NET Scheme

The Native-speaking English Teacher (NET) Scheme provides every primary and secondary school in Hong Kong with a mother tongue English teacher. The principal objectives of the scheme are to enhance English language teaching and to increase students’ exposure to English as spoken by native speakers.
Our school has two NET teachers, to ensure that every student has a lesson with a native English speaker each week. Primary NETs work in partnership with local English language teachers to provide students with an authentic English learning environment. They also help to develop school-based teaching strategies and curriculum materials, and contribute to the professional development of fellow teachers.


NET teachers support and strengthen English language learning and teaching in a number of important ways, including:

  • developing innovative learning and teaching methods, materials, curricula and activities to meet the needs of local students
  • providing a realistic environment for children to learn English and develop their confidence in using the language for effective communication
  • providing opportunities for students to learn English through a range of different experiences and activities
  • promoting the professional development of local teachers
  • disseminating good practice in language learning and teaching through teacher development programmes, such as seminars, workshops and networking activities
  • supporting the work of the English Panel
  • providing advice on language learning, teaching and language resources
  • working with local teachers on activities outside the classroom, including assemblies, poetry reading, verse-speaking, inter-school competitions (eg, debating and radio drama), Angel Helpers
  • devising and helping to run fun English-based activities, with the aim of encouraging students to use English in a relaxed, non-academic context; examples include English Days, lunch-time story-telling sessions for KS1 students, drama, games and quizzes

We seek to develop and implement new initiatives that will enhance the standard of English, both in the classroom and beyond. For example, in the last school year, our NET teachers started an online book club to promote reading around the school and a newsletter to showcase students’ work and foster a love of reading. We have expanded on this initiative this year, by launching a colourful school newsletter that contains articles about a wide range of school activities, as well as information and ideas about books and reading. The first issue of the newsletter was published in October 2021 and there will be a further three issues during the school year.

 
As with all teachers, NET teachers must be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances, to ensure that students consistently receive the best possible education. During the period of class suspension due to Covid-19, the NET teachers were actively involved in developing and delivering teaching materials for home-schooling. This enabled us to provide high quality online classes and successfully teach the English curriculum whether the students were learning online or face to face.

NET Teachers’ Focus

The principal focus in Key Stage 1, which covers P1 to P3, is to teach the children to read effectively in English through shared reading, big books, reading strategies, reading activities, word recognition and phonics. Shared reading in class is a key activity. All students use the same reader, initially introduced by the teacher, to learn new vocabulary, sentence structures and patterns, and other reading skills. The teacher introduces each story and familiarises the students with it by talking about the characters and identifying sentence structures. Expressive reading is demonstrated and the children are encouraged to predict possible outcomes for the story and make inferences based on what they read. New sounds are identified through the teaching of phonics and the children are taught how to create different sounds orally and express them in writing. Songs are used to reinforce both ideas from the stories and phonics learning, and also enhance the rhythm of student’s spoken English. 

 

  
Lessons for P4 to P6 students in Key Stage 2 frequently involve activities based on themes in the English textbooks used by each class. The NET teachers build on these themes by adapting sections of the textbook and encouraging the students to participate in a variety of oral activities. The objective is to enable the students to respond in English in a natural and authentic way and to increase their confidence. Interactions between student and teacher 1-1, their classmates and whole class discussions are important during oral lessons. A significant recent development in our Key Stage 2 teaching has been the introduction of a school-based literacy curriculum, designed to help students read and write more effectively. Literacy curriculum modules have been created for each of the three years, with plans, materials and learning activities covering a wide range of topics. Teaching reading and writing through the new literacy curriculum is proving highly beneficial to students, who are able to produce clear, detailed and well-structured pieces of writing in different styles. Further information about the literacy curriculum can be found in the website section on English Curriculum.

NET Teachers
Simon West

This is my second year teaching at Canossa School, after joining the school in 2020. Last year was a real pleasure, meeting and working with wonderful, friendly and experienced teachers, and getting to know our fantastic students. I was so impressed with their attitude towards learning and how they conduct themselves around school. Students here work incredibly hard, are well-mannered and a real credit to the school.
 
I’m very excited to share my passion for reading, storytelling and children’s literature in school as I believe that teaching children to become successful readers is one of the most important things we do in primary school. When children read widely and often not only does it help them access the curriculum more easily, which leads to improvement in literacy and across other subjects, they also explore their own understanding of the world and other cultures, travel to far-away imaginary places, make choices for themselves and shape their own identity.
 
This year I am teaching classes in four different year groups - P1, P2, P5 and P6, as well as taking part in a wide range of exciting extra-curricular activities such as debating, Canossa TV, English days and storytelling sessions. I also edit the school’s reading newsletter and host a wonderful online book club, ‘Hooked on Books’, which we hope to further develop this year. Our debating team was terrific last year, reaching the grand final of the competition!


I’d love to know more about the student’s passions and interests and am a very approachable teacher. I think it is so important to connect with your students and make an effort to get to know them, what motivates them, and what they are interested in. A second language classroom must have a real buzz and excitement about it with students feeling safe, secure and confident to express themselves.
 
I am enjoying getting to know the students in all my classes. I love to chat with students of all ages and play games with them. So, please come and find me when you are free!

Andrew Ashley

I’m now in my thirteenth year of teaching at Canossa School (Hong Kong). I think that shows just how much I enjoy teaching here!  It’s a wonderful school to be part of, thanks to the highly motivated, hard-working students and the friendly and experienced teaching staff.

 
I’m teaching classes at four different levels this year - P1, P3, P4 and P6.  In P1 and P3 I read storybooks with the students, using the stories as an exciting and entertaining way of teaching language structures, vocabulary and pronunciation.  What we read in the books encourages students to talk about their own experience.  Being able to talk confidently is very important!  We also do a lot of work on phonics, covering different sounds, to provide students with the building blocks they need for a strong command of spoken English.

 
Many of the lessons for P4 and P6 students also focus on oral English, with the aim of encouraging students to communicate effectively and confidently.  Students read aloud, answer questions, give presentations and tell stories.  Students in both years also study  three carefully chosen readers in depth. Especially in the case of P6, this helps to prepare the students for the work they will do at secondary school. An exciting aspect of teaching at this level is using our school-based literacy curriculum to help students improve their reading and writing skills. Each module in the literacy curriculum covers a different topic for students to learn about, and introduces a specific text type.

  
Prior to becoming a NET at Canossa, I taught in a number of primary and secondary schools and in adult education colleges. I enjoy teaching at all levels but my time here has taught me how rewarding it is to work with primary school students. It can be challenging but it’s also very stimulating to help young learners to absorb a foreign language and become confident in using it. Seeing students make progress is thrilling!

  
I’m thoroughly enjoying this year at Canossa. It’s great fun to teach the new P1 students, who are as enthusiastic and excited about learning English as their schoolmates in the other years. I know that this year will be just as interesting and satisfying as my previous years here.

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