Chapter IV Learning and Teaching
4.1 Guiding principles
determination, courage and confidence in turning their beliefs and decisions into practice can be established.
The learning and teaching of the MNE subject emphasises the cultivation of students’
own values and attitudes through discussion and reflection on their own life experiences.
Related learning experiences inspire students to think and encourage them to take the initiative to seek knowledge and make rational judgements through analysis and discussion rather than following a prescribed set of values and attitudes as conveyed by the teachers.
4.1.3 Cultivation of values and attitudes
The main direction of the MNE subject is to cultivate in students positive values and attitudes. Positive values and attitudes should possess the following attributes:
Being virtues recognised and accepted by the general public
Being the positive and driving force in the development and betterment of individuals, family, society, the country and the world
Being conducive to good conduct and pro-social and altruistic behaviour
The cultivation of positive values and attitudes should take into consideration students’
developmental needs. The learning and teaching for each of the four Key Stages has different but interrelated emphases:
In Key Stages One and Two (Primary 1 – 6), the focus is on cultivating students’
positive values and attitudes, which include perseverance, benevolence, respect, etc.
This furnishes students with a solid moral foundation with “positive energy” and develops their courage to overcome challenges.
In Key Stages Three and Four (Secondary 1 – 6), the focus is on developing students’ ability to distinguish right from wrong in situations compounded by myriads of values. Along with their cognitive development, students’ analytical thinking develops gradually in this stage. They may learn to analyse issues and make decisions with a rational and responsible attitude.
Related learning activities are able to help students clarify and cultivate personal values on the basis of rational thinking and independent judgement. The following are some suggestions for learning and teaching:
Guiding students to understand the nature of values
To guide students to understand the nature of values, teachers can involve them in the
example, it does not only represent the observation of rules and directions, but also implies respect for others.
Encouraging students to prioritise values
To help students understand that various values are involved in life events and issues, teachers can guide them to prioritise values when analysing an issue and employ positive values as reference when making judgements.
Helping students deal with value conflicts
To allow students to experience conflicting values and the ethical dilemmas involved, teachers can employ different learning and teaching strategies, e.g. values clarification to help students handle value conflicts.
Directing students to make value judgement
To assist students in learning how to make caring and reasonable judgements, teachers can guide them to stay objective and adopt a discriminating attitude when analysing life events and issues in various domains.
Promoting the building of values in students
To provide an open learning platform that encourages free expression of opinions, learning and teaching can focus on enhancing students’ ability to clarify, discern and practise values, and their involvement in rational discussion. This helps students ultimately develop into self-directed learners and independent individuals.
4.1.4 Independent thinking and judgement
The MNE subject emphasises the provision of authentic and enlightening learning experiences to encourage students to analyse issues with a rational, unbiased and multi-perspectival mind and increase their competence in independent thinking and judgement.
4.1.5 School-based curriculum planning and practical experience
The learning and teaching strategies of the MNE subject are built on the strengths of the moral, civic and national education that has been implemented by schools. These strategies are designed with adaptation and optimisation of the current practices to meet the rationale and objectives of the MNE subject. They are not to be taken as a single and fixed mode of implementation or a replacement for the existing effective ones.
Schools can invite staff members and stakeholders such as school social workers, parents, students and alumni, who possess unique personal knowledge, skills or experiences related to the MNE subject, to share their experiences with the students. This will enhance students’ understanding of the related domains and increase their motivation to learn.
4.1.6 Learning materials from life events
The MNE subject encourages teachers to make use of life events, currents issues and interesting topics as learning materials for analysis and discussion with students so that students can make rational judgements (please refer to “Appendix 3 for Key Issues on Learning and Teaching through Life Events”).
When designing the school-based learning contents, schools may link the contents with students’ life experiences to provide them with learning contexts for the cultivation of moral qualities and the building of identity.
One school makes great efforts to promote traditional Chinese culture and sets up various interest clubs such as a Chinese orchestra, a lion dance group, a dragon boat team and a Chinese martial arts club. Teachers can capitalise on such strengths when incorporating the Chinese culture related topics into the MNE contents by inviting the members of these interest clubs to share their learning experiences and gains in classes. This can increase students’ understanding of, and interest in Chinese culture.
One school organises frequent exchange learning activities with its sister school which is a special school. This arrangement can enhance students’
understanding of the disadvantaged group in society. Through discussions and sharing sessions in class, students can better understand the difficulties and challenges facing the disadvantaged, thus leading to greater respect and care for people with different abilities.
4.1.7 Experiential learning experiences
Experiential learning not only provides learning elements such as time, place, character and events, but also enriches the learning contents and provides authentic learning contexts at the same time. It also enables students to give thoughtful and reasoned considerations when making decisions in the face of value conflicts.
Off-campus learning activities such as service learning, site visits and Mainland exchange programmes allow students to cultivate values and attitudes in an authentic environment.
For example, students may reflect on their experiences of participating in school or community services, thus developing greater concern for others and society. The offering of services also facilitates the integration of the experiences from the cognition, affection and action aspects, thus helping to cultivate students’ moral qualities and commitment as responsible citizens.
One school arranges the “personal growth lessons” in regular classes.
Daily life events are used as resources to help students cultivate good moral qualities and attitudes through class discussion and learning activities.
One of the topics of the “personal growth lessons” is “pursuit of excellence”. Students are required to review their performance in the previous term and set goals with a detailed plan for the new term. The reflective questions include, “For the general performance in the first term, I give myself a score of ___”, “What impressed me most in the first term was...”, “From the incident, I have learnt that...”, etc.
Students may also invite friends, teachers and parents to write down encouraging remarks to enrich their learning experience and consolidate their learning.
Schools may consider the use of service learning when planning for the learning contents of the social domain in the MNE subject. Service learning can develop students’
awareness, sense of belonging, civic participation and identity towards their community.
For example, a service learning activity under the theme of conservation of monuments and antiquities may involve students who volunteer as docents. The students can also write to district councillors and relevant authorities to express their opinions on related issues.
4.1.8 Conducive learning environment
A good learning environment facilitates the learning and teaching of the MNE subject.
Schools, peers, families and society can all help to create an environment conducive to learning, which helps students feel and experience desirable moral qualities such as self-discipline, honesty and courtesy. This allows students to identify and uphold these moral qualities.
Students can understand the norms of social behaviours through their observation of the words and deeds of adults as well as teachers, who act as role models to students. It implies that “teaching by words” and “teaching with deeds” are equally important in creating a learning environment conducive to the cultivation of students’ moral qualities.
Support from family members is influential in the effective implementation of the MNE subject. Parents’ participation in learning activities facilitates the provision of an environment conducive to learning for students (please refer to “4.2.1 Roles of stakeholders” for the details of the possible roles of stakeholders in the learning and teaching of the MNE subject).
One school launches a “mentoring scheme” among students to give senior students an opportunity to take care of junior students who encounter difficulties in their learning.
A group of senior students is selected as “mentors”. They receive training on how to cope with the learning needs of their mentees.
Mentors provide mentees with guidance in doing homework and play with them during recess, lunch hour and after school. Besides helping junior students to tackle the difficulties in their studies, the scheme gives senior students an opportunity to develop a sense of responsibility and commitment, and fosters a caring learning environment in the school.