Wah Yan Online Oral English Programme
Guidelines for students
Programme Purpose and Operation
This programme offers you an opportunity to talk to English speakers online at a prearranged time mutually convenient to you and your tutor. Through regular use, you can improve both your confidence and fluency in conversational English.
All tutors are volunteers who use English daily and/or professionally. You will be assigned to a class appropriate for you English level, which is based on an assessment before the start of programme.
The programme is planned to run from early-October to early-June next year.
What do you need?
- a device (smartphone, laptop, desktop computer) ;
- a Google Hangouts account;
- your device should have a video camera ;
- a send/receive sound capability, ideally able to record a two way conversation; and
- a reliable internet connection. Good Internet connection gives you a more satisfactory learning experience.
What could you talk about?
The tutor has a list of topics for discussion from which you can choose. The available subjects are generally relevant to your prospective oral English examination(s). Tutors will also take into consideration age of students and select topics accordingly.
Subject to the tutor’s agreement, you may:
- request a particular subject to talk about;
- lead a group conversation if you have done sufficient research on a subject; and
- join an ongoing conversation as a group member if you find it interesting.
Sensitive and controversial topics such as religion, sex and politics are prohibited.
When can you talk?
Once every week at the assigned time, your tutor will invite you to log onto his Hangouts account to conduct lesson. If you are unavailable for any reason, please give advance notice to your tutor. If you fail to appear for three lessons, your teacher will be informed and your spot will be assigned to another student on the waiting list. If you find the group you have been assigned to too difficult or easy for you or the assigned time slot is no longer suitable, please let your tutor know and we will try to switch you to another group.
Who are my tutor and classmates?
- after initial assessment of your English ability, you will be grouped with students with similar level of competence (may not be in the same form or school as you);
- you will then be asked to indicate three available time slots of one hour each during the week when you are available for lesson for matching with our pool of tutors;
- you will be informed later of your assigned lesson time slot and your tutor will also contact you direct afterwards.
Note that there is a technical limitation in a group conversation via Google Hangouts; this is currently set at 10. The programme intention is to keep the group size small (maximum of 5) to foster a more effective learning experience.
How should you behave?
The tutors in this programme either live in English-speaking countries or work professionally in English. They volunteer their time to assist you without compensation. You are asked to extend to them due respect by:
- being punctual;
- extending appropriate courtesy (inform tutor ahead of time if you need to be excused from class);
- being polite;
- giving the conversation your full attention (turn off mobile phones and eliminate other possible distractions to the extent possible);
- not using any foul languages; and
- not seeking help on homework related matter.
Please exercise sensible precaution and secure your Google account properly. Under no circumstance should you disclose your account name and password to others.
A tutor may end a session or bar an offending student if
- a student has more than three unexcused absence;
- a student does not have the necessary equipment to participate effectively in the tutoring session;
- a student becomes unruly, disruptive or behaves inappropriately towards the tutor or another student in the tutoring session; and
- a student is not appropriately dressed while using a webcam.
Note that to ensure a quality learning experience, a conversation could be monitored or recorded or both. Such recordings may be used by this Programme as teaching material for other students unless you tell us in writing that you do not wish your recordings to be used for this purpose.
How can you use this Programme to your best advantage?
Learning a language well is a life-long challenge. Regular practice is the key to good results. Before you talk to a tutor, you should try to look up material and vocabulary related to the topic you are about to discuss with your tutor. You could also record your conversation for subsequent review. Staying on the same subject for a few sessions could help you become more confident in future conversations on a similar topic.
There will be an online Open Day in October 2017 for you to ask questions and you will be informed of the date and time after successful registration.
Feedback, Questions or Complaints
You can direct your queries and messages to (Ivan Luk at [email protected]).
[Last update: 20170508]