Program Purpose and Operation
By engaging in regular conversations, you will help to improve the confidence and fluency of English of the interested students.
A few minutes before the start of your time slot, please turn on your computer. After you have turned on Hangouts on your computer, a green underline or dot will appear together with your name. The students will then know that you are on-line. Please call your assigned group of students and proceed to start the session at the appointed hour. Please stay with the availability schedule that you have provided to us. If you need to miss any sessions, please contact us as early as possible so that we can find substitute tutors.
While the intention is to have an annual operation if the results are satisfactory, the first year of this program is planned to run from mid-December 2016 through mid-May 2017
Computer & App
At least one of the following devices: desktop or laptop computer, mobile devices, e.g. iPad, smartphone. All devices should have both audio and video capabilities.
Download Google Hangouts to your devices.
It is a free app available in Apple App store or Google Chrome.
The app is quite simple and self-explanatory. The best way to explore is to download and use it.
If you would like to know the basics of the app, the following link, “Getting started with Hangouts”, is quite helpful.
The 3 major features are:
While you are talking, you can simultaneously use messaging as a blackboard to write sentences and class notes. All messages are automatically kept on file. After class, the students can “roll-back” all the messages for review.
Students are given permission to record the sessions for future review. If you do not wish to grant such privilege, please tell the students not to record any sessions beforehand.
Video calls can slow down the transmission speed substantially because it requires quite a bit of bandwidth. You can give it a try but audio calls are always the safe bet.
Misbehaving students can be blocked in Hangouts. If you take such actions, please send the names to us so that we can notify the schools.
After you have downloaded Hangouts, please test drive it by sending us a message or calling us:
Tak H. Eng at [email protected]
Daniel Mak at [email protected]
Ivan Luk at [email protected]
How to help the students?
We hope to provide the students with more opportunities to practice speaking and listening, as these underprivileged students are rarely exposed to any English outside the limited classroom time. Please encourage them to speak. You should correct any mispronunciations and show them how to lessen local accent.
Please keep in mind, most students tend to speak and write English through the prism of Chinese. Prepositions and articles are quite difficult to master because there is no equivalent in Chinese. A lot of students have trouble with multi-syllabic words because Chinese words are all single syllable. Most students can differentiate “R” and “L”, “M” and “N” but they cannot enunciate the difference because “close enough” is enough for them. Conjugation of words is another big headache.
A surprising large number of students have never mastered Phonics, causing them difficulties in building vocabulary, reading, spelling and of course, listening comprehension. Fortunately, all these problems can be solved through practice, practice and more practice with a fluent English speaker. That is where your unstinting help will have the most powerful impact on the future of these students.
What can you talk about?
You can choose your own or pick one from the suggested list of topics* in the attached video. The available topics are generally relevant to Hong Kong DSE English oral examinations (Diploma of Secondary Education).
With the tutor’s agreement, the student may:
Request a particular subject to talk about,
Lead a group conversation if the student has done sufficient research on a subject,
Join an ongoing conversation as a group member.
Please exercise your good judgment on sensitive and controversial topics, such as religion, sex and politics.
*Topics as suggested by Mr. Roderick Lee of Buddhist Mau Fung Memorial College:
Science & Technology: “Head-down tribe” has been coined to describe the group of people in Hong Kong who are addicted to their smartphones. What do they do in MTR or while walking? How do they endanger themselves and other people?
Environment & Pollution: What are some of the serious environmental problems of Hong Kong? What do you do on a daily basis to help to protect the environment? Should we use country parks for housing development?
Education & Children’s Development: Describe the reasons for school bullying. What can we do to curb such conduct?
Living in Hong Kong: Express your views on the working poor of Hong Kong. Describe why young people cannot find jobs and the effects of poverty on them.
DSE (Diploma of Secondary Education) English Language Examination
The following is an overview of DSE Examination by Mr. Roderick Lee, Head English Teacher of Buddhist Mau Fung Memorial College:
A short excerpt on scoring is shown below:
Each candidate will be assessed independently by two examiners. Parts A and B will be assessed together and not separately weighted. Candidates will be assessed on the quantity, quality and organisation of their ideas; the clarity and accuracy of their pronunciation and delivery; the appropriacy and accuracy of their vocabulary and language patterns; and their ability to establish and maintain interaction in both parts of the speaking examination.
There will be four domains of assessment:
• Pronunciation and delivery
Pronunciation comprises phonology and intonation; and delivery refers to the speakers’ voice projection and fluency.
• Communication strategies
Communication strategies are made up of three important areas: body language, timing, asking and answering questions.
• Vocabulary and language patterns; and
The three important areas in this pattern include vocabulary, language patterns and self
• Ideas and organisation
This domain includes expressing information and ideas, elaborating on appropriate aspects of the topic and organisation.
A candidate will be awarded a mark from 0 – 7 on each of the four domains. The maximum mark awarded by each of the two examiners is 28, resulting in a total of 56 marks.
Monitoring of the tutoring sessions by regular teachers of the participating schools:
From time to time, teachers of participating schools may join the conversation sessions to observe the performance and conduct of their students. We do not expect many teachers to do so but it is a professional courtesy that we would like to extend to them.
[Last update: 20170709, 20161209]