My name is Jonathan Ellis and I am the NET teacher at Kwun Tong Maryknoll College. I am very happy to be working here and to meet the students who make up the heart of this hard-working and successful school.
I have been a teacher for almost twenty years and have had the pleasure of teaching in my home country of New Zealand, in Japan and in Hong Kong. I have always enjoyed the special opportunity teachers have to meet and work with (and for) such a broad and diverse range of clients – their students.
Students at Kwun Tong Maryknoll College have impressed me with their eagerness to participate and in their easy and comfortable use of English. I look forward to doing interesting and beneficial work at the school in the future.
English is a wonderful language and it enjoys an unusual place in the world. English is as close as we have to a ‘universal’ language. It is spoken between Africans and Norwegians in Seoul, between Thais and the French in Brazil. When a pilot from Peru speaks to an Argentinian air-traffic-controller, she uses English. A South Korean sea captain will speak to a harbourmaster in Holland in English as well. English is the language of computing and of international business.
Hong Kong students are in a very lucky position. Hong Kong is an extremely ‘English-language-rich’ environment. English is pervasive in Hong Kong and is regularly used in many areas and sectors of Hong Kong society. As students, you have excellent access to spoken and written English in your daily lives, no matter where you live or what your interests are.
However, English is sometimes thought of as a ‘foreign’ language in Hong Kong. For many Hong Kongers, if a British or American person asks them a question, they will look immediately to find their friend who has better English. Perhaps there is a temptation to avoid a difficult task, or to avoid making a mistake.
At times I see this same reluctance in some students. I hope that you will all, no matter how strong you feel your English is, try your best to USE the English you have. All students at this school have enough English to make friends, request help, offer advice, give opinions and do business in English. You can use English to become famous or to solve some of the world’s problems. You can join a team with people from all over the world and travel to amazing places and achieve things you cannot yet imagine. Use this ability to make yourself an international citizen and a success in your chosen future path. You can only do this by being confident in your ability and using your English.
Take the chances Hong Kong provides for you and master English. The world is waiting for you.