Chapter IV Learning and Teaching
4.2 Learning and teaching process
4.2.2 Suggestions on learning and teaching strategies (a) Clarifying related values
Through various learning activities such as questioning, doing worksheets and conducting discussions, teachers can encourage students to think and assess the consequences resulting from different decisions. This helps to enhance students’
understanding of their own beliefs and values. The following are some strategies for reference:
- Teacher-student dialogues: During the process, teachers can give positive feedback on students’ views and opinions, leading them to reflect on the values implicit in their words and deeds. A students’ learning framework can be constructed to enable them to review and reflect on their behaviour and beliefs, thus enhancing their understanding of the values they hold.
- Writing activities: Writing activities allow students to organise their thoughts without being distracted by their surroundings and other sentiments. They enable a rational analysis on the issues concerned and lead to enhanced learning motivation.
- Group discussions: In clarifying values, teachers can act as facilitators to provide students with a free and open discussion platform. To avoid domination by a few and to stimulate deep and comprehensive thinking, every student is encouraged to participate in discussions.
(b) Discussion of controversial issues
Controversial issues are often widely discussed in society. It is difficult for people to reach a consensus as everyone is influenced by one’s own perception and values.
However, exploring these issues helps students clarify their value and learn how to make sensible and legitimate choices. It constitutes an important part of values education.
Teachers should not avoid discussion of controversial issues. On the contrary, they should regard it as important teaching opportunities to help students in their values development.
Expanding students’ knowledge of an issue through the use of debates
Teachers can organise debates to deepen students’ understanding of a topic.
With opportunities to exercise independent thinking, and to analyse the topic from multiple perspectives, and formulate and support their arguments, students learn how to make caring and reasonable judgements.
To speak cautiously, practise self-discipline and get along well with others in a rational and respectful manner
Learning how to get along well with peers and develop friendship, e.g.
being polite, treating others with sincerity, care and friendliness, showing respect for friends, caring about people’s feelings, and being considerate Suggested Teaching Procedures:
Set the debate motion “Nicknaming others does not do any harm” and allow students to take sides. Allow both the affirmative and opposition teams to prepare their arguments before the debate.
On completion of the debate, let students share in groups their experiences of nicknaming others or being nicknamed. This will allow students to reflect on the motives behind such behaviour.
Provide feedback on their reflection. Point out that tolerance of nicknames varies from person to person. Even if one is tolerant, it should not be assumed that others have the same tolerance. Everyone’s wishes and feelings should be respected.
Duly emphasise the importance of the values of “respect for others”,
“prudent speech” and “self-discipline” in class.
Controversial issues can be found in the learning contents of every domain of the MNE subject. They reflect different values and elements of value conflicts which are worthy of analyses and discussions among students. Through analysing and discussing these controversial issues, students will develop independent thinking, clarify their values and establish their personal stance.
The learning and teaching of controversial issues is “process-orientated”. It emphasises the thinking and judgement process experienced by students, through which students are provided with a conceptual framework, discussion skills, analytical perspectives, decision-making models, etc. Meanwhile, students also have to consider whether their conclusion is thoughtful and reasoned.
It should be stressed that in discussions, students should adopt positive values and attitudes (e.g. equity, justice, integrity and care for others), rather than superficial concerns such as personal preference, interest and interpersonal relationship as some of the principles guiding their judgement.
Teachers should guide students to understand the consequences of their decisions and develop their awareness of the value orientation of the mainstream view on the issue concerned while showing respect for the value judgement and decisions of the students.
Views generated from the discussion of an issue should be grounded on factually accurate evidence, which stresses a thoughtful and rational analysis from multiple perspectives. First impression bias, reaching a conclusion without undertaking sufficient validation of evidence, or over-simplification by seeing a complex issue only in black and white terms should be avoided.
Teachers should teach students to discuss matters from multiple perspectives. This helps students learn to respect others, accept different views, including those of the minority and the opposition, and not to insist on having a single view adopted by the whole class.
Teachers have to strike a balance between different opinions and avoid the domination of personal stance in their teaching. The balance does not simply mean equal time allocation for the explanation of different views; instead it is the opportunity for students to understand different views and their respective rationale, and engage in open discussion and free expression of their opinions.
Regardless of students’ stance, teachers should actively safeguard and respect every student’s right to speak. If the whole class share the same view, teachers can provisionally play the devil’s advocate in order to lead a multi-perspectival deliberation and let them explore the issue from different points of view (please refer to Appendix 4 for suggestions on learning and teaching strategies).
Although teachers may give their personal opinions during discussion, they should remind students that such opinions are not “standard answers” to the issue concerned (please refer to Appendix 5 for detailed learning and teaching procedures and points to note).
In order to guide students to develop an impartial understanding of an issue, teachers can adopt classroom learning strategies such as simulation, experiential learning and performing a playlet so that students can directly feel for themselves the contexts of the controversial issue and understand the mind of the people involved. This will help students make up their own mind about the issue in a caring and reasonable manner.
Exemplar of Issues for Discussion
With the coverage of five domains, the MNE subject provides plenty of discussion topics on values. When selecting topics, teachers should consider the moral significance of the topics as well as their potential to trigger multi-perspectival thinking among the students and hence the development of positive values and attitudes.
Take “food safety issues” as an example. Teachers can guide students to have values discussion so that they can learn to articulate their stance on issues that are informed by myriads of values.
The “food safety issues” have the following characteristics:
- Not only an individual incident, but also a value issue
- Impact not only on personal health, but also the well-being of families, society, the country and the world
- A technical question on the surface, with the choice of values at the core
- Extensive concerns and reports on the issue, thus promoting students’
interest in understanding this issue which is well worthy of attention
Teachers can guide students to study and analyse the topic with a view to helping them make judgements and discern the embedded values.
Through exploring “food safety issues”, to understand the impact of economic, social and technological development on individuals, families, society, the country and the world and to realise the importance of values such as care for others, altruism, integrity, respect for law, responsibility and sustainable development in our everyday life.
Roles of Teachers
Provide background knowledge of various aspects concerning “food safety issues”, e.g. examples of food safety incidents and food safety regulations around the world (e.g. safety standards, food additives regulations and notification mechanism).
Guide students to contemplate the issues from a balanced, fair and impartial point of view in the course of teaching (please refer to Appendix 4 and Appendix 5).
Exemplar of Issues for Discussion (continued) Suggested Guiding Questions:
When a food safety issue arises in the Mainland, how should you select information from different sources for analysis and comparison? For example, how can news reports from the Mainland, Hong Kong and foreign media be synthesised? Are the reports intended to simply present facts about the food safety issue, or are they merely using the subject as a pretext to express ideas on matters other than food safety?
How does the information shed light on the origin of the food safety issue? Is the inference made on the origin of the issue supported by sufficient evidence?
Has the information given full consideration to various factors leading to the issue (e.g. the unscrupulous acts of the merchants; the prevalence of materialism in society; food safety regulations and their enforcement; measures taken by other countries and regions in handling similar issues)?
What will be the impact of the production of unsafe food (e.g. use of raw materials and chemicals that are unsuitable for human consumption; use of food additives; genetically modified consumable livestock, vegetables and fruits; and use of inappropriate feeds for livestock) on merchants and consumers?
How would you feel and react when you found that the food you were eating was unsafe for consumption?
Why is unsafe food produced? Why do consumers take unsafe food?
How does the value orientation of merchants and consumers relate to these questions (e.g. merchants are profit-oriented and efficiency-directed, whereas consumers place a high value on external factors like presentation, taste, texture, price and quantity)?
What are the values reflected in the merchants’ production of unsafe food? What kind of values have they abandoned (e.g. care for others, integrity, responsibility, respect for law and goodwill)?
Should the merchants consider their moral baseline in their pursuit of profits? How can a balance be achieved and put into practice?
How can the merchants safeguard their “self-interest” without compromising public interest in the food production process?
How can merchants maintain their “integrity” in the food production process?
How would you feel and react on knowing that your family had consumed unsafe food?
Exemplar of Topics for Discussion (continued)
Putting yourself in the food merchants’ shoes, imagine you have to earn your family’s living and ensure a decent life for them. Therefore, you crave for huge profits at the expense of food safety. However, you are also worried that your family may consume unsafe food. Does it involve value conflicts in this case?
If you were the merchant’s family member and knew that the breadwinner of your family had to face justice for producing unsafe food that had caused harm to other families and the loss of credibility of the business, how would you feel?
In order to protect your family’s health, how should you, as a family member, respond to the food safety issue?
What is the relationship between the social climate on the one hand and the value orientation of consumers and the producers of unsafe food on the other?
What is the impact of the food safety issue on the relationship between merchants and consumers (e.g. jeopardising the mutually beneficial relationship between merchants and consumers)? What kind of values and attitudes should be maintained by the merchants and the consumers?
What are the social responsibilities of food production enterprises? If you were a food producer, how would you fulfil your social responsibilities in response to the calls for food safety in society?
Can the general public and related organisations such as the chambers of commerce and the federations of food producers take the initiative to demonstrate their social ethics and sense of social responsibility?
How would food safety issues affect the national image? How should merchants consider their national responsibilities?
How should the government tackle and prevent food safety problems (e.g.
practical monitoring and enforcement as well as reporting measures in respect of regulations such as Food Safety Law and Regulation on the Implementation of the Food Safety Law)? What kinds of values and attitudes are demonstrated in these measures? Can these measures be further improved?
Why do producers of unsafe food ignore related regulations and monitoring by the country? What are the improper values and attitudes thus manifested?
Are legislation and regulatory supervision the most effective means to deal with the food safety issue? What are the shortcomings of these means? Apart from legislation and supervision, are there any other ways
(c) Diversified modes of learning
The MNE subject covers a range of domains. Students’ prior knowledge relating to the curriculum may vary due to differences in their backgrounds and life experiences.
Teachers can make use of different modes, e.g. role plays, group discussions and video shows, together with effective questioning techniques, to guide students’
Teachers can discuss with students topics of their concern, e.g. interpersonal relationships, attitudes towards romantic love and career planning. Teachers can give feedback to help them identify the values underlying their views. They can also encourage students to practise self-reflection and clarify their stance through questioning and scaffolding of information.
(d) Provision of authentic learning contexts
First-hand observation, experience and reflection, e.g. visits and exchange programmes, field trips and service learning, are effective in promoting the moral development of students and enhancing their learning.
Exemplar of Topics for Discussion (continued)
What proposals have the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN) made for the food safety issues? What relevant measures have been taken by the governments of other countries and regions? What core values are reflected in these measures?
The UN Human Rights Council shows concern for “the right to food”.
How would the food safety issues be considered from the perspective of human rights?
Some green organisations consider genetically modified food, overly processed food and the use of pesticides detrimental to sustainable development. They propose organic and ecological agricultural models and a ban on pesticides. What kinds of core values are reflected in these proposals?
Artificial food and natural food have their own characteristics. For example, genetically modified rice is higher in yields with a shorter growth cycle, but the production cost of organic agriculture food is higher. Not using any pesticides will lead to greater infestation of pests.
How can consumers choose between artificial and natural food? What are the values that can serve as the principles and reference for making judgements?
Teachers can facilitate the learning of the MNE subject by organising visits and exchanges. For example, for learning in the national domain, inbound or outbound visits and exchanges complementary to classroom learning may be organised for students to explore the opportunities and challenges facing the country in the four dimensions of national situations (i.e. natural resources, contemporary development, humanities and history). Examples include:
- Arranging visits to buildings of traditional Chinese architecture to explore the cultural features they demonstrate. Comparison between Chinese buildings in the Mainland and Hong Kong may also be made to give a clearer picture of the cultural heritage and social development of both places.
- Organising students’ participation in festival celebrations to allow them to experience traditional values like respect for culture and respect for ancestors.
Students can also gain more knowledge of Chinese culture with the help of learning activities such as assemblies, book fairs and project learning.
(e) Project learning
Project learning encourages self-directed exploration and collaboration between students. A rational, objective, positive and proactive attitude is emphasised in the process of project learning. Students should have ownership in every stage of the process, e.g. selection of topic, information search, peer collaboration, sharing of results and self-reflection.
During the process, teachers should help students clarify and explore the values and attitudes underlying the topic. Students should be encouraged to analyse the issue rationally and take a prudent and discriminating attitude so as to arrive at a caring and reasonable judgement.
Students’ active participation should be encouraged so as to develop their generic skills, including communication, collaboration and presentation skills, as well as values and attitudes such as rationality, objectivity, broadmindedness and respect.
Promoting learning in the national domain through visits, exchange programmes and project learning
Regarding the national domain, the MNE subject aims at developing students’
understanding of the close connection between the development of the country and Hong Kong. Teachers may arrange visits and exchange programmes focusing on the architecture of ancestral halls in the Guangdong Province and Hong Kong to complement classroom learning. This helps to pave the way for exploring the cultural heritage of the Guangdong Province and Hong Kong, and nurturing a common sense of belonging.
Promoting learning in the national domain through visits, exchange programmes and project learning (continued) Learning Objective:
To learn about the close relationship between the country and Hong Kong in their development, and develop a common sense of belonging Suggested Learning Procedures:
Before the exchange programme:
Conduct some information search about the architecture of ancestral halls and the relationship between the Guangdong Province and Hong Kong, and set a topic for enquiry, e.g. exploring the relationship between ancestral hall architecture and the rise of the social status of clans.
Determine the aims, formulate a plan, approaches and steps for the enquiry according to the topic chosen.
During the exchange programme:
Visit ancestral halls with distinguishing features in the Guangdong Province and Hong Kong, collect information and compare it with the information collected before the visits.
Carefully observe the surroundings during the visits, e.g. roof ridge decorations, auspicious symbols, and Chinese couplets and tablets, and think about their embedded meanings and cultural connotation.
Apart from observation, students can also interview people living near the ancestral halls to gain an in-depth understanding of the positive impact of the ancestral halls on the social status of clans, and the legacies they leave behind in terms of ancestral aspirations and Chinese virtues.
After the exchange programme:
Compile and analyse the information collected and present their learning outcomes in different ways, e.g. reports, web pages, models, short videos, as well as sharing activities such as role plays and dramas related to the subject. Students should share with teachers, peers, parents and different sectors of society their learning experiences and knowledge gained in the exchange programme in a lively and interesting way so as to extend and deepen their learning effectiveness.
(f) Discerning events and topics for discussion from multiple perspectives
“Character”, “Place”, “Event” and “Time” serve well as entry points to initiate thinking in the learning and teaching of the MNE subject and to encourage a multi-dimensional understanding of the events and topics for discussion in each domain.
Take the personal, family, social and global domains as examples. Teachers can guide students to select “Character”, “Place”, “Event” and “Time” as entry points for thinking to enhance their identity in each domain; for example:
- Character: Take the personal domain as an example. Students can understand the wisdom of, and learn from the moral qualities of outstanding figures in the history of China and the world. They can practise in daily life what they have learnt to enhance their personal qualities.
- Place: Take the social domain as an example. Students can visit the Legislative Council (LegCo) Complex and observe meetings of the LegCo and other committee meetings to understand the work of the LegCo and the spirit of democracy and rule of law.
- Event: Take the global domain as an example. Students can study the themes of, and resolutions made at international summits to understand the interdependent relationship among countries and regions and to make rational judgements on global issues.
- Time: Take the family domain as an example. Students can cultivate values and attitudes of filial piety, benevolence, broadmindedness, etc. when they experience the family bonds during festive celebrations and times of hardships and challenges.
Taking the national domain as an example, teachers can also guide students in selecting “Character”, “Place”, “Event” and “Time” as entry points for thinking to enhance their understanding of the development of the country (Please refer to Appendix 6 for suggested modes of learning of national education); for example:
- Character: People who have made tremendous contributions to the country in the fields of politics, military, economy, culture, arts and technology as well as people involved in the course of the development of the country
- Place: Places of great significance in the development of the country such as economic development zones, congress venues, industrial centres and regions with a unique culture and traditional customs
- Event: Events of great significance in the development of the country such as institutional reform, promulgation of policies or regulations, innovations and inventions, and technological breakthroughs