I’m glad to have made a mark, albeit a small one, in the history of ELT in Macao. This was the first-ever study programme for the core teachers (骨幹教師) (primary English), organised by the DSEJ (Portuguese for the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau of the Macao SAR Govt) in support of the curriculum reform that is currently taking place in Macao. The programme has lasted for 15 months, consisting of several modules that were held on Saturday afternoons. Besides attending class, the participating teachers had to carry out post-module tryout teaching at their schools, and complete assignments. It was a highly intensive programme for the 30 teacher participants. I have been lucky to have taught on some modules of the programme, while Ms Gina Twellmann of Macao taught on some other modules of the programme.
The programme has allowed me to learn more about the culture and practice of ELT in Macao. This first-hand experience has also triggered my thinking on many issues related to curriculum reform, teacher development, and even the meaning and purpose of education. After this programme, I am even more convinced that teachers are the key to quality education, and that all parties concerned should do everything to make it possible for teachers to do a good job, if we are truly sincere about good education for our students.
On the ‘softer’ side, I have also learnt a few things about primary English teachers in Macao: they have good grammar knowledge and can tell you a lot of grammar terms; they have very beautiful handwriting; and they have strong 人情味. But they are like their counterparts in Hong Kong: overworked and overstressed with teaching and marking and endless school activities. So, when I wrapped up my sharing at yesterday’s closing ceremony for the study programme, and since their DSEJ Division Head responsible for curriculum reform was there, I took the opportunity to read aloud the following message from FB of two days ago, which has resonated with me:
‘A teacher somewhere in your neighbourhood tonight is grading and preparing lessons to teach your children while you are watching television. In the minute it takes you to read this, teachers all over the world are using their “free time”, and often investing their own money, for your child’s literacy, prosperity, and future. Repost if you are a teacher, love a teacher, or appreciate our teachers.’
Pictures from yesterday’s ceremony: