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A new Postdoc project

For me, places are closely connected to stories. In Hong Kong, I ventured on a quest to find books that will help my daughter develop her literacy and make a connection with her new hometown. I was fascinated with the books I found and enjoyed reading them with her. There is an increasing number of English language books that portray the realities of everyday life for children in Hong Kong, written by authors who were either born in Hong Kong or have spent significant parts of their lives in Hong Kong.

I was recently given the opportunity to pursue a Postdoctoral Fellowship at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University on “Children’s Literature in English Language Teaching for Primary Students in Hong Kong” (PI, Prof Kathleen Ahrens, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Co-I Dr Jackie Fung King Lee, The Education University of Hong Kong). This project aims to develop learning materials for books about Hong Kong so as to positively motivate young English Language learners to engage with stories in ways that are both meaningful and language rich. The books that will be the focus of our attention will be English language books for children and young adults that are either written by authors who have lived in Hong Kong, or were produced in Hong Kong, or follow a story set in Hong Kong. English language education in Hong Kong can greatly benefit from using this locally produced literature because it will 1) provide motivation for students, and 2) build students’ intercultural skills. Reading books is a way to enrich one’s vocabulary, expression, and also social skills. Stories connect with the young readers allowing them to identify themselves on the page. Furthermore, Hong Kong books offer the potential for providing cultural diversity in the classroom helping to increase intercultural awareness. By the end of the project in July 2020, we hope to be able to offer teaching materials for the use of select English language books in Hong Kong primary schools (P1-P6).

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