Country Report: Ideal School
Miss Cheng Kwan Chui
Mr Chan Lik Tan
My name is Cheng Kwan Chui. I am from Shun Lee Catholic Secondary School of Hong Kong SAR. I am a Form 6 science student. In Hong Kong, the curriculum of science is divided into 2 big streams, namely biology stream and mathematics stream. Biology stream students, usually, study biology and chemistry, while the mathematics stream students study pure mathematics and physics. I am a biology student while my partner Chan Lik Tan is a mathematics student.
The name of our school is Shun Lee Catholic Secondary School. Our school was established in 1982. It was sponsored by Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong and it is a co-education school. We are going to introduce our school to you, particularly focussing on the initiatives undertaken by our school. First, our school has been a pilot school of using information technology (IT) in teaching. Our school is administrated under the School-based Management; the school gains the flexibility and autonomy of managing the school from the education authority. And in the school, all parties involved including school managers, principal, teachers, parents, and student work together.
Here comes our idea of ideal education.
First of all we think that the ratio of students to teachers should be reduced, say for example, 20 students in 1 class. This will give benefits to both teachers and students.
With a smaller class size, teachers will be able to give better individual attention to students. Each student can get more help from a teacher. It is easier to establish a good relationship between teachers and students.
In a smaller class, students could have a greater participation in class activities. Besides, students may be more ready to ask questions. They could learn more effectively.
In order to enhance teaching effectiveness, training courses for teachers should be held regularly. The training program may include the teaching method and education psychology. Another thing to do is to enhance the teachers' motivation in teaching. This can be achieved by awarding the excellent teachers and strengthening the school monitoring. That is, inspecting the schools regularly and giving assistance to teachers who are in need of help.
I think examination is necessary in education, because it provides a tool for assessment and act as a driving force for students to study. However, the Hong Kong examination system needs some reform. The problem is that exam results are considered too important. The schools assess students mainly by their exam results. Under these circumstances, the pressure of study for students is very high.
Moreover, examination always leads to a dead end. Learning should produce opportunities, right? But most of the time, education i.e. examination produce a large number of loser. Secondly, some learners have poor academic results but they may have a strong interest in learning. What should we do to them? Ignoring them, maybe we will lose a talent. Let me give you an example. A scientist from Hong Kong got bad academic result when he was a secondary school student. But in later year, he succeeded in a cloning experiment. If we just consider the academic results of a student, without trying to find out his/her talent, the society would lose a great mind.
Learning should bring enjoyment to learners. Intensive teaching for the examination will make students lose their interest and target in learning. For most of the students now, they study hard so as to have a better career. However, when being asked about their aims of the studies, they usually do not know. In a television program, I remember a Primary 4 student saying that she had lost all the interest in learning. Sounds strange to you? But it is a fact. How to deal with this problem? By reducing the pressure of learning and giving the sense of success of acquire knowledge.
The side effect of this system is making students feel that the studying materials in the syllabus, that is, to be examined, are too much. We never try to learn more additional knowledge that is not to be examined. Because students have no time other than deal with the exam. It also turns the students' confidence brittle.
Something must be done to tackle this situation. The first is that teachers should award the well-improved students to encourage their motivation in learning. Next is to increase the weight of coursework and class performance in the final academic results. Say for example, 40% of the mark of the final result is for coursework and tests and the rest is for examination. The last one is, giving students periodical tests, finding out the encountered problems and solves them immediately.
The ideal curriculum should focus on both knowledge and application, but not the former one only. Otherwise, students may consider the curriculum too boring and useless, and lose confidence in learning.
The curriculum should also provide more choices of subjects for junior students to study, and then they are able to choose the one that they are interested is studying.
Teaching should be more flexible. This can be made possible if the education department allow schools to add items to or remove items from the syllabus.
And, if necessary, the teaching material should be updated regularly in order to keep pace with the changing.
Multiple intelligence is the pressing need for students, high index EQ, CQ, AQ, etc. are the element of success today. The curriculum should include the training of this intelligence and developing the leadership skills of the students as well. Here, may I quote the saying from our Director of Education Mrs. Fanny Law. She encouraged us to develop our leadership skills. According to Mrs. Law, a good leader must possess 4Cs. The 4 Cs are competence, commitment, courage and compassion. In my opinion, for a good leader the concept of team is crucial. Should we have a successful team, the job can be done more successfully.
Nonetheless, the existing examination system usually stresses the rote learning, "suggested solutions" are always provided and students are encouraged to memorize them. It usually hinders students' creativity. Also, in this era of information explosion, reciting is no longer fits the social need. Problem solving and communication skills and creativity are demanded. These techniques can be acquired through learning.
However, the education reform needs the collaboration of education department, schools, teachers, parents and students. If any party is not willing to play their part in the reform, the reform will fail. Take Hong Kong as an example, some schools undergoing school-based management carried out changes in curriculum. But, unfortunately, due to the persistence of the exam, the teachers and students finally need to give in to the exam again.
So, the reform of education needs the collaboration of everybody. It is with of all combined effort that the ideal education can be materialized.
The ideal teaching should
not be spoon-feeding. It should be student-oriented. The aim of the
lessons is to improve studentsí knowledge but not to finish the
textbook. The students should be able to learn without teacher, while
the teacher acts as a facilitator and helper in learning. Using
information technology may turn the classroom more interesting, but
before this the teachers must be well trained. Some parts of the
syllabus should be changed according to the use of IT. Besides, the
schools may communicate with the software producer directly to produce
educational software. Furthermore, we should take the advantage of the
Internet, producing the share software or information for teaching.
Therefore, the time of promoting IT would be cut. Interactive learning,
such as group discussion, individual presentation and role-play should
be promoted in order to train the critical thinking and analytical power
of the students.
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