Launched in 2018, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust British Council Core Skills for Life Programme (also known as ‘Core Skills for Life’) was a professional development programme for primary school English teachers, led by the British Council and funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The programme attracted 40 local primary schools to participate. Teachers who participated in the programme worked alongside British Council’s Creative Educators to develop fun and engaging online and in-class English lessons while learning how to teach core skills which every child should acquire for their future. Three targeted core skills include: communication & collaboration, creativity & imagination, critical thinking & problem solving. The programme equated to up to 50 hours of Continuing Professional Development. 

Why should we teach Core Skills to students? 

Core Skills support students to develop the ability to: 

  • create and innovate new ideas 
  • analyse information and find solutions to problems 
  • communicate and collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • facilitate self-directed learning with focus on learning motivation and utilise digital resources for learning 

How did teachers and schools benefit from joining the programme?

  • Experienced professional Creative Educator provided one-on-one mentoring for each teacher along a school year to support them in their online and in-class lesson plan development and delivery
  • Creative Educator conducted class observation for each teacher to better understand teachers’ professional development needs 
  • 5 days of training sessions designed for projects teachers to acquire versatile and effective teaching ideas, and learn Core Skills teaching approaches
  • Facilitated the creation of learning circle in each project school with project teachers sharing fun and engaging lesson plans, and core skills teaching approaches among the peers 
  • Be part of a professional network where all project schools and teachers exchanged insights with education practitioners and academics aimed at supporting creative and effective teaching
  • Project teachers who fulfilled all programme requirements were invited to the annual award ceremony to receive certificate 

Targeted Core Skills

Three categories of core skills were covered at each project school, with each teacher focusing on one of the following categories:

  1. Communication and collaboration 
  2. Creativity and imagination
  3. Critical thinking and problem solving

Project objectives

This project aimed to:

  • equip teachers with the necessary skills and knowledge to embed core skills into classes of diverse group of learners. 
  • support teachers to be change agents in teaching innovation. 
  • facilitate the creation of a ‘learning circle’ in each project school (so that teachers can share approaches to teaching core skills with their peers).
  • establish networking platforms where practitioners, academics and relevant stakeholders can exchange insights into teaching approaches.

Mode of support

  • 5 days of online training sessions 
  • 2 rounds of class observations
  • One-on-one consultation on integrating core skills into 5 English lesson plans along the academic year 
  • Unlimited access(during project period) to core skills lesson plans developed by project teachers that participated in these three years.

Target Schools

20 Primary Schools in each cohort

Priority was given to:

  • schools with fewer resources in remote districts 
  • schools who have teacher-training needs in core skills and creative teaching

Target teachers

Three teachers from each school who were: 

  • teaching English
  • interested in teaching approaches that have been developed outside of Hong Kong
  • willing to share their learning with their peers.
Core Skills for Life Teacher Training Workshop ©

British Council

Teacher Development Workshops

Each teacher received a total of 5 days training workshop on core skills introduction and one of the targeted core skills, 1 day reflection  workshop, and 1 day refresher workshop in second school term.

Targeted Core Skills:

  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Creativity and Imagination
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Workshop Content:

  • Exploring and understanding Core Skills 
  • Applying core skills in your schools with action planning
  • Sharing lessons learned across schools

Mentoring Programme

The Creative Educator, as a British Council trainer, provided one-on-one consultations for each teacher on integrating core skills into English lesson plans. 

The Creative Educator provided:

  • 2 rounds of class observation 
  • guidance and written feedback on 5 English lesson plans development
  • telephone/ online consultation 

Award Ceremony and Demonstration Session

At the end of each project year, project teachers who fulfilled all programme requirements were invited to the award ceremony. Selected teachers from the project were invited to demonstrate a class in front of school representatives, students, parents, education sector professionals and Hong Kong Jockey Club representatives as part of experience sharing 

Teacher Sharing Forum

Teachers and school leaders were invited to join a one-day forum to share stories of success and learning and exchange insights with leading practitioners, policy makers and researchers from Hong Kong and the UK.