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Hong Kong schools need to focus on the English language, not English exam drills

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 April, 2018, 11:18am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 April, 2018, 11:18am

I am writing to voice my thoughts on the English language subject in Hong Kong’s educational system. As many people can tell, local schools are not teaching the English language, but English exam skills. 

In an effort to ensure that pupils get a good grade in the public examination, schools have become exam-oriented and drill students with tonnes of worksheets and past exam papers. Is this the appropriate way to learn a foreign language? 

When learning any other foreign language, such as Korean, many youngsters tend to immerse themselves in it. They are attracted to the language because something about it, maybe Korean TV dramas, appeals to them. They are interested in it, so they endeavour to learn it. 

Can drilling arouse children’s interest in English? To teach English, the first step should be cultivating pupil’s interest. Reading English books on subjects they are fond of could help them fall into the world of English.

Remember, the purpose of reading is not to enrich your vocabulary or reinforce sentence structures. The aim is to enjoy reading. The more books you read, the more your English will improve, without much effort. 

Local pupils have squandered enough time on language drills. It is time for change. Children should be taught the English language, not English exam skills. 

Peter Tam, Yau Yue Wan