Module: Teacher Leadership and Professionalism in Changing Contexts Essay Topic: Classroom Management – Catering for Learners Differences on non-Chinese Speaking Students

| February 12, 2016

Module: Teacher Leadership and Professionalism in Changing Contexts
Essay Topic: Classroom Management – Catering for Learners Differences on non-Chinese Speaking Students
According to the statistics on the non-Chinese speaking (NCS) student population in Hong Kong (2012), the higher level of education, the lower percentage of NCS schools. This could due to the tight places of schools and the neglect of NCS students’ important talent by schools and the lack of support from Education Bureau. Nowadays, it is common that NCS students go into normal local Chinese schools studying Chinese and other subjects in the language of Chinese with local students. In fact, they started studying in local schools since 2004 (Legislative Council of HKSAR, 2015). But the measures to support them come two years after. There are loopholes within the transition. Even now, NCS students are the minority in local schools. Support from school depend on individual schools although EDB provides basic provision and support (EDB, 2015).
Teachers need to be aware of the differences existing among learners and adopt appropriate measures to cater for these differences. Not only on students with diversity needs, but also NCS students. This essay discusses the different approaches in music lesson and other lessons like Chinese or English for NCS students in local schools. It states how they react to music and the challenges they face. What teachers should do to make the lesson effective for both local students and NCS students? To promote effective learning, control of students’ discipline and behavior is also essential. What kinds of behavioral and emotional problems NCS students have that may affect their learning in local school is also discussed. This essay ends by giving suggestions to design a better lesson plan for students which caters learners differences on NCS students; how teachers and school handle their behavioral and emotional problems; and how school-based after-school learning and support programmes may help them.


Different Lesson Approaches
A. English Language
For most NCS students, English is their strength. They are active and often show high involvement during English lessons in general. They get good grades in English. English teachers have good interactions with them. They are sent to attend English speech festival for building higher self-esteem and being honored as a representative. However, there is a possibility that the English curriculum is too easy for them. There is a doubt whether they need another arrangement for their learning of English language. It does not have to separate them during the lesson or designing a curriculum. Teachers may have collaborative lesson planning to discuss and design effective teaching materials and strategies (EDB, 2012). This will be further discussed in later paragraph.

B. Chinese Language
On the other hand, they have huge difficulties in the subject of Chinese Language. The EDB proposes different provisions and support to assist NCS students to adapt to the local education system, which are funding for School-based After-school Learning and Support Programmes, Intensive Remedial Teaching and Supplementary Guide to the Chinese Language Curriculum for non-Chinese Speaking Students (Legislative Council of HKSAR, 2015). In fact, it could be much more easier for both EDB, local schools with NCS students and NCS students themselves to have a ‘special’ curriculum that fits for NCS students’ Chinese level. Unfortunately, the EDB does not want to classify NCS students, a supplementary guide is announced, which includes four curriculum modes of ‘immersion in Chinese Language lessons’, ‘bridging/ transition’, ‘specify learning purpose’ and ‘integration’ (?,2014, p41).

Collaborative lesson planning is one of the major duties that teachers may work on to enhance teaching and learning effectiveness. A school-based learning and support programme for NCS students in Chinese Language is carried out in Hung Hom Lutheran Primary School (ELCHK Hung Hom Lutheran Primary School, 2015). There are two parts of the programme:
(1) NCS students from P.4 to P.6 have Chinese lesson in a separate classroom with another teacher. The student-teacher ratio is 2:1 or 3:1. Due to the small scale of students, teacher is able to take care of their individual difficulties. For the same learning focus of the class, teacher may go for an in-depth interpretation using different perspective and media in order to ensure NCS students’ better understanding.
(2) NCS students from all grades have an after-school class together in which a teacher will help with their homework at the order of Chinese, General Studies and Mathematics. Since there are students from all grades, each of them has fifteen minutes sitting right in front of the teacher and receives personal instruction.
Programme like such is definitely helpful for NCS student although it only meets the basic requirement for daily school routine. There are still a lot more teachers can do for the long-term effectiveness of enjoying the learning of Chinese Language. One of the ways is deigning a school-based curriculum. For those schools with higher proportion of NCS students, they design their own Chinese Language curriculum for students’ best learning outcome (?,2014, p49). It believes that *finish this conclusion sentence.

C. Music
Comparing to Language subjects, Visual Art, Physical Education and music are more like relaxing and enjoyable subjects for NCS students mainly because of the language of subject content and assessment methods. Especially music, it is a subject which learn by doing. Students learn via making music in class (Lange, 2005, p31). Since music itself is an international language, NCS students may not find much difficulty in it. So there is no need to separate them from the class.
According to the Music Curriculum Guide (P.1-S.3) (2003), students learn to develop creativity and imagination, develop music skills and processes, cultivating critical responses in music and understanding music in context via activities of creating, listening and performing. While designing activities of listening and performing of the lesson, there is not much concern of their involvement or understanding. When creating melody, rhythm or exploring different sounds, it is also not an issue. Nevertheless, they may find it difficult to create Chinese lyrics. Usually primary students are not required to re-create lyrics for a whole song but some of the words only. NCS students may not even want to try for a second. Now, teachers should provide scaffold by giving hints or, for the best, hints that are related to what they are learning in Chinese Language. So that they can apply what they are familiar with so as to build up their confidence and promote higher involvement.

Learning Songs
When teaching a new song, teacher first let the students listen to it once. The steps of teaching a new song could be integrated as the following route (Hennessy, 2005, p47-48):
1. Get the students familiar with the rhythm by clapping the rhythm. Teacher demonstrates phrase by phrase and get the students echo.
2. Teacher sings the melodic lines (sol-fa name) and students echo.
3. Teacher reads the lyrics and students echo. Meanwhile, either the lyrics in Chinese or English, teacher explains it.
4. Finally, teacher sings the lyrics and students echo. Repeat the steps until most of the students sing the song accurately.
Until the second step, NCS students are able to synchronize with the flow to the whole class since the content is musical that every student is at similar level of understanding. When it comes to the lyrics, there involves language. If it is an English song, they actively react and always willing to answer teacher’s question. In contrast, they have difficulties catching up with the Chinese lyrics. Two situations may occur at this point: (1) they get frustrated but still trying to catch up or (2) no response to the teacher. Sitting in the music room like they are only a furniture or worse, disturb other students because of the boredom caused by the over-challenging task (?,2014, p47). This will be further discussed in the next paragraph.
What teacher may consider is having the students repeat reading the Chinese lyrics several times. It is important to have the whole class to do so. Otherwise the NCS students feel like they are slowing down the others. And the others may more or less dislike the NCS students for their slow learning. One of the learning targets of the music curriculum is to sing in unison with technical accuracy in order to develop communication and collaborative skills. (Music Curriculum Guide (P.1-S.3), 2003, p92-99). While the NCS students deeply involve the class, learning and teaching effectiveness of the whole class enhanced.
On the other hand, a balance is needed when teaching English songs since the NCS students may answer all the questions from teacher. Now teacher may invite them as ‘little teacher’ to read out the lyrics. Being ‘little teacher’ is uncourageous for students’ learning. It also develops students’ communication and social skills (?,2009, p337).

Behavioral and Emotional Problems
To achieve excellence in teaching, personality characteristics and instructional skills are essential (Martin and Loomis, 2007, p19). However, a class without discipline may cause a failure of learning and teaching. *develop and focus on NCS students behavioral problems. They sometimes cannot sit still. As mentioned earlier, they may disturb other students because of the boredom caused by the over-challenging task. Give references.
*Another paragraph focusing on NCS students’ emotional problems. Sometimes local students make fun of the NCS students’ name. Local students nickname them. The NCS students are upset about that.

The reason of learning in primary school is to prepare for success in higher grades, to have critical thinking, be prepared to be a useful citizen in the society when grow up. NCS students have important talents which may contribute Hong Kong. It is big loss to Hong Kong if they all go study overseas due to different kinds of leaning difficulties (Zhao, 2015).
Learner’s differences exist in all schools anyway. It is the duty for teachers to design effective lesson plans for all students and motivate them to learn. Thus, variety and flexibility in class is also vital (Ornstein, 1997, p227). *develop. The focus of conclusion is to answer this: how teachers should design lesson to make it fits for both local students and NCS students. <- But I don’t want this sentence appears in the essay.

Education Bureau. (2015). Arts Education – Curriculum Documents. Retrieved from December 12, 2015,

Education Bureau. (2015). Education Services for non-Chinese Speaking Students. Retrieved from December 12, 2015,

ELCHK Hung Hom Lutheran Primary School. (2015). Retrieved from December 13, 2015,

Hennessy, S.. (2005). Coordinating Music Across the Primary School. London: Falmer Press.

HKIEd. (2015). Statistics on the Non-Chinese Speaking (NCS) Student Population in Hong Kong (2006-2011). Published in 2012. Retrieved from December 13, 2015,

Hong Kong’s Information Services Department (2011). LCQ14: Support measures for non-Chinese speaking students. Published on November 2, 2011. Retrieved from December 12, 2015,

Lange, D. M.. (2005). Together in Harmony: Combining Orff Schulwerk and Music Learning Theory. Chicago: GIA Publications, Inc.

Legislative Council of HKSAR. (2015). Support measures for non-Chinese speaking students. Published in 2007. Retrieved from December 13, 2015,

Martin, D. J.. and Loomis, K. S.. (2007). Building Teachers: A Constructivist Approach to Introducing Education. USA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Ornstein, A. C.. (1997). How Teachers Plan Lessons. The High School Journal, 80(4), 227–237. Retrieved from December 12, 2015,

Zhao, S.. (2015, August 16). Non-Chinese_Speaking Students Forced to Seek Places at Mainland and Taiwan Universities. South China Morning Post. Retrieved from December 13, 2015,

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