Effective Curriculum Planning and Implementation

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Optimising Senior Secondary English Language Series:

Effective Curriculum Planning and Implementation for English Panel Chairpersons

3 December 2021

English Language Education Section Curriculum Development Institute

Education Bureau



to introduce the optimising measures for senior secondary English Language;

to discuss effective strategies for planning and implementing the optimised senior secondary English Language curriculum (e.g. promoting creative and academic uses of English); and

to explore effective ways to enhance students’ English learning

through making differentiation arrangements and planning

co- and extra-curricular activities holistically



Part 1: Effective Strategies for Planning and Implementing the Optimised Senior Secondary English Language Curriculum

Part 2: Infusing Elements of Creative and Academic Uses of English into Daily Teaching

Break Part 3: School Sharing

Part 4: Wrap-up and Q&A


Warm-up Activity :

How much do you know about the optimising measures for Senior Secondary English Language?

1 The rationale of optimisation is to create space and cater for learner diversity.

2 Depending on school contexts, schools may reduce up to 50 hours of English lesson time per year.

3 In the 2024 HKDSE Writing Paper, there will be 4 questions in Part B, 2 on language arts and 2 on non-language arts modules.

4 For SBA in the 2024 HKDSE Examination, schools should submit two marks: one from the reading and viewing programme, one from the Elective Part.

5 The English lesson time for the same cohort of students may vary in a school.

True or False?



 Reduce up to 50 hours of English lesson time in 3 years


 4 Qs delinked from the 8 elective modules


 Submit two marks based on 2 - 4 texts read and viewed True


Measures to optimise senior secondary English Language Curriculum – In a nutshell


Adjust the lesson time according to that suggested in the curriculum and assessment guide

Integrate the Elective Part into the Compulsory Part

Offer English-related Applied Learning

Promote academic and creative uses of English Assessment

Refine the writing paper by reducing the number of questions and delinking it from the Elective Part

Streamline the SBA by allowing flexibility in the number of texts to be

read and viewed and delinking it from the Elective Part


Review of School Curriculum


Optimisation of the Four Core Subjects

Optimisation of Elective


Guiding Principles:

Catering for learner diversity (in terms of interests, abilities and needs) and creating room and opportunities for students to:

- take an additional elective subject or ApL

- engage in remedial/enrichment programmes

- participate more actively in OLE / life-wide learning activities

Holistic school curriculum planning Reallocation of lesson time, flexible time-tabling & regrouping of students

How to implement the optimising measures?




Tips for ‘Packing’

Review School-based Curriculum Plan School-based Curriculum

 Horizontal Curriculum

(Knowledge & skills to be learnt throughout the same year level)

 Vertical Curriculum

(Knowledge and skills to be learnt across different year levels)

Compulsory Part + Learning Elements


Integration of Elements of Elective Modules

The Elective Part can be used for extension,

application and consolidation of what has been learned in the

Compulsory Part.


1) Using the learning elements as enrichment materials

Target students: S4




It’s a cyber world.

Final Task

Writing a letter of advice to a victim of cyber-bullying

Task 1 Understanding why photos are shared on social media and privacy


Task 2 Reading a

newspaper article on the pros and cons of

social media

Task 3

Viewing a video and analysing a suspected cyber-

bullying case

Add elements that widen students’

exposure to different text types


2) Using the learning elements as extension components

A school-based life-planning education programme

“Reaching out to your dream job”

• Understand the dynamics of an interview and how to prepare for one

• Demonstrate oral English skills in a job interview A job fair

Workshop on analysing job advertisements

Workshop on writing an application letter

and a CV

Workshop on job interview etiquette

2 lessons 4 lessons 2 lessons

Activity: Having a mock job interview

An extension activity on Careers Day


3) Creating a learning programme using the released time

Social Issues

Analyse issues, identify and define problems,

consider related factors, justify views/arguments

and draw conclusions


Teaching of common and transferable skills

Links to OLE and life-wide

learning activities


3) Creating a learning programme using the released time

Short stories

Techniques and language for


plot development, characterisation,

narration and themes

Teaching of common and transferable skills

Links to OLE and life-wide

learning activities


Review School-based Curriculum – Horizontal Curriculum

1. Are the different language skills to be learnt in the same term purposefully put together to facilitate the learning and teaching of certain types of texts?

2. How can elements of elective modules enrich / complement the learning and teaching?

Reading Skills

Writing Skills


What to learn from a text?

Examples of Text Types for Key Stages 1 – 4 (P1 – S6)

What are the differences between these two text types?


Format vs. Purpose/Feature

Letters to the Editor Speeches

Purpose(s) of Text

Language Feature(s) / Item(s)

• to express opinions

• to give suggestions

• to call to action

• to express opinions

• to give suggestions

• to call to action

• to express opinions

 e.g. adjectives

• to give suggestions

 e.g. modal verbs

• to call to action

 e.g. language appealing to emotions


Q4. You work for the Park Hotel in Hong Kong. You would like to apply for a work transfer to the Shanghai branch of the hotel.

• Write a letter to Mr Wong, your manager.

• Highlight your work experience, why you would like to transfer and how your transfer will benefit the organisation.

2020 HKDSE Paper 2 (Writing) Part B

Q5. Some people think that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) should include a greater variety of sports in the Olympic Games. However, for a sport to be considered a new Olympic event, it must meet the following criteria: 1) appeal to young people; 2) promote gender equality; 3) attract media coverage.

The IOC is inviting the public to suggest sports to be included in future Olympics. You would like to propose Dragon Boat Racing.

• Write a letter to the President of the IOC.

• Give reasons to support your opinion.

Q6. To raise public awareness of healthy eating, some countries now legally require food manufacturers to put warning labels on foods that are high in sugar, saturated fat and salt.

• Write an argumentative essay.

• Argue either for OR against the effectiveness of food warning labels in changing people’s eating habits.


Persuasive Writing – Questions 4,5 & 6

Similarities Differences

Purpose To persuade Format


Letters/ An Essay



Audience Manager / President of IOC / the Public

Structure Text & Paragraph Levels 1. Introduction

• Title

• Hook

• Background 2. Body Paragraphs

• Topic Sentences

• Explanation/Elaboration

• Evidence / Examples

• Link (back to the sentence / to the next point)

3. Conclusion

Language Job Transfer

 More personal, high level of confidence

Sport Suggestion Letter:

 Impersonal, with some features of a proposal (Propose a sport 

reasons  benefits)

Argumentative Essay for OR Against Food Warning Labels:

 More authoritative with evidence, more complex language, with

jargons of food labels

Structure of a Paragraph



SS Curriculum: - 4 language skills - grammar

- learning elements from elective modules - creative and academic uses of English

Review School-based Curriculum – Vertical Curriculum

JS Curriculum: - 4 language skills - grammar

- language arts - RaC / LaC

Development of enabling skills



Importance of Enabling Skills

Enabling skills are essential skills that help students learn to learn. They

“enable” students to apply their existing knowledge (both linguistic and cognitive) in their learning. Some important enabling skills include:

1. Phonics skills: essential skills for spelling, speaking and listening

2. Vocabulary building skills: essential skills for working out word meaning, spelling and reading

3. Paraphrasing and summarising skills: essential skills for academic studies, reading and writing

4. Elaboration skills: essential skills for writing and speaking

Resource packages



Paraphrasing and Summarising Skills


The (i) ______________ of our staff members is the key to our success in environment goals. For this reason, we would like to implement three

initiatives that aim to increase participation. To raise their awareness of all Star Resort

environmental policies, (ii) _________________ will be mandatory for all new employees. We know that all employees like to receive (iii)

___________________ when they reach their targets. So these will be provided as our second initiative. Also, employee ownership of initiatives is a motivator so we can hold competitions to

encourage employees’ (iv)______________ in finding new solutions.

Text 3

[6] Central to our stewardship program, however, is employee engagement. Last year, we had about 60

‘Go Green Ambassadors’ but less than 50 percent of our employees attended our sustainability events. We have three measures to improve employee


[7] All new staff need to attend training sessions to increase awareness of environmental issues facing Southeast Asia as well as Singapore, with a focus on solutions that our company promotes to solve these problems. Additionally, we should provide rewards for different teams and departments when they meet their key performance indicators. Finally, we plan to host innovation contests for our employees to

promote solutions that are unique and applicable to their specific departments.


Elaboration skills


Study the tasks in the activity sheets. Discuss what knowledge/skills

students need in order to complete the tasks successfully.


Elaboration skills

Developing students’ elaboration skills through enhancing their understanding of:


Word relations (e.g. synonymy, antonymy, hyponymy, part-whole relation)


Types of adjectives (e.g. opinion, size, age, shape, colour, origin,

material, purpose)


Integration of Elements of Elective Modules

Review the learning and teaching elements of the existing school-based EL curriculum

Identify learning elements in elective modules (no longer limited to 2-3 elective modules) that suit the interests / needs of students or

complement OLE/LWL/co-curricular activities

Map the elements of elective modules to the Compulsory Part of the school-based Senior Secondary EL curriculum

Adjust the breadth and depth of learning and teaching

Curriculum restructuring


task design


Differentiation Programmes



Provision of English-related Elective Subject/ApL

Cat. A Subject

Literature in English

250 hours

Conducted by teachers in schools

Cat. B Subjects

- ApL (Vocational English) - ApL(Translation Studies) 180 hours

Conducted by course providers



A) Study the school cases and decide whether the differentiation measures taken are appropriate based on the following guiding principles:

- Catering for learner diversity in terms of interests, abilities, needs & career aspirations - Providing choice for students

- Promoting academic and creative uses of English


Extending English learning to English-related to OLE and life-wide learning


Promoting cross-curricular learning and collaboration

B) Share your school’s optimising measures with your partners. Discuss whether you

would like to fine-tune your school practice to better align with the guiding principles.




- Catering for learner diversity in terms of

* interest (e.g. drama, public speaking)

* abilities (e.g. remedial & enrichment programmes)

* needs (e.g. writing & speaking programmes)

* career aspirations (e.g. ApL) - Providing choice for students

- Adopting a flexible timetable to facilitate regrouping and whole-form/school activities - Promoting academic and creative uses of English (e.g. RaC/LaC, creative writing



Promoting cross-curricular learning & collaboration (e.g. ApL(Translation Studies), LaC/RaC, LaC+STEM)


Extending English learning to English-related to OLE and life-wide learning (e.g. school- based and inter-school student activities/competitions, community services & visits)

Considerations for Planning Differentiation Programmes






When do students need academic English?

Prepare students for further studies

Support students in learning other subjects through


What is the purpose of

promoting academic use of



Characteristics of Academic Texts

Formal Objective




Nominalisation Academic vocabulary

Hedging words The passive voice Complex sentences

Cohesive devices

Language features that help achieve an

academic style


Academic Vocabulary

verbs for instruction and presentation of ideas


• state

• declare

• observe

• report

• point out

Description &


• describe

• depict

• define

• illustrate

• demonstrate

• explain

• discuss

• examine

• account for


• believe

• suggest

• claim

• opine

• express


• analyse

• consider

• examine

• evaluate

• justify


• argue

• contend

• refute

• insist

• assert


Academic Vocabulary

General vs. Specific (e.g. teenagers/adolescents vs. young people)

Informal vs. Formal (e.g. vaccination vs. jab)

Layman vs. Technical (e.g. fear of height vs. acrophobia)

Common academic prefixes

Common academic suffixes



Why is the use of nouns and noun phrases common in academic texts?

obscure context and agency

turn action into more abstract forms (e.g. facts, processes, concepts, ideas, possibilities)

When do you teach students about the need to use nouns / noun phrases in the curriculum?

gerund & to infinitives

despite / in spite of

because of / due to / owing to / in view of

Compare these sentences:

Cooking refers to the transfer of heat from a heat source to the food.

The cooking of rice involves both a physical and chemical change

The cooking of Italy is very regionally diverse because until its unification in 1870, Italy was divided into many separate states.

Underweight people can eat more protein and carbohydrates to gain weight.

A higher intake of protein and carbohydrates helps underweight people to gain weight.

Obsolete information should be removed from the website to keep it up to date.

Removal of obsolete information is needed to keep the website up to date.


Hedging Words cautious & tentative language


The Passive Voice Activity:

Discuss in groups the following with reference to the grammar book materials provided:

1. What is special about the use of the passive voice in academic texts? How is it different from its use in general everyday English?

2. How can I build on the foundational grammar knowledge to extend SS students’ mastery of the passive voice in academic contexts?

A picture showing sample sentences of the active voice and the passive voice.


Embedded modifiers (adverbial phrases)

• regardless of …

• subject to…

• in accordance with…

• in consideration of…/ in light of … / in view of …

• on the basis of … / based on

Complex Sentences


Cohesive devices

• connectives/conjunctions

• signposting words

• transition/linking words

• discourse markers They:

 indicate the change and development of ideas within and across

sentences, paragraphs and text

 enhance logical flow of



Awareness-raising and Noticing Activities Embedded in Reading

HKDSE Practice Paper Reading (Part A)


How to promote Academic Use of English and implement it from Sept 2021?

Language across the Curriculum


Reading across the Curriculum


Co-curricular or life-wide

learning activities

Other Learning Experiences


At the school/cross-curricular level:

School contexts



Collaboration and communication with other


Subject choice



What to do in English Language  Identify generic skills common to subjects

Reading Part B2 Q57 Photosynthesis flow chart

e.g. Reorganising and presenting ideas and information in the form of tables and charts


e.g. Describing Graphs and Trends

Describing Graphs


e.g. Writing comparisons


What is Creativity?

‘Creativity brings in changes or transformations and is manifested in new ideas, acts or products.’

(A73, English Language Education Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 – Secondary 6))

• novelty



• think out of the box

Must students create or invent something new?

e.g. writing a poem or short story



Demystifying Creativity

Transformation – refreshing change (new perspective/presentation)

Re-create old things to add a breath of freshness and break conventions

Invention – imaginative ideas + practical know-how Come up with new ideas and present them in original ways

Discovery – new knowledge and understanding (awareness & sensitivity) Realise or find out something unnoticed before



Promoting Creative Use of Language in Senior Secondary English Language Classroom

Example of Activities


Close reading and textual analysis (comprehension to appreciation)

• Read texts (e.g. a poem, an advertisement, a flyer) to discuss the themes and give personal responses (e.g. choose the most powerful line /

impressive part).

• Analyse how words (e.g. sensory language, rhyming words, pun) and

literary techniques (e.g. symbolism) are used to convey meaning and create effects.


Adaptation into another form Rewriting of existing texts

(re-creation and re-presentation)

• Turn an extract from a novel / short-story into a script / conversation.

• Draw a picture on a poem.

• Rewrite the lyrics to present another theme

• Change a part of the story (add a new character, give a new ending).

• Re-write a story using another point of view / narrative voice / plot sequence.


Generation of ideas and

presentation in engaging ways (production of written and multi- modal texts)

• Brainstorm ideas and select quality ones to develop

• Learn and practise using different writing techniques in focused ways

• Edit writing to polish language, add variety and achieve effects



Common Techniques in Creative Writing

Narrative Techniques (Fictional narratives) Literary Devices

• Characterisation (e.g. round or flat

characters, portrayal of their look, thoughts, speech and actions)

• Use of setting

• Dialogue

• Narrative perspectives and point of view (e.g. 1


or 3



• Plot development (e.g. conflict, climax)

• Narrative sequence (e.g. foreshadowing, flashback and flashforward)

• Strategies for opening (e.g. into the middle or from the end of the event) and closing (e.g. resolution, twist, enigma, cliff-hanger)

• Imagery (vivid & sensory descriptions)

• Similes and metaphors

• Personification

• Symbolism

• Contrast

• Repetition of words / sentence structures (e.g. parallel structure)

• Pun

• Repetition of sounds (e.g. alliteration, assonance, rhyming words)

• Rhythm (patterns of intonation and stress)



What to do in the Senior Secondary English Language Classroom

Encourage students to play and experiment with the language (fun and risk taking VS. rules and accuracy)

Help students generate fresh ideas, see things and present ideas from fresh perspectives

Design learning activities to heighten awareness and sensitivity to creative use of language in texts

Teach writing techniques in an explicit manner and provide opportunities for focused practice and application

Limited rules can produce unlimited sentences – Chomsky



Explicit teaching of Writing Skills and Techniques


(2012 HKDSE Writing Paper: Part B Q7)

What writing techniques and creative language can be taught in a focus

way through these writing topics?


Vivid Descriptions

powerful adjectives & sensory language to appeal to our senses


Senses Example

Sight There I saw my brother step out of a fiery red convertible and walked into the classy hotel with white pillars and glowing chandeliers.

He wore a stylish slim-fit suit in smoky grey, looking sleek and smart.

Sound Vroom! His car sped past me and vanished around the corner of the street.

Taste Seeing how well my brother seemed to be doing, I couldn’t help feeling sour and bitter with envy.

Touch My brother was clean-shaven and his hair was slicked

back with gel, looking as smooth as an egg tart.


S-T-E-A-L Characterisation


Showing feelings through actions


Integrating creative use of language into the learning and teaching of writing

(2018 HKDSE Writing)

Poems about birds, e.g.:

Maya Angelou’s “Caged Birds”

Emily Dickinson’s “A Bird Came Down”

Denotation & Connotation of birds Literal vs figurative

(metaphorical / symbolic meaning)



Writing techniques in focus:

Effective and engaging story opening (description of character and setting)

Use of language in focus:

Repetition – Anaphora / Parallel structure

Use of quotation




(2020 HKDSE Writing Paper)

Writing techniques in focus:

Effective and engaging opening and closing

(Closing echoing the opening)

Use of language in focus:

Parallel structures

Rhetorical questions




Using quotes and sayings

SOW Campaign – Sayings of Wisdom

To buy or not to buy – that’s the dilemma (To fly or not to fly, to leave or not to leave)



Your Turn


Writing techniques in focus:



Use of language in focus:



Writing techniques in focus:

Playing with plot sequence and narrative techniques, e.g.

chronological (starting from the beginning)

in medias res (into the middle)

flashback (beginning with the end)

Use of language in focus:

sensory language (to describe the eerie setting and create a scary mood)

precise verbs (to talk in fear)

shrieked / screamed / yelled




groaned / complained grumbled / whined / ranted

murmured / mumbled


Different ways to start telling the story Character


My colleague Bob always slacks and dozes off during his work hours. Last night, he was drooling and snoring terribly as usual when the alarm went off.

Setting Description

It was the coldest night of the year, making night shift more unbearable than ever. The piercing wind brushed my icy hands. I was literally frozen. All of a sudden, the light in the security room kept flickering. Before I could figure out what to do, it went off completely, leaving me alone in an eerie darkness.

Peak moment

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Fear seized me as I saw a faceless figure in a white cloak with blood hanging from the ceiling. I let out a terrible scream and dashed out of the room.

Dialogue “Wake up! Wake up!” I yelled at the top of my voice, “a ghost is at the staircase!”

“Are you dreaming?” Bob, my colleague, asked in disbelief while rubbing his sleepy eyes.

Begin with the end

“Safe at last!” I heaved a sigh of relief after a narrow escape from the “ghost”. What a scary night! It all began when the alarm in the carpark went off at midnight.


Awareness-raising and Noticing Activities Embedded in Reading

2020 HKDSE Reading (Part B2)


Awareness-raising and Noticing Activities Embedded in Reading

2020 HKDSE Reading (Part B2)


To bring Academic & Creative Uses of English into your SS English Language Classroom

 Exploit the potential of existing materials used for the learning and teaching of four skills, vocabulary and grammar  extend and deepen learning from there

 Highlight the academic and creative elements in reading texts and design appropriate noticing or awareness raising activities

 Provide opportunities for application and practice of target academic and creative writing skills




Holy Family Canossian College


Resources and Curriculum Documents on Optimisation

https://www.edb.gov.hk/en/curriculum-development/kla/eng- edu/optimising_SS_English_Language.html

English Language Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4 - 6) (2021) [effective from Secondary 4 in the 2021/22 school year]

References and Resources


Activities and Resources

Student Activities

Poetry Remake Competition (Jan - Apr 2022)

SOW Creativity Contest:

A Moment in Time (Nov 2021 - Feb 2022)

School-based activity

“Week of Hope”

(Mar - Apr 2022)

Learning and Teaching Resources

A Resource Kit for Promoting Positive Values and Attitudes through English Sayings of Wisdom

A Resource Kit on Inspirational


Campaign on “Promoting Positive Values and Attitudes through English Sayings of Wisdom 2021/22”

Learning and Teaching Materials for Poetry Remake



When Language Arts Meets Phonics

Enhancing English Vocabulary Learning

and Teaching at Secondary Level


Connecting Students’ Learning

Experiences through Promoting Reading and Writing across the Curriculum in the

Junior Secondary English Classroom (2020)

Online Resource Package on Developing

Students' Multimodal Literacy in the

Secondary English Classroom (2020)


Resources and References

on English Language Education

ELE KLA Website


All learning & teaching resources and references for

ELE can be accessed at the ELE KLA website.




Related subjects :