Professional Capacity Building of Multicultural Teaching Assistants in Hong Kong Kindergartens with Ethnic Minority Children
Keywords:multicultural teaching assistants, second language learning, learning Chinese as a second language
A professional teaching development programme was established to equip multicultural teaching assistants (MTA) with skills and knowledge to teach non-Chinese speaking (NCS) preschoolers in Hong Kong. To evaluate if MTAs are perceived to be able to perform their intended roles (support Chinese and overall learning, provide pastoral support, bridge the communication between NCS parents and kindergartens, and promote social integration), questionnaires were collected from 18 principals and 74 teachers. To assess if the programme can equip MTAs with necessary skills for the planned roles, questionnaires were collected from 39 MTAs, and a focus group interview with 8 MTAs was also conducted. Results showed that principals and teachers were satisfied with MTAs’ performances in supporting NCS students’ learning. Moreover, the majority of MTAs agreed that the training programme helped them to perform their intended roles in preschools. Most modules taught in the training programme, apart from one exception, were well received by MTAs. The focus group interview revealed that MTAs were satisfied with the programme, though they preferred more training on Chinese writing skills and knowledge in dealing behavioral issues of children. The study shows the possibility of integrating MTAs into multicultural classrooms in Hong Kong to facilitate NCS children’s learning.
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