Teaching methods you can apply while teaching in Hong Kong

Teaching is hard work. Every teacher has their style of teaching that they are comfortable with. However, what is often forgotten is that the students are not supposed to adapt to the teacher. Instead, the teacher is supposed to adapt to the students to ensure that they improve as much as possible.

This is a huge issue for school teachers because the class sizes tend to be pretty big. Even tutorial centres tend to have a teacher handling 3 to 5 students at once. With limited class time and limited workforce per class, it becomes challenging to adapt to the students’ needs. It is virtually impossible because, just like teachers, every student also tends to have learning methods that they are comfortable with.

A Quick Summary:

  • The Dominance Method is a teacher-centric method to be used in a shortage of time.
  • The Discovery Method is a student’s independence-centric approach to be used in an abundance of time.
  • The Questioner’s Method is a nice blend of the two which should be used more often if not for the problems it has as well.

This article details three of the different teaching methods you can apply when teaching in Hong Kong.

The Dominance Method

This method is possibly the most common and popular teaching method in Hong Kong. This method involves teachers giving ‘lectures’ of sorts as they are teaching the students. The students, on the other hand, are mostly expected to keep quiet and listen. It is also sometimes considered the ‘lazy’ way since it is a primarily one-way method with information coming from the teacher to the students and very little interaction from the students.

Teaching through dominance method

Hong Kong is a place where the focus on academics and analyses is much higher than focus on creativity and wonder. Since the importance of grades is exceptionally high, it is no wonder that teachers often utilise this method the most often. This method can be observed in many schools and tutorial centres, especially those with a majority of local Hong Kong students.

This method is best suited for large class sizes and more preferrable for older students. It can also be used when time is a crucial factor. This is especially true in tutorial classes. Since students are needed to complete a certain amount of work in a certain amount of time, this method is often utilised to ensure that students finish enough work to satisfy their parents. This is not the ideal way to go, but it is an unfortunate reality.

However, the problem with this method lies in the fact that there is very little interaction. It can quickly get boring, and students can easily get lost without the teachers’ appropriate and enough attention.

The Discovery Method

This method is more commonly used in learning centres with smaller groups or when teaching at home. This method typically involves letting the students figure out how to do the questions themselves whilst providing very minimal help. This promotes independent learning to the students, and the teachers or tutors mostly fulfil a sort of guardian role.

Teaching through discovery method

In other words, this mainly involves providing students with questions or activities and highly encouraging them to figure out the answers or solutions themselves. Most of the time, the teachers will just be nudging the students in the right direction if they stray too far.

One of the big positives of this method is that students are given a considerable amount of autonomy.

This motivates the students to improve their thinking and problem-solving abilities by themselves. Since it can be a big problem in many learning centres and schools where students do not try hard enough to solve questions by themselves and often rely on their teachers or peers, this method can prove extremely helpful and useful.

However, an issue is that this method is very time consuming. It can be all right for academically strong students, but it can significantly take much time who are weak in their studies. This method can especially prove to be impractical in schools and tutorial centres where time is essential.

Unfortunately, as mentioned before, academic scores are regarded very highly in Hong Kong, and parents also tend to have very high expectations from teachers to quickly deliver tangible results.

The Questioner Method

This method is somewhat a blend of the Dominance Method and the Discovery Method. This style of teaching cuts its runtime into two halves. The first half is more of the Dominance Method, where the teacher tries to give as much information as possible to their students. This part might not contain much interaction between the teacher and the students because it is mostly concerned with providing the students as much knowledge as possible.

Teaching through questioner method

The second part of this method is where the teacher borrows from the Discovery Method. The teacher gives the students independence and freedom to solve the problems themselves with the information they have just received.

While this might seem like a typical teaching style, its uniqueness and effectiveness come from the teacher encouraging students to use the latter half of the time to ask any questions they might have. During this time, the teacher tries his or her best to answer the students’ questions and explain the answers in as much detail as possible. It is pretty common, but it is not always used effectively for various reasons.

This method’s merit comes from the high level of interaction between the teacher and the students. It also becomes easier for students to obtain and retain knowledge due to the whole process of questioning.

Unfortunately, this method also suffers from the issue of time management. In classrooms with many pupils, it is difficult to answer all of the students’ answers with the utmost details and attention. Teachers adopting this method may play favourites, because they have to give a lot of attention with less time to attend to everyone. Due to this, they might walk upto or emphasise a particular group more often than others leading to its own set of problems.

Finally, my take on this:

If time were no factor, I would personally like The Questioner’s Method the most. I believe that a high level of attention and interaction is important for students to learn and understand the knowledge they just gained. However, that is not the reality we live in, and the current emphasis on grades and expectations from parents, in particular, make it harder and harder. The best thing to do, hence, would be to use different methods looking at the situations.

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This article was published on January 6, 2021.

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