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Student Sharing - Teaching Materials Development for Special Schools



Kwok Kai Yin, Jonathan

Kwok Kai Yin, Jonathan (group leader)

Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science

After joining the Teaching Materials Development for Special Schools project initiated by the Faculty’s School-University Partnerships Office, I was inspired in several ways.

First, we got to contribute to another group in the education community. We, as the pre-service secondary school teachers, focus a lot on the pedagogy for general secondary schools, this project broadened my horizons as we prepared the teaching materials for students with special educational needs (SEN). We discovered their characteristics, and we gained insights into another type of pedagogy that helps different types of students. These insights do not only stay in this project, but they inspired us to reveal students’ learning characteristics in a typical classroom as well. Students have different levels of understanding and learning as revealed in the project. And as teachers, we shall apply the suitable teaching methods accordingly, so as to facilitate their learning more effectively.

We also acquired a deeper understanding of practices in special education through a practical experience in developing the materials. Although we could not deliver this package to students personally, the comments from the special education teachers were clear and precise for us to build the materials specifically for SEN students to cater for their learning. There were lots of concrete examples and explanations of how special education students learn, which provided us with the most practical idea on how a lesson could be carried out in a special education school.

Lastly, this project allowed me to reflect upon the meaning of education. I remember clearly from a teacher in the special school: “I hate the word ‘special’. They are also students, but they just need a different kind of help. All students need help from teachers, and it is unwise to label any of them as ‘special’”. This has struck me the most. We all know that teachers are assisting them to learn, but what does learning mean? We provide help, but does the help “help”? The teacher’s sharing inspired me to think: there are different types of learners in the world. They need our help in realising their hidden potential and talent. They need our encouragement too, so that they can continue to shine and grow, even though the situation might not be as easy as it seems. Education is more than knowledge building. It is also a process for students to see themselves differently. There might be many goals that seem hard to achieve, but it is still possible if there is a right teacher at the right time and place.




Li Kin To, Ken

Li Kin To, Ken (group leader)

Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science

People tend to avoid students with special educational needs (SEN) as there are common misunderstanding about the students. Yet they are the group that is the most in need of help in society. In this project, we worked diligently to understand the characteristics of the SEN students, so that we can develop corresponding teaching materials to facilitate their learning.

Under the pandemic, schools were closed, and students were forced to stay at home and have online lessons. It was difficult to enhance student engagement and maintain their focus during online classes, not to mention the SEN students. Therefore, we have designed some “learning-through-playing” activities, so that teachers and parents can utilise these learning packages and carry out activities in a fun way. “From Pieces to a Whole” (also called “Generalisation”) is one of the activities where children have to identify the object from fragmented pictures. It is believed that children’s problem-solving skills can then be fostered.

Designing a teaching package is never an easy task. When we were at the preliminary stage, we carried out studies to understand the learning necessities of the targets. Moreover, we discussed various materials to be adopted in the package. To facilitate the learning process and maximise the use of materials, we also developed two demonstration videos with bilingual subtitles for parents and teachers respectively.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Ms Tam from the Hong Kong Red Cross Margaret Trench School, Ms Promail Leung from our Faculty as well as my groupmates for their valuable suggestions and contributions to the development of the teaching materials. The project would not have gone as smoothly without their help.




Cherry Liu

Cherry Liu (group leader)

Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science

Under the pandemic, the “Teaching Materials Development for Special Schools” project has created a wonderful and memorable experience for me. I am always passionate about innovative ways to facilitate the learning of students with special educational needs because I know this would come in handy in my future teaching. I firmly believe every one of us is unique, and all of us learn through different ways, such as visual, audio, reading/writing or even kinaesthetic methods. I enjoyed exploring and applying the knowledge learnt in lessons to this project.

During preparation, it was easy for our team to write a lesson plan and make related teaching materials for teachers. This is because we were trained to think of the learning objectives of the lesson, and we have had a lot of experiences in creating plans and materials. However, making a video and using common materials as guidance for parents to teach their children was quite new to all of us. This was especially challenging as we needed to figure out ways to allow parents’ involvement in the designed activities while the children are also learning. Thankfully, with the support and appreciation from the teachers in those specific spectra, our group has revised the materials and created an intriguing and fruitful home activity for both parents and children. For instance, it asked the children the location of their parents or their favourite toy.

This project has also allowed me to explore the aspects of acting and singing. To create the parents’ video with clearer instructions, my partner and I have tried to act out the entire parent-children interaction. This simulating process enables us to identify ambiguous areas, so as to improve accordingly. At the same time, the inclusion of daily life-related topics could arouse students’ interests and enthusiasm in the activity.

There are lots of trials and errors in the progress. However, as a group leader, I could feel that we all have the HKU teaching spirit, which is to utilise our knowledge and to create perfect and useful learning resources. I could feel the engagement and enjoyment from all groupmates. It is an unbelievable success. I hope we will have similar projects and opportunities to carry out at schools in the near future. At last, I want to thank the School-University Partnerships Office and the teachers involved for their efforts.




Lo Chun Yip

Lo Chun Yip (group leader)

Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science

The year of 2020 had proved itself to be a hard time for every one of us due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, a blend of online and face-to-face learning seems to be a “norm” in education. Seeing the success of the “LIVE to LEARN, LOVE to SERVE” Campaign last year, I would also like to devote myself to cater the needs of both teachers and parents, and support students’ learning. I therefore joined the “Teaching Materials Development for Special Schools” project initiated by the Faculty’s School-University Partnerships Office and collaborated with Hong Kong Red Cross Margaret Trench School to develop teaching materials for students with special educational needs.

As the group leader, I worked hard to cooperate with my teammates and successfully developed a set of English learning materials for students, parents and teachers of special schools. My major role was video filming and editing. Reflecting on the entire process, to me making concise instructions and well-structured presentation in the video were most difficult. As it was my first time collaborating in the field of special education, I had deep reflections on how teachers should put themselves into students’ shoes in lesson planning and preparing relevant teaching materials. When my teammates and I received feedback from teachers of special school, I strongly believed that little things adding up can make a huge difference to students’ learning experiences. The experiences further prompted me to be more considerate in catering students’ learning needs and encourage me to improve myself to be a better educator.

It is a pity that I cannot produce more sets of materials as social distancing hindered the development pace. Still, I am grateful that the project concluded successfully. I would like to thank my teammates for their commitment and efforts despite the tough times during the pandemic. May learning persists despite the hard times!




Tang Wai Yan, Yuki

Tang Wai Yan, Yuki (group leader)

Postgraduate Diploma in Education in English (Secondary)

We are very grateful to be given the chance to collaborate with Hong Kong Red Cross Hospital Schools and help with the material development for the students with special educational needs (SEN). In this project, we were not only able to contribute our efforts to the community, but also to understand more about the needs of different parties and groups in society. In brief, we have gained more than we sowed.

In the planning of the lesson, we have had a deeper understanding of what elements and stages we should include in a smooth, structured and interactive lesson. For instance, we thought of what pre-task activity we should start the lesson with, in order to equip students with some new words to be used and heard frequently in the gaming session. We would also need to think of fun and interesting wrap-ups to involve the students. To some of us, that was quite challenging as we are usually not teaching students of lower mental age and we did need extra effort to cater for their ability and needs, which is a really fruitful experience.

When we were producing the video, there were also many points we had not considered before. Luckily, under the guidance of the teachers from Hong Kong Red Cross Hospital Schools, we were able to provide extra useful tips so that the activity could be run smoothly, such as reminding the target audience of the videos (i.e. parents) that they could use some possible alternatives at home to substitute the original materials found in schools.

The most rewarding part of the whole project is our understanding of the situation faced by the SEN students. We heard that some of the students in the special schools have relatively short life span, but still they are willing to go to school and keep learning. We are very touched and truly appreciate their attitude. It is indeed our honour to contribute and help with their learning, and also to learn from them.




Chan Hiu Lam, Natalie

Chan Hiu Lam, Natalie

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education in Language Education – English

It is not easy being a parent or an educator in times like a global pandemic. It is even harder being one for students with special educational needs. With the children being stuck at home, online schooling poses an even tougher challenge for them when they require highly interactive and individually-catered learning. This is why I felt like, with this programme, my group and I have given a little something back to our community as potential future educators.

We produced two videos about learning directions, one for teachers and one for parents of children with the mental age of three. To be honest, it was testing in the sense that it was quite different from what we were familiar with, as our university degrees licence us to teach primary and secondary students. But with the timely feedback and multiple revision sessions from our coordinators, we learnt to think from different mental ages and consider the perspectives of teachers and parents of such students. It was helpful that we got to collaborate across different disciplines and grades, putting our heads together whether remotely or face-to-face.

The biggest challenge was how time consuming it could be to involve in the project, especially amidst the professional practicum I was going through at the same time. But with my team mates and coordinators’ kindness, it was no doubt a worthy experience. Our ideas and products might not be perfect, but we are learning as student-teachers and we directly contributed to the community, and these in themselves are meaningful indeed.




Yejun Kwak

Yejun Kwak

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education in Language Education – English

Joining the “Teaching Material Development for Special Schools” project was a valuable experience that taught me the power of collectivity with shared passion. We, as a team, were able to produce teaching instructional videos for parents and teachers of students with special educational needs, which we could not have done if we worked individually. Our group showed excellent teamwork through effective division of labour and active sharing of ideas. After discussion, each of us contributed to the group with what we were specialised in. For example, although I was not able to speak or produce materials in Cantonese, I created necessary visuals and images that were adequate for our teaching content. The other group members supported the team by editing videos, writing the lesson plans, and providing verbal instructions and demonstrations in the videos. I was not only happy to contribute through what I am good at, but also surprised to see how each of our small effort can create something so fruitful and decent.

This experience was especially meaningful for me because I feel like I have overcome my language and cultural barrier as an international student. Through this project, I was able to help students with whom I would not have been be able to communicate fluently if I met them individually. The students I was able to help through this project were also the groups of students that I cannot meet or see if I decided to only stay within my boundary. I am glad that I challenged myself to be a part of this project and broke this linguistic and cultural wall. This taught me a valuable lesson that there are still lots of ways to bring positive influences to the people you want to help if you have enough passion to help them. It is the action of taking the first step to break the self-created boundary that truly widens one’s capacity.




Lau Yan Wai, Florence

Lau Yan Wai, Florence

Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science

I took a course on catering learners’ diversity before. However, I did not have many chances to know more about students with special educational needs (SEN). This project provided me a good opportunity to understand more about teaching students with lower intellectual abilities.

Through this meaningful project, I had a glimpse of how teaching and learning are conducted in special schools. Moreover, as we were targeting a specific age group, we needed to reflect on what prior knowledge they possess and thus how to conduct the lesson. Apart from thinking from students’ perspectives, we also needed to think from teachers’ and parents’ perspectives. As these materials would be given to teachers and parents, it was important to consider the situations that they may face. For example, we tried to relate the topics to students’ daily lives in both school and home settings respectively so that students could have a more authentic learning experience. Furthermore, as we were not experienced in teaching students with SEN, feedback from teachers was very useful. It allowed me to reflect on how we could conduct the activity and help students learn better. Without the feedback, we could have easily neglected some of the details that were crucial.

More importantly, I acquainted with some very talented groupmates. The whole production process run smoothly because of their effort. Some groupmates were very skilful at editing videos while some were very creative. As we came from different disciplines, we all had different ideas and these were eventually developed into the end product. It was my pleasure to work with my competent groupmates.




Lee Ching Tung, Ariel

Lee Ching Tung, Ariel

Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science

As I studied science education and my main target students are secondary school students, I seldom have chances to meet primary school students during my period of practicum, especially students with special educational needs. It was a new experience for me to design teaching materials for students with mental age 3.5. When designing teaching aids for secondary school students, my main objectives were to include key scientific concepts and to estimate how much content to include in a one-hour lesson. However, this teaching design was very different from my previous experience. Instead of putting a lot of teaching concepts into one teaching package, I needed to consider more aspects such as how to catch students’ attention, discipline management, adaptations for different learning modes, setting guiding questions to help parents to have lesson at home, and preparing available tools at home. As it was an online teaching mode, video taking and editing skills were also indispensable.

The most memorable part for me is designing teaching materials for parents as I need to put myself into parents’ shoes because they are not professionals in teaching. Therefore, the programme instructors advised us to provide more scaffolding to assist them. For example, our group role-played as parents and children. Parents watching at home can hold children’s hands and do the gestures together. This not only let parents participate in teaching, but can also increase parent-student interactions. It is not an easy task to make teaching videos because I cannot see the immediate responses of the parents and students. Therefore, I need to consider any difficulties that they would face when they are using my lesson materials. It is useful for my coming practicum because I will also have my online lessons with my classmates through ZOOM. I learnt to predict my students’ difficulties before lessons so as to maximise my teaching efficiency.

It is a very wonderful learning experience for me to join this community project. Indeed, I learnt a lot from it.




Wong Daphanie Po Ying

Wong Daphanie Po Ying

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education in Language Education - English

Being affected by the current pandemic, students in special schools may need to stay at home for lessons. This may have created more pressure on both teachers and parents. For teachers, they need to spend more time preparing online lesson materials. For parents, they may have to spend extra time looking after their children at home. In light of this situation, I am very glad that I could be part of a meaningful project called “Teaching Materials Development for Special Schools”, which aims to provide support to students in special schools, as well as to their teachers and parents.

One thing that I learnt from this project is that we have to carefully consider the learning abilities of students when designing materials for them. I remember receiving feedback from teachers of the school that the activity we designed might be too difficult for our target learners. The feedback made us realise that we had to make adjustments to cater for the learning needs of the students. In the end, we produced a similar but less complicated activity which requires less linguistic demand. This taught me that being a teacher/teaching materials developer, not only do I have to understand my students’ current abilities, but I also need to be very flexible to make necessary changes.

Through participating in the video taking process, I also reflected on my instructional strategies. Apart from having to consider the teaching language that we demonstrated in the video, we also needed to plan how we would introduce the task to both teachers and parents. This actually helps me learn how to deliver my message concisely with simple and clear language, which is very useful for my future career in education.

Finally, I would like to thank my groupmates for being very supportive and fun to work with. I hope that our work can help, support, and even inspire teachers and parents of students in special schools.




Wong Tak Wing, Annisa

Wong Tak Wing, Annisa

Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science

As I observed that there is an increasing number of students with special educational needs in schools, I hope to equip myself with more experience to cope with them and design appropriate tasks for them. Thus, I joined this project hoping that I can understand their special needs and learn how to design materials under the guidance of professionals.

This project is very meaningful and fruitful. For me, one of the most fruitful parts is the exchange of ideas with a professional teacher in the respective special school. Since the teacher is specialised in Special Education, she has a lot of insights regarding the ability of special needs students. It is very insightful when she summarised the ability of the students (with different age and special needs) in various subjects, such as Mathematics, English and Science. As my major is Science, knowing more about students’ ability in understanding spatial concept, living things, materials world, etc. is very important for me. I realised that we cannot underestimate the ability of these students and the level that they can achieve. It assists me in developing a better spectrum of tasks when designing science homework for students with special needs.

The other fruitful part is to work together as a team to design the teaching materials. The most challenging moment was to film videos for teachers and parents to explain our design. We found it quite hard to teach others how to use our materials and to think of materials that are easily accessed by parents. Thus, we have retaken the video a few times. We changed our design by using some commonly found products (e.g. dolls), adding subtitles for important parts and demonstrating the tasks explicitly (instead of just using voice-over). Through discussing and amending the videos and relevant materials, our work became better and we enhanced our understanding of different stakeholders’ needs, such as the needs of special needs students’ parents.

Overall, through this project, I understood the abilities of special needs students better. The project was sadly a bit short, so we could only make one teaching package. I hope that in the future, we can try to implement our design in a special school and visit the school in person, so as to find out if our design is feasible and to hear the responses from students.




Yang Kwan Yeong, Alice

Yang Kwan Yeong, Alice

Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science

My lifelong vision has been to become a giver for those in need. This project was not only an opportunity for me to become a giver by developing useful materials for future teaching of students with special educational needs (SEN), but also an opportunity for me to become a receiver at the same time, as the supporting relationship was mutual in the group throughout the course of the project.

My role in the group was to make the PowerPoint slides, with reference to the lesson plan made by another groupmate. My main objective was to keep the students engaged using diagrams instead of long sentences, thus encouraging and motivating students’ learning. While making the slides, I was able to think from the point of view of the SEN students. Having their abilities and capabilities in mind, I could adequately adjust the level of difficulty in a way to prevent students from being discouraged by the challenging lesson materials.

Not only that, it has been very delightful to work with peers from different disciplinary backgrounds. Even in times we had different views regarding the details of the teaching materials, we were accepting and non-judgemental of one another’s ideas as we all shared the same core value: to provide quality education and a fruitful learning experience for the students. It was impressive to see that all of us were so willing to give time and effort to serve a good cause, and put students’ learning experience as our first priority.

Ultimately, it was a blessing for me to work with my groupmates, all with wonderful skill sets, for a good cause. Through this project, I learnt that we, as teachers, can always find out ways, better ways, to express our views, embrace each other, and work together when we share the same core value, to fulfil the needs of the students via providing a fruitful learning experience.




Yeung Chin Wan, Jason

Yeung Chin Wan, Jason

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education in Language Education – Chinese

It has been a while since the Education Bureau announced the suspension of schooling due to the coronavirus outbreak. It is hard for teachers and parents of students with special educational needs to overcome all the challenges to support students' learning needs at home given the limited resources. Understanding their difficulties, the Faculty’s School-University Partnerships Office collaborated with Hong Kong Red Cross Margaret Trench School to develop teaching materials for teachers and parents.

Knowing what I could contribute to the students in need, I volunteered to be part of the team and devoted myself to designing teaching materials. Together with my teammates, I prepared a set of materials called “Menu Preparation” for students with SCALE attainment level of A8. We hoped that students could gain more verbal and linguistic knowledge as well as practise their interpersonal skills.

Reflecting upon my preparation, I think the most difficult part in designing the materials was not identifying the learning needs and difficulties of the students, but rather thinking of ways to deliver all the teaching methods and key points in the easiest ways. This is to ensure that all teachers, parents and students can understand thoroughly, and that the teaching and learning process could be done correctly. While participating in the project, I always regarded the learning motivation and process as the first priority. This experience has challenged me to be a better lesson planner and encouraged me not to merely put myself in the students’ position but as well in other educators’. This project is a meaningful opportunity to build self-improvement and inspire me to be a better teacher.

Though the planning required much effort from our teammates, I am glad that our work could successfully help students with learning at home. I hope that it can not only help students to thrive but also learning itself thrives in these trying times.