English Language

The English language curriculum at the A-school aims to encourage students to develop positive attitudes towards learning English, to develop students’ ability in using language effectively and to enable critical reflection on how language works.

  • The philosophy driving the syllabus is anchored in the beliefs that language is central to students’ intellectual, social and emotional development and has an essential role in all key learning areas. The learning experiences provided in school will assist students to become competent in English and to use language effectively in a range of contexts. Through programs based on this syllabus, students will develop knowledge, skills and understandings about the English language and literature. They will also learn to create and interpret a range of literary and factual texts. They will learn about the structure and grammar of these texts.




  • When children take part in the English learning experiences, they will develop the ability to talk, listen, read, view, write and spell. Children develop confidence using spoken language as they learn to talk and listen for different purposes. Talking enables children to clarify their ideas, explore issues, solve problems, and to develop understandings in all key learning areas. Learning to read is a complex process. For children to read well, they need to develop a range of reading strategies. Reading and writing are closely connected. When children learn to read and write, they learn about how language is used for different purposes and audiences. Writers produce different text types when they write for different purposes.
  • Our method is focused on a balanced literacy approach (speaking and listening, reading and writing). In reading, teaching and learning activities include guided reading, shared reading/reading aloud, phonics, personal responses, and independent reading. The students engage in author studies, novel studies and literature circles. In writing, learning activities include a focus on different text types (fictional and factual), process writing approach, modeled writing, guided writing, and independent writing. In speaking and listening, students engage in several activities such as retelling, role-playing, drama activities, show and tell, discovery quests, Socratic Circles and debates. Grammar is taught in context through reading and writing. The teaching strategies cater to different learner needs through differentiated tasks within a classroom and across classrooms.

  • Our assessment is both formative and summative and reflects both the methodology and learning outcomes through progress reports and learner portfolios. The formative assessment is used to improve student learning and student progress in speaking and listening, reading and writing is monitored through daily classroom tasks and activities. The summative assessment is used to summarize student learning at a particular period in time.

 

Drama in the Classroom

Drama is a powerful tool to which connects students with learning and literature. It can provide a process for learning by living through or experiencing an event. Process drama is incorporated in curriculum across grades, enabling a variety of learners to engage with stories and novels.

Poetry Across Grades

Integration of poetry in the curriculum helps learners work on a range of language arts skills. It is a creative and inclusive medium which stretches the learner’s linguistic abilities. In A-school, the children read, present and write poetry across grades. They are given opportunities to participate in competitions such as the Hong Kong Budding Poets Award in order to enable them to strive for excellence in the use of language and literature.

Oral Communication Activities
Each and every student is given opportunities to engage in oral communication activities in order to strengthen fluency, language skills, and develop confidence in public speaking. Activities such as Show and Tell are a gentle introduction for the lower primary students to a world of presentations. Once they have built up the confidence, activities such as Discovery Quests enable learners to exercise choice in topics as well as build research skills for presentation. In the upper grades, the students learn debating skills through solo, paired and group debates.

Debating in Sixth Grade

First Grade Show and Tell

Reading
Reading is the backbone of our literacy program. Motivation is the most important factor in promoting English language reading. Starting with focusing on fluency in the younger primary years, we move towards accuracy and mastery in the upper primary years. In the early years, the focus is on leisure reading, leveled reading and developing motivation and a love for reading English texts. The upper primary reading program builds on that foundation to develop critical reading skills in students through the in-depth study of classic as well as contemporary texts, both prose and poetry.


Socratic Circles
Students in the upper primary years engage in Socratic Circle discussions to build a deeper connection and understanding of the novels being studied. With a focus on building consensus, students learn important skills such as turn taking, generating and responding to higher order thinking questions, and delivering and receiving peer feedback. This ties in well with the school mission of whole person development by providing an opportunity for students to learn important morals and values through carefully chosen topics or text. They also gain a sense of belonging and build self-esteem because their voices are being heard and appreciated.


Guided Reading
The lower primary lessons include guided reading sessions with the teacher reading with small groups of students who are grouped by reading levels. The levelled reading texts enable the readers to progress rapidly in terms of fluency, decoding, comprehension. The texts cover a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays.

Guided Reading Resources


Literature Circles

As a part of our reading program, the upper grades (G3-G6) engage in Literature Circles. The goal is for learners to read authentic texts and engage with literature in a deeper manner developing and applying critical thinking skills. Students take on a variety of roles such as Vocabulary Wizard, Summarizer, Connector, Discussion Director or Illustrator in order to read, discuss and respond to texts focusing on different elements each time.

Writing

We believe a child who can speak, can definitely write. To this end, ample phonemic awareness activities form a big chunk of the lower primary curriculum. A scaffolded approach towards writing is adopted incorporating modelled-shared-independent writing. With a focus on text types, the students write for authentic purposes. In first grade, the students engage in cooking activities before embarking on writing recipes and procedures.


Tall Tales


Literature Circles

Posters

Book Reports

Hong Kong Battle of Books (Modified)
Our wonderful readers won the first ever HK Battle of the Books (Modified) trophy in 2014-15, 2016-17 and once again in 2017-18. Primary students from schools all over Hong Kong participate in this wonderful reading competition where the focus is on reading and collaborating. The students made a lot of new friends and are eager to join the competition every year.

Hong Kong Battle of the Books (Modified) Winners 2014-2015

Hong Kong Battle of the Books (Modified) Winners 2016-2017

Hong Kong Battle of the Books (Modified) Winners 2017-2018

 

The Chief Executive’s Award for Teaching Excellence
The Primary English team have been proud recipients of the Certificate of Merit for the Chief Executive's Award for Teaching Excellence in 2014-15. It truly was an honour to be the only primary school to be nominated in the English Language category. In addition to recognition, one of the aims of the award is dissemination of good practices such as reading strategies, formative instructional practices, literature circles, Socratic circles and effective marking and feedback. To that effect the team has conducted lesson demonstrations and workshops to share teaching practices with other schools in the community.