Tips for New ESL Teachers in Hong Kong

12 Jul 2022 | ESLteachers

As someone who has spent a lot of time travelling the world and experiencing different cultures, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of language and how it can be both a bridge and a barrier between people. And that’s especially true in a place like Hong Kong, where the pace of life is fast and the culture is unique.

So, if you’re an English teacher looking to make an impact in this dynamic city, here are a few tips to help you connect with your students and make the most of your time in the classroom:

  1. Embrace the Culture: One of the biggest challenges in teaching English as a second language is that students can often feel like they’re being asked to abandon their own culture and heritage. So, make an effort to understand the cultural background of your students and incorporate it into your lessons. Students tend to react better if they can relate to what is being taught. For example, if you are teaching about hobbies or spare time, references to Ocean Park or Disneyland instantly get the students excited and eager to share their opinions and thoughts.
  2. Be Adaptable: In Hong Kong, the pace of life is fast and the students you’ll be teaching are likely no exception. They’ll expect you to keep up, so be ready to adapt to the energy and enthusiasm in the room. Be prepared to adjust your lessons on the fly and incorporate new ideas and materials as needed. It can always be useful to have a few games up your sleeve, such as taboo or a board race if you feel some more energy is needed.
  3. Encourage Conversation: While grammar and vocabulary are important, there’s nothing like a good conversation to help students feel confident in their language skills. Encourage your students to speak freely, even if they make mistakes. You’ll find that they’ll be more willing to participate and engage in the lesson if they feel comfortable. Conversation also helps you understand what the students don’t yet know or spot common mistakes that keep popping up.
  4. Use Technology: Technology can be a great tool for teaching English, especially in a city like Hong Kong where students are often tech-savvy. Try using online resources, such as language learning apps or online forums, to supplement your lessons and provide students with additional practice opportunities.
  5. Have Fun: Finally, don’t forget to have fun! Your students will respond to your enthusiasm and energy, so be sure to bring a sense of humour and adventure to the classroom. Games can really liven up your students and get them ready to engage. This will help you build strong relationships with your students and make your lessons more engaging and memorable.

Teaching English as a second language in Hong Kong is a rewarding and challenging experience, but with these tips, you’ll be well on your way to making a lasting impact on the lives of your students.