“I’d Be Happy To Return: CCC Kung Lee College” by Jason S Polley

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As part of the Cha Writing Workshop Series, I visited students at CCC Kung Lee College on Monday 30 April 2018, invited by one of the teachers there, William Ng, who was a former student at Hong Kong Baptist University.
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The 45-minute writing workshop at CCC Kung Lee College ultimately went quite well. I use the word ultimately as a qualifier because teaching second or third language English speakers from diverse backgrounds at a non-elite secondary school involved a steep learning curve.
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In the beginning, a handful of the 17 students present showed little interest and/or facility in 1) English, 2) Writing, and 3) Alternate viewpoints (to their own, which they also resisted expressing in writing). Notwithstanding a workshop title I stupidly presumed to be exciting and clear–namely, “Yesterday Today—or, Look, Look!: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary through Collaborative Creativity”—several student’s demonstrated reservations about the whole exercise.
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So I forced them to write, beginning with the prompt “Recall and describe a personal experience” mediated through sound, smell, touch, vision, or sound. Following this, I asked the student’s to reorient or remediate this recollection through the eyes of another: their younger sibling, a grandparent, a gweilo stranger, their dog, etc. The point here, of course, was to acknowledge that we don’t all experience world (and describe world) in the same way.
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Following these two exercises, students were placed in groups of four in order to share and then somehow combine their individual slices of life. This third part of the workshop proved more successful, as the students read to one another the “fruits of their writing labour” before collaborating on writing something new that somehow combined each disparate piece or supplemented one or two of the existing group members’ pieces.
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I’d be happy to return to CCC Kung Lee College again to work with the same students, now that I have a stronger sense of their loyalties and abilities.
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///// The Cha Writing Workshop Series: We plan to hold one to two writing workshops every month, for local school children (all levels), as well as economically and socially disadvantaged groups. If you’d like to suggest an idea, please contact the organisers, Tammy Ho (t@asiancha.com) and/or Eddie Tay (eddie@asiancha.com). Click here to see a list of past and future workshops. And click here to read instructors’ reflections on the workshops. /////

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Patrick Lam (also a HKBU alumnus), Heather Yuen, Jason S Polley and William Ng

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