Operation Santa Claus

Mentors teach pupils skills to love learning

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 January, 2013, 5:00am

Form Six pupil Fanny Cheung Wan-lam hated learning English from her kindergarten days.

This year she sits the Diploma of Secondary Education exam. While she does not expect a pass in the language, she has "learned to make friends with English".

"I used to hate English so much that I would avoid it. In primary school, I wouldn't do my homework properly. Once I wrote 'no' in all the answers and got detention," she says.

But Debbie Mak Hoi-yee, a "mentor" who joined her school in September, has shown her games to help learn English.

"I see a change in her learning attitude," the young mentor said.

Mak was one of two mentors allocated to Caritas Fanling Chan Chun Ha Secondary School by the Teach Unlimited Foundation, which employs fresh graduates as full-time mentors.

"The mentors help not only in teaching, they also care for students' emotions and other needs," said the school's English panel head Edmond Chan Chi-keung. "They chat with students like big brothers and sisters. Students have told me it has helped them relieve pressure."

The mentors give special help to new immigrants and underprivileged pupils - something that teachers lack the time and resources to do.

Operation Santa Claus, a holiday appeal organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK, has been raising funds for the foundation's programme, among other projects.

The foundation is now recruiting one more partner school for this September.