Tips for teaching Hong Kong history | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Tips for teaching Hong Kong history

If you teach Hong Kong history, please could you help us by adding a comment below with your answers to five quick questions:

Q1. What age are your students? (Primary / Secondary / Tertiary)

Q2. What subjects & activities get your students most interested and engaged with Hong Kong's history?

Q2. What are your favourite resources (books / websites / museums / etc.) to use as a teacher?

Q2. And what resources are best for students to use?

Q5. Anything else we should know about?

Background: I was chatting with some friends about Hong Kong history, and one conversation about was how to help teachers. I'm not a teacher, so I don't have any words of wisdom, but I thought the Gwulo website could provide a place for teachers to share tips.

Forum: 

Thanks to Mr David James, former headmaster of Island School for the following tips, and for Derek Bailey for putting me in touch. I've added links to related pages.

Q1. What age are your students? (Primary / Secondary / Tertiary)

A1. The most important question of all. If you know the age of the students you can prepare appropriately, other wise all you can do is read generally on HK history to prepare yourself.

Q2. What subjects & activities get your students most interested and engaged with Hong Kong's history?

A2. The China tea trade and the Opium Wars, the capture of HK and the Japanese invasion of the Island in 1941. (eg Why does government house look like it does?)

Visits to the old Colonial Cemetery or even St Johns Cathedral or the old British Fort above Mt Davis or the even better one out beyond Quarry Bay? HK Museum of History or the Imperial Chinese museum in the New Territories.

Q3. What are your favourite resources (books / websites / museums / etc.) as a teacher?

A3. There are some stunning glossy photographic books on Old Hong Kong. The standard history book for the teacher would be Endicott's History of Hong Kong although it has probably been superceded  by a newer version these days.

Q4. And what resources are best for students to use?

A4. Google or use Wikipedia for the history of HK. It will give you loads of references, some of which will appear often. The oft quoted sources/ references are the good ones

Q5. Anything else we should know about?

A5. Chinese history texts do lots on Chinese imperial history, the leftist schools look at communist achievements in the 20th Century and British ones from the Opium Wars. And that of course is another question in itself.

Q1. What age are your students? (Primary / Secondary / Tertiary)

ans: Primary 4-6. 

Q2. What subjects & activities get your students most interested and engaged with Hong Kong's history?

ans: My students love to watch the old movies on youtube. They also love to guess what different objects were used for in the past.

Q3. What are your favourite resources (books / websites / museums / etc.) as a teacher?

 ans: My favourite resources are museums and books. I have several history books at home including volume 4 of your series. Hong Kong history museum and the Shatin Heritage museum are my favourites.

Q4. And what resources are best for students to use?

ans: My young students love to see photographs from books or this website. We have had trips to both history museums in the past and Tai Po railway museum.

Q5. Anything else we should know about?

ans: Not sure what to say here as I only teach a small amount of history in class and my students are very young and not native English speakers. But I would like to say thanks for your website. I really appreciate your hard work and enjoyed the recent video. Now I know the face behind Gwulo.

Q1. What age are your students? (Primary / Secondary / Tertiary)

Form 1 (~12 years old) to Form 6 (~18 years old)

Q2. What subjects & activities get your students most interested and engaged with Hong Kong's history?

  • British colonial rule (The city outlook in different areas is always useful to show the nature of the colonial rule, such as the modernization and westernization, plus the respects of local cultures);
  • Urban planning and development (I love to use panorama in different years to show them the urban spawn, the changing of city landscape and the urbanization of Hong Kong) ,
  • the Battle of Hong Kong (well... any photos are welcomed in this topic, and I'm sure I can handle them),
  • the Riots of 1956, 1966 and 1967 (Riots in the old days is something unfamiliar to the students, and photos tell a lot more stories than the books)

Q3. What are your favourite resources (books / websites / museums / etc.) as a teacher?

  • I usually google the photos (and I hate watermark, a lot).
  • For other primary sources... sometimes I will check the archives, sometimes I will buy one (including books, artefacts, photos, pamphlets and so on...) with my own fortune (so that I can keep them wherever I go).
  • For museums... students like to go to museums, but the thing they like most is a teacher who can tell every bits of details of each artefacts without referring to the descriptions... so books are important to us.

Q4. And what resources are best for students to use?

A documentary on YouTube seems to be a valuable first step, then a photo album with detailed illustration is also attractive to them. For more competent students, a book with around 200 pages is okay for them, they can finish them in half a year, especially when someone can tell them what this book is about and what is the value of that book.

Q5. Anything else we should know about?

This offer is great in any circumstances. The point is how to show the offer to the few thousands of teachers in the local schools in Hong Kong.