Differences Between the UK and Hong Kong Educational Systems

9 Sep 2022 | ESLteachers

As a UK English teacher in Hong Kong, there may be several cultural differences and challenges you may face in the classroom. Here are some of the cultural differences you may encounter, along with suggestions on how to address them:

1. Class Size Differences:

Class sizes in Hong Kong are generally larger than those in the UK. You may find yourself teaching classes with 30 students or more. This can be challenging as it may be difficult to give individual attention to each student. To address this, you can use group activities, pair work, or peer teaching to encourage students to interact with one another and take responsibility for their own learning.

2. Interaction Differences:

In Hong Kong, students may be more reserved and less likely to participate in class discussions. This is partly due to cultural norms that place a greater emphasis on respect for authority and seniority. To encourage participation, you can create a safe and supportive classroom environment where students feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions. You can also use activities that allow for individual reflection before group discussion to encourage students to contribute.

3. Language Differences:

Although Hong Kong is a predominantly Cantonese-speaking region, English is widely used in business, education, and government. However, students may have different levels of proficiency in English, and some may struggle with certain aspects of the language, such as pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary. To address this, you can incorporate a range of activities that cater to different learning styles, such as visual aids, games, and real-life scenarios.

4. Learning Styles Differences:

Hong Kong education emphasizes on rote learning, which means students may be more accustomed to memorizing information rather than understanding it. To address this, you can use active learning strategies that promote critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. For example, you can use case studies, simulations, debates, and role-playing to encourage students to apply their knowledge in real-life situations.

5. Cultural Awareness:

Finally, it’s essential to be aware of cultural differences and to show respect for Hong Kong’s cultural traditions and values. Some ways you can do this include learning basic Cantonese phrases, using local examples and cultural references in your lessons, and celebrating important festivals and events.

In conclusion, teaching in Hong Kong may present some unique challenges for a UK English teacher, but with patience, flexibility, and cultural awareness, you can build meaningful relationships with your students and help them develop their English language skills.