非華語學生家長手冊 非華語學生家長手冊 非華語學生家長手冊
非華語學生家長手冊 (2015 年版年版年版年版)
Parents Handbook on the Education of Non-Chinese Speaking Students (2015)
Published by Centre for Advancement of Chinese Language Education and Research (CACLER), Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong
香港大學 教育學院 中文教育研究中心出版 http://www.cacler.hku.hk
This Parent Handbook is a deliverable of ‘University-School Support Programme: Supporting Secondary Schools in the Teaching and Learning of Chinese for non-native learners’ which is funded by Education
Development Fund, Education Bureau.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Elizabeth Ka-yee LOH Deputy Principal Investigator: Prof. Tse Shek-Kam
Co-Investigators: Dr. Mark Shiu-kee SHUM, Dr. Joseph Wai-ip LAM, Dr. Lai Chun, Dr. Zhang Bennan, Ms. Ada Wan-man POON
Cover designed by:
Ms. Shanila Kosar Mr. Evans Ng
Soft copy of this Handbook and its future updates are available at the web address: http://usp.cacler.hku.hk/
© 2015 香港大學 教育學院 中文教育研究中心 Copyright © 2015 CACLER, HKU All rights reserved
This Parents Handbook on the education of non-Chinese Speaking Students was prepared by the Centre for Advancement of Chinese Language Education and Research (CACLER), Faculty of Education, the University of Hong Kong.
It provides ethnic minority parents (hereafter referred to as “parents”) with useful information including Hong Kong’s education system, major education policies and services, educational opportunities and resources available for their children, as well as advice on how to communicate with schools for supporting their children’s learning.
Furthermore, this Handbook informs parents about planning their children’s educational path all the way from kindergarten to tertiary level. It also serves a platform for parents to express their expectations of their children, and for their children to share their experiences in learning Chinese as a second language in Hong Kong. A general introduction to the Cantonese dialect is provided towards the end of this Handbook as well.
In addition, contact information of community services and non-government organizations available to ethnic minority youth and parents is included for the readers’ convenience.
We hope that this Parents Handbook will enhance the mutual understanding and communication amongst ethnic minority parents, their children, local schools, the University and the community. Last but not least, we would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks to all who have contributed to the completion of this Handbook.
We wish you all a successful career and wonderful life in Hong Kong.
Dr Joseph Wai-ip LAM
Associate Professor & Principal Investigator of the USP Project (2011-2013) Faculty of Education
The University of Hong Kong Dr Elizabeth Ka-yee LOH
Assistant Professor & Principal Investigator of the USP Project (2013-2015) Faculty of Education
The University of Hong Kong January 2015
Table of Contents
1. Introduction to the Handbook p.1
2. Parents’ Voice
Education and parents’ views: A parents’ gathering in a Nepalese community
Different stakeholders’ views on EM education
Parental influence on students’ education and achievement (By Shanila Kosar)
p.2-10 p.2 p.5 p.7
3. Ethnic Minorities in Hong Kong p.11-12
4. Communication with Schools
Communication between parents and teachers
Six communication channels for parents and teachers: Delia
Memorial School (Broadway) as an example (By Kwok-chang Lau)
Challenges of working with schools (By Dr Wing-wah Ki)
Communicating with Chinese teachers
p.13-21 p.13 p.15 p.18 p.19 5. Communication with Children
家和萬事興 Harmony in the family is the basis for success in any undertaking (By 李潔芳 Kit-fong Lee)
p. 22-27 p.22
6. Path to Success
Is there a path to success for me in Hong Kong? Story of Mr Chura Bahadur Thapa (By Iruna Rana)
My Journey to university: Interview with Razi Raza, a 2013 Pakistani HKU graduate
p.28-33 p.28 p.30
7. Community Resources
Christian Action (基督教勵行會)
Hong Kong Christian Service (香港基督教服務處)
HKSKH Lady MacLehose Centre (香港聖公會麥理浩夫人中心)
International Social Service Hong Kong Branch (香港國際社會服 務社)
Hong Kong Unison (香港融樂會)
Yuen Long Town Hall (元朗大會堂)
Caritas Hong Kong (香港明愛)
p.34-41 p.34 p.35 p.37 p.38
p.39 p.40 p.41
8. Useful Information p.42-47
9. Introduction to the Cantonese Dialect p.48-56
Introduction to the Handbook
People of non-Chinese descent make up about 5% of the Hong Kong population. In recent years, many schools in Hong Kong have started admitting ethnic minority (EM) students. Most of those students do not speak Chinese in everyday life, and we often call them “Non-Chinese Speaking (NCS) students”. Good command of Chinese can certainly improve social integration and education for better prospects of the EM students. The University-School Support Programme (USP-SEC) was set up to help EM students overcome their difficulties in learning the Chinese Language. Our project is formally known as "Supporting Secondary Schools in the Teaching and Learning of Chinese for Non-native Learners”. We believe that parents of the EM students play a very important role in supporting their children in this regard.
This Parents Handbook was prepared by the Centre for Advancement of Chinese Language Education and Research (CACLER) of the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong. It is intended to inform ethnic minority parents about the educational opportunities and resources available for their children, and offers advice about how they can support and help their children to gain a successful and enjoyable education. There are also examples of successful EM people in Hong Kong who had overcome lots of barriers before they moved on to a brighter career and joyful life in Hong Kong.
Parents of EM students, frontline educators, and other stakeholders.
How to use this book
This Handbook is designed to be reader-friendly. You will find practical information and parents’ views on the education for EM students in Hong Kong.
You may also find useful links for further details. The final part of this Handbook is an introduction to the Cantonese dialect. You can pick up some easy and interesting daily expressions in Cantonese by yourself.
Finally, we welcome suggestions about this Handbook. We believe that the more we hear from the EM parents, the more fruitful our project will be. Please feel free to send your message via email to email@example.com. Thank you.
Education and parents’ views:
A parents’ gathering in a Nepalese community In Hong Kong there were around 70% EM students in former “designated schools”, including children
who were born in Hong Kong as well as those who came to Hong Kong at a young age.
But the kids who enrolled midway are facing a number of problems because the teaching styles and techniques are different from those of their home countries.
When a person first starts to learn something new, s/he
builds a certain framework in her/his mind and it remains there forever. In the same manner, once the children start school they learn new things from their teachers, and they build their mind around what they learn. Kids do learn quickly, but once they come to Hong Kong they would be made to adjust in the new school environment. Therefore, most of the kids who enroll midway may encounter different problems. Not only that it is difficult for them to change their mindset, but they have to learn Chinese as a second language, which is totally new for them. Therefore, learning the Chinese language is a challenge to EM students even though they may excel in other subjects.
The learning community and the Ethnic Voice Weekly (a Nepalese community paper) jointly organised a parents’
gathering in a Nepalese community to gain a better understanding of EM parents’ views towards the Hong Kong education system. Happier still, we ended up discovering more than expected.
Similar to the children in the EM community, parents likewise encounter problems with the education of their children. In Hong Kong, EM parents often experience two types of problems. The first type is related to the children born and raised in Hong Kong, or those who arrived here at a very young age. They started studying in Hong Kong since kindergarten and most of them have forgotten their mother tongues.
To be exact, many of them do not know how to read and write in their native languages. Some parents fear that their children would “lose” their cultural
identity and hence sense of security, as they will find it equally difficult to adapt to the mother tongue-speaking environment in case their parents decide to return to their home countries in the future.
The second type is related to the children enrolled in Hong Kong schools midway through the term. It is very difficult for them to catch up on the Chinese language, which results in poor performance in examinations and frustration. These children do not think they can obtain good marks and pass their exams in Chinese. These children will become unmotivated and uninterested in their studies, and end up dropping out of school. Therefore, parents are compelled to think about alternatives for their children. They believe that they have to think about another country where the kids can continue their education. We see a general lack of trust in the Hong Kong education system amongst EM parents, even those supportive ones who participate actively in
their children’s education and maintain good communication with the teachers. Witnessing the predominantly poor performance amongst EM students in the GCSE exams over the past years, these parents have doubts about whether their own children can pass the public exams, as it is no use studying in Hong
Kong if they are not able to enter university eventually.
Some parent speak neither English nor Chinese. They are less educated and have very limited information on the education system in Hong Kong. Their children encounter more serious problems. These types of parents do not know where to seek help and they simply follow the advice of their relatives and friends. These parents are not confident enough to talk with the teachers and school officials. There is little communication between these parents and teachers. Some children take advantage of this lack of communication and create a gap between parents and teachers. Worse still, these parents are often unable to help their children with school work, which means the kids would have to do their assignments alone. As such, learning or awareness programmes for parents are essential, as these would enable them to support and motivate their children to study, as parents have an important role in the lives of their children indeed.
Some EM parents have misconceptions about the local society too. They think that the local people are not ready to accept the EM community. They had some interactions with the local people, but they did not receive positive
responses. Therefore, some parents are afraid and uncomfortable to speak with local people. We see that some Hong Kong people are unaware that multiculturalism exists in their community.
Nevertheless, many parents are aware of the parent-teacher associations (PTAs), and they actively participate in their children’s school life. Their children tend to be more active and motivated towards studying.
Children are less responsible and diligent in their studies when their parents who do not participate and show responsibility for the education of their children. Such irresponsible behaviour of the child gives the teacher a negative impression, as well as a negative perception towards the parents. Therefore, parents’ attitude and behaviour can influence their children.
So, as a conclusion, both the parents and teachers must work together for better education and performance of the children. On the one hand, parents must understand their kids and motivate them to study. On the other hand, teachers should also do their best to explore the culture and feelings of their EM students. Multicultural awareness is essential for teachers to enable them to understand their students and their culture, as well as facilitate communication with the parents. As students in the same class might come from different cultural backgrounds, teachers are not supposed to handle all students in the same manner. Mutual understanding and cooperation between teachers and parents are necessary. Teachers cannot effectively teach their students without parents’ support; in turn, parents would not be able to successfully educate their kids without the help of teachers.
Different stakeholders’ views on EM education The USP learning community organised a series of interactive sessions for different stakeholders in EM education. The first interactive session provided an opportunity for EM families to think about the education of their children. The main discussion question was “What opportunities and threats do EM students in Hong Kong provide?”
All of the participants, including school principals, teachers, researchers of different ethnic backgrounds, and parents, presented their own ideas and findings for resolving the issues.
In this event, we found both opportunities and threats. The perspectives of the parents vary because they have different ethnic backgrounds. Their cultures, religions, and their thoughts and attitudes were different from the institutions involved in the education of their children. Although many parents might be second- or third-generation residents in Hong Kong, they had limited experience with the Hong Kong education system. Hence, we can say that their children were first-generation members educated in Hong Kong.
Two types of attitudes among EM parents emerged during the interviews with some of them. Although all of them supported the education of their children, their views on education differed. One group of parents said their children could not progress because of the external environment, whereas the other group of parents believed the children’s motivation to study mattered. Hence, to fully understand the children, it would be important to know (and to understand) what their parents think about their children’s education, as well as how much interest they show for their children’s education.
From the school’s perspective, the teachers encountered a number of problems when dealing with EM parents. Often, the parents mistook after-school supplementary classes for punishment, causing them to dislike the practice. In some instances, EM parents would request the school to allow their children to take long leaves because they had to return to their countries for work or attending a festival. The parents did promise to return within the week, but some parents failed to fulfill their promises and their children returned to school two or more weeks late. This created problems for the teachers because the children had missed many lessons, and the failure of the parents to return their children to school as promised had broken the trust between the school and parents. Children are the bridge between the parents and teachers, and they spend most of their time with both parties. At times though, children can be dishonest about what their teachers has told them and make up new stories for their parents at home, thus creating a gap between the teachers and parents.
School segregation has been considered a threat to the integration of EM students. One of the major reasons is the short-term thinking practice of EM parents. Another reason is the absence of an adequate lingua franca (common
language) curriculum for all children. Participants agreed that the admission of EM students in mainstream schools rather than former designated schools would be more desirable, and that the Chinese language should be the second language for all students. Teachers should organise student-oriented programmes as well. While the schools and teachers have been doing their best to offer after-school lessons and supplementary classes, some parents still feel that their children are being punished to take after-school supplementary classes. A special programme for better parent-teacher interactions, therefore, should be introduced aside from “report card meetings”. This way the teachers can understand the cultures of EM students and create a bond with the students and parents alike.
Other threats have also been observed in the external environment, such as friends, society, school, and even the family problems. More importantly, the EM community needs more role models of success to convince the parents to trust the education system. It is no wonder that the EM community has little faith in the education system.
We see the project as an opportunity to educate the parents to change the way they think. A special programme for the EM community would be necessary and the process needs to work both ways. The USP learning community is looking to organise more events to help teachers understand the parents better.
The government should create a system or authority to provide a platform for EM students, monitor their progress, and create a suitable learning environment for these non-Chinese speaking students. Programmes for parents can be conducted after school to educate them about the school’s core values and to
encourage them to share their views. The school management can also invite the education authority to the meetings to keep them informed of the EM parents’ views. EM parents’ voice must be heard to enable the government to provide adequate support. Surveys can be conducted amongst the parents, and data analyses should be carried out to further explore the EM perspectives about parenting and education.
Finally, to understand the children, one must look into the parents’ views and their cultural backgrounds as well. Whole-person development is as important as learning Chinese. Compromise from both parties (i.e. parents and teachers) is also necessary to obtain positive results, or else the children would suffer.
Parental influence on students’ education and achievement
Note: This paper is based on the interviews with parents who wished to remain anonymous. All of the names have been replaced with pseudonyms.
Certain dialogues with these parents have been slightly modified to adapt to the style of the paper while the meaning remains unchanged. The views and opinions of some parents in the community may not represent the entire situation of the EM community in Hong Kong. Feedback and comments from readers are most welcome.
The family background of non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students strongly affects their daily lives, and both family support and culture play significant roles in the overall development of these students. Most of the support for these students came from their parents. Some NCS students are strongly motivated to learn, whereas others appear to struggle with their studies, both in school and at home. According to some general observations and conversations with students, we find that parents have a major role in shaping the attitudes of these students towards education.
Therefore, to better understand NCS students’ backgrounds, we have to learn about their parents first.
To gain an in-depth understanding about how these students and parents think and how their attitudes are related to education matters, we conducted a number of face-to-face interviews with the parents. We focused on NCS parents with children attending university. These interviews offered us some insights into the NCS parents’ views towards education, and much to our surprise we discovered more than what we expected. Each of the parents we interviewed showed an interesting understanding of education in Hong Kong.
Findings and revelations
One of the most interesting findings was that these parents are actually members of the second generation of their family living in Hong Kong. Looking back at the history of ethnic minorities (EM) in Hong Kong, the South Asian population grew significantly between the 1940s and the 1950s. During the British colonial period, South Asians were hired by the British government to serve as police or army officers in Hong Kong. These positions were not very popular amongst the local Chinese as they were considered “low-ranking.” Therefore, the British government had to recruit people from other places.
Many Indians and Pakistanis worked as police officers in Hong Kong, whereas the Nepalese and people from a few other ethnic groups served in the army. They were mostly young men and formed their own communities in Hong Kong. Their families later joined them Hong Kong, and most of their children were born in Hong Kong. The parents we interviewed were amongst these children, who are second- generation EM. These parents were educated in Hong Kong and stayed
behind to join the local police force or the British army. Amongst the parents we interviewed, almost all of them returned to their home countries with their parents after retirement. Nevertheless, they considered Hong Kong their home and returned with their new families and children to Hong Kong in the 1990s. That being said, the NCS students discussed in this study were third-generation EM living in Hong Kong.
As the interviewees talked about their background history, we found that these parents were not considerably different from the locals. They were born and raised in Hong Kong. Most of them went through the same education system as the locals, yet things have changed a lot over the years. As we continued to talk with the parents, they recalled the difficulties they encountered upon their return to Hong Kong.
Most parents said that language was the greatest hurdle. The parents explained that in their memory, most of their parents could find jobs easily before they left Hong Kong. At that time, Chinese language was less important. As long as they could speak English, they could live comfortably. Moreover, most of these parents studied in the same primary school located in Fanling because no other schools were available for EM children. Students were not required to learn Chinese language in this school. Most of their parents thought that they would return to their home countries after retirement. These parents learned their mother tongue in school instead.
After they returned to Hong Kong, especially after 1997, Chinese language became very important. These parents lost their jobs, and one parent, MR. B said,
“I was doing well in my job, but my manager always claimed that I couldn’t read or write Chinese, so I didn’t get any promotions, whereas the others who worked fewer years than me got good positions.” These parents were unable to get better jobs because they lacked Chinese language proficiency. Some parents who did not speak Chinese affected the education of their children. As another parent, Ms. M said, “I could only send my daughter to that school, because it was the only school accepting NCS students. The Chinese school principal told me clearly, ‘If you put her in this school, we cannot give her extra help in any way. She won’t be able to handle the subjects. It would be best to put her back into an international school.”
So, I left disappointed and put my child in that only school.” Back then, not many schools in Hong Kong accepted NCS students. Most parents could only put their children in English-medium schools. These children did not learn Chinese in school, and their parents were unable to help them. This situation became a major obstacle to entering local universities.
Some parents claimed that the government had not done enough to help EM to integrate into Hong Kong society. One of the parents, Mr. A, said, “The government can do a lot, but they just didn’t do enough. Other countries have immersion programmes for new arrivals, but no such programme was available when I came to Hong Kong. What I think is, the government should give all these newcomers some training or offer them useful information for managing their new lives or finding work. If they allow us to stay in Hong Kong, then it’s their
responsibility to train us so at least we can stand in society on our own.” Most of these parents were only high school graduates. When they arrived in Hong Kong, they could not speak Chinese, and some had difficulties in speaking English as well. Finding a good job became extremely difficult. Most of them were made to work on construction sites, some as drivers, whereas others can only live on welfare. Mr. A also said, “The government offered some English and Chinese classes in Central, but the one who taught English was Chinese, and her English was not very good. We hardly understood what she said, so we were unable to learn anything. The government tried to help but it used the wrong method, maybe because it did not understand our needs yet.” Apparently, most parents agreed that the government had tried to offer help, but the assistance was inadequate for them and their children.
The education of their children was another pressing issue. They mentioned that Hong Kong was highly exam-oriented that all their children had difficulty entering local university compared to countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. Not many NCS students managed to enter local universities, and this reality came as a blow to their motivation and confidence. Aside from language and job issues, most parents regarded Hong Kong as a more livable city compared to their own countries, and was a good place for their children where they could receive better education.
Most parents appeared to have encountered many difficulties and shared similar negative ideas about Hong Kong. Nevertheless, we came across another type of parents who actually have positive ideas about their lives and the education of their children in Hong Kong. One of these parents, Mr. Z said, “I lived most of my beautiful life here; it’s a place that no other places can compare.” This group of parents loved Hong Kong and found Hong Kong a comfortable place to live. He claimed that despite the language problem, he did not have difficulty living in Hong Kong nor did he encounter any problem with his children’s education.
These parents strongly believed that the success of NCS students totally depended on the children themselves and their own hard work. Their success had nothing to do with the school, the teacher, or the society. Mr. B said, “I’ve met some kids who don’t study hard, and their parents say it’s the school’s problem. However, this kid studies in the same class with my child, taught by the same teacher; thus, I wonder why my child can do better and this kid cannot.” This parent believed that the government and the school had provided adequate support for his children, and totally appreciated their input.
Some parents shared some successful cases of NCS students in Hong Kong, and these parents used them to motivate their children. One of the parents, Mr. R, said,
“My confidence comes from education; my children have to finish their university.
They have to complete it, and I would help them complete it, until the last step.”
These parents believed that the opportunities existed, but the children were not making the most of these opportunities. They simply took things for granted, and they had been wasting their time on other unnecessary matters. When these children failed, they tended to blame the school and government. The parents
believed that as long as the children took advantage of these opportunities and worked hard towards their goal, they could enjoy the local culture and life similar to the local people.
When we compared these two different types of parents with their children, we realized that although they were all currently enrolled in the university, significant differences were observed in their achievements, confidence, and progress. When parents have negative ideas about Hong Kong education, their children’s level of confidence would drop. These children studied hard because they felt the need to survive this difficult time, but their progress was slow. Oftentimes, they were lost and lacked the confidence to manage the challenges. These children worked hard but they failed to enjoy the other aspects of life. I remember one student told us that, “I have a dream, but I know it’s not possible for me because it’s hard and my parents think it’s not good for my future. I’m studying what I’m studying now; at least after graduation, I’ll be able to have a better life.” This student worked hard and did well in certain subjects, but the progress of her study was slower than others, and she was stressed out.
In contrast, children with parents who had a positive view about Hong Kong and life children were happier and more motivated. One of the students told me, “I didn’t expect the Chinese language to be fun. I thought it was hard at first, but now I’m enjoying it. My parents always told me that you should take up the opportunity and join all of the activities. They helped me learn so much, especially in this university.” These students made significant improvements in learning. They were active and took advantage of all of the possible opportunities to learn. They had a positive attitude towards their future.
Overall, observing such diverse ideas about education in the same group of students was interesting. The ideas of parents were clearly reflected on the students. When we compared their achievements and the interview results, we were astonished at the picture emerged, indicating that NCS parents affect their children the most in terms of learning.
Parents’ attitudes towards education, as well as their expectation towards society, significantly affect the attitudes of their children towards learning. Although the two aforementioned types of parents might seem to have very diverse views of Hong Kong, they shared the same determination to ensure that their children receive the best education. These parents might not have had the best education or even completed their education. Nevertheless, they were optimistic and open-minded. They had great expectations from their children and they wanted their children to achieve something in life. Parents who found Hong Kong difficult to live in also acknowledged this challenge as a motivation for their children to strive for lifelong learning. These views helped shape their children into the people they were.
Ethnic Minorities in Hong Kong
Indians in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has been a place of settlement for Indians for a long time. Some of them have lived there for many generations, and consider Hong Kong as their home. In the pre-war period, there were almost 7,000 Indians in Hong Kong.
By 2006, the number had reached 20,444.
The Indians scattered and worked in different areas of Hong Kong. They are one of the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong with diverse cultures, languages and religions. Due to different cultural backgrounds, Indians speak different languages such as Sindhi, Punjabi, Gujarati, and Tamil but most of them are fluent in English, and some in Cantonese as well.
Generally speaking, the Sikhs usually run private businesses and work as security guards, the Bengalis are mostly professionals while the Sindhis are active traders and businessmen. During the pre-war period, most Indians worked as army officers, security guards and policemen. Before the Second World War, nearly 60% of the police force were Sikhs. At the same time, some Indians established some successful businesses in Hong Kong. The Harilela family owns one of the best-known businesses.
Local Indians integrate well into Hong Kong society. They are not only physically rooted in Hong Kong, but also a part of Hong Kong society. They engage in talk shows, dramas, art exhibitions or TV programs. Also, the Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Educational Trust was set up by the Sikhs for local Indians.
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indians_in_Hong_Kong) Nepalese in Hong Kong
Nepalese people take up about 0.2% of Hong Kong’s population. They began to migrate to Hong Kong in the 1970s, as part of the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas. They stayed in this job until 1997.
Most of Nepalese people lived in Whitfield and Shek Kong Barracks. After 30 June 1997, the British Government withdrew from Hong Kong and the Gurkha brigade was disbanded. These Gurkhas and their children had rights of abode in Hong Kong. Nepalese who chose to stay in Hong Kong wanted to settle here, especially if their children who were born in Hong Kong. They are Hong Kong permanent residents while retaining their Nepalese or British citizenship. There are over 40 NGOs formed by Nepalese in Hong Kong. The Southern League Organization and Hong Kong Gurkha (Nepal) Associations are the two major NGOs helping the Nepalese in Hong Kong. Some of the NGOs are formed by different lineages, such as the Limbus, Rais, Palungwas, and they provide services while sharing relevant news from Hong Kong and Nepal.
Ethnic Minorities in Hong Kong
The second or younger generations of the Nepalese mainly work as security guards and construction workers after 1997. More than 80% of Nepalese are working in elementary occupations. Recently, the Nepalese in Hong Kong mainly live in Yau Tsim Mong (33.2%) and Yuen Long (33.9%). Some of them live in Wanchai where they first arrived. These days, their communities have spread out to other districts.
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepalis_in_Hong_Kong) Pakistanis in Hong Kong
The 2011 Census shows that there were 18,042 Pakistanis in Hong Kong back then, accounting for 0.3% of Hong Kong’s population. Amongst the total Pakistani population in Hong Kong, 37.6% of the Pakistanis were born in Hong Kong, which was relatively high when comparing to other ethnic minority groups in Hong Kong.
Pakistanis first settled in Hong Kong in the 19th century when there was frequent trading between India and China. The merchant fleets were usually made up of sailors from Pakistan. The early seamen mostly came from the shores of Malabar (India), Bay of Bengal, Hazara (Abbottabad), Lahore, Gujarat and Campbellpur (Attock) in Pakistan. With Hong Kong beginning to develop into an important seaport for the British, more and more Pakistani seamen and garrisons were passing through and some settled here.
During the early 19th century, Pakistani lived together with the other Muslim seamen. They had no proper accommodation or dormitory, but somehow they managed to stay closely-knit in an area known as Lower Lascar Row in the Central area, better known to the Hong Kong old timers as "Mo Lo Kai".
"Mo Lo Kai" was where they lived and their social practices such as Jamat (gathering) took place. They also started their own businesses with shopfronts.
Though they vacated their shops and residents years later, they had formed their community. As there were more Muslim garrisons stationing in Hong Kong later on, they began to start organisations representing various sections of the Muslim Society. And of course, Pakistanis were included.
The major problem faced by Pakistani parents when finding school for their children is the medium of instruction. Most of the school in Hong Kong is CMI (Chinese as the Medium of Instruction). They encounter language barriers at times too. Hong Kong Education Bureau has been providing support programmes to schools adopting mother-tongue (Cantonese) teaching to resolve the issue.
Communication with Schools
Communication between parents and teachers
Good communication between parents and teachers has numerous benefits. It can help create positive feelings between teachers and parents. When parents and teachers share information, they get more support and the children are able to learn more.
Schools and teachers know well that good communication with parents is an important part of their job. Teachers need to know about the families, languages, and cultures of their students to help children learn. Parents benefit because they learn more about what goes on in school and can encourage learning at home. Most importantly, children benefit from improved communication because it helps them to learn and succeed. However, parent-teacher communication can be difficult, especially when the parents feel uneasy due to language and cultural differences.
From our experience, we found that communication would be difficult when parents did not feel comfortable in the school or talking with teachers. The following examples illustrate how parents can develop comfort and confidence in communicating with the school:
• Communicate with the teacher on casual occasions, e.g. when sending your child to school or fetching her/him from school. It may likewise occur on the street or in school. Through these interactions, both parent and teacher will get to know each other.
• Be involved in school activities or programmes. When parents actively participate in these activities, it shows to the teacher that they are concerned about the school and their children’s education.
• Spend time watching your child in the school. Parents may stay for a few minutes in the school area when dropping off their children at the beginning of the day to watch their children attending the assemblies or heading to the classroom. Parents should observe how their children interact with their friends and teacher.
Parents may sometimes experience difficulty in communicating with a teacher when they cannot visit the school, because they might need to work during the day and cannot arrange a meeting. However, communication can take place even without a visit to the school. Parents can obtain information from the school through other parents who have visited the school and observed student activities. Parents may also speak with the teacher on the phone, or write a message to the teacher.
Some parents may not speak the same language as teachers do. For instance, Cantonese is spoken in most locals schools. However, communication is still necessary and important despite the language difference. Parents may request
Communication with Schools
someone speaking their language from the school to forward their concerns.
Another way is to bring a friend or family member to school to translate, or ask the school to help find an interpreter. Parents should try their best to show the school that they care for their children.
In some cases, even though parents and teachers speak the same language, they may come from very different backgrounds with different beliefs and traditions.
Sharing their views about the school with the children is important. Parents should also proactively share their beliefs and values with teachers, rather than allow the teacher to speculate on what is happening with their children outside of school. Many teachers want to understand their students more, so they might ask for information about their families, beliefs and lives outside of school.
Finally, parents should inform the teacher about the communication method that would work best for them.
Diagram: Communication between parents and teachers (Delia Memorial School [Broadway] as an example)
Communication with Schools
Six communication channels for parents and teachers: Delia Memorial School (Broadway) as an example
Kwok-chang Lau Parents and teachers can communicate through six main channels, which are illustrated with examples from Delia Memorial School (Broadway) as follows:-
A. Phone Calls and Text Messages
1. The General Office calls the parents by phone and ask them why their children are absent from school.
2. A short text message is sent to the parents when their children have to attend detention, or when the school has other special announcements.
3. Parents can call the General Office during school hours. The staff will transfer their call to the teachers concerned.
4. Parents can send their complaints to the administrative staff.
B. Parent Notices/Student Handbook
1. The school can inform parents of their students via mail about the academic activities in which their children are asked to participate. If their response is needed, the parents would be asked to sign a reply slip that must be returned to the school.
2. Parents may refer to the Student Handbook for the school regulations.
3. Students must record their daily homework on their handbooks for their parents to check and sign.
4. Parents may communicate with the teachers of their children and vice versa by leaving comments on the “Notice to Parent/Teacher” section of the Student Handbook.
C. Interviews (PTI Day/Parents’ Night/Special Arranged Interviews)
1. Class teachers meet with parents during Parents’ Night to discuss the academic performance of their children. This event is usually held right after the unified tests in the first and second school terms.
2. Class teachers meet with parents during PTI Day to discuss the performance of their children in their first school term examination.
3. Administrative staff or teachers meet with parents if their children have any learning and behavioral problems.
4. School social workers are invited to advise parents on how to nurture and improve parent-child relationship.
Communication with Schools
D. Activities of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)
1. An annual general meeting is held every year to invite parents to join the committee and plan activities for the school year. Parents’ views are collected through questionnaires during the meeting.
2. Aside from serving them food and drinks, the PTA committee would distribute some cards to the students, who in turn must give them to their parents. These cards contain heartfelt messages of thanks to parents for their participation.
3. PTA parent members are invited to join various activities, such as field trips, cooking competitions, and Chinese language classes.
4. PTA teacher members join the annual PTA gathering to meet and talk with parents.
E. School Website
1. Lesson contents and homework are uploaded on the school website every day to help parents keep track of the academic activities of their children.
2. Parental notices are uploaded on the website rather than sending them by mail.
3. Photos of various school functions are shared with parents by uploading them on the website.
4. Parents may refer to the website for school contacts and other information.
1. The school magazine, Broad Way, is published every year and is released during PTI Day to inform parents about the latest developments of the school.
2. A PTA newsletter is published and distributed during annual meetings to keep the parents posted about the activities of the association.
3. A yearbook is released at the end of every school year to display the photos of and messages from the graduates.
4. Other school magazines and journals, such as Reach Out, Study Tours, and Expedition of Cricket Team, are published throughout the academic year to inform the parents about other school activities.
Q1. Who do I contact if I want to share information with the school?
A1. If you are worried about your child at school, or want to make suggestions for the school, the class teacher of your child is the best person to approach for
Communication with Schools
an informal discussion. If you have a concern or complaint about a staff member (excluding the principal), you must file your complaint directly to the school principal.
Q2. How do I contact the teacher of my child or the school principal?
A2. They are usually in the classrooms or staff rooms during the day. However, you can call or leave a message with the school, and the teacher/principal will contact you. Phone numbers and other information can be found in the Student Handbook or on the website.
Q3. How can I access the school calendar of events or meetings?
A3. You will be informed about the year-round events in the school at the beginning of each school term. You can also download a calendar of events from the school homepage. The school usually sends notices to parents well before meetings.
Q4. Who do I contact if I cannot read the school notices?
A4. Some schools in Hong Kong provide bilingual notices to parents. You may be given notices that are written in both Chinese and English. Some schools may have notices in Urdu or other ethnic minority languages. If you cannot read the school notices, please find someone who can translate these notices for you. You can also contact the school to help you.
Q5. Who do I contact if my child must take leave from school?
A5. You must approach the teacher of your child or contact our front desk.
Q6. Do I need to tell the teacher about the life of my child outside the school?
A6. Yes, many teachers want more information about your child’s family, beliefs, and extracurricular activities to understand them better.
Q7. Can I send my questions to the teacher of my child via email?
A7. Yes, email is an effective communication tool.
Communication with Schools
Challenges of working with schools
Dr Wing-wah Ki Edited and commented by Iruna Rana & Shanila Kosar Learner resilience and parental moral support
In modern cities, the population is becoming increasingly pluralistic. However, cross-cultural understanding lags behind. The diverse needs of different cultural groups may not have been fully considered in the system, and hence, adversity is often experienced by the minorities. Resilience is important, and research has indicated that moral support from the family, as well as the ethnic and religious communities, can significantly facilitate learning amongst minority students.
Although the family or community may not directly assist the students with their homework, a good relationship with family and community emotionally supports the student to improve their perseverance with their studies. Despite the fact that these parents do not know the Chinese language or the school curriculum, every happy moment they have with the child would help. The parents can inform the child about their aspirations, love, and appreciation for the child.
Several studies indicate that many children do not want their parents to know about unhappy incidents in school, as they are worried that the love their parents have for them would diminish. Other children hide their problems because they may not want their parents to worry. Giving peace of mind to children through sharing is quite a challenge.
Listening and assuring the child to enable them to express their emotions are the first things that parents can do. Parents should not stimulate the emotions of the child, or overreact by making hasty, negative judgments about the child or the school. Giving children some time to settle down is a must to enable them to express themselves to their parents. Moreover, parents should allot time to ponder over the situation. The child may feel insecure in an alien cultural environment; similarly, the parent may feel insecure and hastily respond to protect the child before fully understanding and exploring the situation.
Parenting indeed requires wisdom.
In some cases, the child may fear punishment by the teacher or parents. The child may lie to his teacher and parents. The child will be more inclined to lie when he deems that the school or parent would respond strongly. Therefore, direct communication between the teacher and the parent is necessary.
Communication with Schools
Communicating with Chinese teachers
Emotions play an important role in education and communication. People can easily feel stereotyped and disrespected by others. This situation also applies to teachers and parents. Theoretically, schools and teachers must be inclusive, sensitive, and responsive to diverse cultures, but such qualities take time to develop. Similarly, parents might not understand the school system very well, nor do they understand the limitations and worries of teachers. Everyone has their own worries, fears, and frustrations, which may originate from their limited understanding of the world. During communication, the speaker must make the other party feel safe, welcome, and motivated to achieve a common goal, rather than feeling rejected, distrusted, and pushed towards an opposite direction.
In this situation, the difficulties that arise from cultural differences cannot be underestimated. Cultural differences can promote misunderstanding during the communication process. Cultural norms influence communication in terms of eye contact, interpersonal space, use of gestures, comfort with silence, turn taking, conversation topics, greetings, interruption, use of humor, and asking/answering questions. Different cultural practices may also be observed in reporting, assessment, parent-teacher relationships, student-teacher relationships, class participation, homework expectations, content knowledge expectations, learning styles, and student discipline. People are also often unaware of several cultural aspects, such as work ethics, values, nature of friendships, concept of leadership or authority, concept of fairness, role expectations, order of priorities, means of performing tasks, importance of time, concept of personal space, negotiating styles, social etiquette, concept of self, attitude towards commitment, motivation of people, working pace, the line between formality and informality, and perceptions towards different professions.
Parents and teachers may develop a deeper understanding of each other if they can sit down together, talk about the things that are important to them, and explain themselves without undervaluing the knowledge and experiences of the other party. Dialogues bring about changes. Effective dialogues require trust, and trust has to be earned rather than taken for granted. The development of a trusting relationship and mutual understanding across cultures requires initiative, time, and patience.
When communicating with a Chinese teacher, parents must understand that they might have different views on the same issues. How to reduce fear and enhance respect on both parties must be put into perspective as well.
Some parents may be unfamiliar with the culture of Hong Kong schools.
Communication with Schools
Parents must consider several things before going to the school of their children to meet/talk to their teachers. When parents visit the school of their children, they usually have to make an appointment with the teacher either by phone or in writing to inform the teacher about the meeting in advance. Scheduling appointments beforehand is important because teachers, especially those who look after many students, may be busy with their classes.
Therefore, scheduling an appointment can help teachers manage their time to meet/talk with the parents of their students. The teacher may be completely unprepared when the parents visit the school unannounced. Annoyed teacher may leave a bad impression on the parents. The education system and the school policies are changing every day, which require parents to actively adjust themselves to these changes. Therefore, parents must develop a highly practical approach to improve their communication with the school and the teachers, which should help them understand the school culture.
Parents must also acknowledge the fact that Hongkongers value their time.
They expect people to be on time for meetings. Given that teachers are usually busy, they consider each moment as a race against time. Therefore, parents must arrive on time for their appointments. Arriving late will leave a very bad impression on the teachers, who may feel that the parents are not serious about these meetings. If the parents want the teacher to show them the same degree of respect, they must also respect the common practice.
Miscommunication occurs when two people develop a different understanding of things. As teachers might not know well about their students’ cultures, what appears right to the ethnic minorities, such as taking long absences from school, may appear wrong to the teachers. Worse still, the families of most ethnic minorities are usually living in foreign countries. That being said, it is not uncommon that an ethnic minority student may request for long leaves from school whenever they have to attend family gatherings overseas.
Parents must also understand that long leaves are usually taken in Hong Kong only when someone attends to serious matters. Taking leaves during important school events, such as examinations, for personal matters like wedding banquets or festival celebrations, is considered inappropriate in the Hong Kong education context. Teachers consider each lesson that they teach to their students as important, and they are very particular about how skipping classes affects the academic performance of their students. Parents must take this seriously if they care about the future and education of their children, so as to avoid leaving a misleading impression on the teachers that the minority children are lazy and inattentive.
Moreover, the ethnic minority children are very active in class. Local schools
Communication with Schools
in Hong Kong require students to sit quietly and listen to their teachers.
Therefore, making noises and disturbing the class are considered mischievous behaviours. When the teachers raise such issues during meetings, parents should understand that the teacher may not have ill intention but doing their best to state the importance of school rules. Therefore, parents should not directly blame the teacher for making false accusations and complicate the issue. Either way, teachers should not consider such behaviour of their students as a direct offence, as the students might have little idea of the school’s expectations. Parents must educate their children to be sensitive about cultural differences and inform them what they must and must not do in a particular situation. The behaviour of children in their classes and in public reflects the education and attitudes of their parents.
These cultural differences will lead to conflicts and miscommunication between teachers and parents. Intercultural interactions may give way to pride issues, which in turn will give way to emotions. Therefore, both parents and teachers must understand each other when explaining their situations to reach a peaceful resolution. They must talk in private than in public places, such as classrooms or staff rooms. A parent-teacher relationship takes time to develop, which can be painful to both parties on some occasions. However, this relationship will positively affect the child’s education. In other words, the success and future of the children are built upon the collaborative relationship between their teachers and parents.
Communication with Children
家和萬事興 家和萬事興 家和萬事興
家和萬事興 Harmony in the family is the basis for success in any undertaking
李潔芳 Kit-fong Lee 家庭是孩子生活的第一環境，亦是孩子成長的基石。家庭成員之間的關係 是否和諧，直接影響孩子身心的發展。常言：「家和萬事興」，充分表明 和諧的家庭對於孩子身心發展產生積極的影響，要建構和諧的家庭，一般 來說，必須處理好以下幾個關係：一是夫妻關係、二是婆媳關係、三是父 母子女關係。
現在只集中討論第三點，家庭教育是通過父母與子女之間的「互動」，使 子女接受父母的教導。如果父母與子女之間的關係不協調，子女會拒絕受 教，教育就難以順利實施，父母亦勞而無功。
Family is the first environment for a child's character development, and the milestone of the child's mental growth. Harmonious relationships between family members make a direct impact on the physical and mental development of the child. As the Chinese saying goes, “Harmony in the family is the basis for success in any undertaking.”To build a harmonious family, we must deal with the following relationships: marital relationship, in-law relationship and parent-child relationship.
Now let’s focus on parent-child relationship. Family education is the interaction between parents and children through which parents can teach their children. If the relationship between parents and children is uncoordinated, children would refuse to do what they are told and the parents’ efforts would be futile.
我看過一張很有意思的海報，它用了 Family 為大標題，下面把它每一個英 文字母變成一個英文字，再組合為大標題的 Family，就是「Father and mother I love you」。這種拆字遊戲竟然組成這麼溫馨的意思，顯示一個家庭除了 有父母子女之外，更重要的是子女與父母之間相互愛的關係。
I have seen a very meaningful poster. It carried the title“FAMILY”in large fonts. Following each letter of the title was a word initiated by the letter. It read
"Father And Mother I Love You." The word play conveyed a warm message
Communication with Children
that aside from the parents’ input to their children, the children’s feedback to their parents would be equally important for a family.
Many scholars share the same view that "parents are their children's first teachers." There is also a Chinese saying, "Three years old fixes eighty." This shows the importance of family education. Family education is the cradle of both initial and life-long education. Because of its unique status and impact, parents should use their own words and deeds, as well as every detail created through daily life, to nurture lively, cheerful, and brave personalities, with good citizenship and social responsibility when the children are small. They should let their children understand that being a man of virtue is more important than being a man of value.
除了讓孩子養成良好的生活習慣之外，還要學會幫忙做家務。五、六十年 代，小孩每天都花數小時幫忙做家務，甚至是一些家庭手工業；現在則是 花數小時看電視，玩電腦或手機遊戲。事實上，幫忙做家務有助培養孩子 做事有計劃和有順序，培養他們觀察力和判斷力。給孩子年齡相符的工作，
在現代社會生活的影響下，家長要建立民主平等的父母子女關係，每天限 制孩子看電視及上網的時間，更應該針對節目內容是否適合他們觀看，大 家充分交換意見，而且規定完成功課才能進行。
Besides encouraging our children to develop good habits, we should also encourage them to help with the housework. In the 1950s and 1960s, children usually spend hours every day to help with household chores and even home-based work. Now children spend hours watching television, playing on the computer or having fun in mobile games. In fact, doing household chores will help nurture children to do things in a planned and sequential order and develop their powers of observation and judgment. Assigning the children some simple chores not only relieve parents’ workload, but also achieve their educational goals. Not letting the children help with household chores would deprive them of the opportunity to learn survival skills.
Parents also have to build democratic parent-children relationship. Parents should discuss with their children to decide on the amount of time spent on TV, the internet and other hobbies. They should also ask their children to finish their homework before heading for extra-curricular activities.
一般中產家庭，父母都忙著工作賺錢，缺少了溝通，以為只要在物質上滿 足他們就足夠了，卻不知道孩子更需要的是父母的關愛和賞識。在這個物 質豐富的時代，慾望很容易得到滿足的孩子，就不懂得珍惜，讓孩子學習
Communication with Children
而出身寒微、學識不多的父母，也不想子女步自己的後塵，對他們寄予厚 望，希望他們有出息，好好讀書。孩子漸漸長大就體會到生活的艱辛，要 學會忍讓，學會寬容，學會善待身邊的每一個親人。只有這樣，我們才會 有美滿溫馨的家。
In average middle-class families, parents are busy working to make money, which results in little communication with their children. While they think that meeting their children’s material needs is enough to make their family a happy one, they are unaware that their children need their love and appreciation more than anything else. Oftentimes, in this era of material wealth, children whose desires are met easily do not know how to cherish what they have today.
Therefore, it is very important for children to learn to endure hardship. When the children are enduring hardship, parents have to be patient. If the children develop patience, parents should praise them for their success.
Poor and uneducated parents do not want their children to follow in their footsteps. They have great expectations for their children, hoping that they will study well for a bright future. When the children grow up gradually, they will experience difficulties in life, and learn to be patient and forgiving while treating every family member well.
有效的學校教育是需要家庭配合的，學生良好行為及習慣的形成，是良好 的學校教育與良好的家庭教育密切配合的成果。然而，老師們常常會發出 這樣的慨歎，學校辛辛苦苦地教育了一周年，難以抵銷家庭消極教育的一 句話。此外，學校往往覺得有孤軍作戰的情況，這是由於家長參與學校活 動的不足，導致老師與家長溝通十分困難。很多時學生學習上出現問題，
The development of science and technology in today's society raises children's level of education and culture. They may learn new technology and accept new ideas quicker and much earlier than their parents. The phenomenon of the young teaching the old has become increasingly common. Of course, to accept how their children are educated in the host society, parents would have to put their pride aside and change their ways of thinking, so that democracy can be strengthened and the awareness of equality can be reached.
Communication with Children
Effective school education needs cooperation of parents. Teachers often express their discontent that they work very hard to educate the children in school for the whole academic year, but one negative remark from the family education nullifies it all. In addition, schools often end up being the sole party educating the child due to different circumstances. One of the major causes is the lack of parental involvement in school activities. It can result in very difficult communication between teachers and parents. In many cases, students with learning problems or difficulties are related to their families, but it is a pity that parents often lack the motivation and interest to work with the school on seeking remedies.
中國人有句俗語「行行出狀元」，成才之路各有不同，適合自己的才是最 好的！作為父母不要把眼光只著眼在孩子學習成績上面。我們都希望孩子 幸福快樂，但不是每個孩子都能考上大學，有份好的職業，他就會幸福。
父母子女、父母與學校老師、老師與學生、每個成員齊心合手，事情才會 取得成功 。
There is a Chinese saying, "There are distinguished, outstanding, remarkable, and excellent people in all walks of life.”The road to success varies, but the one that meets one’s own interest is the best. Parents should not only focus on the children‘s academic performance. We all want our children to be happy, but not every child can go to the university. If they have a good job, they will be happy. Parents should give appropriate support to their children based on their strengths and abilities.
I would like to use a Chinese character “拿”to sum up the above. “拿”means”
to take or to gain something. “拿” is composed by the words“合” and “手”. “合”
literally means “close” but it also means collaboration and cooperation. “手”
means hand, which we need to “close” our hand to get something. Putting them in the context of parent-teacher and family relationships, the goals will definitely be achieved when all members join hands and work closely together.
Here are some very good short films for parents and children to watch together：
Education Bureau, HKSAR Government: “Learning Chinese Radical- 「拿」