Bangkok Faces: Bally Wong of ABC Pathways International Kindergarten Bangkok

14 April 2014, BKK Kids

Your Name: Mrs. Bally Wong
Job Title: Founder – ABC Pathways International Kindergarten Bangkok, ABC Group

1. What is your nationality and background?
– Chinese (Hong Kong Citizen)
– Background:
Graduated from the University of Hull, MBA
Master Practitioner of NLP, certified by The International NLP Academy
Former part-time Lecturer at HKUSPACE (an extension of the University of Hong Kong)
Guest Speaker at Radio Television Hong Kong
Column Writer for parenting magazines and newspapers , including AM730, Parent magazine, and Metro Daily
Owner of the ABC Group (English Language Schools, International Kindergarten, Parent workshops, Public Relations & Event Marketing, Charity & Fundraising)
More than 20 years of experience in education and corporate management
A loving mother to 3 young girls. I enjoy the balance between motherhood and the working world.

2. What is your profession?
Founder and School Principal of ABC Pathways School, a leading professional English language school in Hong Kong
Founder of the newly opened ABC Pathways International Kindergarten in Bangkok, Thailand
Speaker/lecturer in parenting seminars and parental phonics workshops that aim to equip parents with the necessary skills to enhance parent-child communication and bonding

3. What are the key skills and responsibilities of this role?
Supervise the overall operations of the seven English language schools in Hong Kong
Corporate training to ABC employees as a certified NLP coach
Maintain the excellence of ABC English programmes (as an “Educational Partner” as well as the only authorized “Cambridge ESOL Exam Preparation Centre” of Cambridge University Press)
Overall planning and execution of ABC Group national and international expansion

4. How did you get involved in your profession?
The “language learning business” in Hong Kong is flourishing. Looking into the market trends, there is obviously a niche to have a language learning centre which can reach both parents and children. One major aspect all parents wish to provide is the “knowledge” that equips children for their future studies. This idea is the cornerstone for building a bright future. Fluency in the English language is becoming a fundamental skill for every child to learn and it is believed that it should be taught at the youngest age possible. I wanted to create a learning approach that combined “happy learning” with strong academic results. In 2002, my passion for education moved me to leave a prosperous job and establish ABC Pathways School. As ABC grows, I want to share our successful “happy learning” approach with the rest of the world.

5. How does your role enhance the well-being or experience of children?
In the past 12 years, we have provided English training to more than 45,000 children. We use a series of comprehensive English programmes that fit Hong Kong learners. We have adapted this model to fit Thai learners as well. Unlike traditional teaching methods, ABC adopts the educational approach of “No Homework, No Exams, and No Pressure” – the “Happy Learning” philosophy – where children are learning in a loving and caring environment which is one of the incentives for them to strive towards self-learning in the future. Our ‘Happy Learning’ philosophy also stimulates better content retention as students recall a positive experience when reflecting on their coursework.

6. What challenges do you face in this role?
The main challenge for me is enabling parents to truly understand the meaning of studying – not about drilling but happy learning, which we believe is the most effective way to absorb knowledge.
The prevailing local educational climate in Hong Kong often means that parents can become lost and confused; surrounded by comparisons and competition from all sides. In this competitive climate, it is all too easy for parents to forget their first intentions of providing their children with a solid education. Coupled with demanding expectations for parents to constantly meet, this high-pressure situation has meant that the intimate bond between parents and their children has sadly begun to disappear. As a mother myself, I’ve been trying to help maintain the bond between parents and their children, as well as to help save the best moments of childhood to be experience though parent-child interaction.

7. What do you hope to achieve within your industry?
Our next goal is to explore the mainland China and overseas market. We hope to bring our success with us to new markets, starting here in Bangkok. We ultimately hope to see our philosophy used to improve the education style of ESL learners. It is possible that we will become the pioneer in markets where income levels are rising and people see the need for quality English language education.

8. Who or What inspires you?
Because of my poor English skills at a young age, I had strong motivation to change the attitude of others that individuals with poor English skills cannot succeed in the future. I realized that Hong Kong parents had an attitude towards childhood education that was a bit too over-reactive and drill based. I had the intention of doing something related to parenting after earning my MBA. In 2005, with the aspiration of getting to know myself and others more, and to enhance communication with people who are around me, I studied NeuroLingustic Programming (NLP). After studying NLP, my passion for parenting became even stronger. It is this passion and desire for every family to have a strong connection and a fruitful education that inspires me to improve and grow ABC Pathways.
I am a loving mother of three young girls aged 15 years, 13 years, and 6 years. My family is the most valuable gift in my life and it is the ultimate driver for my career in education.

9. Only a Bangkok local would know…
Our Bangkok team tells me that the best place to watch the sunset in the city is on the banks of the Chao Praya River overlooking Wat Arun. The Nest Bistro has a great 5th floor lounge to enjoy the sunset across from Wat Arun.

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