Where Teachers Go to Learn

Veteran teacher and school principal Christina FONG Chui-yee continues to nurture Hong Kong’s youth, inspired by her own education at CityU
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Fong believes that educators need to be open-minded and keen to tackle challenges, whether updating curricula or embracing new technology.

When Christina FONG Chui-yee first enrolled at City Polytechnic (later, in 1994, the institution was granted the University title and renamed City University of Hong Kong, or CityU) in 1992, little did she know she would still be inspired by her teachers more than 25 years on. A veteran educator herself, Fong is most impressed with the professional attitude and dedication of her teachers at CityU’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS).

“My teachers were very passionate and tried their best to help us understand both the theories and their practical applications. The way they taught me has shaped the way I teach. It’s like passing on a legacy,” says Fong, who studied BA Translation and Interpretation at the Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics (later renamed the Department of Linguistics and Translation). She was trained as an English teacher after graduating from CityU in 1995.

Fong, now the principal of Lui Cheung Kwong Lutheran College in Tuen Mun, vividly recalls how one of her teachers at CityU – in that era before YouTube and the easy availability of video material – videotaped a press release that was quoted on TV one evening to use as teaching material for the following day’s interpretation class. Originally more of a scientist, Fong studied science subjects at A-level. It was an inspirational English literature teacher who revealed to Fong the beauty of poetry and encouraged her to develop sensitivity towards language. Most of all, she thanks her final-year project supervisor for showing her how to guide a student through a piece of work while offering room for flexibility and student input.

“I realise that as a teacher you must be flexible to engage your students and help them learn better. For example, I have designed class-based teaching material that caters to individual learning needs. While there are guidelines to follow, there are also many ways to deliver what you have to teach,” says Fong.

As well as imparting knowledge, Fong believes that educators should help young people develop the right attitude and values, too.

“I used to teach in a lower banding school [for students who are academically less competent]. Many of my students came from underprivileged families and didn’t have the chance to go on to university. I tried to teach by example and show them how in everyday life we can always have a positive attitude and love our lives,” she says.

At Lui Cheung Kwong Lutheran College, where she taught for 13 years before becoming the head of school in 2017, Fong continues her mission to equip students for future challenges by helping them develop the right values and skills. Apart from learning about qualities such as love and patience in religious classes, students are encouraged to participate in activities that cultivate lifetime skills.

“At CityU, I developed important skills through new experiences, such as organising an open forum. Through joining different activities, I hope my students can be more confident, creative and better at problem-solving and communicating with others,” says Fong.

Fong not only encourages students to help organise school events such as sports days and produce school publications, but she also offers them new experiences including leadership courses, exchange programmes and community services. Implementing these programmes requires teachers’ support, especially since such initiatives often mean more work for them.

“Implementation is one of the most challenging aspects of my work as a school principal,” says Fong who believes communication is essential for maintaining a collaborative relationship with her teachers, whom she meets regularly to listen to their views and explain to them why certain resources are being deployed in specific ways.

“Often that means explaining the needs of the school as a whole as opposed to the needs of individual subjects. I am grateful for having a team that is willing to work with me and contribute ideas for the benefit of our students. We become all the more motivated when our students show progress,” she adds.

As a school principal, Fong says she needs to be open-minded and to readily embrace challenges. She reads the same books as her teachers and students do to understand more about problems they may face.

“This is a constantly-changing world. I need to be able to adapt to changes and also help my team do so too,” says Fong.

“For example, how should we modify our curricula and ways of teaching in this digital world? And as young people are exposed to an increasingly political environment, how should we engage them and guide them?”

Along the same vein, Fong advises students of CLASS to prepare themselves for the challenges ahead. Most importantly, a critical mind will help them make right decisions in different circumstances.

“We are bombarded with information every day, but can you discern right from wrong? For instance, many people use electronic payment systems without being aware of the privacy issues surrounding them. This is just an example of everyday life. Our next generation will face many new problems in life and their careers, so they need to develop the ability to make the correct value judgments,” Fong says. (Original: City University of Hong Kong)

教育工作者走過的學習路

擁有豐富教學經驗的中學校長方翠儀,深受當年她在城大的學習經歷啟發,一直用心培養本港青少年,薪火相傳

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方翠儀堅信,無論在調整課程大綱或接受新科技方面,教育工作者都必須保持思想開明,樂於接受挑戰。

方翠儀在1992 年入讀香港城市理工學院(學院其後於1994 年升格為大學,正式更名為香港城市大學,亦稱城大),那時她未曾想到,自己在逾25 年過後,仍深受當年的導師啟發。她作為資深的教育工作者,特別敬佩城大人文社會科學院導師的敬業樂業的態度和無私奉獻的精神。

方翠儀說:「我的老師對教學都很有熱誠,會盡力幫助我們明白各種理論和實際應用方法。他們的教導也影響了我自己的教學方式,可謂薪火相傳。」當年,她在中文、翻譯及語言學系(後來易名為翻譯及語言學系)攻讀翻譯及傳譯學士學位課程,自1995 年畢業後,便受訓成為英語教師。

現為屯門路德會呂祥光中學校長的方翠儀仍然清楚記得,在YouTube 尚未面世亦鮮有錄像教材的那個年代,她在城大的一位導師把前一晚電視播出的新聞發佈會錄製下來,作為翌日傳譯課堂的教學素材。她在高中時是理科生,後來受到城大一名英國文學老師啟蒙,認識到詩歌之美,並鼓勵她培養對語言的敏銳觸覺,這使她終身受用。她更要感謝畢業專題研習的指導老師,示範如何在指導學生完成作業的過程中,讓學生保持靈活發揮空間及加入自己的見解。

方翠儀說:「我明白身為老師,必須靈活多變地引導學生,幫助他們找到更好的學習方法。例如,我設計了一些課堂為本的教材,滿足不同學生的學習需要。當然,老師需要遵循特定的教學指引,但同時也有很多方法傳遞所教授的內容。」

她認為教育工作者在傳授知識的同時,也應幫助青年人建立正確的態度及價值觀。

她說:「我以前在一所組別較低的中學教書(這些中學錄取學業表現較遜色的學生),許多學生出身於貧困家庭,沒有機會繼續升讀大學。我嘗試以身作則,表現如何在日常生活中時刻保持積極態度,熱愛生命。」

方翠儀在路德會呂祥光中學任教13 年後,於2017 年晉升為校長,繼續履行使命,幫助學生培養正確的價值觀、學懂各種技能,以迎接未來的種種挑戰。除透過宗教課讓學生學習愛與忍耐之外,她還鼓勵學生多參與培養終身技能的活動。

「我在城大經歷了不同的嶄新體驗,例如籌組公開論壇,建立許多重要技能,因此我也希望學生透過參加不同活動,能夠變得更有自信、更富創造力,更善於解決問題,更懂與別人溝通。」方翠儀如此期許。

方翠儀不僅鼓勵學生參與籌辦運動會、製作刊物等校內活動,還致力安排學生參加領袖課程、交流計劃、社區服務等,獲取不曾有過的經驗。而在校內推行這些計劃,往往會加重老師的工作量,故需要得到他們的支持。

方翠儀說:「身為校長,執行計劃是最困難的工作之一。」她認為,要與老師並肩作戰,溝通是不可或缺的一環,所以她會定期跟老師會面,聽取意見,亦會就如何分配教學資源,向老師詳細解釋當中的理據。

她補充:「我向他們解釋,為了學校的整體發展,不一定能滿足個別科目的各種需求。我很感恩有一支願意跟我通力合作的教職員團隊,為學生的福祉不斷出謀獻策。每當看到學生有進步時,我們都倍感鼓舞。」

方翠儀表示,她身為校長,必須保持思想開明,樂於接受挑戰。她會跟其他師生閱讀相同的書籍,以便瞭解他們可能面對的難題。

方翠儀說:「世界不斷轉變,我必須有順應的能力,並協助我的團隊適應各種變化。」

「舉例說,在現今的數碼世界裏,我們應怎樣調整課程大綱與教學方式?或者,當年輕人需要面對愈來愈多政治議題時,我們應該怎樣引導他們呢?」

同樣,方翠儀也建議人文社會科學院的學生作好準備,迎接未來的挑戰。最重要的是,要培養批判思維,以便在不同情況下都能做出正確的決定。

方翠儀說:「我們的生活充斥着大量資訊,但你能夠分辨孰是孰非嗎?例如不少人都使用電子支付系統,卻沒有注意到相關的隱私問題。這只是日常生活中的一個例子。我們的下一代在人生和事業發展中將會面臨許多新的問題,因此需要培養出正確價值判斷的能力。」(原文: 香港城市大學)