Resources refer to the whole range of sources of information on which students and teachers may draw for learning and teaching. In the learning process of GS, students are expected to engage in a wide range of hands-on and minds-on learning experiences. Effective use of resources can facilitate this process.
6.1 Functions of Learning and Teaching Resources
Learning and teaching resources provide sources of other learning experiences to students. In the learning or teaching process, these resources can enhance interaction between teachers and students as well as extending students’
learning experience. If teachers are able to select and use suitable learning and teaching resources, they can help students construct knowledge, nurture generic skills, positive values and attitudes, thus laying the foundation of life-long learning.
6.2 Selection of Learning and Teaching Resources
There are various types of learning and teaching resources in GS: textbooks, reference books, newspapers, objects, multimedia resources, family and community resources, living experience of teachers and students etc. All of them can be valuable learning and teaching resources. Effective use of resources can arouse learning interest and also strengthen learning outcomes.
The learning and teaching resources selected by teachers should be:
❖ able to meet the learning goals;
❖ able to enhance learning motivation and interest of students, enabling them to participate actively in learning activities;
❖ effective and precise in expressing messages and ideas;
❖ motivational and interactive that can facilitate discussion and extended investigation, helping students to learn independently.
Schools can purchase, borrow or produce learning and teaching resources themselves. Teachers can also search for resources with students together, e.g. recyclable materials disposed by households. Under many circumstances,
schools do not need to spend huge sums of money on purchasing learning and teaching resources. Teachers should consider the educational value of learning and teaching resources and the time needed to prepare these resources. For example, if it takes a long time to produce a visual aid that is used for three minutes, it may be better to use an alternative medium instead.
When teachers are choosing online resources, they should verify whether the information is correct, reliable and suitable for students. In addition, teachers ought to pay attention to the matters of intellectual property. They should avoid infringing copyright, and help students build up the awareness and practice of protecting intellectual property. Information about “copyright and education” can be found on the website of Intellectual Property Department:
6.3 Commonly Used Resources
The textbook is the most commonly used resource in the classroom. Effective use of good textbooks can provide students with access to the knowledge they need.
Teachers should adapt textbooks and use the content selectively. Students’
understanding of concepts and the relationships between them are preferred to the memorisation of factual information.
No textbook can cater to the needs of all students in a class. It is necessary, therefore, for teachers to adapt textbooks and complement them with other resources to match the needs and interests of students. Instructional materials can be developed from textbook content and from elsewhere to meet their needs. Both students and teachers can add further information from other sources, or replace the textbook content with newspaper clippings or students’
life events, for example.
Schools should select textbooks carefully to be as close a match as possible to the needs, interests and abilities of students as well as the teaching styles of teachers. While selecting textbooks, teachers should refer to the Recommended Textbook List, Guiding Principles for Quality Textbooks and the Schools Circular Memorandum on Notes on Selection of Textbooks and
Learning Materials for Use in Schools issued by the Curriculum Development Institute in the website of EDB:
http://www.edb.gov.hk/index.aspx?langno=1&nodeID=2417 6.3.2 Workbooks and Worksheets
Workbooks and worksheets are commonly used as supplementary materials.
However, they should only be used when the exercises are related to the actual learning that has been undertaken in the classroom and where they encourage students to think. Teachers should not set too many exercises and should consider their purpose and their readability carefully before using them.
6.3.3 Reference Books and Other Printed Materials
Appropriate reference books, magazines, newspapers, information leaflets, brochures, maps and posters may complement the content of textbooks by providing examples of phenomena or events related to textbook content, by summarising or clarifying messages, by bringing textbook content to life, by adding extra information to a topic, by providing extra exercises or problem-solving activities, by showing the relationship between old and new topics, or by presenting topics not covered in the textbook. In project learning activities, students can search for materials from these sources. Using such printed materials will enhance students’ reading abilities.
6.3.4 Multi-media Resources
Multi-media resources provide access to latest information (e.g. spot news) and create special effects (e.g. animation). A wide variety of multi-media resources can be used in the learning and teaching of GS. Teachers can provide students with multi-sensory experience and diversified learning experience.
Audiovisuals can supplement the insufficiency of textbooks. Things such as concrete objects, models and toys help provide authentic learning experience. Pictures, photos and videos help bring scenes from outside into the classroom. Audiovisuals also bring sounds from outside into the classroom (e.g. sound of birds) and can be used to train students’ listening abilities. Moreover, audiovisuals can be used as a channel to disclose information (e.g. video clippings of weather report) and materials for self-learning (e.g. students record how their classmates interview tourists with
Educational Television (ETV) is a commonly used resource to supplement GS learning. An ETV programme should not be treated, however, as an isolated unit of learning. Teachers should select appropriate episodes and familiarise themselves with the teachers’ manual. A preview of an ETV programme is important so that the teacher can provide students with background information on the topic, identify the parts that students may enjoy most, and those which they may find difficult, for follow-up activities. Where appropriate, the teacher should stop the programme for discussion or for prediction about the next episode/ key concept, skip irrelevant parts and repeat key sections. Follow-up activities might include such activities as eliciting key ideas shown, resolving unanswered questions, relating the material to concepts or the content of a textbook or other unit, stimulating students’ creative responses.
Moreover, teachers can produce audiovisuals themselves to aid teaching, thus strengthening the efficiency of learning and teaching. For example, recording students’ learning in action, allowing them to watch their performance and introspect their learning progress.
❖ IT Tools
Since information technology for interactive learning is one of the Key Tasks in curriculum reform, teachers should provide opportunities for students to use IT tools in GS. Students can search for information on the Internet or present their project findings by using computer software.
Teachers can also use IT application tools for computer simulation activities to demonstrate the experimental process. In the process, teachers might guide student learning by IT tools, e.g. answering questions of students and giving suitable guidance through E-mail, or setting up discussion group as a learning platform, so as to help students construct knowledge and share learning experience and resources.
6.3.5 Community Resources
Different organisations, facilities or people in the community can be utilised as learning and teaching resources that provide students with suitable learning experience and latest information. Community resources facilitate students to learn in real life situations, and to link learning with daily life. They make GS study more interesting, authentic and meaningful.
For ways to promote learning and teaching of GS using community resources, please refer to the example of “Learning Beyond Classrooms – Life-wide Learning” in Section 4.5 of chapter 4.
6.4 Resource Management in Schools
Schools should ensure that there is a rich variety of resources for GS and that they are well-managed.
Materials covering the curriculum should be collected, arranged, classified, displayed and updated if necessary. The teacher librarian can assist in the collection and display of resources, e.g. books, journals or any other information on topics taught. Schools can use the school library as an information centre, where students can develop their knowledge, as well as acquire the essential skills for reading to learn and handling information.
Schools usually have a resource room in which GS resources are stored. The room should be properly manned and maintained. There should be clear records of resources borrowed and returned. Teachers should establish the good practice of sharing resources. For example, they can collaborate to build up a resource collection in school. Schools can also upload the resources to their website or intranet if it is feasible. Teachers and students can share the resources and comment on their quality, as well as make suggestions on their usage.