Learning to Learn

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The set of Learning to Learn consultation documents consists of 10 booklets:

one on ‘The Way Forward in Curriculum Development’, eight on the respective Key Learning Areas (Chinese Language Education, English Language Education, Mathematics Education, Personal, Social and Humanities Education, Science Education, Technology Education, Arts Education and Physical Education) and one on General Studies for Primary Schools. The full set of these documents can be downloaded from the website of the Curriculum Development Council (http://www.cdc.org.hk).

Copies of the ‘Consulation Document Summary’are available at the Regional Education Offices and district offices.


A Message from the Chairman of the Curriculum Development Council (CDC)

We are in an era when knowledge is expanding at an unprecedented rate and moral values are being challenged. To prepare our younger generation to meet the challenges of an ever advancing knowledge-based society and the dynamically changing environment, it is not enough to impart them with mere ‘knowledge’. Instead, we have to help them develop a global outlook, equip them with a repertoire of skills and the positive attitudes to respect knowledge and to learn how to learn.

In preparing the curriculum framework for Learning to Learn, which is a student- focused curriculum developed in the best interest of students, we firmly believe that all students could learn, and that they have different intelligences. We provide them with opportunities to learn. We identify key learning experiences and key learning areas, integrating the generic skills, values and attitudes that are essential to their whole person development. We help them to become more aware that there are different ways of learning. What is important is to enhance their quest for knowledge, their awareness and responsibilities in advancing the frontiers of knowledge.

As learning is such a complex process, it requires the collective will and coordinated efforts of all parties concerned to make it effective. We need the partnership with all stakeholders and sectors to maximize expertise and resources. Past experience has also told us that being prescriptive is undesirable. In order to allow for holistic and coherent planning and to provide more flexibility and choices for schools and teachers, we have developed a curriculum framework with key learning areas (knowledge/concepts), generic skills, values and attitudes as the major components. Schools are encouraged to make reference to these frameworks and develop their own school-based teaching and learning programmes according to the needs and characteristics of their students.

It should be noted that the curriculum review is to improve the school curricula to help our young generation face the challenges of the 21st Century. There is no perfect way to achieve all curriculum intentions and goals; nor is there any point in time when all pre-existing conditions can be ‘absolutely’ ready before any curriculum improvement is to be made. We must bear in mind that curriculum development is an ongoing endeavour and the ultimate goal of curriculum reform is to benefit students and to raise the quality of learning.

I am now inviting your suggestions and views on this document. Your valuable support and contribution to this curriculum reform will be much treasured by the Council.


Learning to Learn, Learning for Life;

An Adaptable Teaching Culture, An Evolving Curriculum

Students are the focal point of the entire curriculum reform.

We hope they can all:


learn how to learn


sustain life-long learning

To develop students’ life-long learning abilities, we hope that through the concerted effort of all educators and the general public, schools can:


develop an adaptable teaching culture to enhance the practice of flexible teaching


broaden the curriculum to cater for the different needs of students

Vision of the Curriculum Reform




Chapter 1 Looking Back and Looking Ahead

1.1 Introduction 1

- A Holistic Review of the Hong Kong School Curriculum

1.2 Looking Back 2

- Foundation, Achievement and Strengths, and Issues of Concern

1.3 Looking Ahead 3-7

- Challenges and Opportunities, Balanced Considerations and Guiding Principles

Chapter 2 The Aim, Goals and Development Strategies

2.1 The Aim of the School Curriculum and Learning Goals 8

2.2 An Incremental and Interactive Approach 8

2.3 Phases of Development 9

2.4 Development Strategies to Support Schools and 10

Teachers (2000 - 2005)

2.5 Key Components of the Curriculum Reform 11-14

- Changes Inside and Outside the Classroom, Key Support to Teachers and Schools

Chapter 3 What is Worth Learning?

3.1 Learning Experiences 15

3.2 The Whole Curriculum Framework and Its Components 15-17 Key Learning Areas, Generic Skills, Values and Attitudes

3.3 The Key Learning Area Curriculum Framework and Its Features 17-19

3.4 Connection of Key Learning Areas 19

3.5 Life-wide Learning (connecting the formal and informal curriculum) 19

3.6 Catering for Student Diversity 19-20

- the gifted and the academically low achievers


Chapter 4 Facilitating Learning and Teaching

4.1 The Principles of Facilitating Learning and Teaching 21

4.2 The Roles of Change Agents in Schools 21-25

- School Heads, Middle Managers, School Teachers and Teacher Librarians

Conclusion - Society-wide Mobilisation,


Support of Other Stakeholders Appendices

Appendix 1 Publication Schedule of Curriculum Guides 27-28 Appendix 2 Suggested Lesson Time Allocation for Primary / 29-31

Secondary Schools

Appendix 3 Subjects under the 8 Key Learning Areas 32


Chapter 1 Looking Back and Looking Ahead

1.1 Introduction - A Holistic Review of the Hong Kong School Curriculum

Overall Aims of Education for the 21st Century

To enable every person to attain all-round development in the domains of ethics, intellect, physique, social skills and aesthetics according to his/her own attributes so that he/she is capable of life-long learning, critical and exploratory thinking, innovating and adapting to change;

filled with self-confidence and a team spirit; willing to put forward continuing effort for the prosperity, progress, freedom and democracy of their society, and contribute to the future well-being of the nation and the world at large.

(Reform Proposals for the Education System in Hong Kong 2000)

1.1.1 In response to the ‘Learning for Life, Learning through Life - Reform Proposals for the Education System in Hong Kong’ put forward by the Education Commission (EC) in September this year, the major concerns of the public are: how the school curriculum can be modified, how the teachers can improve their teaching, how the school heads can plan and lead and how the Government can support schools to implement one of the key components of the Education Reform - Curriculum Reform.

1.1.2 To cater for the future learning needs of students and to address related curriculum issues, the Curriculum Development Council has been conducting a Holistic Review of the Hong Kong School Curriculum since January 1999. This was done in parallel with the Education Commission’s review of the education system conducted during 1998-2000.

1.1.3 The Holistic Review of the School Curriculum has been conducted in three stages. In the first and second stages (i.e. from January 1999 to July 2000), we reviewed the existing kindergarten, primary and secondary school curricula as well as the implementation and the issues of individual subjects. We made initial recommendations on the future direction of


2 (1) What are the experiences of curriculum development in Hong Kong?

(2) What is worth learning in the school curriculum to achieve the aims of education for the 21st century?

(3) How can effective teaching and learning be facilitated?

After detailed analysis and thorough consideration, we have chosen

‘Learning to Learn’ as the theme to represent the thrust of this consultation document, to reflect the outcome of the holistic review of the school curriculum at this final stage, and to align with the Education Commission’s rationale, aims, principles, focuses and strategies in their proposals for reforming the education system in Hong Kong.

1.1.5 Learning to Learn

Learning is the key to one’s future, and Education is the gateway to our society’s tomorrow.

(Reform Proposals for the Education System in Hong Kong 2000)

‘Learning to Learn’ means:

To enable students to learn how to learn, that is, to grasp the basic learning skills, to gain a thorough understanding of the concepts to be learnt. Students do not just learn by rote but are able to transcend and apply what they have learnt. In this way, even if they come across new problems in the future, they will be able to tackle the problems by themselves proactively and independently or else they may enhance their problem solving skills through continuing education. That is why students should:

+ build up their capabilities to learn independently (e.g. creative and critical thinking, communication skills, etc.)

+ be able to use different ways of learning

+ develop diverse ways of learning in accordance with their interests, needs and abilities

+ have broad and diversified learning space to learn

1.2 Looking Back - Foundation, Achievements and Strengths, and Issues of Concern

In proposing changes to the curriculum for the future, we are not diminishing the contributions of our predecessors. In fact, it is due to the strong foundation laid in the past that we are now able to move forward to our ideals. While building on these strengths, we are also concerned with the gap between the

‘Intended Curriculum’ and the ‘Implemented Curriculum’ and the problems that


ensue. With the findings from the holistic review, we hope to improve the shortcomings and help students achieve the goal of ‘learning how to learn’.

1.3 Looking Ahead - Challenges and Opportunities, Balanced Considerations and Guiding Principles

1.3.1 Challenges and Opportunities

As globalization brings about changes in society, environment, culture, politics, technology and moral values, Hong Kong, as an Asian world class city, has been transformed from an industrial society to a knowledge- based society. Therefore, our students need to continuously update their knowledge to face a future of opportunities and challenges. In this regard, our responsibility is to equip students with different learning abilities to develop their potential, and encourage them to sustain life-long learning to meet future challenges.

1.3.2 Balanced Considerations

During the curriculum review process, we are aware that the public, in particular the commercial sector, education practitioners, parents and students, have different expectations and viewpoints with regard to the curriculum reform, resulting in seemingly irresolvable tensions. In view of the complexity of the issues involved in curriculum development, a simple and one-size-fits-all solution would not be able to resolve all the curriculum related issues. Instead, we need to consider the following tensions in a balanced way.


+While keeping abreast of global trends, we will adapt to local requirements and adopt the most appropriate reform strategies.


Academic, Personal, Social

and Economic +These goals are not mutually exclusive. Students must acquire

Tensions among the Academic, Personal, Social Tensions Balanced Considerations Tensions


4 Central

Curriculum +The CDC curriculum provides general directions, frameworks and guides. However, schools also need to exercise professional autonomy to adapt and provide variations in learning opportunities for each student.

+The government maintains the responsibility to lead schools towards the vision of curriculum development and to support schools with professional service.

The valuable initiatives developed by individual schools will be used to inform policy and will be disseminated to other schools. The relationship between central policy m a k i n g a n d s c h o o l - b a s e d development will be more on a partnership basis than a top-down and bottom-up dichotomy.

School-based Curriculum

Specialist Development

Whole-person Development

+A 9-year basic education is necessary for students to acquire a sound foundation for whole-person development and prepare for studies at higher levels. It is undesirable to allocate students to study specialised courses / subjects at this stage.

+At senior secondary level, however, students should be entitled to learning opportunities of a more specialised nature in order to develop their potential and interests for further study.


+Students should be entitled to a w i d e r a n g e o f l e a r n i n g opportunities, and be allowed flexibility to learn in diverse ways suitable for them and to develop pluralistic values.

Diversity and Flexibility Tensions Balanced Considerations Tensions



+W hi l e c o-op e ra tion a mong schools, teachers and students will contribute to raising teaching / learning effectiveness, competition through examinations, which is embedded in Chinese culture, will provide an incentive for learning to work hard and to strive for excellence.



Transmission +Both knowledge transmission and k n o w l e d g e c r e a t i o n a r e complementary to learning.

+While the skilful knowledge transmission in Chinese classrooms has been successful in knowledge s c a ff o l d i n g f o r s t u d e n t s , knowledge creation can be effectively built on the experience of scaffolding.

Knowledge Creation

Assessment for

Selection +As long as selection remains a function in the education system, there should be an equal balance between the use of assessment for selection and assessment for helping students learn at the school level. Different modes of as s es s men t s erv e different purposes, and no one form of assessment should take over the other. However, the key purpose is to help students learn.

Assessment for Enhancing the Quality of Teaching and Effectiveness of Student Learning Tensions Balanced Considerations Tensions


6 1.3.3 Guiding Principles

Apart from the education reform principles set out by the Education Commission, we have also adopted the following guiding principles in planning for the new curriculum framework for the next decade.

+ Curriculum aims in line with the Aims of Education and with life-long learning as the key vision - ‘Enjoy learning, enhance effective communication, develop creativity and a sense of commitment’ – should be given high priority.

+ A learner-focused approach should be used to make decisions in the best interest of students. We should remove barriers and never give up on any student.

+ We are committed to uphold the belief that all students have the ability to learn. Though they might have their own different styles of learning, we should never give up on them. They should be entitled to opportunities for essential learning experiences for whole person development, as well as opportunities for developing diverse potential.


+While there is a strong sense of urgency to see visible impacts on student learning in schools, we are very cautious about any measure that claims to change things overnight.

+The feasibility of any measure is actually dependent on many complex factors such as teacher readiness, competence, commitment, physical conditions in schools, evidences of successful practices, resources, and other systemic features (e.g. assessment, school place allocation).

+Priority should be given to helping students learn in their own ways and broaden their scope of learning in order to be able to adapt to different learning needs for future society.

Tensions Balanced Considerations Tensions Feasibility


+ In order to keep abreast with the development of a knowledge-based society, the prescriptive ‘teaching / examination syllabus’ should be opened up so that it is made up of learning experiences (contents, processes, social interaction, etc.) to help students learn more and better. Any supportive guidance in the form of curriculum guides to schools should be open to adaptation and flexible changes.

+ Both the basic education and senior secondary curricula should be broad and balanced, comprising different learning experiences and all Key Learning Areas in order to lay a good foundation for students’

future life, employment, further studies and life-long learning. In addition, the senior secondary curriculum should be diversified, providing students with a variety of options for some degree of specialization to cater for their different aptitudes and learning needs.

+ The strategies for development should be built on the strengths of students, teachers and schools in Hong Kong and the wider educational community. Longstanding practices or principles (e.g. effective whole- class teaching) have to be valued and not to be abandoned. Suitable reference should be made to international experiences and research findings, and continuous improvement is to be made in response to these when appropriate.

+ Curriculum development should be an ongoing improvement process to help students learn better. Education / curriculum aims should be adjusted with time and with reference to the contexts of specific schools.

+ The development of the curriculum and support mechanisms for schools should involve the participation and collaboration of government, parents and all community sectors to maximize the use of resources.

+ There should be corresponding changes in assessment to complement the developments in the whole curriculum.



Chapter 2 The Aim, Goals and Development Strategies

Curriculum is the road map of education for our children. The teaching professionals provide the compass which helps our children to navigate and explore on their own in a way that is inspiring, meaningful and enjoyable.

(Learning for Life, A Promise to Our Children 2000)

2.1 The Aim of the School Curriculum and Learning Goals

The vision of the Curriculum Reform is formulated in line with that of the Education Reform. The CDC has translated the Overall Aims of Education for the 21st Century into the aim of the school curriculum, learning goals as well as learning aims at various stages of schooling. To sum up, we hope students will be able to:

1. recognize their roles and responsibilities as members of the family, the society, and the nation, and show concern for their well-being;

2. understand their national identity and be committed to contributing to the nation and society;

3. develop creative thinking and master independent learning skills (e.g.

critical thinking, information technology, self-management);

4. engage in discussion actively and confidently in English and Chinese (including Putonghua);

5. develop a habit of reading independently;

6. possess a breadth and foundation of knowledge in the eight Key Learning Areas; and

7. lead a healthy lifestyle and develop an interest in and appreciation of aesthetic and physical activities.

2.2 An Incremental and Interactive Approach

As the Government continuously increases the provision of resources for education, students, parents, employers and the general public expect that reforms in education will enhance the quality of school education in Hong Kong. We understand the resulting pressure on frontline educators and their worries. An incremental and interactive approach (based on cumulative knowledge and experiences) is thus advocated rather than a radical approach to initiating curriculum changes.


2.3 Phases of Development

In this final stage of consultation, we define the background, rationale and principles of the curriculum reform. To facilitate in-depth discussion, we also present a more comprehensive and holistic picture of our recommendations, for example, short-term, medium-term and long-term development strategies, support and resource strategies.

Schedule for implementing the reform

Long-term Medium-term 2010 and beyond Short-term 2005-2010


Short-term (2000 to 2005)

+ Based on the principles of the curriculum reform, the Education Department will develop new curriculum guides, subject guides and exemplars, and teaching / learning materials; engage in research and development projects and disseminate good practices.

+ Teachers and schools can promote learning to learn through infusing generic skills into existing school subjects.

+ The following key tasks have been shown to be useful strategies for promoting learning to learn:

• Moral and Civic Education

• Promoting a Reading Culture

• Project Learning

• Use of Information Technology

+ Schools can prepare for the transition to the new curriculum framework and gradually develop a school-based curriculum, using the new framework to suit the needs of students and schools.

Medium-term (2005 to 2010)

+ Schools should have followed the central directions and used the



2.4 Development Strategies to Support Schools and Teachers (2000-2005)

In accordance with the direction of the curriculum reform, we recommend the following development strategies to support schools and teachers:

1. Curriculum Support Materials For example:

(I) Curriculum Guides (for Key Learning Areas and Subject Curriculum Guides) (Please see Appendix 1 for Publication Schedule of Curriculum Guides)

(II) A bank of exemplary teaching / learning / assessment materials (III) A central data-base of life-wide learning provisions in Hong Kong (IV) Curriculum planning exemplars

2. Development Programmes for Principals and Teachers For example:

(I) Courses on curriculum and curriculum leadership

(II) Key Learning Area / subject specific courses to enhance the overall professional knowledge of teachers

(III) Specific courses (e.g. curriculum and assessment; how to teach critical thinking skills, creativity, or other learning skills; catering for individual differences; moral and civic education; media education; Chinese culture; etc.)

3. A range of collaborative research and development projects on key curriculum changes will be conducted, e.g. ‘Seed’ Projects, in partnership with schools, consultants, and universities. The projects will generate useful experiences and evidence-based learning / teaching / assessment materials for the reference of other schools.

4. Provide on-site advice to help schools to develop a school-based curriculum For example: to strengthen learning to learn in the existing curricula, to promote curriculum leadership, etc.

5. Local and international experts will be invited to advise on the development strategies and review the progress of development whenever appropriate.

6. Set up a committee to coordinate the provision of life-wide learning opportunities

For example: strengthen the promotion of civic mindedness, national identity and service learning, etc.


7. Greater autonomy and flexibility will be given to schools in funding, management and staffing, in order to create more time and space for curriculum changes and improve learning and teaching.

8. There will be close contact and collaboration with other educational organizations (e.g. teacher training institutions, Hong Kong Examinations Authority, Education Commission, etc.)

2.5 Key Components of the Curriculum Reform – Changes Inside and Outside the Classroom, Key Support to Teachers and Schools

The aim of the curriculum reform is to enhance student learning and the quality of teaching. It focuses on questions like: ‘How can we facilitate students to learn how to learn through the school curriculum?’ and ‘How can schools broaden their curriculum?’ Only with the support of government policies, enhancement of teachers’ professionalism, active participation by parents, and the support from society, a new culture of learning and teaching can then be evolved to bring about real changes in classrooms and to create wider learning space for students to develop their potential. The following table (Table 2.5.1) highlights the corresponding relationship among issues identified from the Holistic Review of the School Curriculum, the major changes anticipated both inside and outside the classroom and the related government supportive measures for schools and teachers.

Key Reform Proposals

1. Shifting from transmission of knowledge to learning how to learn 2. Shifting from over-emphasizing academic studies to focusing on

whole-person development

3. Shifting from compartmentalized subjects to integrated learning 4. Shifting from reliance on textbooks to use of diversified learning

and teaching materials

5. Shifting from classroom teaching to learning beyond the classroom, with support from the community



+Overlapping and outdated scho ol sub je ct s a n d s y l l a b u s e s , a n d o ve rcr o w d e d s ch o o l curricula at all levels.

Teachers compete for more teaching time

+Lack of continuity of curricula across primary, j u n i o r a n d s e n i o r secondary levels

Issues of Concern Changes Inside and Outside the Classroom

Key Support to Teachers and Schools CURRICULUM, TEACHING AND LEARNING

+Org a nize the curre nt subjects into the relevant Key Learning Areas and avoid early specialization in basic education for a balanced curriculum

+D e s i g n s ch o o l - b a s e d curriculum according to the recommendations in the K e y Le a r n i n g A re a s ’ documents. (e.g. trim some t e a c h i n g t o p i c s a n d allocate 10 to 15% time as curriculum space for d e s i g n i n g d i f f e r e n t curriculum modes. Please refer to Appendix 2 for details of the Suggested Lesson Time Allocation for Primary / Secondary Schools

+Provide curriculum guides and reference materials

+Adjust the teaching / learning time for each Key Learning Area / subject

+Provide exemplars showing good use of flexible time- tabling

+Implement ‘Seed’ Projects

+Promote cross-curricular collaboration

+The prescribed teaching contents in teaching syllabuses do not leave much learning space for developing students’

creativity and critical thinking

+Provide opportunities for life-wide learning

+Reduce the reliance on textbooks

+Use diversified teaching materials

+Promote a reading culture

+Reduce mechanical and drill- type exercises / homework

+Provide diversified training courses

+Set up a central web-based resource bank

+Promote other teaching materials and informed practices

+Introduce evidence-based findings from related researches and development projects

+Provide parent education courses in collaboration with other organizations Table 2.5.1


Issues of Concern Changes Inside and Outside the Classroom

Key Support to Teachers and Schools CURRICULUM, TEACHING AND LEARNING

+Fixed time-tabling in terms of number of periods / we e k s or cycle s was inflexible

+Arrange lesson time-table flexibly

+Provide exemplars of flexible time-tabling


+Teaching and learning in schools tend to be very m u c h e x a m i n a t i o n - oriented because teachers have to satisfy student needs in preparing for

‘ h i g h s t a k e ’ p u b l i c examinations

+Most public examinations rely on pen and paper tests to assess students’

academic abilities. This i n d i r e c t l y li m i t s t h e curriculum content as we ll a s the scope of teaching and learning. As this mode of assessment does not fully reflect students’ learning abilities

+Reduce the number of tests and examinations

+Use different modes of assessments, e.g. project work

+P ro vi d e a b ro a d a n d diversified curriculum at senior secondary level, e.g.

i n t ro d u ce I nt e g r a t e d Humanities, Integrated Science & Technology and Liberal Studies and other subjects in 2003

+Implement ‘Seed’ Projects

+Set up a resource bank for exemplars

+Provide training courses

+Liaise with Hong Kong Examinations Authority, m o d i f y m o d e s o f e x a m i n a t i o n s , m o r e questions to be set to assess stude nts’ high orde r t hin k ing sk ills , creativity, and problem solving skills

+Complement the Basic Competency Assessments in Chinese, English and Mathematics

+Close communication and

+Curriculum innovations are implemented in a linear manner with a prescribed schedule for all schools. On the contrary, insufficient assistance is provided to schools which developed the curriculum at their own pace in terms of t he te a ching a nd learning processes

+Allow schools to implement t h e n e w c u r r i c u l u m initiatives gradually and at different paces

+Design new curriculum framework

+Set up a central web-based resource bank

+Promote other teaching materials

+Provide on-site support to schools

+Implement ‘Seed‘ Projects with input from schools


14 Issues of Concern Changes Inside and

Outside the Classroom

Key Support to Teachers and Schools ASSESSMENT

+There is a tendency to p o l a r i z e e x i s t i n g curriculum practices and new curriculum initiatives, labelling the former as undesirable and the latter as desirable

+Build on schools’ existing e f f e c t i v e t e a c h i n g / learning practices for new curriculum initiatives or r e f o r m , s t r e n g t h e n teachers’ professionalism continuously

+C r e a t e a l e a r n i n g environment in school, e n r i c h t e a c h e r s ’ knowledge in curriculum leadership, design of curriculum as well as learning contents

+Provide training courses for principals and middle managers

+Set up school development groups

+Provide additional funding for creating ‘space’ in teaching and learning

+Build up various modes of teacher network

+As a result of changes i n the School Places Allocation System, more and more schools have to deal with the issue of handling students with diverse learning abilities

+C a t e r f o r i n d i v i d u a l differences (e.g. students of mixed learning abilities, the a cademically low achievers and the gifted)

+Organize teacher training courses (e.g. enhancing teaching professionalism and courses for enriching knowledge on individual Key Learning Areas )

+Disseminate evidence- b a s e d f i n d i ng s f r om related researches and development projects

+Not much support is being provide d to e nha nce teachers’ professionalism and school development.

The monitoring system tends to evaluate the work of teachers in terms of q u a n t i t y i n s t e a d o f evaluating the quality of student learning, i.e. what the students have learnt and how they learn

+Change the teaching and learning culture

+Enhance the skills of professional leadership

+Conduct teacher training cour se s ( in t e r ms of enhancing professionalism, enriching knowledge on individual Key Learning Areas)

+Provide training courses for principals and middle managers

+Set up school development groups


Chapter 3 What is Worth Learning ?

3.1 Learning Experiences

What we give these children today is the orientation to learn. By helping them acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes, we are also helping them open new frontiers for learning.

(Learning for life, A Promise to Our Children 2000)

Learning experiences are defined in the contexts of learning processes, learning contents and the social environment for students to learn how to learn. Students may attain a balanced ‘moral, intellectual, physical, social and aesthetic’ development through the following five learning experiences:

1. Moral and civic education , for developing personal character and interpersonal skills, the creativity to innovate, the spirit to live up to expectations and enjoy learning;

2. Intellectual development for laying a firm foundation in knowledge;

3. Community service to develop commitment and responsibility;

4. Physical and aesthetic development to lead to healthy living styles and appreciate aesthetic qualities; and

5. Career-related experiences to link studies with career aspirations and job opportunities.

3.2 The Whole Curriculum Framework and Its Components

3.2.1 The Whole Curriculum Framework – a structure, a tool

A quality school curriculum in the 21st century should be built on an open and flexible framework which is made up of three components: values and attitudes, generic skills and knowledge/concepts. The framework provides schools with a structure for outlining and developing different curriculum modes. In this connection, the teaching contents can be flexibly


16 3.2.2 Components of the Curriculum Framework - the Content of Learning

to Learn

(I) Key Learning Areas – the bases for knowledge building

(II) Generic Skills – the foundation for helping students to learn how to learn (III) Values and Attitudes – nurturing of students’ personal dispositions

(I) Key Learning Areas (KLA)

KLAs provide the bases for knowledge building and the major content for learning. They are not the names of subjects. Instead, current subjects are being organized into the 8 suggested Key Learning Areas (please refer to Appendix 3) to facilitate schools in planning a balanced curriculum. This will also ensure that all students have opportunities to study the subjects and content of each KLA to achieve a balanced whole-person development in basic education. The 8 KLAs are not equivalent to 8 key subjects. They are not meant to replace current subjects or to do away with certain subjects. In fact, the proposed KLAs provide a platform to enhance cross-subject cooperation and facilitate students to ‘learn how to learn’ .

(II) Generic skills

Generic skills are fundamental to helping students learn how to learn.

They are to be developed through learning and teaching in the contexts of different subjects or Key Learning Areas, and are transferable to different learning situations. We propose nine fundamental generic skills which are essential. One has to note, however, that as the nature and emphasis of the KLAs are different from one another, a generic skill may be more applicable to one KLA than the other KLAs.

Key Learning Areas

Science Education Technology Education Arts Education Physical Education

Generic skills Chinese Language Education English Language Education Mathematics Education Personal, Social and Humanities Education

Collaboration Skills Critical Thinking Skills Problem Solving Skills Communication Skills Information Technology Skills Self-management Skills Creativity Numeracy Skills Study Skills


(III) Values and attitudes

Values and attitudes are defined as those qualities that an individual or society considers important as principles for conduct and that are intrinsically worthwhile. Values are fundamental to the formation of attitudes, which in turn affect the acquisition and application of the values. Values and attitudes can be cultivated through the related topics and learning targets in the 8 Key Learning Areas. They can also be nurtured individually through moral and civic education, Chinese History and culture, environmental education, media education, health education, sex education and family education, computer ethics and other themes related to values and attitudes . In this connection, the life event approach (e.g. related to individual judgement, students’ lives, the relationship between individual and family or society) can be adopted to bring out the learning objectives.

3.3 The Key Learning Area Curriculum Framework and Its Features

3.3.1 General Features of the KLA Framework

The curriculum framework of each Key Learning Area comprises the following : overall aim, learning targets, strands / dimensions, learning objectives, and quality criteria (or assessment indicators).

3.3.2 Key Recommendations of the Eight Key Learning Areas Chinese Language Education

+ Enrich the balanced learning experiences of reading, writing, listening and speaking, and develop thinking skills

+ Strengthen the learning of literature and Chinese culture, develop morals and values

+ Relax the prescriptive choice of learning materials, widen the scope and increase the amount of reading

English Language Education

+ Create a language-rich environment and provide greater opportunities for purposeful use of English

+ Greater use of literary / imaginative texts to develop learners’ creativity



+ The curriculum focuses on the development of logical thinking skills and positive attitudes towards learning Mathematics and builds related generic skills throughout students’ life time

+ Curriculum space is created by reserving spare teaching periods Science Education

+ Enhance students’ scientific reasoning and strengthen their science process skills, encourage students to engage actively in designing and conducting experiments

+ Conduct fun science and technology projects, encourage the exploration of scientific concepts and their applications in daily life + Introduce a new subject - Integrated Science and Technology at the

senior secondary level to empower students to make informed judgement in a technological society

Technology Education

+ Refocus teaching and learning from skill- / content- based teaching to a learning mode which emphasizes a balance among capability, understanding and awareness

+ Emphasize the socio-humanistic aspects of technology education + Integrate learning across Technology Education subjects or with other

KLA subjects through technological learning activities Personal, Social and Humanities Education

+ Organize around enquiry learning of issues related to the individual, human society and the environment at local, national and global level + Include Chinese History elements as essential contents for learning + Enhance personal and social education in the curriculum, provide more

opportunities for the development of critical thinking skills + Adopt a life event approach for value education

Arts Education

+ The role of the teacher is more of a facilitator, cultivating students’

creativity and imagination

+ Schools are free to develop a school-based curriculum through different forms of arts (Drama, media arts, etc.)

+ Make use of public and community facilities for Arts Education, as arts learning happens at any time and anywhere

Physical Education

+ Reorganize the current syllabus and develop a coherent and comprehensive PE programme integrating formal and informal PE learning experiences


+ With reference to the needs of students, schools can design their own school-based curriculum, encouraging students to explore the world of sports from different learning experiences

+ Make use of community resources and promote the culture of adopting an active and healthy life style

3.3.3 Major Changes of Primary General Studies

+ Reduce out-dated or overlapping curriculum content (around15%), emphasize life-wide learning experiences

+ Let students use Information Technology in inquiry-based learning, enhance the elements of science and technology in teaching and learning + Emphasize personal and social education in primary one and two to

enhance smooth interface with pre-primary education

3.4 Connection of Key Learning Areas

In real life, the content of the KLAs transcends the boundaries of knowledge domains. Therefore, teachers should avoid giving bits and pieces of information.

Instead, during the process of learning, they can make better use of integrated subjects (such as Liberal Studies, Integrated Humanities, Integrated Science and Technology), introduce the concept of life-wide learning , design cross-KLA learning activities, help students develop a broad knowledge foundation. These will enable students learn to observe happenings from different perspectives and to connect and integrate the contents and knowledge learnt from diferent KLAs .

3.5 Life-wide Learning (connecting the formal and informal curriculum)

Life-wide learning refers to the learning experiences that take place beyond the classroom. It is complementary to the learning inside the classroom. Through authentic learning, the sense of involvement of students is fully enhanced.

They can also learn more effectively by applying what they have learnt in different situations.

3.6 Catering for Student Diversity

– the gifted and the academically low achievers


20 cater for students’ different needs and capabilities. In addition, we also

encourage schools to provide students with varied learning opportunities (e.g.

strengthen students’ creativity in the course of teaching and learning) to stretch their potential to the full.

3.7 School-based Curriculum Development

Under the new curriculum framework, the concept of school-based curriculum development does not mean transferring all curriculum development work back to schools. Rather, it is an attempt to encourage schools to adapt the open curriculum framework based on the curriculum development direction, curriculum aim and curriculum guides set by the CDC. Schools can flexibly exercise their professional autonomy to select teaching contents, teaching and learning activities, homework arrangements, assessment strategies, etc. that cater for their students’ needs. On the other hand, the relevant sections in the Education Department will cooperate with other organizations to strengthen the supportive services for school-based development, to conduct educational researches, to assist schools in promoting a new learning and teaching culture, and to enhance curriculum leadership among principals and teachers.


Chapter 4 Facilitating Learning and Teaching

4.1 The Principles of Facilitating Learning and Teaching

Teachers are no longer merely transmitters of knowledge but facilitators of learning.

(Learning for Life, A Promise to Our Children 2000)

‘An adaptable teaching culture, an evolving curriculum’ are the prerequisites in promoting learning how to learn. In order to create more space and opportunities for teaching and learning, schools can consider the following principles:

+provide diversified learning opportunities and a quality learning environment +improve the curriculum

+use a wide variety of learning and teaching strategies

+understand the relationship between modes of assessment and learning effectiveness

+strengthen home-school communication

4.2 The Roles of Change Agents in Schools – School Heads, Middle Managers, School Teachers and Teacher Librarians

School heads, middle managers, teachers and teacher librarians are the agents of change in helping students to learn how to learn. Their suggested roles are presented in diagrammatic form as follows:


22 Plan curriculum, instructional

& assessment policies

Share knowledge

& experiences

Remove barriers

Communicate effectively

Commend progress &

improvements made

Co-ordinate among departments

& support autonomy of departments

Manage resources

Create curriculum space and time for teachers

Value quality rather than quantity Set targets & phases for

organizational change Nurture staff’s curriculum

& instructional leadership

Roles of Principals in Facilitating Learning to Learn

Build up a good learning environment Set targets & priorities

of development



Lead curriculum &

instructional changes

Commend success and provide appropriate feedback

Facilitate professional development

Share issues, knowledge

& experiences

Manage resources Keep abreast of latest developments and changes

Middle Managers

(Vice Principals, Panel Heads)

Roles of Middle Managers in Facilitating Learning to Learn

Support professional judgement of teachers


24 Strengthen learning to learn

skills in learning & teaching

Share issues, knowledge

& experiences

Be reflective

Collaborate with community workers

Ready to try out &

work on strategies

Roles of Teachers in Facilitating Learning to Learn

Foster a quality learning environment

Keep abreast of latest developments and

changes Be resourceful



Develop proactive services

Build up an information environment in the Hong Kong context

Keep abreast of latest developments

Promote information literacy

Nurture a reading &

learning environment


Develop resource-based programmes

Promote the use of diverse information sources

Teacher Librarians

Roles of Teacher Librarians in Facilitating Learning to Learn

Link library collection with school-based curriculum focus Provide easy access to




Conclusion - Society-wide Mobilisation, Support of Other Stakeholders

The success of the curriculum reform hinges on the concerted effort and contributions of the government, educators, various sectors of society and parents.

We appeal to all parents to collaborate with frontline educators so that their children’s learning process will not stop outside the classrooms. For practical suggestions on how parents can help in facilitating their children to learn how to learn, please refer to the related pamphlet on ‘Learning to Learn’.

Furthermore, we sincerely invite members of the public to join in the discussion and give your valuable comments on the recommendations and strategies as proposed in the set of consultation documents -‘Learning to Learn’. In this way, you can help to pave the way for curriculum development towards a new milestone in the next decade, and to create a quality learning environment and opportunities for the younger generation, as well as to realize the ideal of whole-person education among students.


Publication Schedule of Curriculum Guides

Appendix 1

Curriculum Guides Year of Issue

Guide to the Pre-primary Curriculum

(already issued in 1996) NA

Basic Education Curriculum Guide 2001

Senior Secondary Education Curriculum Guide 2003 (tentative)

(pending the outcome of the feasibility study of the senior secondary academic

structure by EC’s working group)

Key Learning Area Curriculum Guides 2001

• Chinese Language Education

• English Language Education

• Mathematics Education

• Science Education

• Technology Education

• Personal, Social and Humanities Education

• Arts Education

• Physical Education Chinese Language Education

• Secondary Chinese Language Subject Guide 2001

• AL* Chinese Literature Subject Guide 2002

• Primary Chinese Language Subject Guide 2003

English Language Education

• English Language (P1-6) Subject Guide 2003

• English Literature (S4-5) Subject Guide 2004

Mathematics Education

• Additional Mathematics (S4-5) Subject Guide 2001 Technology Education

• AL Principles of Accounts Subject Guide 2001

• Integrated Science & Technology (S4-5) Subject Guide 2002

• Computer Studies and Applications (S4-5) Subject Guide 2002 (tentative)

• Home Economics (S1-3) Subject Guide 2002 (tentative)



Personal, Social & Humanities Education

• ASL# Ethics & Religious Studies Subject Guide 2001

• ASL & AL Government & Public Affairs Subject Guide 2001

• ASL Liberal Studies Subject Guide 2002

• Chinese History (S4-5) Subject Guide 2002

• Economics (S4-5) Subject Guide 2002

• Geography (S4-5) Subject Guide 2002

• Integrated Humanities (S4-5) Subject Guide 2002

• History (S4-5) Subject Guide 2003

• General Studies (P1-6) Subject Guide 2002

Arts Education

• Art & Craft (P1-6) Subject Guide 2002

• Art & Design (S1-3) Subject Guide 2002 (tentative)

• Art & Design (S4-5) Subject Guide 2003

• Music (P1-S3) Subject Guide 2002 (tentative)

• Music (S4-5) Subject Guide 2003

Physical Education

• Physical Education (P1-S7) Subject Guide 2003

Curriculum Guides Year of Issue


* AL - Advanced Level

# ASL - Advanced Supplementary Level


Appendix 2

Suggested Lesson Time Allocation for Primary / Secondary Schools

Primary Level (P1-P6)

Total Lesson Time


over 6 Years

Approximately 4200 hours for whole-day schools (WD) and 4000 hours for bi-sessional schools (BS). Calculation is based on the following:

• Lesson Time2 per week (WD) : 4.7 hours (per day) x 5 (days) = 23.5 hours

• Lesson Time per week (BS) : 4.1 hours (per day) x 5.5 (days) = 22.5 hours

• Number of teaching weeks per year = 30 weeks

Pupils in both whole-day and bi-sessional schools should be entitled to not less than 3400 hours of total lesson time. Bi-sessional schools will have less time for flexible use when compared with whole-day schools.

The school hours3 of whole-day schools, e.g. from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., are much longer than those of bi-sessional schools. The additional time is not meant for lengthening lesson time. Apart from total lesson time, whole-day schools should spare more time within the school hours to plan a variety of activities and programmes conducive to whole-person development and life-wide learning. Pupils should be provided with more opportunities for self-learning, collaborative learning, developing social skills and aesthetics, etc.

Lesson Time for Flexible Use

Approximately 10% - 19% (about 420 hours to 800 hours) for whole-day primary schools and 10% - 15% (about 400 hours to 600 hours) for bi-sessional schools.

Schools can use the time for activities that meet their individual needs and contexts, e.g. activities/learning programmes for remedial or enrichment/

enhancement purposes, cross-curricular activities, fieldwork, promoting reading, etc.

Key Learning Areas Subjects Suggested Percentage of

Lesson Time Allocation*

Chinese Language Education Chinese Language, Putonghua 25% - 30%

English Language Education English Language 17% - 22%

Mathematics Education Mathematics 12% - 15%



Junior Secondary Level (S1-S3)

To provide students with a broad and balanced curriculum and the essential learning experiences using the new curriculum framework, adjustments may be required progressively in some schools in the next few years.

Total Lesson Time over 3 Years

About 2700 hours

Calculation of Lesson Time is based on the following:

• Lesson time per week = 6 hours (per day) x 5 (days) = 30 hours

• No. of teaching weeks per year = 30

Lesson Time for Flexible Use

5% - 15% time for flexible use of the schools is about 135 hours to 405 hours over 3 years.

Schools can use the time for learning activities and programmes that meet their individual needs and contexts. These activities and programmes could be for remedial or enhancement purposes in the form of additional study within the key learning areas or from school-developed programmes, or activities such as activity weeks, China visits, outward bound experiences, leadership training camps, etc.

Key Learning Areas Suggested Percentage Lesson Time Allocation Chinese Language Education 17% - 22%

English Language Education 17% - 20%

Mathematics Education 12% - 15%

Science Education 8% - 15%

The time allocation of 8% to 10% is intended for schools whose curriculum has a technology education orientation.

This curriculum should connect students’ learning experiences in science and technology education.

Technology Education 8% - 15% (25% - 35%)# Personal, Social and 10% - 20%

Humanities Education The time allocation of 10% to 15% is intended for schools whose curriculum has a technology education orientation, so as to ensure that the essential contents for personal, social and humanities learning, including Chinese History and culture, can be accommodated.

Arts Education 8% - 10%

Physical Education 5% - 8%

# The time allocation of 25% to 35% is intended for schools chosen to have a curriculum with a strong orientation in technology education. These schools generally have the background that technology subjects would be better vehicles for their students to develop generic skills. In these schools, the lesson time, in terms of percentages, allocated to other key learning areas will be lower than in schools across the territory.


Senior Secondary Level (S4-S5)

The recommended subject combinations for S4 & S5 as stated in the Education Commission’s Reform Proposals for the Education System in Hong Kong (2000) are as follows:

Chinese + English + Mathematics + A + B + other subjects from the 8 Key Learning Areas

‘A’ represents taking at least one subject in the Key Learning Area of ‘Personal, Social and Humanities Education’. If a student only chooses one subject from this learning area, the school should advise him / her to take

‘Integrated Humanities’.

‘B’ represents taking at least one subject in the Key Learning Areas of ‘Science education’ or ‘Technology Education’. If a student chooses altogether only one subject from these two learning areas, the school should advise him / her to take ‘Integrated Science and Technology’.

Over the 2 years (from S4 to S5), the total lesson time is approximately 1600 hours. Lesson time is calculated based on the following:

Average lesson time per week = 30 hours

Average number of teaching weeks for S4 = 30 teaching weeks Average number of teaching weeks for S5 = 24 teaching weeks

At present, the 1600 hours are generally spent on the 7 – 10 examinable subjects the school offers to the students (which may include Physical Education and / or Arts Education) plus Assembly / Form period(s) and non-examinable Physical Education and / or Art lessons.

It is understandable that schools put a lot of emphasis on the examinable subjects. Flexibility is given to schools to allocate the lesson time according to the needs of the students and the characteristics of the school. At the same time, schools must bear in mind the aims of education and provide all the essential learning experiences: intellectual development, moral and civic education, community service, physical and aesthetic development and career-related experiences to their students. Schools can include in their curricula those activities or learning programmes which may be carry out beyond the classroom, in order


32 Appendix 3

Chinese Language Education KLA

Chinese Language

Chinese Language & Culture

Chinese Literature


English Language Education KLA

English Language

English Literature

Use of English

Technology Education KLA

Automobile Technology

Business Fundamentals

Business Studies

Catering Services


Computer Applications

Computer Literacy

Computer Studies

Design & Technology

Design Fundamentals

Desktop Publishing


Electronics & Electricity

Engineering Science

Fashion Design

General Studies

Graphical Communication / Technical Drawing*

Home Economics

Information Technology

Principles of Accounts

Retail Merchandising

Technological Studies

Technology Fundamentals / Metalwork*


Word Processing & Business Communication (English) / Typewriting*

Physical Education KLA

Physical Education

Subjects under the Eight Key Learning Areas (KLA)

* Phasing out subjects

Mathematics Education KLA

Additional Mathematics

Applied Mathematics

Mathematics and Statistics


Pure Mathematics Science Education KLA



General Studies

Human Biology



Personal, Social and Humanities Education KLA

Buddhist Studies

Chinese History

Civic Education

Economic & Public Affairs


Ethics & Religious Studies

General Studies


Government & Public Affairs


Liberal Studies

Religious Studies (Christianity)

Social Studies

Travel & Tourism Arts Education KLA

Art and Craft

Art and Design




Views on

‘Learning to Learn’ Consultation Document

With reference to the recommendations and strategies proposed in the

‘Learning to Learn’ consultation document, please give us your valuable views on the following:

1. The principles of the curriculum reform, the aim of the school curriculum and learning goals, the curriculum framework (e.g.: key learning areas, generic skills, values and attitudes)

2. Approach to curriculum development, phases of curriculum development, development strategies and support to schools and teachers


3. The principles of facilitating learning and teaching, the roles of change agents in schools – school heads, middle managers, school teachers and teacher librarians

4. Other suggestions



You are welcome to send your views to the Curriculum Development Council Secretariat by post, fax or e-mail on or before 15 February 2001.

Address: Curriculum Development Council Secretariat

Room 1329, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen’s Road East Wanchai, Hong Kong.

Fax Number: 2573 5299 / 2575 4318 E-mail Address: cdchk@ed.gov.hk




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