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  • Journal Articles

    1. Secondary school students’ enjoyment of English private tutoring: An L2 motivational self perspective
    Document Type: Journal Articles
    Year published: 2020
    Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.
    As many students worldwide receive second language (L2) English private tutoring (EPT) that shadows school curricula, examining student perceptions of it is essential to understanding their L2 learning. From the L2 Motivational Self perspective, students’ ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self and L2 learning experience are linked to student enjoyment of EPT. This study explores these links via analysis of survey responses of 2,216 Secondary Six (Grade 12) students who attended a company’s L2 EPT lectures in Hong Kong. Most of these students (80%) enjoyed EPT. They were more likely to enjoy EPT if they perceived more financial resources in their families, attended schools taught in Chinese (students’ first language), had internalized instrumental goals, liked English, were not influenced by advertisements to attend EPT, attended face-to-face tutoring (rather than video tutoring), had a specific tutor, or liked their EPT tutor more than their English teacher. This study offers theoretical implications and directions for further research in EPT and L2 motivation. Copyright © 2020 The Author(s).
  • Journal Articles

    2. Problematising students' preference for video-recorded classes in shadow education
    Document Type: Journal Articles
    Source: Educational Studies, 2020
    Year published: 2020
    Publisher: Routledge
    Private tutoring, or shadow education, has become a widespread phenomenon globally. Its growth can be attributed to the expansion of cram schools offering live and video tutoring. This study critically analyses students' perceptions of video-recorded classes. Specifically, it problematises students' preference for video-recorded classes by exploring their reasons for enrolment and their perspective on the benefits and shortcomings of video tutoring in a Hong Kong cram school. It adopts an exploratory sequential mixed-methods approach. Data were collected through classroom observations, student interviews and questionnaire. The findings reveal that students chose video-recorded classes mainly because of their flexibility of timeslots and locations. A critical discussion of the findings unveils students' contradictory attitude towards the presence of tutors in classrooms, their preference for passive learning and anxiety about tutor–tutee interactions. This study contributes to the growing literature of shadow education and offers implications for potential policy change in the private tutoring context. Copyright © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Conference Papers

    3. Investigating the effect of online collaborative learning on students’ learning outcomes in higher education
    Document Type: Conference Papers
    Conference: The 3rd International Conference on Education and E-Learning (ICEEL 2019) (2019: University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)
    This paper examined the effect of using an online collaborative learning platform on students’ learning outcomes in higher education. An online collaborative learning platform called GMoodle was implemented at The Education University of Hong Kong. To investigate the benefits and drawbacks of online collaborative learning, students were invited to complete the pre‐test and post‐test questionnaires to evaluate their learning outcomes. The quantitative and qualitative studies of 75 undergraduate students were conducted based on the pre‐test and post‐test questionnaires and focus group interviews, and the results showed that students’ learning outcomes especially self‐management skills and collaborative skills were enhanced through the online collaborative activities. In the pilot study, training was provided for in‐service and pre‐service teachers. Most of them reflected that GMoodle is a useful platform for educators to understand students’ learning progress, promote active collaboration and facilitate team teaching across different disciplines. Not only the students but also the teachers benefited from this online learning platform for collaborative learning, fair assessment, and team teaching. Copyright © 2019 The author.
  • Journal Articles

    4. Shadow education as a form of oppression: Conceptualizing experiences and reflections of secondary students in Hong Kong
    Document Type: Journal Articles
    Year published: 2020
    Publisher: Routledge
    Private tutoring is one of the unintended outcomes of high-stakes testing and has become a widespread global phenomenon. It is called shadow education because it mimics the mainstream curriculum. From the critical perspective, this study investigated the role of private tutoring in a context of high-stakes testing through Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. It explored 18 Secondary Six (Grade 12) students’ reflections on their learning experiences in private tutoring in Hong Kong for one year. Conceptualized with Freire’s Pedagogy of the oppressed, the findings reveal that while students are being oppressed in the washback of high-stakes testing under neoliberalism, shadow education further oppresses the students by (1) intensifying the “banking” concept of education, (2) teaching as the “authority”, (3) emphasizing performativity and (4) offering “false generosity”. The findings provide implications for potential educational change in contexts where education systems increasingly rely on accountability and selection through high-stakes testing. By problematizing the role of private tutoring through the conceptual lens of oppression, the study calls for research to take a closer look at the impact of shadow education on learners’ experiences in the current neoliberal era. Copyright © 2020 National Institute of Education, Singapore.
  • Journal Articles

    5. Factors affecting secondary students' enjoyment of English private tutoring: Student, family, teacher, and tutoring
    Document Type: Journal Articles
    Year published: 2020
    Publisher: Springer
    In many Asian countries and increasingly in the West, primary and secondary school students receive private tutoring, often in the form of lectures in cram schools. As English is an international lingua franca, many students enroll in English courses after school. Students enrolled in English private tutoring (EPT) are often examination-driven and extrinsically motivated to learn English, but past studies have not examined whether they like EPT lessons. Hence, we integrate motivation and tutoring into a theoretical model of EPT enjoyment at different levels (student, family, teacher, tutoring) and empirically test it with the survey responses of 543 Secondary Six (Grade 12) students enrolled in EPT courses in cram schools. The findings show that most Secondary Six students in Hong Kong like EPT lessons. Family, reasons for tutoring, tutoring, and student attributes are linked to EPT enjoyment. These students are more likely to like EPT if they (a) are in families perceived to have superior financial resources, (b) are not influenced by advertisements or other people to join EPT lessons, (c) attend face-to-face tutoring, (d) have a specific tutor, (e) like the tutor more than their teachers, (f) are interested in English, or (g) have greater English self-concept. The results of this study can contribute to our understanding of which motivation and tutoring factors affect students' enjoyment of EPT and inform EPT improvements. Copyright © 2020 De La Salle University.
  • Journal Articles

    6. Using public exam questions in fishbowl debate to engage exam-oriented students in communicative language teaching
    Document Type: Journal Articles
    Source: RELC Journal, 2020
    Year published: 2020
    Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.
    This article introduces the use of public exam questions in fishbowl debate to engage highly exam-oriented secondary students with communicative language teaching (CLT). The practice aims to address the issue that many teachers of English as a second language (ESL)/English as a foreign language (EFL) in Asian contexts either teach to the test or implement CLT without catering for the students' pragmatic needs to pass external assessment. A series of activities was implemented in a secondary school in Hong Kong to promote positive washback from the public exam. The author's experience and reflections informed by ongoing dialogue with the stakeholders in the school and data collected from student focus group interviews suggest that the fishbowl debate encouraged students to use English for authentic and meaningful purposes, while appreciating its relevance to the writing exam. An important pedagogical implication is for teachers to balance CLT and exam preparation and help students to reach both their mastery and performance goals. Copyright © 2020 The Author(s).
  • Book Chapters

    7. Investigating online collaborative learning on students' learning outcomes in higher education
    Document Type: Book Chapters
    Pages: 13-19
    Year published: 2019
    City published: New York
    Publisher: Association for Computing Machinery
    This paper investigated online collaborative learning on students' learning outcomes in higher education with an online platform called GMoodle that was implemented at The Education University of Hong Kong. To discover the benefits and drawbacks of online collaborative learning, students were invited to join this exploratory study and complete the pre and post questionnaires to evaluate their learning outcomes. The quantitative and qualitative studies of 75 undergraduate students were conducted based on the questionnaires and focus group interviews, and the results showed that students' learning outcomes especially self-management skills and collaborative skills were enhanced through the online collaborative activities. Before launching GMoodle, trainings were provided for the in-service and pre-service teachers. Most of them reflected that GMoodle is a useful platform for educators to understand students' learning progress, promote active collaboration and facilitate team teaching across different disciplines. Not only the students but also the teachers benefited from this online learning platform for collaborative learning, fair assessment, and team teaching. Copyright © 2019 Association for Computing Machinery.
  • Journal Articles

    8. Comparing the effectiveness of cram school tutors and schoolteachers: A critical analysis of students' perceptions
    Document Type: Journal Articles
    Year published: 2020
    Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
    This study compares the teaching effectiveness of cram school tutors and schoolteachers of English based on the perceptions of senior secondary students in Hong Kong. It adopts a sequential mixed-methods approach. The result from the online survey (N = 477) indicates that tutors are perceived to be more effective than schoolteachers in all identified aspects of effective teaching. However, the qualitative data from focus group interviews (n = 64) reveals a more complex picture. By problematising students' perceptions with reference to the wider social, cultural and educational context, three themes were generated: (1) students' utilitarian learning orientations in an examination-oriented system, (2) the commodification of education in a consumer culture, and (3) students' immediate psychological needs in the process of learning. This study sheds light on the complex relationship between private tutoring and mainstream schooling and offers implications for policymaking and teaching in the private and mainstream sectors. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Conference Papers

    9. Transition from secondary school to higher education: Implications for academic English learning
    Document Type: Conference Papers
    Conference: The 16th Asia TEFL 1st MAAL & 6th HAAL 2018 International Conference: English Language Teaching in the Changing Glocalised World: Research and Praxis (2018: University of Macau, Macau)
    Globalisation has made higher education increasingly internationalised, reinforcing the importance of English as a means for academic communication. In this regard, many universities in non-English-speaking countries mandate that local first-year undergraduates take an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course. At the same time, native speakers of English and local students who attain outstanding English results in public examinations may be granted exemption. An important question to ask is: Are students of high English proficiency ready to use English for university studies without taking an EAP course? This study addresses this question by focusing on the cases of nine first-year high English proficiency undergraduates admitted to an English-medium university in Hong Kong. These students attained the highest level in English language in the local secondary school leaving public examination. Two in-depth interviews were conducted with each participant to evaluate their learning experiences in secondary school and taking the university EAP course. The findings reveal the challenges of learning EAP among those high-achievers and reveal the gap between secondary school English and academic English. The study offers insights into what first-year students need in EAP when they transition from the local secondary school context to the increasingly globalised higher education context. Copyright © 2018 Asia TEFL.
  • Journal Articles

    10. Bridging the gap: Motivation in year one EAP classrooms
    Document Type: Journal Articles
    Source: Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics, 14(2), 83-95, 2013
    Year published: 2013
    Publisher: Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics
    Motivation has always been considered an important factor in language learning, and this is particularly crucial for first year undergraduates in the new four-year curriculum. With one year less English learning experience in secondary schools and one more year to study at universities, where English is usually used as a medium of instruction and a lingua franca for international knowledge exchange, this transition can be challenging. To bridge the gap, first year undergraduates are usually required to take courses of English for Academic Purposes (EAP). However, students are usually instrumentally motivated or not motivated at all. Therefore, course developers and teachers play vital roles in developing learners’ L2 learning motivation, and preparing them for further study in their own discipline using English. This paper investigates research in L2 learning motivation and how it can be applied to EAP classrooms to enrich the English learning experience of first year undergraduates. Findings of a study on the English learning experience in secondary school among 14 first year universities through narrative inquiry are highlighted with reference to shadow education (private supplementary tutoring). Practical strategies to motivate students to participate in classroom activities and out-of-class learning are suggested. Copyright © 2013 Centre for Applied English Studies, The University of Hong Kong.
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