Date
18 December 2017
Parents believe that having more native English speakers will help improve their kids' English capabilities. But what if these teachers haven't received any training in teaching the language to non-native speakers? Photo: Internet
Parents believe that having more native English speakers will help improve their kids' English capabilities. But what if these teachers haven't received any training in teaching the language to non-native speakers? Photo: Internet

Having more native English teachers better for schools?

Quite a number of parents have asked me if a kindergarten would be a better school when it has many native-speaking English teachers (NETs).

We should try to determine whether more necessarily means better. There’s also a saying that “too many cooks spoil the broth”.

In my opinion, good kindergartens, apart from hiring a big number of native-speaking English staffers, should also meet two conditions:

1) All NETs are good teachers.

2) The management should assign tasks that allow the NETs to improve, and build positive and harmonious workplace relationships between local teachers and NETs.

In order to become a good NET, he or she should have received professional training in teaching English as a second language and early childhood education.

As far as I know, not all NETs in Hong Kong have attained both. While some meet one of the qualifications, there are many who have neither skill sets, meaning they are simply “expatriates” – as simple as that.

You might wonder why kindergartens would hire them? Well, it is not surprising if some schools try to cut costs by employing less qualified teachers.

There are some employment agencies in the city that would refer schools to some foreign visitors, who would become contract teachers working from one school to another.

Having different teachers from time to time would be far from ideal and certainly not in the best interest of students. Even if they have the heart to teach kids, they have no clue as to how to teach properly; they are simply not equipped to do so.

It is hoped that with the implementation of free quality kindergarten education by the Education Bureau, all NETs would have to be certified teachers with professional training.

That said, kindergartens with more NETs are more likely to be quality schools.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 13

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版]

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JC/FC/CG

Honorary advisor of Hong Kong Association of Careers Masters and Guidance Masters

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