of the programme have been employed as teaching assistants or full-time teachers in local and international schools, or are currently pursuing further education, Zhang says.
The BA(TCSL) is a four-year full-time programme currently with senior year-entry (Year Three) only. It is open to holders/final year students of local Associate Degree (AD) / Higher Diploma (HD) awarded by recognized post-secondary institutions. Local and non-local students can apply to this University Grants Committee-funded (UGC-funded) programme.