A Bilingual Education: Nurturing Bilingual World CitizensEducation | 20 Oct 2020
The Standard Education Talks is a series of Facebook Live sessions gathering the insights of education experts to connect parents and children with leading schools in Hong Kong.
Bilingualism has fast become a necessity for success in this global era. At The Standard Education Talks, Dr. Cora Hui, Head of School at Christian Alliance P.C. Lau Memorial International School (CAPCL), said a structured bilingual education involves teaching the academic content with two languages in varying amounts of time in accordance with the language model.
“At CAPCL, students spend 65 per cent of the day learning in English, and the other 35 per cent in Mandarin and traditional Chinese,” said Dr. Hui, who also shed light on the diverse benefits of the practice. “Learners not only become proficient in English and Chinese, they also develop awareness and understanding of the wider world.”
The school adopts the Canadian Alberta Curriculum. Three out of the five core subjects – English, Chinese, Mathematics, Science and Social Study – are taught in English, and students also study one of the five specialty subjects – Art, Bible, Health, Music, Physical Education – using Mandarin. “The model provides ample opportunities for students to practice their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in both English and Chinese,” Dr. Hui said.
Commenting on the Canadian curriculum, she explained the school selected the one used by the Alberta province because of its abundant experience in offering bilingual programmes. “Alberta has operated bilingual Chinese English schools for the last 35 years,” she said. “Data shows that students enrolled in the Alberta Curriculum had the highest average scores in science and reading among other Canadian provinces. The bilingual model benefits intellectually and builds the stamina for lifelong learning.”
The average class size at the school is 22 students – it’s an intentional practice to keep the learning community in a small class setting to allow teachers to get in line with students’ progress and thereby adapt their teaching approach, Dr. Hui said. At the same time, children are given more opportunities to share their thoughts and participate in class activities.
Dr. Hui underscores the importance of looking after the holistic needs of primary age students. “Instead of learning subject by subject, teachers teach all the ten subjects in a holistic way that blends the knowledge together. Children are able to integrate what they’ve learnt,” she said.
The CAPCL campus in Kowloon City was closed down in 2017 for large-scale renovation, and is now re-opened as an international primary school to serve approximately 550 preparatory to grade 6 students. Dr. Hui said the renovation was thoroughly conceptualized to equip the campus with amenities that support bilingual education and elementary young children.
These thoughtful facilities include the Treehouse Library where children can explore Chinese and English books, the CA Makerspace and the Artist Corner that cultivate creativity, as well as spacious Indoor and Outdoor Play Space.
Christian Alliance P.C. Lau Memorial International School
2 Fu Ning Street, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 2713 3733