Back from Hong Kong after observing English lessons at a local school! Some thoughts:
1. At CMI (Chinese as the Medium of Instruction) schools in HK, students hardly have the opportunity to speak/write English except during English class. Such limited exposure means that students need to put in extra effort to seek resources to learn the language. (Which is why I think students in CMI schools who do manage to become fluent in English should be especially commended.)
2. Teachers in HK schools (like teachers the world over) are overworked: school begins at 8.00am proper but teachers often only leave around 7.00pm (not including time needed for marking etc.). Despite their busy schedules, many teachers are also dedicated enough to experiment with new techniques and formats (e.g. a flipped classroom structure).
3. HK students are also under significant stress -- they too have tests, ECAs, youth leadership (e.g. as house captain or head of an ECA) -- yet many doggedly persist in studying late into the night. Many are eager to learn as much as they can--certainly an admirable trait.