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Drama boosts skills in English

Published on Friday, 05 Jul 2013
Headstart teacher Ivan Idzik teaches through drama.
Photo: Jonathan Wong

Ivan Idzik, a teacher at Headstart Group, was stunned by the fast pace of Hong Kong when he first arrived in the city. "The speed of the escalators in MTR stations - they fly up and down, a rather nice metaphor for the Hong Kong lifestyle. Hold on or you might fall off," he says.

Coming from South Africa, Idzik was inspired to become a teacher after he saw how education is able to help young people. "When I was doing my degree in drama in South Africa, I visited a juvenile correction facility, which was rather scary. However, at the same time, it was also incredibly rewarding to see the students learn and change. Through the use of drama, they could express themselves in a way they had never realised before," he says.

After finishing his degree, Idzik and his friends decided to go abroad. They went to South Korea to teach English at university and to children before deciding to move to Hong Kong.

"My friends and I went to Gyeongju University to teach English and English drama. Then I decided to move to a bigger town, Daegu. In Daegu, I taught children between the ages of seven and 16. It was very different from teaching at university and I loved it. The kids were awesome!" he says.

Having been to Hong Kong to visit family a number of times and really enjoying it, Idzik decided to move to the city after his second year in South Korea. "I liked Hong Kong from the get go. The city was top of the list when I decided to move," he says.

In Hong Kong, Idzik teaches English and, occasionally, drama. "Drama class is a treat as the students obviously love the chance to be involved in drama and school productions. Here students quickly gain confidence in their English abilities through doing drama. The thing that I love the most is that moment when you see that the penny has dropped and the student has grasped the concept and thus can use it with confidence," he says.

For Idzik, the challenge is to maintain discipline in the classroom and arouse students' interest in learning. "I think the most challenging aspect of teaching for any teacher is classroom behaviour and keeping the students interested about having to learn more grammar," he says.

In addition to teaching, Idzik also has to help with the preparation of course materials and correcting assignments. "The work culture in Hong Kong is fast-paced, stressful but obviously successful, because I think Hong Kong is a really prosperous city," he says.

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