PSHE – Learning Objectives

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1 Introduction … … … . … … … . … ... 1

2 Background … … … . … … . 2

3 Rationale for Development … … … . … … … . … … … .. … … 4

4 Phases of Development … … … . … … … . … … 7

4.1 Short-term (2000-2005) … … … . 8

4.2 Medium-term (2005-2010) … … … 9

4.3 Long-term (2010+) … … … . 10

5 The Framework … … … ... 11

5.1 Overall Aim … … … … . … … … . 11

5.2 Learning Targets … … … ... 11

5.3 Components of the Framework … … … . . 12

5.3.1 Strands … … … 13

5.3.2 Generic Skills … … … . . 16

5.3.3 Values and Attitudes … … … 16

5.4 Modes of Curriculum Planning … … … . . 18

5.4.1 At Primary Level … … … 19

5.4.2 At Junior Secondary Level … … … ... 19

5.4.3 At Senior Secondary Level … … … 21

5.5 Essential Contents for Learning … … … . . 22

5.6 Teaching, Learning and Assessment … … … . . 22

5.7 School-based Curriculum Development … … … ... 24

5.8 Life-wide Learning … … … ... 29

5.9 Connections with Other Key Learning Areas … … ... … … … 29

6 Conclusion … … … .... 31

Appendices 1 PSHE – Learning Objectives … … … . 33

2 Developing Generic Skills in PSHE … … … . … … … 39

3 Values and Attitudes in the School Curriculum … … … 61

4 Adapting Existing Subject Curricula – A Secondary 1 Exemplar … … 65

5 An Exemplar of School-based Curriculum Framework for Integrated Humanities … … … 71

6 Course Description for S4-5 Integrated Humanities – a Proposal … 77 7 Proposed Essential Contents for Learning … … … 81

8 An Exemplar of Project Learning Programme … … … . . . 89

9 Examples of Life-wide Learning Opportunities in PSHE … … … 93



This document on the key learning area of Personal, Social and Humanities Education (PSHE) is written in support of the consultation document Learning to Learn prepared by the Curriculum Development Council (CDC) (Nov. 2000) and should be read together with it. The Learning to Learn document is the outcome of the Holistic Review of the School Curriculum conducted by CDC beginning in 1999, which is done in parallel with the Education Commission’s Review of the Education System.



2.1 PSHE in the Existing School Curriculum

In the existing school curriculum, the major contents of the Personal, Social and Humanities Education (PSHE) key learning area (KLA) are taught in a number of humanities and social subjects, together with related elements incorporated in cross-curricular programmes on moral and civic education, environmental education, sex education, media education etc. The subjects containing elements of PSHE and currently listed within the KLA at different key stages of learning are:

Key Stage 1

(Junior Primary) Key Stage 2

(Senior Primary) Key Stage 3 (Junior Secondary)

Key Stage 4 (Senior Secondary)*

Chinese History Chinese History

History History

Economic and Public Affairs

Economic and Public Affairs

General Studies (integrated with the KLAs of Science Education and Technology Education)

General Studies (integrated with the KLAs of Science Education and Technology Education)


Civic Education



Religious Education

Liberal Studies

Social Studies

Social Studies Government and Public Affairs

Religious Studies (Buddhist Studies/


Ethics &

Religious Studies)

Travel and Tourism Cross-curricular studies of moral and civic education, environmental education, sex education and media education, etc.

* including relevant S4-5 and Sixth Form subject curricula (AS & AL) where appropriate

2.2 The PSHE Curriculum in the Knowledge-based Society

A knowledge-based society requires on-going construction of knowledge and experiences based on one’s values. The PSHE KLA contributes significantly to the development of moral and social


values through enquiry and decision-making processes in different relationship contexts between the individual and society. Its emphasis on enquiry learning enables students to establish meaningful relationships between learning at school and issues they encounter in daily life, whether they are concerned with the individual, the human society or the environment.



3.1 The Need to Enhance Personal, Social and Civic Values

• For students to attain an all-round development, values education should receive greater attention. The Learning to Learn document (Chapter 3) has made it clear that students should be entitled to five essential learning experiences, of which moral and civic education is one. While an increasing number of schools have strengthened values education through cross-curricular programmes such as “life education” or integrated studies of moral, sex and civic education, its place in the PSHE KLA needs to be enhanced in both the formal curriculum and co-curricular activities.

There is also a need to establish a close connection between the knowledge acquired in individual humanities subjects and emerging life and social issues.

• Hong Kong, as a Special Administrative Region of China and an international financial centre, is in need of a new generation of residents who possess an enhanced sense of national identity and cultural understanding as well as a global perspective. Elements of learning in the contexts of Chinese history and culture need to be strengthened in the curriculum as early as possible in all types of schools.

• More diversified modes of planning in the PSHE curriculum have to be developed to resolve the problem of content overload and accommodate new knowledge, as there are more complex moral considerations resulting from the rapid scientific, technological, social and political changes in the knowledge society.

3.2 Strengthening Learning to Learn

• It is essential to develop students’ learning skills in the PSHE curriculum, which will enable them to construct knowledge to cope with the changing personal and social issues. At primary level, General Studies should move away from being a content-focused subject, with its textbook-bound teaching and learning mode, to a curriculum that is learner-


focused and promotes the development of self-learning abilities of students.

• For both primary and secondary levels, more opportunities for learning outside the classroom are required to facilitate enquiry and independent learning.

• To help students improve in skills and attitudinal development through enquiry learning, the place of formative assessment in PSHE should be allotted greater importance in the teaching-learning process.

3.3 Bridging the Gaps at Interfaces between Different Stages of Learning

• While real life learning experiences are built up in pre- primary education by thematic and project approaches focusing on daily life situations, learning in primary schools becomes fragmented by the discrete subjects and content- focussed approach. There needs to be a re-organization of themes to focus on personal and social education in Primary 1-2 General Studies to help students to have a smooth interface to primary education.

• At junior secondary level, there are a great number of subjects in PSHE. Issues such as content overload and overlapping themes have been accused of impeding students’ development of generic skills and their desire to learn. To help students to link PSHE subjects more effectively in a multi-perspective approach and to develop meaningful relationships between issues of human society and daily life, the introduction of more diversified modes of curriculum planning, such as an integrated or modular curriculum, would provide an alternative.

3.4 Broadening of the Knowledge Base at Secondary Level

• Early specialization at junior secondary level, especially in schools with a technology education-biased curriculum, has deprived students of opportunities to have a better understanding of Chinese history and culture as well as of


the enquiry and critical thinking skills needed to tackle controversial social issues emerging in the media and information-rich society. There is a need for schools to ensure that learning experiences are provided in related essential learning contents in order to broaden students’

knowledge base.

• The streaming of students at Secondary 4 into Arts, Science and Commercial classes has also deprived students in the Science or Commercial stream of a PSHE perspective on the themes or issues they encounter in daily life. In line with the Education Commission Report1, Integrated Humanities will be introduced at S4-5 and project learning will be enhanced in AS Liberal Studies. This serves the purpose of enabling students to have a broad and balanced curriculum across different learning areas.

1 Education Commission, September 2000, Learning for Life, Learning through Life - Reform Proposal for the Education System in Hong Kong , pp. 102-3



As part of an incremental and evolutionary approach, schools/teachers can start right away, based on their existing strengths, to promote learning to learn and improve their school- based curriculum by:

• strengthening personal and social education elements in the PSHE curriculum, particularly at P1-2 and junior secondary levels

• adapting their subject curricula in line with the learning targets and objectives proposed in the PSHE framework to reduce overlapping contents and promote coordination and collaboration among the subjects

• infusing more critical thinking skills by creating a more open classroom atmosphere in PSHE, encouraging students to ask questions and providing more opportunities for learning outside the classroom

An exemplar of how teachers can take immediate steps to strengthen personal and social education and promote learning to learn in a classroom is provided as follows:

In a S2 Civic Education or S3 EPA/Social Studies class on

“Consumer Education”, a teacher conducts the following learning activities:

(a) students are asked to share with others their own or their friends’ experiences of being cheated by dishonest shop assistants. Students then discuss the common ways employed by these shop assistants and what they or their friends have done after being cheated. (communication skills developed)

(b) students are then divided into groups to study a number of cases of consumer complaints reported in the Choice magazine. In these cases, students analyze whether the consumers themselves have any responsibilities and whether they have exercised their rights appropriately.

The results are then presented to the class. (critical thinking,


problem-solving and communication skills as well as the value concept of rights and responsibilities developed)

(c) as an assignment, students are asked to find more information about the functions of the Consumer Council by visiting the Council’s web site and the steps to be taken if one is unfortunately cheated by dishonest shop assistants.

(study skills and IT skills developed)

(d) as an extended activity, students conduct a study on e- shopping and find out what possible traps consumers should look out for. Students are also encouraged to conduct a more in-depth study and join the Consumer Culture Study Award organized by the Consumer Council.

(study skills, IT skills and problem-solving skills as well as civic awareness developed)

4.1 Short-term (2001-2005) CDC and government support

• the existing subject curricula, e.g. General Studies, Chinese History (S4-5), History (S4-5), Geography (S4-5) and Economics (S4-5) will be revised in line with the new KLA aims and learning targets (Other subject curricula at junior secondary level, including Chinese History, History and Geography, have been revised and implemented since 1998, and they need adaptations mainly in teaching, learning and assessment at school level)

• more diversified modes of curriculum planning, e.g. the Integrated Humanities and New History curriculum at junior secondary level, with research findings on their piloting process and related curriculum support materials, will be ready for reference by teachers (details are provided in paragraph 5.4).

• multiple-mode teacher development programmes (in the form of web courses, workshops, short courses, teacher participation in research and development projects, etc.) to enhance teaching, learning and assessment for enquiry


learning will be developed in line with the new direction of the PSHE curriculum to fill the knowledge gaps

• a new curriculum of Integrated Humanities will be developed at S4-5 level, with a pilot study to start possibly in 2003; and the AS Liberal Studies curriculum will be revised to enhance self-learning and critical thinking skills under the existing academic structure

Schools and teachers

• teachers of pilot schools will be invited to disseminate innovative ideas, good practices or experiences concerning teaching/learning strategies, such as project learning and new curriculum modes

• teachers will further adapt the school-based curriculum by strengthening generic skills, values and attitudes and introducing new modes or combining different modes of planning. This will help to solve problems of overcrowdedness and suit the needs of students and society

• teachers will develop assessment strategies at school to keep in line with the promotion of enquiry learning

4.2 Medium-term (2005-2010)

• schools will continue to improve their school-based curriculum and strengthen the teaching-learning-assessment cycle according to the PSHE framework and new needs of society, based on the latest curriculum guides (and syllabuses jointly developed with the Hong Kong Examinations Authority at senior secondary level where appropriate).

• life-wide learning opportunities in terms of a definite number of days or hours for field camps/trips for PSHE learning, and/or a certain period/duration of career-related experience or service learning will become students’


• according to the Education Commission, universities are


recommended to give due recognition, in their admission system, to internal assessment reports of the secondary schools (including academic and non-academic performance), portfolios prepared by students, and interviews.2

• new courses at senior secondary level will be developed to meet the different needs of students, pending the proposed changes in the senior secondary academic structure

4.3 Long-term (2010+)

• Schools and teachers will establish a culture of learning communities, which value a continual renewal of the school- based curriculum for the enhancement of students’ personal, social and civic values as well as lifelong learning capabilities.

With a better connection developed between learning at school and students’ daily life, and the focus of learning put on progressive development of concepts and generic skills, the interfaces between different stages of learning will be smoothened. All students will have a broad knowledge base encompassing the different key learning areas, with the PSHE perspective as an integral element.

2 Education Commission, September 2000, Learning for Life, Learning through Life - Reform Proposals for the Education Systems in Hong Kong, p. 118



The PSHE KLA provides students with learning experiences to explore issues of personal and social concern in relation to the individual, human society and the environment at local, national and global levels. Students will examine values and attitudes that may affect their choices in these issues in the light of the knowledge and resources accumulated in related subject disciplines. In the process of enquiry into these issues, they will make use of and develop generic skills and values in the KLA contexts.

5.1 Overall Aim

The PSHE KLA aims to enable students to understand themselves, society and the world at large, maintain a healthy personal development and contribute to the well-being of the family, the local community, the nation and the world as confident, informed and responsible persons.

5.2 Learning Targets Students will learn to

• lead a lifestyle that enables them to have a healthy physical and emotional development, and develop a positive outlook on life as well as harmonious relationships with family members and others in the community

• develop an understanding that the changing relationships of people, locations and events in the past have an impact on human society today and in the future

• appreciate the influences of culture on human life and the characteristics and values of their own culture, and respect the culture and heritage of other communities

• develop an understanding that the interaction between humans and environment is influenced by location, processes and patterns associated with natural and human features of places, and participate in sustaining, conserving


and improving the environment

• develop an awareness that the optimal use of resources is achieved through enterprise and management, and that people’s participation in and the changing nature of economic activities give rise to and affect work opportunities and conditions.

• demonstrate active and responsible citizenship that is grounded in understanding and respect for the roles, rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups, appreciation of the importance of social justice and concern for local, national and global issues

A more detailed proposed list of learning objectives to facilitate teachers in curriculum planning is in Appendix 1. Through research and development projects, it will provide sources of “quality criteria”

for teachers to make judgements on student learning rather than measurement of outcomes.

5.3 Components of the Framework

A diagrammatic representation of the PSHE framework is in Figure 1 on the following page.


Figure 1 Diagrammatic Representation of the PSHE framework

PSHE curriculum

provides learning experiences in the enquiry of issues

encountered by students in relation to the individual, human society and the environment

Six Strands

to provide different perspectives

using knowledge from related subject disciplines as resources

Personal and social

develop- ment

Time, continuity

and change

Culture and heritage

Place and environ-


Resources and economic


Social systems

and citizen-


Overall Aim of PSHE

5.3.1 Strands

The learning targets of PSHE are proposed corresponding to the six strands of the KLA. These six strands emerge mainly from the different perspectives used in the enquiry of issues in the contexts delineated by the social sciences and the humanities, and are built upon an analysis of the existing subject curricula. The strands are used to frame the PSHE curriculum to eliminate content overlaps and

Generic Skills Values and attitudes

Diversified modes of curriculum planning


Effective linkage of

teaching, learning and assessment in the enquiry process


strengthen its coherence. “Strands” are considered more holistic than the traditional subject categories in the following respects:

• They organize content for the purpose of linking the development of competence and skills, values and attitudes, knowledge and understanding as a holistic learning process.

For example, the strand of “culture and heritage” can link up knowledge about Chinese culture, skills of identifying the main virtues of Chinese culture, and the concern for conserving cultural heritage in the local context.

• They synthesize or integrate content across different subject areas. For example, in the enquiry of issues like “resources utilization in Hong Kong”, Strand V helps to synthesize related content in Environmental Education, and also in the subjects of Geography, Economics, Social Studies, etc.;

• They accommodate content (including new knowledge) from subject areas not normally included in the traditional curriculum. For example, content related to Psychology is accommodated in Strand I, and helps to tackle problems such as “the peer pressure of an adolescent". New perspectives such as a futuristic outlook may be introduced in Strand II when students attempt to explore issues such as “the impact of global networking of ideas on the future development of our society”.

The six strands and their sub-strands can also facilitate conceptual development, which is important for lifelong learning. They are:


Strands Sub-strands Perspective I Personal and



Self esteem

Self management

Healthy lifestyles

Human relationships

Sexuality issues

Understanding people as individuals

(This strand integrates mainly content and learning outcomes across the areas of Personal and Social Education, Health Education, Civic Education and Religious and Ethical Education)

II Time,

Continuity and Change

Time and chronology

Understanding the past

Change and continuity


interpretations and perspectives

Understanding people in relation to time

(This strand integrates content and learning outcomes relating mainly to History Education)

III Culture and Heritage

Foundations of culture

Customs and traditions

Modernization and the post-modern world

Cultural diversities and interaction

Understanding people in the cultural world

(This strand integrates content and learning outcomes mainly across the areas of History Education, Religious and Ethical Education and Cultural Understanding) IV Place and


Natural and human features of a place

Spatial pattern, association and interaction

People-environment interrelationships

Conservation and sustainable development

Understanding people in relation to space and the environment

(This strand integrates content and learning outcomes mainly across the areas of Geography Education and Environmental Education)

V Resources and Economic Activities

Use of resources

Production and consumption

People and work


Understanding people in the material world

(This strand integrates content and learning outcomes mainly across the areas of Economics Education, Geography Education and Careers Education)

VI Social Systems and Citizenship

Rights, responsibilities and social virtues

Social norms, rules and law

Local, national and global identities

Social system, political system and interaction

Understanding people as groups

(This strand integrates content and learning outcomes mainly across the areas of Civic Education, Political Education and Religious and Ethical Education)


5.3.2 Generic Skills

The learning process pertaining to the overall aim of PSHE is characterized by students being able to ask questions, interact with others and actively search for their own answers. Such a process emphasizes learning to learn. The nine generic skills are developed and applied in the process of PSHE learning as well as in the contexts of the six strands. Exemplars of how the nine generic skills are developed and applied in the PSHE learning process are detailed in Appendix 2. Among the nine generic skills, self-management, critical thinking and problem solving are particularly relevant and frequently employed in the enquiry of personal and social issues across the six strands. Specific skill objectives to guide the design of learning tasks and activities are included in the contexts of individual strands in Appendix 1.

5.3.3 Values and Attitudes

The strong built-in dimension of values and attitudes in PSHE KLA should enable it to contribute significantly to the development of the core and sustaining values and attitudes of our society. In the enquiry process, students clarify their values and make decisions concerning the various personal and social issues, which will direct their actions where appropriate. In parallel, teachers should employ values and attitudes such as “open-mindedness” and “respect for evidence” as pedagogical principles to guide student learning.

Values and attitudes can also be learnt as key concepts, such as

“sustainability” in Strand IV and “the rule of law” in Strand VI.

Related values and attitudinal objectives grounded in the core and sustaining values are included within and relevant to the contexts of the six strands in different key stages. They do not imply, however, that values and attitudinal development should progress in the same order as the key stages. Appendix 3 provides a list of the proposed core and sustaining values and attitudes for reference.

Among the six strands of PSHE, Personal and Social Development (Strand I) and Social Systems and Citizenship (Strand VI) are specifically concerned with the development of values and attitudes.

Elements of personal and social education embedded in these two strands are also cross-curricular in nature. In this connection, they constitute part of the cross-KLA moral and civic education programme. Cross-references can be found in Chapter 3 of Learning


to Learn, the Consultation Document Overview.

An exemplar is provided below of how knowledge, generic skills and values and attitudes in different strands can be organized in a study tour for PSHE learning.

An Exemplar Study Tour to the Mainland Aims:

Through the study tour to the mainland, students connect knowledge learnt in different PSHE subjects and develop positive values and attitudes as well as generic skills for a better understanding of the nation and an enhancement of their sense of national identity.


A secondary school organized a study tour to Dongguan (東莞) during the summer holidays. With the support of the school, teachers of Chinese History, Geography, Economic and Public Affairs, and Civic Education formed a working group to plan the details of the visit.

Preparation before the tour

(a) Meetings were held by subject coordinators concerned.

Learning objectives of the tour were identified in the domains of knowledge in related strands, skills, values and attitudes.

(b) The school provided training to participating teachers to familiarize them with the places to be visited and the skills involved in conducting a study tour with a view to achieving the learning objectives more effectively.

(c) Parents of the participating students were invited to join the study tour, not only to develop close partnerships with their children in learning, but also to enhance parents' understanding of the educational effects of the study tour.

(d) Before the tour, students were briefed about the aims, related knowledge, as well as the skills, values and attitudes to be developed.

(e) Students were organized to form working groups to draw up rules and regulations to be complied with during the


tour and to identify their major areas of learning.

During the tour

(f) Teachers provided students with immediate feedback based on observation of the group activities to facilitate them to integrate the knowledge and develop generic skills and positive values and attitudes.

(g) Through on-site visits and discussion, students gained a better understanding of the history, geography and economy of Dongguan district under the guidance of teachers.

Post-tour work

(h) A project report was compiled based on the concerted efforts of all participating students. Opportunities for experience sharing about the study tour were provided through morning assemblies, exhibitions, etc.

(i) Questionnaires were designed to gauge the views of each participating teacher, student and parent.


(a) Students developed keen interest in learning. They were able to connect the knowledge learnt in different subjects and develop their own views in response to the questions arisen during the tour.

(b) Throughout the tour, students gradually mastered skills in knowledge construction and application, such as information analysis and processing. By means of group work, students developed communication and collaboration skills.

(c) Students developed better understanding of the nation and their national identity.

(d) Teachers and parents were further convinced of the positive effects on learning derived from team work and the authentic learning experiences generated by the study tour.


5.4 Modes of Curriculum Planning

Different approaches may be adopted for organizing the essential knowledge in the KLA for common as well as different purposes of learning. Diversified modes of planning can emerge and each mode may have its own advantage(s) and disadvantage(s). The adoption of any one mode by a school should, however, reflect the learning needs of its students and strengths of the school, e.g. the school environment in a typical rural/urban setting, parental involvement in organization of learning activities, strong administrative support in timetable arrangements, teachers’ training in certain specialist fields.

5.4.1 At Primary Level

General Studies will continue to integrate the learning of the KLAs of PSHE, Science Education and Technology Education. The Primary 1 and 2 curriculum will focus on personal and social education, e.g. by adopting the life events approach in moral and civic education (refer to Appendix 7, Learning to Learn Document). Alternative modes of curriculum planning may be adopted in Primary 3-6 by designing and selecting themes with different emphases on the six cross-KLA strands proposed to cater for students’ needs and interests. There will be a reduction in curriculum content and strengthening of the multi-perspective approach to connect students’ learning with daily life. Students’ ability in learning to learn and their sense of national identity will be enhanced. (Refer to General Studies booklet).

5.4.2 At Junior Secondary Level

In recent years, some schools have already introduced alternative modes of curriculum planning in PSHE according to students’

curriculum needs and school-based considerations. To be sure, schools are encouraged to adopt different modes of planning and flexibly combine them to realize the spirit and essence of the KLA framework and meet the different needs and potentials of their students. The diversified modes of planning are exemplified as follows:

Retaining the existing individual subjects but developing means to connect them better. Through improved coordination and collaboration among subjects, overlapping and content overload can be reduced. A multi-perspective


study and/or cross-subject curriculum unit may be designed to connect learning elements on a common theme for different PSHE subjects. An exemplar is provided below.

The curriculum space thus created can be used for the inclusion of a new module or short course for the provision of learning experiences not covered by these subjects, e.g. on media education or a life event. An alternative means is to organize an inter-disciplinary project on themes such as

“enhancing our national identity” or enquiry into an issue of common interest.

In a school, teachers of S1 PSHE subjects, including Chinese History, EPA, History and Geography, work in collaboration to develop a multi-perspective study on an issue of common interest “Changes in the Rural Community of Hong Kong”.

They identify two key questions to be explored by students in the project:

• What changes have happened to the rural community of Hong Kong?

• What are the impacts of such changes on the development of Hong Kong and the life of the residents?

Chinese History and History teachers help in designing activities on the understanding of the rural life, including customs and traditions, in Hong Kong villages in the past.

EPA and Geography teachers contribute mainly to the changes in economic development, land use and population in Hong Kong in the later part of the 20th century.

Some adjustments are made to the sequence of learning of the related topics in the above subjects. Arrangement is also made in the school timetable to organize a field trip to Kam Tin/Yuen Long on one day and a visit to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum on another half-day (these visits take place before a long holiday). Students are asked to conduct project learning on the changes which have taken place in the rural environment as well as in the life of people in the rural community of Hong Kong.

(Where curriculum space is created, an extended module may be developed on “Protecting the Natural Environment/

Cultural Heritage of Hong Kong”, and the issue of constructing the KCRC Lok Ma Chau rail spur project may be studied.)


For more details on similar programmes, please refer to Appendix 4.

Introducing integrated modes of different nature, such as offering a new history curriculum with national history as a starting point and incorporating world history elements, and/or an Integrated Humanities (IH) curriculum with a China studies module and different degrees of emphasis, while integrating the six strands. The integrated modes should aim at helping students to connect learning better.

However, there is not one single mode that could best serve the needs of all schools. Through research and development projects, some schools are already developing their own models based on evidence of their impact on student learning. Appendix 5 is an exemplar of outlines for Integrated Humanities in a pilot project. It serves to provide a clearer view of how an integrated curriculum can be developed at school-based level.

Combining different modes in the same year or in alternate years. Both integrated and individual subject modes may be adopted in the same year, e.g. an individual subject of Chinese History in parallel with Integrated Humanities (for EMI schools in particular), a new history curriculum with Geography and EPA/Civic Education. Another alternative is to have individual PSHE subjects at S1-2 but a comprehensive Integrated Humanities curriculum at S3, or vice versa.

Whatever mode schools may adopt, they should ensure that the benefits to student learning given first priority. Learning experiences should be provided across the strands and within contexts important for Hong Kong students.

5.4.3 At Senior Secondary Level

To provide equal opportunities for all students to learn a balanced curriculum, it is recommended to introduce Integrated Humanities (IH) in S4-5 and Liberal Studies as a core subject for S6-7 in the existing system. Current individual PSHE subjects such as Chinese History, Economics, Geography and History will be retained to cater for the students who prefer to be educated further in the humanities or social science disciplines. The new course of Integrated


Humanities will be developed as an alternative to other humanities subjects for students whose elective subjects are oriented towards the Science and Technology Education KLAs. IH would put its emphasis on the study of human relationships, citizenship education, the development of Chinese identity and a global perspective, through social sciences processes and strengthening of self-learning capabilities. A proposed outline of IH for S4-5 is in Appendix 6.

Other new courses or modules to help students extend their interests in skills for living, social issues and other humanities areas will be developed pending the review of the Education Commission on the new senior secondary academic structure in 2002.

5.5 Essential Contents for Learning

To ensure that Hong Kong students can have experiences in specific essential contents for learning (such as an understanding of Chinese history and culture, the development of Hong Kong in the past hundred years) under the diversified modes of planning, such contents are proposed for the nine-year basic education in Appendix 7. They are prepared in view of the needs to equip young people of HKSAR to become confident, informed and responsible individuals.

These essential contents for learning also serve as a primary tool to facilitate schools in planning their curriculum and to ensure that related learning experiences are provided as core elements in their appropriate key stages of learning.

The proposed essential contents for learning are initial drafts only based on the views of a group of education workers from tertiary institutions, experienced teachers and curriculum developers. They are subject to amendment, modification, amplification, elimination, etc. after the process of consultation. Discussions and suggestions on them are welcome.

5.6 Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Significant pedagogical change is expected if the PSHE curriculum is to become learner-focused. In enquiry learning, teachers should play the role of a facilitator who empowers students to ask questions, plan their process of learning and search for their own answers. An effective linkage has to be established between teaching, learning and assessment, which requires the creation of an open atmosphere that


encourages students to participate freely in discussions, present different views, and work collaboratively to solve problems.

The PSHE framework is intended to support teachers in designing related learning tasks and activities for enquiry learning. The design of such learning tasks and activities should take into consideration not just the content students are expected to engage in but the processes of engagement. The values and attitudes cherished by the enquiry classroom, such as open-mindedness, tolerance and respect for different views, reflective and self- directed in learning, should be characteristic of this type of learning.

Assessment has a profound influence on the motivation and self- esteem of students, which in turn influence students’ learning.

Effective modes of assessment should provide feedback on the learning outcomes of students and shed light on how teaching and learning can be improved. They should reflect the quality of learning as well as students’ learning needs instead of the quantity of work and presentation. Formative assessment that involves students’ self-assessment could provide feedback data for teachers to decide on the ways to help students extend learning and become responsible learners. It should become an integral part of the teaching-learning process and not an add-on or supplementary component.

Some current PSHE subject curricula have already introduced an enquiry approach and attempted to engage students in learning and assessment tasks aiming at developing their thinking and enquiry skills. Teachers have provided positive feedback on such approaches, for instance, in the revised syllabus for S1-3 Geography and the assessment tasks designed for S1-2 History. Both of the above have been in use in schools since the 1999-2000 year.

Project Learning

Well-planned project learning can have crucial influences on students’ development of lifelong learning capabilities. Project learning, which puts emphasis on the process and not the product only, can engage students in decision-making, design of the enquiry process, and reflection on its effectiveness. Cross-curricular projects can help to connect and apply knowledge, skills, attitudes and values acquired through various learning experiences. A great range of learning experiences relevant to PSHE learning may be included, e.g.


exploring an academic/social issue through field studies, participation in community service, related career experiences and others. Students will develop an interest in continuous self-learning and positive attitudes to improve their own learning. Project learning as a teaching, learning and assessment mode can be introduced at any level of learning, from primary to secondary.

Some schools have already made project learning part of their curriculum plans and allocated class time to it. An exemplar of such a programme design is in Appendix 8.

Catering for Diversities in Students’ Learning

The teaching and learning of PSHE should cater for students’

diversities in abilities, interests and needs. To help lower achieving students learn the essential contents for learning and achieve an acceptable standard, it is important to increase their learning motivation, to provide a caring environment, to vary teaching &

learning strategies according to learning styles, and to provide quality feedback. If students possess higher abilities and learn faster, teachers can spare the additional curriculum space on more complex issues. Teachers should also choose teaching and learning materials that could further stretch these students’ potentials, such as creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and leadership qualities, in suitable learning contexts.

5.7 School-based Curriculum Development

Teachers, as curriculum developers at school level, are the most suitable persons to make decisions on the direction and pace of change to be introduced in the school-based PSHE curriculum. It is advisable to conduct a situational analysis in the school context to first locate the school’s position in relation to the three dimensions of curriculum development, i.e. mode of planning, mode of teaching and learning and mode of assessment, in the light of the PSHE framework. Based on the findings of the situational analysis, teachers can decide on the most appropriate point to start at and draw up plans for the development of the dimensions, making reference to school-based considerations. There can be flexible combinations of the modes, as there is no single optimal model that suits all.


5.7.1 Situational Analysis and the Curriculum Decision Process Figure 2 is a diagrammatic representation of the situational analysis and the curriculum decision process, which is briefly described below:

(a) A school evaluates its existing position of curriculum development in the three dimensions: mode of planning, mode of teaching and learning and mode of assessment by checking against the overall aim, learning targets, learning objectives and essential learning contents proposed in the PSHE framework.

(b) Any inadequacies or weaknesses identified in each of the three dimensions would form a basis for consideration of alternative modes or strategies in that particular dimension.

(c) Alternative modes are considered in the light of different factors or strengths or weaknesses of the school as well as the possible changes that could be made in these factors.

(d) Curriculum decisions are made by positioning the school at an appropriate point to start at and planning actions in the direction of development based on the findings in a to c above.


Figure 2 Situational Analysis and the Curriculum Decision Process FrameworkPSHE Current Situation

of School Possible Changes Other Considerations

OK Inadequacy/weakness


OK Inadequacy/weakness identified


OK Inadequacy/weakness identified

5.7.2 Examples of School-based Curriculum Development

Figure 3 illustrates the position of the starting points for three different schools (A, B and C) along the continuum for mode of planning, mode of teaching and learning, and mode of assessment respectively.

Strand I

Strand II

Strand III

Strand IV

Strand V

Strand VI

Existing Mode of Curriculum



Teaching and Learning Mode

Adopted at Classroom Level

Existing Strategy and Mode

of Assessment

Curriculum Decision

Alternative Mode of Planning to meet the needs of

students /have a balanced coverage

of the six strands

Teaching and Learning Mode

to Promote Enquiry Learning

Strengthening of the Teaching, Learning and Assessment







Physical environment

Human resources

Student potential

Parental support


Figure 3 Examples of School-based Curriculum Development

A Mode of Planning


Individual subjects with little connection

Individual subject curricula adapted for the transition to using the new PSHE framework

Collaboration among individual subjects improved with an

interdisciplinary project/thematic studies and/or short course(s)/module(s) on specific themes, e.g. media education

Combination of individual subjects and a subject(s) of integrated nature, e.g.

new history, life education (integrating personal and social education, civic ed., sex ed., etc.)

A broad, balanced and well connected PSHE curriculum that caters for new issues as well as academic disciplines (may have different models)

Teaching and Learning


Teacher as an instructor and students as passive learners

Teachers employ questioning techniques to stimulate thinking

An open learning atmosphere gradually built up for free discussion or enquiry of issues

An open learning environment instituted with an increase in life- wide learning opportunities;

independent learning promoted by infusing generic skills

Teachers as facilitators and students as active learners; life-wide learning becomes students’ entitlement



Summative assessment of sole importance

Summative assessment still dominant; formative assessment introduced for quality feedback

More formative assessment, students receiving continuous feedback; reduced reliance on summative assessment

Multiple modes of formative assessment adopted; formative assessment becomes an integral part of teaching- learning process


School Mode of Planning Teaching and Learning Assessment A An individual subject

mode is adopted.

Little connection is built among PSHE subjects of Chinese History, EPA, Geography and History.

Teachers begin to adapt individual subject curricula with reference to the PSHE framework.

Teachers have tried to improve teaching- learning strategies by designing open questions to stimulate student thinking in the discussion of social issues.

Summative assessment in the form of tests and end-of-term examinations still dominant, which have great impact on students’ learning.

Formative assessment for quality feedback is gradually introduced by making

coursework an add- on component.

B Individual subject mode is adopted but collaboration among subjects has improved.

Overlapping content has been reduced.

Two inter-disciplinary projects are organized in the year for enquiry into issues of common concern, e.g.

“Tourists — friends of foes?”, “How much do I know about my home country?”

A module of media education is

introduced in the post- exam period.

An open learning atmosphere is instituted in the learning programme.

Students are allowed to design their project learning and actively participate in developing enquiry methods.

Generic skills are infused increasingly into the programme of learning.

Opportunities for life- wide learning increase by securing

community resources such as museum learning and service learning.


assessment is given an increased weighting in the school assessment policy. Assessment of project learning takes into account both the process and the product.

Criteria for assessing students’ generic skills are developed.

New modes of assessment, e.g. self- assessment, are tried out to study their impact on student learning.

C PSHE curricula re- organized

comprehensively based on the PSHE framework. Integrated Humanities is

introduced as a research and

development project.

There is an

independent subject of Religious Education, which covers some of the Personal and Social Education elements.

Teachers attempt to link and apply effective teaching- learning strategies to the enquiry of social issues; discussion in classroom is lively.

Students are involved in designing their project title but enquiry methods are still prescribed by teachers.

Formative assessment is gradually given a more important place; feedback is provided to students in coursework to produce an impact on learning.

Assessment of project learning is taken as a

supplement to the conventional tests and examinations.


The above schools can build on their strengths in developing a 5-year strategy of curriculum development. The overall consideration is to promote more independent learning and the development of generic skills to meet the needs of students and society. It is hoped that by 2005, all schools will have a school-based PSHE curriculum ready in line with the proposed framework.

5.8 Life-wide Learning

It is essential for young people to have more life-wide learning opportunities so that they can link school learning with real life needs and situations. Learning experiences that take place outside the four walls of the school and involve community resources are more authentic in the sense that knowledge is no longer abstract. Many community organizations, including both government and non- government bodies, are ready to support life-wide learning in PSHE.

Some provide services which enrich students’ intellectual experiences, such as museum learning and field studies. Others provide life experiences related to moral and civic education by organizing visits to other cities or villages of China for an understanding of different facets of life there. Service learning can link with students’ personal and social development as well as citizenship education.

Opportunities for career-related experiences are also available for students interested in applying their knowledge in economics and travel and tourism. Information on the support services provided by different government departments and non-government organizations relevant to the learning in the eight KLAs as well as cross-KLA issues is available in a booklet published by the Education Commission in July 20003.

Life-wide learning is particularly relevant in strengthening students’

moral and civic concern and values. Examples of activities for the promotion of moral and civic education and those related to the PSHE curricula of History and Travel and Tourism are in Appendix 9.

5.9 Connections with Other Key Learning Areas

The PSHE KLA is connected with other KLAs in various aspects,

3 教育統籌委員會,《全方位學習活動簡介》,二零零零年七月。


either drawing on their understandings, processes and skills to enrich PSHE learning, or contributing to the achievement of students’

learning outcomes in other KLAs. Obvious examples of links of PSHE with other KLAs include: personal and social issues related to different KLAs, the historical, social and cultural background of themes/issues in KLAs, the concern for people-environment relationships and citizenship education in different KLA contexts.

They provide a basis for collaboration with other KLAs in the organization of learning activities and studies of an integrated nature.

The following table provides ideas on some of the personal and social issues for discussion and enquiry in other KLAs:

Key Learning Areas Suggested issues for discussions and enquiries Chinese Language Ÿ Cultural affiliation, national identity and Chinese

language education

Ÿ Should Putonghua replace Cantonese as the spoken language in Hong Kong?

English Language Ÿ Intercultural and cross-cultural experiences in English language education

Ÿ Is English language the necessary path to globalization?

Mathematics Ÿ The use and misuse of statistics Ÿ Is mathematics value-free?

Science Ÿ Scientific investigation and ethical considerations Ÿ How scientific is our approach to daily problems?

Technology Ÿ Technology for people and people for technology Ÿ Is technology gender biased?

Arts Ÿ Development of individuality and arts education Ÿ Should artistic expression observe moral boundaries?

Physical Education Ÿ Knowing one’s own biological clock Ÿ Can physical exercises be a therapy?



The PSHE framework is proposed to facilitate schools and teachers in planning, adapting and designing their school-based curriculum for the promotion of learning to learn through diversified modes of planning and strengthening of the teaching-learning and assessment cycle. The enhancement of moral, social and civic values and the development of generic skills are intertwined in the six strands of PSHE. Pedagogical change is highly essential to make enquiry learning successful and help students link PSHE learning with their daily lives.

Teachers play a very significant role in curriculum development.

The Curriculum Development Council, with its Committee on PSHE KLA, are ready to support teachers in realizing the aims of PSHE learning. Your opinions on the phases of development, the proposed framework of PSHE with its components, modes of planning and essential contents for learning are most welcome.

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

Address: Curriculum Development Council Secretariat Room 1329, Wu Chung House

213 Queen’s Road East Wan Chai

Hong Kong

Fax Number: 2573 5299 / 2575 4318 E-mail Address:


Appendix 1

PSHE – Learning Objectives




Related subjects :