Global school puts emphasis on developing language skills

December 16, 2016 17:34
Principal Jessica Man Sze-wing of Po Leung Kuk Lam Man Chan English Primary School regards language as the most important learning goal. Photo: HKEJ

Po Leung Kuk Lam Man Chan English Primary School in Kowloon City can be seen as a global village: its current student population consists of as many as 24 different nationalities.

Called LMC for short, the school adopts the same acronym to refer to its core values: language, morals and control.

Principal Jessica Man Sze-wing said the school believes that children who develop language proficiency, good manners, self-confidence and the ability to express themselves while gaining a wide experience in life have more chances of achieving success in all sorts of settings.

For the school, the acquisition of language is fundamental and most important of all learning goals, especially for pupils aged six to 12.

“Our school is devoted to creating an English-rich environment. All subjects, except the Chinese language which is taught in Mandarin, use English as the medium of instruction,” Man said.

By mastering English and Chinese, students are able to communicate with a great number of people wherever they go, she added.

Moral education is another key aspect. Students build a positive world view by learning different cultures and festivals.

The school aims to raise youngsters who are steeped in the values of mutual respect, cooperation, benevolence and dedication to community service.

Control means more than just self-control at LMC: it is strengthening and managing well one's body, senses and mind.

Students are encouraged to participate in all kinds of physical, musical and cultural activities after school.

For instance, inline skating is part of the physical education lessons for primary two pupils.

Man explains that mastering physical balance helps students appreciate the need for a balanced life, a life in which they manage their time and resources well for work, play and rest.

The school has incorporated STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – into General Studies classes, where students are subjected to 10-15 scientific experiments a year.

Primary two pupils, for example, study how environmental changes affect the condition of a loaf of bread, while primary four students construct models that assist them in the study of tsunamis.

“Some students would invite me over to observe their STEM classes and their tsunami simulation models,” Man said, adding that such initiatives also display their self-confidence.

Students also study 3D (three-dimensional) printing, which forms part of advanced lessons under Information Technology, not General Studies.

The school often prints out their 3D work as souvenirs for visiting guests.

“That way, students become more aware of their responsibility for the things they create, and they take pride in their work. This also helps strengthen their moral fiber."

This year LMC is receiving more than 3,000 applications for 132 openings for primary one.

Interviews are conducted in English and Mandarin, but what is more important is that applicants stay calm and answer questions sincerely.

It would be alright if they use a different language when answering questions in Putonghua, but it would be a plus if they could answer them also in Putonghua.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec. 8.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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LMC students try out 10-15 scientific experiments a year (left). Principal Man welcomes pupils to play in her office. Photo: HKEJ
The school offers cultural exchange tours. A group of LMC pupils visited Singapore last year. Photo: HKEJ

Writer of the Hong Kong Economic Journal