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Date:August 25, 2014

An Experience Sharing: Learning Chinese by Local Non-Chinese Speaking (NCS) Learners


The Centre for Learning and Teaching organised a seminar on “An Experience Sharing: Learning Chinese by Local Non-Chinese Speaking (NCS) Learners” on 9 May 2014.  The speaker, Mr Vivek Mahbubani (Vivek), is a Hong-Kong born Indian who can speak fluent Cantonese.  He shared his experience on learning Chinese in his childhood and teenage under the influence of his own culture, environment and habits.  His talk focused on how he was motivated to learn Chinese language and overcame various learning barriers during his study.

In the seminar, Vivek mentioned that he could barely understand Cantonese and felt difficult to communicate with others in Cantonese when he first studied in a local Chinese Primary school.  His parents did not speak Cantonese.  He came from a Cantonese-free home environment, so he hardly had chance to learn Cantonese when compared with his classmates.  The language environment became one of the major barriers for him to learn the language.

Under these circumstances, he realised that a positive learning environment is very important for him to learn a new language.  He found that it is more effective to learn language in a real-life context rather than having extra textbooks, classes or tutorials.  Thus, in order not to be isolated from other students, Vivek joined various kinds of school activities, such as the music club, drama club, just to name a few, in which he had more chances to make friends and practise Cantonese with his classmates.  These kinds of social activities enabled him to be accepted in the mainstream learning environment.  This would be the most effective way for him to master the language.

Vivek used a metaphor to bring his sharing to a close, “some people learn a musical instrument might not merely be confined to learning music but to master an eye-hand-coordination, rhythm, musical timing as well as self-expression.  In this way, the motive of learning is different from one person to another.  Similarly, the motive which drives me to learn Chinese is that this language is more than just a new language as it enables me to have more choices in life.”

In short, Vivek has the following teaching tips for teachers to motivate NCS students:

1. Communicate with the NCS students in Cantonese frequently
2. Motivate their learning with some successful stories and cases
3. Improve students reticence by creating a positive and encouraging classroom environment for them to ask questions
4. Encourage team work and mutual support

If you would like to have further details of this article, please contact Miss Fanny Leung at

To revisit the highlight of the seminar, please login below:

教學中心於二零一四年五月九日舉辦了「非本地華語人士學習中文的經驗分享會」。講者Mr Vivek Mahbubani (Vivek) 是一位在香港土生土長、能操流利粵語的印度裔人士。他分享自己從兒時到青少年時期如何在自身的文化、環境和生活習慣影響下學習中文的經歷,並訴說他如何成功克服學習障礙,積極學好中文的過程。

在分享會中,Vivek 提到當初他入讀本地小學一年級時,他幾乎全聽不懂粵語,更不會以粵語與人溝通。由於他來自非華語家庭,父母都不會粵語,所以他無法像其他同學般,能在家裡運用中文。在學習中國語文時,語境便成為他其中一個重要的學習障礙。

在此情況下,他明白到要學好一種外語,一個正面的學習環境是非常重要的。他發覺最好的學習方法並不是需要更多的教科書、課堂或補習班,而是在真實環境中運用語言。因此,為免在校內成為被孤立的一群,他積極參加各項課外活動,如音樂學會、戲劇學會等。從中,Vivek 能結交更多朋友,擴闊自我使用粵語的環境。令他更易融入主流的課堂生活。對他來說,這是最有效掌握流利語言的方法。

Vivek 用了一個比喻來總結是次分享:「有些人為學音樂而學樂器,有些人則透過學習一種樂器來學習手眼協調、節奏感、音樂感以及自我表達能力;兩種學習動機是不同的。同樣道理,我學習粵語,不是僅僅視之為另一種語言,而是一項新技能,讓我在生命中有更多的選擇。」

以下是Vivek 給教師提供的一些教學點子,以作參考:

如欲了解更多有關上文內容,請聯絡梁正蕙女士 (。


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