Experiential Learning

The Faculty of Education


The Faculty of Education offers a variety of programmes in the field of teacher education. Professional Practicum and External Experience are identified as the two major components of experiential learning. The four-year Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Education programme in Language Education is an example of experiential learning that includes the two components of Teaching Practicum in the schools of Hong Kong and the Immersion Programme abroad.

Professional Practicum – Teaching Practicum in Schools of Hong Kong (TP)

The teaching practicum provides an opportunity for the integration of theory and practice. It also enables student-teachers to learn to teach to identify their professional needs in order to fulfill their teaching and learning potential. The Practicum helps student-teachers to explore learning and teaching issues in their classrooms, to experiment with a variety of learning and teaching strategies, and to reflect critically on the outcomes, with the support and guidance of mentor-teachers and university tutors. (Faculty of Education, HKU Teaching Practice Handbook 2010-2011, p. 4)

TP arrangement:

Year Duration Assessment TP allocation
Year 2 Three weeks Provision of feedback on a pass/fail basis Alma Mata of students / central allocation
Year 3 Eight weeks Provision of feedback on a pass/fail basis Central allocation
Year 4 Eight weeks Provision of feedback on a pass/fail/distinction basis Central allocation

Preparation for TP:
An experienced in-service teacher is invited to give a talk on classroom management in the TP orientation. In two subsequent workshops, the same teacher uses a case study to demonstrate the situations of conflict in the classroom, such as teacher-student confrontation and student-student confrontation, and the ways of handling them.

Student-teachers receive supervision from both mentors from schools and the instructor of the Pedagogy course at HKU.

Central allocation:
The Partnership Office in the Faculty liaises with schools to seek places for TP. The Pedagogy course instructors are responsible for allocating student-teachers to the schools on the basis of the requirements from schools and their levels of English proficiency. Some schools prefer to select student-teachers by their gender, mother language and enrolment in specific programmes. Student-teachers with a high level of English ability are usually allocated to the prestigious schools where the students are more fluent and competent in English.

Immersion program (IP)

The main objectives of the Immersion Programme are to enhance the English language proficiency of student-teachers and their understanding of an education system in an English speaking country and the culture of that country.

Components of IP:
Eight weeks of language enhancement courses are organized for students with a focus on language skills and the culture of the language. The courses aim to increase the awareness of students about the variety of English in Australia and the difference between English in Australia and other countries. Eight weeks of Australian homestay are arranged for students. The opportunity of 8 to 10 days of lesson observation in an Australian school is also provided for students.

Preparation for IP:
The Faculty invites people from relevant institutions in Australia to HKU to present information on the programmes, the institutes and the cities. Several students who went through IP in the previous year are invited to share their experiences in the consultation session. The Programme director gives a presentation to provide information on cultural issues.

Allocation of IP:
Students are allocated to the universities in Australia to undertake IP in June and July every year. The placement is made on the basis of the English language ability of students which is determined through a test organized by the Faculty. Native speakers, the students who score very high in the English test, or those who had lived in a foreign country for a long time and claim to understand the culture of the country very well and are proficient in English are eligible for applying to be exempted from IP. Special cases are also considered for exemption from IP by acquiring experience locally in a non-profit organization in Hong Kong in lieu of IP.

IP assessment:
Assessment is on a pass/fail basis. Course work is assigned to students for the modules. Submission of a portfolio is required upon the completion of IP. The portfolio includes nine journal entries – one for each week and the ninth for summarizing the entire experience – to demonstrate students’ competence in the reflection on intercultural and language issues, linguistics and gender etc.

Speech and Hearing Sciences, Faculty of Education

Experiential learning is mandatory in the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences and it is a core part of the curriculum. Students are required to go through clinical practice every year from Year 2 to Year 4. Some students experience overseas placements. There is an intake of forty students each year.

Year 2:
Students have their clinical practice in the area of child speech/language in the internal clinic in a ten-week block with two half-days of practice each week. One clinical director and three full-time instructors monitor the practice of students. The three full-time and other part-time instructors supervise students. A few Year 4 students play the role of part-time instructors. Supervisors provide feedback to students as the formative assessment in the middle of the term. Summative assessment on a pass/fail basis is given at the end of the practice.

Year 3:
Students participate in external placements with Hospital Authority (HA) and Community Rehabilitation Centre (CRN) in a ten-week block with two half-days of practice each week. For the HA practice, approximately thirty external supervisors are involved every year and they play the roles of supervisor and assessor. For the CRN practice, three full-time clinical instructors supervise and assess students. Supervisors provide feedback to students as the formative assessment in the middle of the term. Summative assessment on a pass/fail basis is given at the end of the practice.

Year 4:
Students have external placements in a wide range of community organizations, such as preschool centres, mainstream schools, special schools, private practice centres, etc., in two ten-week blocks with two days of practice each week. Approximately seventy external supervisors are involved every year. They supervise students as well as make formative assessment by providing feedback for students in the middle of the term. The academic staff in the division evaluate the competence of students by viva examination on a pass/fail basis at the end of the term.

Overseas placement:
A limited number of students obtain overseas placements at their own cost in the summer term. In the hospital setting in Singapore, local supervisors monitor and assess the practice of students. Clinical instructors from HKU visit to ensure adequacy of arrangement and standards of practice. For the practice in Mainland China, Macao and Cambodia, clinical instructors from HKU accompany groups of students and supervise their practice.