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Skills in Teaching Primary School English
This Course Guide has been taken from the most recent presentation of the course. It would be useful for reference purposes but please note that there may be updates for the following presentation.

Skills in Teaching Primary School English


EPP841 Skills in Teaching Primary School English is a ten-credit, postgraduate level course. It is specially designed for serving primary school English language teachers or student teachers who intend to teach English.

This course provides you with a sound foundation in planning, organizing and implementing learning activities in teaching English in Hong Kong primary schools. It will also help you to develop language strategies to improve your proficiency and skills in English.

Course aims

EPP841 aims to develop your:

  1. basic competence in teaching English in primary schools;

  2. critical understanding of the educational context, especially the primary school context, of Hong Kong;

  3. ability to critically evaluate and apply various skills in the teaching and assessment of English;

  4. awareness of language issues in the classroom; and

  5. ability to reflect on current classroom practice for more effective English teaching.
Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Evaluate critically the educational context of Hong Kong, including its school system, examination system and policy-making processes. (Unit 1)

  2. Analyse the rationale underlying the Activity Approach in Hong Kong primary schools. (Unit 2)

  3. Discuss the aims, objectives and framework of the primary school English language curriculum. (Unit 2)

  4. Select, plan and implement appropriate teaching and learning activities for English lessons. (Units 3 and 4)

  5. Develop year plans and lesson plans for primary school English. (Units 3 and 4)

  6. Prepare suitable teaching resources and use them effectively in English lessons. (Units 3, 4 and 5)

  7. Develop effective assessment strategies in English for monitoring teaching and learning. (Unit 6)

  8. Manage English lessons for effective learning. (Units 3, 4 and 7)

  9. Develop your teaching portfolio and make use of it to enhance reflective teaching. (Unit 8)

  10. Use language effectively to enhance learning and classroom interaction. (Units 9 and 10)

  11. Reflect critically on your teaching for enhanced professionalism. (Units 1-10)

Overview and organization of the course

The following table provides an overview of the units in the course, the amount of time it might take to complete each unit and the timing of the associated tutor-marked assignments.

Units Weeks of work Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
1 Primary schools and the Hong Kong education system 2  
2 The Activity Approach and the primary school English language curriculum 4  
3 Skills in teaching English 5  
4 Planning to teach


5 Resources for teaching 4 TMA2
6 Assessment in primary schools 5  
7 Classroom management 4  
8 Evaluation of teaching 4 TMA3 (teaching portfolio)
9 Language learning skills for teachers 2  
10 Language in the classroom 3  
  Revision 2  
Total   40  

The first unit of the course provides you with a comprehensive discussion of the educational context within which you are teaching. This allows you to evaluate educational provision in Hong Kong and alerts you to a number of issues related to teaching.

Unit 2 analyses the rationale underlying the Activity Approach in Hong Kong and discusses the organization and implementation of this approach. It also analyses the primary school English curriculum.

Unit 3 focuses on using appropriate techniques and skills for teaching English. It discusses effective classroom interaction skills, and examines ways of organizing a learning environment that promotes English learning.

Unit 4 examines the different aspects of planning. It looks at ways of structuring learning activities for a lesson, and describes techniques for writing lesson plans and year plans.

Unit 5 explains how to select, produce and use teaching resources to support learning. It also explores how information technology can be used to improve the teaching and learning of English.

Unit 6 explains how to develop effective assessment strategies (including tests and examination papers) in English for monitoring teaching and learning.

Unit 7 discusses effective classroom management skills. It examines ways of establishing routines and rules in the classroom, and outlines methods for monitoring student activities.

Unit 8 explains the concept of reflective teaching and makes suggestions on how you can evaluate your own teaching for improvement. It also describes how you can develop a teaching portfolio.

Unit 9 explains what language ability is and relates it to the Language Proficiency Assessment for Teachers. It aims to help you to improve your English language skills, and describes language development strategies you can use for lifelong language learning.

Unit 10 discusses effective language use in classroom interaction. It also considers strategies you can use to enrich your knowledge base for teaching English.


Course materials

The materials for EPP841 Skills in Teaching Primary School English consist of this Course Guide, ten study units, Readings, two VCDs, a CD, an Assignment File and a Manual for Face-to-face Sessions, all of which are provided by the OUHK. You will also receive, in another mailing, Guidelines on Teaching Practice Supervision.

Course Guide

The Course Guide tells you briefly what the course is about, what it contains, and how you can work your way through it. It also gives you information about tutors and face-to-face sessions, and assessment. Remember to refer to the Course Guide throughout the course to help clarify important points about studying EPP841.

Study units

As you saw in the previous section, there are ten study units in this course. Each unit consists of two to five weeks of work, and includes specific objectives and detailed explanation and illustration of the course content. It also includes directions for and comments on the Readings. The units also contain activities and tutorial questions. The activities aim to reinforce your learning, stimulate reflection and encourage you to relate theory to practice. Some of these activities are put online so that you can discuss them with your tutor, Course Coordinator and other course participants through the Online Discussion Board provided in this course. The tutorial questions should help you to examine broader issues related to the units and facilitate the sharing of your experience and views with other students.

Set book

There is no set book for this course.

Videos and CD

There are two VCDs, which contain excerpts from lessons carried out by some experienced English teachers. You will be directed to watch the relevant parts of the videos when you study Units 3, 5, 9 and 10. There is also an audio CD related to Unit 9.

Assignment File

The Assignment File provides an overview of the nature and requirements of the course assignments. It guides you carefully through the three assignments and the development of your teaching portfolio.

Guidelines on teaching practice supervision

These guidelines, which will be sent to you in another mailing, give detailed information about the requirements of the teaching practice and help you to prepare for it. You should read the Guidelines at the beginning of the course. The teaching practice arrangements for serving English teachers and student teachers will be different and you will also receive a different set of Guidelines.

In addition to the above materials provided by the OUHK, it is strongly recommended that you buy:

Curriculum Development Council (2004) English Language Key Learning Area: English Language Curriculum Guide (Primary 1-6), Hong Kong: Government Logistics Department.

You will be asked to read parts of the Curriculum Guide in many of the EPP841 units. This document is very important for English language teachers in primary schools in planning their teaching.

Tutors and support

The course supports you through face-to-face tutorials, telephone tutoring, and the Online Learning Environment (OLE).

Face-to-face and telephone tutoring

To supplement your self-study, there are eight two-hour tutorials, two two-hour workshops and two three-hour day schools. In addition, at the beginning of the semester, there will be a student orientation for new students.

In the tutorials, your tutor will answer your questions about any problems you have faced during self-study and hold other activities, such as small-group discussions, to enhance your learning. In the two workshops, you will have the chance to carry out some activities on preparing teaching plans and the development and/or use of teaching resources. Lastly, the two day schools will be concerned with the requirements of, and feedback on, your teaching practice.

More details about the face-to-face meetings are provided in the Manual for Face-to-face Sessions provided in this mailing.

When you have any difficulties with your studies, you may also consult your tutor by telephone during the assigned time slots.

Support for teaching practice

A Teaching Practice Supervisor will assess your teaching, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of your practice with you, and providing you with suggestions for improvement, after each visit.

Online communication

You will have the opportunity to use the online mode as an additional means for communicating and discussing - with your peers, tutors and the Course Coordinator - issues arising from course materials and your classroom practice through the OUHK Online Learning Environment (OLE). The OLE also provides you with hyperlinks to useful websites and other relevant resources. In addition, you are also required to include in your teaching portfolio (i.e. TMA3) evidence of your participation in online discussion (see the Assignment File for details).

Strategy for working through the course

A central aim of this course is to enhance your skills in planning, conducting and organizing English language lessons, and to get you to reflect critically on your own practice for professional development.

Although the study units are arranged in a specific sequence, you should read them in the order that best suits your needs. Obviously, it is essential to read this Course Guide and Unit 1 at the start of the semester. Thereafter, you might need to work through other units selectively to meet your requirements in classroom teaching. This is particularly important in equipping yourself for your teaching practice supervision which will start in late October. For example, though Unit 5 is scheduled for weeks 17-20 in the semester, you might need to skim through it and identify the parts that are relevant for your preparation of a PowerPoint presentation for an English lesson in week 9. Similarly, if you are preparing a test for your class in week 12, it will be useful to go to Unit 6 to see how you should plan and set a test paper.

Though you might skim through parts of different units at various times for specific purposes, you must still study each unit in detail within the period suggested in the study schedule provided by your Course Coordinator. To do this, you should:

  • Read the overview and the objectives.
  • Work through the unit, carrying out activities.
  • Review the objectives as you finish working through a unit to confirm that you have achieved them.

Course assessment

The course is designed to assist you to move easily from the stated objectives, through the study units and the required Readings to the teaching practice, and the development of teaching portfolios.

The course assessment includes (a) tutor-marked assignments and (b) assessed teaching practice. You must pass in both these assessment components to pass the course.

Tutor-marked assignments

There are three tutor-marked assignments, with the first two leading to the final assignment which is a teaching portfolio. These assignments account for 40% of the overall course score.

As each TMA covers an essential professional skill for English teachers and will provide the basis for examples in the teaching portfolios, all assignments are required.

The relative weightings of the three TMAs are as follows:

TMA1 25%
TMA2 25%
TMA3 50%
Therefore, the three assignments are worth 10%, 10% and 20% of the course score respectively.

Assessed teaching practice

You will be visited, observed and assessed by your teaching practice supervisor. There will be three visits during the course, the first of which is formative - that is, the score for this visit will not be counted towards the final course score. The weightings of the second and third visit are the same. Read the Guidelines on Teaching Practice Supervision for details about teaching practice assessment.

The weighting of the assessed teaching practice is 60% of the course score.


We hope that by studying EPP841 Skills in Teaching Primary School English you will develop your professional skills in English language teaching and be able to reflect on your practice for continuing development.

We wish you every success in the course.

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