The development of the Hong Kong school curriculum has advanced into a new phase of ongoing renewal and updating. It ushers in a new era for curriculum development to keep abreast of the macro and dynamic changes in various aspects in the local, regional and global landscapes in maintaining the competitiveness of Hong Kong. For the ultimate benefits of our students, schools are encouraged to sustain and deepen the accomplishments achieved since the Learning to Learn curriculum reform started in 2001, and to place new emphases on future needs in curriculum development for achieving the overall aims and learning goals of the school curriculum.
The eight Key Learning Area (KLA) Curriculum Guides (Primary 1 - Secondary 6) have been updated and recommended by the Curriculum Development Council (CDC)Note to support the ongoing renewal of the school curriculum at the primary and secondary levels.
In updating the KLA Curriculum Guides, the respective KLA committees under the CDC have taken into consideration the concerns, needs and suggestions of various key stakeholders including schools, principals, teachers, students and the public at large. A series of school briefing cum feedback collection sessions coupled with a territory-wide school survey were conducted in 2015 to gauge schools’ views on the major updates of the respective Curriculum Guides.
The eight KLA Curriculum Guides (2017) supersede the 2002 versions. Each KLA Curriculum Guide presents the updated curriculum framework which specifies the KLA’s curriculum aims, learning targets and objectives, delineates the direction of ongoing curriculum development at the KLA level, and provides suggestions on curriculum planning, learning and teaching strategies, assessment, as well as useful learning and teaching resources. In addition, updated examples of effective learning, teaching and assessment practices are provided for schools’ reference. Supplements to some KLA Curriculum Guides and subject curriculum guides are also available to provide further suggestions on their implementation at specific key stages. Schools are encouraged to adopt the recommendations in the KLA Curriculum Guides, taking into account the school contexts, teachers’ readiness and learning needs of their students.
For a better understanding of the interface between various key stages and connections of different learning areas, and how effective learning, teaching and assessment can be achieved, schools should make reference to all related curriculum documents recommended by the CDC and the latest versions of the Curriculum and Assessment Guides jointly prepared by the CDC and the HKEAA for the senior secondary curriculum to ensure coherence in curriculum planning at the school, KLA and subject levels.
Note The CDC is an advisory body offering recommendations to the Government on all matters relating to school curriculum development from kindergarten to secondary levels. Its membership includes heads of schools, teachers, parents, employers, academics from tertiary institutions, professionals from related fields or related bodies, representatives from the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA), and officers from the Education Bureau.
As curriculum development is a collaborative and ongoing process, the KLA Curriculum Guides will be under regular review and updating in light of schools’ implementation experiences as well as the changing needs of students and society.
Views and suggestions on the development of the Personal, Social and Humanities Education (PSHE) KLA curriculum are always welcome. These may be sent to:
Chief Curriculum Development Officer (PSHE) Curriculum Development Institute
Room 1319, 13/F, Wu Chung House 213 Queen’s Road East
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Fax: 25735299 / 25754318 E-mail: email@example.com
Personal, Social and Humanities Education (PSHE)
• Provides learning experiences through which students acquire social literacy and the necessary social enquiry skills.
• Calls for an understanding of human beings as both individuals and groups in relation to time, space and the environment, and their place in the cultural and material world.
• A balanced curriculum, of which PSHE is an integral part.
• Appropriate lesson time for PSHE, as suggested in 3.5.
• Learning experiences identified as core elements/essential content for learning, as listed in 2.2.3.
Directions for Development in the PSHE Key Learning Area (KLA) Curriculum
• Seven areas that are linked to the major renewed emphases (MRE) proposed for the junior secondary level and beyond in the ongoing renewal of the school curriculum are taken as key focuses for improving curriculum development work in the PSHE KLA in schools as well as essential contributing elements to students’ learning opportunities.
• These key focuses are: (1) humanistic qualities; (2) entrepreneurial spirit; (3) values education; (4) e-learning; (5) generic skills and their integrative use; (6) promotion of national and global understanding; and (7) Language across the Curriculum.
• Broadened knowledge base, deeper understanding of Chinese history and Chinese culture and contemporary developments of society and our country, and development of global perspectives.
• Active participation and enquiry in the learning and teaching process, open- mindedness and integrative application of generic skills.
• Closer link between knowledge acquired in the KLA and real-life issues.
• Recognition of connection among the PSHE subjects, and between PSHE and other KLAs, multiple perspectives in dealing with complex social issues.
• Healthy personal development, the ability to relate to others, and positive values and attitudes.
Overarching Aims of the PSHE KLA Curriculum To enable students to:
• understand themselves, society, our nation and the world at large;
• maintain a healthy personal development; and
• contribute to the well-being of the family, the local community, our nation and the world as confident, informed and responsible persons.
Curriculum Framework of the PSHE KLA
It is a curriculum framework of knowledge, skills and values and attitudes structured around the following six strands:
• Personal and Social Development
• Time, Continuity and Change
• Culture and Heritage
• Place and Environment
• Resources and Economic Activities
• Social Systems and Citizenship.
A list of core elements/essential content for learning is set out in Section 2.2.3 for schools to review and plan their curriculum. Chinese history and Chinese culture, as part of the core elements/essential content for learning in the PSHE KLA curriculum, will be strengthened during the 12 years of primary and junior secondary education. (Please refer to General Studies for Primary Schools Curriculum Guide (CDC, 2017a) and also this Curriculum Guide for more suggestions.)
• For Key Stages One and Two, the core elements/essential content for learning are delivered through General Studies.
• For Key Stage Three, the core elements/essential content for learning are delivered through an independent subject mode or a mixed curriculum organisation mode (with Chinese History offered as an independent compulsory subject) for achieving the learning targets set out in the curriculum framework of the PSHE KLA.
• For Key Stage Four, students’ learning is promoted through a broad and balanced curriculum with diversification and specialisation delivered by six HKDSE elective subjects in the PSHE KLA.
• For curriculum development for the PSHE KLA in schools, the following should be noted:
- Make reference to the vision and mission of the school.
- Build on the strengths of schools and the needs of their students.
- Consider the available resources, including external support.
- Ensure adequate coverage of core elements/essential content for learning.
- Optimise the link between learning inside and outside the classroom.
Learning and Teaching in the PSHE KLA
• Situate student learning in relevant contexts in terms of time, place, institution, culture and values.
• Equip students with different learning skills, including enquiry and generic skills, in approaching and tackling different kinds of issues.
• Encourage learning through participation in a wide range of activities within and outside the classroom.
• Facilitate both collaboration and self-directed learning.
(For more information on various curriculum matters, please refer to Basic Education Curriculum Guide: To sustain, deepen and focus on Learning to Learn (Primary 1 - 6) (CDC, 2014) and Secondary Education Curriculum Guide (Secondary 1 - 6) (CDC, 2017c))
Key Messages iii
Chapter 1 Introduction 1
1.1 What is a Key Learning Area? 4
1.2 Position of the Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area in the School Curriculum
6 1.3 Review of Development of the Personal, Social and Humanities
Education Key Learning Area Curriculum
10 1.4 Rationale and Directions for the Updating of the Personal, Social
and Humanities Education Key Learning Area Curriculum
1.5 Strategies for Curriculum Development 21
1.6 Building the Foundation for Lifelong Learning 24
Chapter 2 Curriculum Framework 25
2.1 Curriculum Aims of the Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area
27 2.2 The Curriculum Framework of the Personal, Social and
Humanities Education Key Learning Area
2.3 Curriculum Organisation 49
Chapter 3 Curriculum Planning 55
3.1 A Balanced Curriculum 57
3.2 Five Stages of Curriculum Planning at Key Learning Area/
58 3.3 Guiding Principles for School-based Curriculum Planning and
Adaptation at Primary and Junior Secondary Levels
3.4 Interface 70
3.5 Time Allocation 72
3.6 Reflective Questions 73
3.7 Curriculum Leadership and Management 74
Chapter 4 Learning and Teaching 75
4.1 Guiding Principles 77
4.2 Embedding the Seven Key Focuses for Curriculum Development in the Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area in Learning and Teaching
4.3 Major Pedagogical Strategies to Enhance Learning and Teaching 92
4.4 Embracing Learner Diversity 97
Chapter 5 Assessment 99
5.1 Introduction 101
5.2 General Principles 103
5.3 Formative and Summative Assessment 105
5.4 Internal Assessment 111
5.5 Public Assessment 117
5.6 Professional Development for Assessment Literacy 118
Chapter 6 Learning and Teaching Resources 119
6.1 Purpose and Functions of Learning and Teaching Resources 121 6.2 Types of Learning and Teaching Resources 123
6.3 Resource Management in Schools 130
Membership of the Curriculum Development Council Committee on Personal, Social and Humanities Education
1 Seven Learning Goals of Primary and Secondary Education 136 2 Generic Skills and Personal, Social and Humanities Education 138
Chapter 1 Introduction
The Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 - Secondary 6) (this Guide) (CDC, 2017b) is prepared by the Curriculum Development Council (CDC) Committee on Personal, Social and Humanities Education. It is an updated version of the Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 - Secondary 3) (PSHE KLA Curriculum Guide) (CDC, 2002) and has been extended to include the three-year senior secondary Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area (PSHE KLA) curriculum to provide reference for schools.
The direction for the development of this Guide continues to align with the Seven Learning Goals of Primary and Secondary Education (see Appendix 1 for the Seven Learning Goals of Primary Education and the Seven Learning Goals of Secondary Education) and the major recommendations in the Basic Education Curriculum Guide – To Sustain, Deepen and Focus on Learning to Learn (Primary 1 - 6) (BECG) (CDC, 2014) and the Secondary Education Curriculum Guide (Secondary 1 - 6) (SECG) (CDC, 2017c) (available at http://www.edb.gov.hk/en/curriculum-development/renewal/guides.html).
This Guide provides the overall direction for the development of the PSHE KLA curriculum in the five to ten years to come. It is based on a review of the PSHE KLA Curriculum Guide (CDC, 2002), and puts forth seven key focuses for curriculum development in the PSHE KLA in schools. These key focuses are related to the Major Renewed Emphases (MRE) proposed in the SECG for holistic curriculum planning, implementation, and evaluation (P- I-E) at the secondary school level.
This Guide is accompanied with examples to illustrate the concepts and ideas introduced for the reference of schools. (Please refer to Examples for School Reference: Inspirational Practices in Hong Kong Schools (EDB, 2017b) at: http://www.edb.gov.hk/en/curriculum- development/kla/pshe/curriculum-documents/examples-for-school-reference.html.)
Schools should also make reference to the following curriculum documents for a better understanding of the interface between various key stages, as well as curriculum planning and implementation in different PSHE subjects at different key stages:
• Key Stages One and Two
- General Studies Curriculum Guide for Primary Schools (Primary 1 - Primary 6) (CDC, 2017a);
• Key Stage Three
- Syllabuses for Chinese History (CDC, 1997a; 2018a), History (CDC, 1996;
2018b), and Religious Education (Secondary 1 - 3) (CDC, 1999)1;
- Life and Society2, and Geography Curriculum Guides (Secondary 1 - 3)
1 For Religious Education (Secondary 1 - 3), an Ad Hoc Committee has been set up to revise the curriculum.
2 The Life and Society Curriculum Guide (Secondary 1 - 3) (CDC, 2010) is an integrated and updated version of Economic and Public Affairs (EPA) and Social Studies Syllabuses for Secondary Schools (Secondary 1 - 3) (CDC, 1997b and 1997c respectively). The Life and Society curriculum should gradually replace the EPA and Social Studies curricula to provide updated learning contents on Strands 1, 5 and 6 to junior secondary students.
(CDC, 2010 and 2011 respectively); and
• Key Stage Four
- Chinese History, Economics, Ethics and Religious Studies, Geography, History, and Tourism and Hospitality Studies Curriculum and Assessment Guides (Secondary 4 - 6) (CDC, 2015a, 2015b, 2015c, 2015d, 2015e, 2015f respectively).
All the above curriculum documents can be downloaded from the website of the Education Bureau (EDB):
http://www.edb.gov.hk/en/curriculum-development/kla/pshe/curriculum-documents.html As curriculum renewal is an ongoing process, schools should implement the latest curriculum guides for PSHE subjects prepared by the CDC.
1.1 What is a Key Learning Area?
A Key Learning Area (KLA) is an important part of the school curriculum. It is founded on fundamental and connected concepts within major fields of knowledge which should be acquired by all students. A KLA provides a context for the development and application of generic skills (e.g. communication, critical thinking and collaboration skills, creativity), as well as positive values and attitudes through appropriate use of learning and teaching activities and strategies. It serves as a context for the construction of new knowledge and the development of understanding. The studies offered in each KLA may have an academic, social or practical orientation or a combination of these, depending on their purpose(s). They can be organised into subjects, modules, units, tasks or other modes of learning.
The three interconnected components of the curriculum framework, that is, Knowledge in KLAs, Generic Skills, and Values and Attitudes, can be represented in Figure 1.1.
Figure 1.1 Three Interconnected Components of the Curriculum Framework
1.2 Position of the Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area in the School Curriculum
Figure 1.2 Learning to Learn 2+ –The Hong Kong School Curriculum
Source: Secondary Education Curriculum Guide (Secondary 1 - 6) (CDC, 2017c)
PSHE is one of the eight KLAs of the school curriculum. It facilitates an understanding of human beings as both individuals and groups in relation to time, space and the environment, and their place in the cultural and material world. It also provides learning experiences for healthy personal development and the nurturing of moral and social values. It enables students to make meaningful relationships between learning at school and the personal, social and environmental issues they encounter in daily life.
In the school curriculum, the PSHE KLA continues to play a crucial role in helping our students deepen their understanding of various changes in local, national and global contexts, enquire into challenges and resolutions, and develop positive attitudes and values for facing different scenarios.
1.2.1 The learning contexts and experiences provided in the PSHE KLA
• The PSHE KLA provides a context for studying the human world.
- The PSHE KLA deals with human beings, human behaviours and the human world. It aims to promote the maturation of a person as a human being and a citizen. Studies in the PSHE KLA situate students in relevant contexts in terms of time, place, institution, culture and values. Students reflect on behaviours, events and issues in these contexts through the study
of various disciplines in this KLA. They examine the present, make connections with the past and consider future possibilities. In gist, studies in the PSHE KLA provide the basics for a general and liberal education.
• The PSHE KLA attaches importance to students’ personal growth.
- The growth and development of students as persons and the respect for individual diversity are emphasised in the PSHE KLA. Their physical, mental and social well-being as well as their engagement in life planning is promoted. The aim is to ensure that all students, without exception, are able to develop their talents and potential to the full, including taking responsibility for their own lives and achieving personal goals. Together with other KLAs, the PSHE KLA provides opportunities for students to develop the ability and motivation for “learning to know”, “learning to do”,
“learning to live together” and “learning to be” (Delors et al., 1996).
• The PSHE KLA emphasises learning history, culture and contemporary society.
- The PSHE KLA concerns about nurturing a healthy perception of history and culture, and a sense of responsibility to make contributions to the community, our country, culture and humanity. Young people are all expected to inherit civilisation and traditions, learn wisdom from history, develop a sense of belonging to their own nation and culture, embrace a global outlook and contribute to creating a better world. Their understanding of and respect for the viewpoints and feelings of others, including those belonging to groups, cultures and nations different from their own, is also promoted. In Hong Kong, our young people’s understanding of the importance of the Basic Law as the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Chinese history and Chinese culture, and contemporary developments of society and our country, as well as their development of global perspectives, are essential to them for living in the present and preparing for the future.
• The PSHE KLA treasures the environment and stresses the optimal use of resources.
- Opportunities are provided for students to understand the scarcity of resources and the need for concerted efforts to protect the environment.
Through investigating major local, national and global issues, students understand the importance of making efficient use of resources, develop positive values and attitudes, and seek to make feasible recommendations on resource management, environmental conservation and sustainable development. These are important qualities of responsible citizens who are willing to act for a better future.
• The PSHE KLA promotes enquiry learning and participatory learning.
- In the PSHE KLA, students are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities to gain learning experiences across and beyond the school
curriculum, and to make contributions to their schools and communities.
The major aim of adopting an enquiry and participatory approach to learning is to help students become active and self-directed learners.
Through enquiry learning and participatory learning, students are able to grasp and even probe deeper into relevant concepts and knowledge, co- construct knowledge with peers, and develop different skills as well as positive values and attitudes. Based on thorough and well-informed deliberations, they also learn to recognise their own worth, acknowledge their common humanity, respect diversity and develop humanistic qualities.
1.2.2 Existing PSHE subjects and related elements
• In the existing school curriculum, the components of the PSHE KLA are mainly covered in humanities and social subjects, with some related elements delivered through cross-curricular programmes, such as moral and civic education, sex education, environmental education and media education. Table 1.1 presents the subjects currently under the PSHE KLA at different key stages of learning.
Table 1.1 PSHE Subjects at Different Key Stages of Learning Key Stage One
(Primary 1 - 3) &
Key Stage Two (Primary 4 - 6)
Key Stage Three (Secondary 1 - 3)
Key Stage Four (Secondary 4 - 6)
• General Studies • Chinese History
• Life and Society
• Religious Education
• Chinese History
• Ethics and Religious Studies
• Tourism and Hospitality Studies
• At the primary level (Key Stage One and Key Stage Two)
- The General Studies curriculum provides students with opportunities to integrate the learning of knowledge and skills, and the nurturing of positive values and attitudes across three KLAs (i.e. PSHE, Science Education and Technology Education). PSHE core elements/essential content for learning are included in different strands3 of the General Studies curriculum.
- The General Studies curriculum is underpinned by the idea that students’
learning experiences should be connected and not compartmentalised, so that students can develop a holistic view of themselves as members in the community and our nation; of their place in the natural world; and of the
3 There are six strands in the General Studies curriculum at the primary level: Health and Living, People and Environment, Science and Technology in Everyday Life, Community and Citizenship, National Identity and Chinese Culture, and Global Understanding and the Information Era.
interaction of human beings with the environment. Historical and current social issues which students encounter in their everyday life, including the impact of human activities on the natural environment, can be thematic as well as integrated topics for students to develop their understanding of individuals, families, society, our nation and the world. Emphasis is placed on promoting students’ affective development, especially the strengthening of humanistic qualities via different approaches and activities.
• At the junior secondary level (Key Stage Three)
- To deliver PSHE at the junior secondary level, schools may offer the independent subjects as listed in Table 1.1. While schools need to offer Chinese History as an independent compulsory subject, they are provided with flexibility to organise other core elements/essential content for learning. More detailed discussion can be found in Chapter 2 of this Guide.
- PSHE core elements/essential content for learning may also be covered by Religious Education in schools with a religious background. They may also be incorporated into school assemblies and class teacher periods as part of the school moral and civic education programme.
• At the senior secondary level (Key Stage Four)
- The six PSHE subjects, including Chinese History, Economics, Ethics and Religious Studies, Geography, History, and Tourism and Hospitality Studies, as listed in Table 1.1 for Key Stage Four, are all elective subjects of the senior secondary curriculum for students to continue studying based on their interests and aptitudes.
- Although Economics, Ethics and Religious Studies, and Tourism and Hospitality Studies are not offered at the junior secondary level, studies in these subjects are built on the knowledge foundation, skills and values and attitudes developed in students at the junior secondary level through studying the PSHE KLA and other KLA curricula.
- At the senior secondary level, students’ studies in PSHE subjects and the core subject of Liberal Studies are complementary to each other. The enquiry into some issues in Liberal Studies is built on the knowledge foundation and perspectives developed through the study of PSHE subjects at the primary and junior secondary levels. The three Areas of Study in Liberal Studies, namely “Self and Personal Development”, “Society and Culture” and “Science, Technology and the Environment”, also cover broad areas of study about human conditions and the contemporary world.
1.3 Review of Development of the Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area Curriculum
Since the publication of the PSHE KLA Curriculum Guide in 2002, an open and flexible curriculum framework has been adopted in many subjects in the PSHE KLA, such as General Studies at the primary level, as well as Life and Society and Geography at the junior secondary level. Some subjects in the PSHE KLA have both core and elective parts, which provide choices to cater for learner diversity and allow flexible integration of modules or even subjects.
The adoption of an enquiry approach and the development of generic skills, such as creativity, critical thinking skills and communication skills, have been advocated and implemented in the curricula of different PSHE subjects.
1.3.1 Good practices
Through curriculum development visits, focus group interviews with different stakeholders conducted by the Curriculum Development Institute, reports from the Quality Assurance and School-based Support Division and other data sources, it is observed that many teachers are well aware of the objectives and directions of development in the PSHE KLA Curriculum Guide (CDC, 2002). Positive changes in the planning, implementation and evaluation (P-I-E) of the PSHE KLA curriculum have been taking place in many schools in Hong Kong since then, including:
Collaboration within the PSHE KLA and across KLAs
- Some schools have assigned a PSHE KLA co-ordinator to provide leadership in curriculum planning and management. They have helped facilitate the communication between subject panels, within and beyond the PSHE KLA, and the school management. They have also helped strengthen the collaboration among the subject panels within the PSHE KLA, for example, by coordinating the organisation of joint learning activities.
- A collaborative culture among teachers within subject panels has been noted, as exemplified by co-planning of lessons, and co-designing and sharing of teaching materials.
Provision of life-wide learning activities
- Most schools are providing a wide variety of co-curricular and cross- curricular activities for the PSHE KLA, such as visits to museums and heritage sites, field trips, Mainland exchange programmes and overseas study tours, to enrich students’ learning experiences.
Adoption of varied strategies for learning, teaching and assessment
- Some schools have drawn reference to the list of core elements/essential content for learning to restructure their PSHE KLA curricula to broaden student learning and create space for more diversified learning activities.
- Teachers have used more varied learning and teaching strategies and assessment modes to enhance teaching effectiveness. Problem solving skills are emphasised by providing opportunities for students to investigate and suggest ways to solve problems. During lessons, teachers provide timely and constructive feedback to students to help them understand concepts and develop learning skills.
- Continuous assessment, in the forms of quizzes, projects and observations of performance in class, has been commonly adopted to monitor student progress in most schools.
Engagement in the Four Key Tasks
- Since 2001, schools have been providing students with opportunities to engage in the Four Key Tasks, namely Moral and Civic Education, Reading to Learn, Project Learning, and Information Technology for Interactive Learning. While the Four Key Tasks have been embedded in the learning and teaching of the PSHE KLA, Project Learning, in particular, has been widely practised in individual PSHE subjects or as collaborative endeavours between PSHE subjects, or between PSHE subjects and subjects in other KLAs, with the aim of developing students’ enquiry skills, broadening their learning experiences, and enabling them to apply what they have learned in different contexts.
1.3.2 Areas for review and improvement
On the other hand, there are also some areas for review and improvement, including:
In view of the importance of ensuring a smooth interface between the junior and senior secondary curricula, it is observed that more needs to be done to strengthen the interface in curriculum planning between Key Stage Three and Key Stage Four.
In some schools, there is a discrepancy between the actual and recommended amount of lesson time for primary General Studies and junior secondary PSHE subjects as stated in the BECG and the SECG4 (see Section 3.5 of this Guide, or Booklet 2 of the BECG and Booklet 2 of the SECG for the recommended time allocation).
In some schools, the coverage of the core elements/essential content for learning in their junior secondary PSHE KLA curricula needs to be strengthened to enable students to build a solid knowledge foundation at the junior secondary
4 As indicated in the BECG, the suggested allocation of lesson time for the General Studies curriculum is 12- 15% of the total lesson time allocated for the primary curriculum. In the SECG, the suggested lesson time to be allocated for the junior secondary PSHE KLA curriculum is 15-20% of the total lesson time for the junior secondary curriculum. Out of the total lesson time for the junior secondary PSHE KLA curriculum, 25%, or about two lessons per week, should be devoted to the learning and teaching of Chinese History as an independent compulsory subject (see Section 3.5 of this Guide and Booklet 2 of the SECG for details), while the remaining 75% is for learning other PSHE core elements/essential content for learning in the forms of independent PSHE subjects or integrated curricula in the PSHE KLA.
level (see Section 2.2.3 of this Guide for the list of core elements/essential content for learning).
For further enhancement of learning and teaching, the link between assessment and curriculum planning, and the use of assessment data to inform learning and teaching could be strengthened to help deepen student learning.
It is observed that some schools have advanced the teaching of senior secondary subjects/topics, such as Economics and Liberal Studies, at the junior secondary level. This approach has caused concerns about the possible adverse impact on time allocation and curriculum coverage of PSHE subjects at the junior secondary level, and also students’ learning progression.
1.4 Rationale and Directions for the Updating of the Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area Curriculum
As indicated in the BECG and the SECG, significant changes and rapid developments have been taking place in various fields around the world, in our nation and the local community. In the context of such massive changes, the challenge to provide an all-round education with updated personal, social and humanities education to students and to nurture them as lifelong learners has become all the more acute. It is incumbent upon everyone involved to provide our younger generation with an education that enables them to meet the new and dynamic circumstances.
Among others, students must acquire a solid body of knowledge and develop an understanding of the humanistic dimensions in their PSHE studies. They have to be prepared for civic and social engagement to make contributions to the well-being of society. In response to changes and developments, they need to learn to think critically, creatively, empathetically and constructively from the perspective of common good as well as solve problems and tackle issues. They also need to have an in-depth understanding of themselves, the local community, our nation and the world in order to become confident, informed and responsible persons. The updating of the PSHE KLA curriculum aims to better meet the learning and development needs of students.
1.4.1 Key focuses for curriculum development in the PSHE KLA
The updating of the PSHE KLA curriculum is in alignment with the ongoing renewal of the school curriculum and the Seven Learning Goals of Primary and Secondary Education as set out in the BECG and the SECG. It also takes into account the features, achievements, implementation concerns, and development of the PSHE KLA curriculum in the past decade as well as the changes in the local, national and global contexts. In the process of deliberation, seven key focuses are identified for ongoing curriculum development in the PSHE KLA.
The seven key focuses are:
(1) Humanistic Qualities;
(2) Entrepreneurial Spirit;
(3) Values Education;
(5) Generic Skills and their Integrative Use;
(6) Promotion of National and Global Understanding; and (7) Language across the Curriculum.
These key focuses are not discrete initiatives. They can be coherently combined to guide and enhance the PSHE KLA curriculum development in schools.
(1) Humanistic qualities
- The promotion of humanistic qualities is central to PSHE and emphasised in places around the world. Nurturing humanistic qualities in students for promoting whole-person development has long been an important goal of the PSHE KLA curriculum.
- Humanistic qualities help students hold themselves and others in high regard. With humanistic qualities, the value of every human individual will be respected, and self-actualisation will be pursued. Students will accept and value themselves as unique individuals, possess self-esteem and an open-minded mentality, pursue meaning in life, and strive for excellence.
They will be eager to build a caring and inclusive society by treating others as equals and each other with mutual respect. Students will attach due importance to both the common good and their personal interests. They will appreciate and inherit history and culture as common human experiences and cultivate an enhanced capacity for aesthetic appreciation. With a view to making a better world for all, they will direct much of their effort to caring for the environment and nature, and promoting development that is sustainable. In view of its importance, nurturing humanistic qualities in students would continue to be a key focus for curriculum development.
- The purposes of nurturing humanistic qualities in students are listed in Figure 1.3. They are grouped into five dimensions.
Figure 1.3 Purposes of Nurturing Humanistic Qualities in Students
(2) Entrepreneurial spirit
- The world in the 21st century is moving in waves of changing demands and uncertainties. For example, globalisation and technical advances, the digital revolution in particular, have drastically transformed the socio- economic landscape.
- To help our young people navigate their way through these changes, different countries and international organisations advocate the need to
Environ- ment and
History and Culture
To enable students to:
believe that they are unique and valued, have an open mind and high self-expectations, and always strive to excel
care for the environment,
possess a love for nature and be concerned about sustainable
d l t
cultivate an enhanced capacity
for aesthetic appreciation
respect and care about the well-being of others, treat others as equals and be willing to contribute to the common good
appreciate and inherit history and culture as common human experiences
foster in students an entrepreneurial spirit5.
- Entrepreneurial spirit includes the qualities of possessing creativity and innovativeness, taking initiatives and responsibilities, taking calculated risks, upholding perseverance in times of uncertainty and seizing the best of the opportunities ahead.
- To better equip our students, there is a need to highlight the development of entrepreneurial spirit as a key focus for curriculum development.
(3) Values education
- Values education is an integral part of the PSHE KLA curriculum6. The array of values and attitudes indicated in BECG and SECG, such as perseverance, respect for others, responsibility, national identity, commitment, integrity and care for others, are inherent in the core elements/essential content for learning of the PSHE KLA curriculum.
- Values education also includes Basic Law education, which enables students to understand the Basic Law and its application in everyday life, and reinforces the cultivation of values including the rule of law, justice, national identity, democracy, freedom, human rights, equality and rationality.
- In the PSHE KLA curriculum, the background of the principle of “one country, two systems”, as well as the importance, ideas and concepts of the Basic Law are part of the core elements/essential content for learning covered in different PSHE subjects. The teaching of PSHE subjects will enable students to learn the Basic Law from historical, geographical, social, political and economic perspectives.
- Other key focuses put forth in this Guide, including humanistic qualities, entrepreneurial spirit, e-learning, and promotion of national and global understanding, are also closely linked to the cultivation of positive values and attitudes. In view of its importance and relevance, values education remains a key focus for curriculum development in the PSHE KLA.
5 Fostering students’ entrepreneurial spirit is emphasised by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ILO & UNESCO) (2006). Entrepreneurship is also emphasised by the European Union (European Communities, 2007), Norway (Norway Ministry of Education and Research, Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development and Minister of Trade and Industry, 2010), the Mainland of China (PRC Ministry of Education, 2010), Alberta of Canada (Alberta Education, 2011) and the United Kingdom (Young, 2014).
6 Values education is an essential and integral part of the school curriculum, and is implemented through different components in KLAs, moral and civic education, cross-curricular learning opportunities and life- wide learning experiences. According to the revised Moral and Civic Education Curriculum Framework (EDB, 2008), seven priority values and attitudes are identified, namely perseverance, respect for others, responsibility, national identity, commitment, integrity and care for others. In the SECG, strengthening values education (including moral and civic education and Basic Law education) has been put forth as one of the MRE.
- e-Learning refers to an open and flexible learning mode involving the use of electronic media, including the use of digital resources and communication tools to achieve learning objectives. The essence of promoting e-learning is to develop students’ necessary qualities for the 21st century (e.g. self-directed learning)7 through enhancing learning and teaching effectiveness in schools. Teachers may use e-learning to enhance, modify and complement existing learning and teaching strategies or break new ground in pedagogy.
- Adopting e-learning as a key focus can help enhance the effectiveness of learning and teaching in the PSHE KLA. More specifically, the use of information technologies provides easy access to information, enables learning to take place beyond the confines of the classroom and school hours, enhances engagement in learning through sharing and collaboration, facilitates the development of higher order thinking skills (e.g. critical thinking, problem solving and creativity), supports the construction and application of knowledge, and promotes self-directed learning.
- In PSHE subjects, the use of digital tools and resources to support enquiries into issues or problems will provide opportunities for students to identify information needs, to locate, evaluate, extract, organise and present information, and to integrate knowledge creatively. In the process, they learn to cope with the dynamics in the information world (such as considering intellectual property rights, protecting privacy rights of oneself and others, assessing the credibility of information sources, etc.) and use information ethically. Taken together, the aforementioned learning opportunities will contribute to the development of information literacy in students.
- As an integral part of e-learning, e-assessment enables teachers to capitalise on the advantages brought about by technology in assessment, including the provision of immediate feedback to students and personalising assessment to meet their individual needs (see Section 5.3.4 of this Guide and Booklet 4 of the SECG for details on e-assessment).
(5) Generic skills and their integrative use
- Many countries consider developing students’ generic skills a vital move to prepare them for the uncertain future. As a result, new terms such as
“21st century skills” and “global competence” have emerged and received great attention in the academia.
- A close examination of these new terms shows that the nine generic skills
7 It has been highlighted that information literacy “empowers people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals” (IFLA
& UNESCO, 2005). It is suggested as “a basic human right in a digital world and promotes social inclusion of all nations”.
advocated in the school curriculum of Hong Kong since 2001 are still the pillars of these newly identified skills or competences.
- Nine generic skills have been identified as essential for student learning in the 21st century. They are:
Critical thinking skills;
Information technology skills;
Problem solving skills;
Self-learning skills8; and
- Based on the past implementation experiences, and in response to the dynamic changes in society, the development of generic skills remains very important. To add impetus, the nine generic skills are grouped into three clusters, namely Basic Skills, Thinking Skills, and Personal and Social Skills, for better understanding of their nature and application in a holistic manner (see Table 1.2 for details).
Table 1.2 Grouping of the Nine Generic Skills into Three Clusters Basic Skills Thinking Skills Personal and Social
Communication Skills Critical Thinking Skills Self-management Skills Mathematical Skills Creativity Self-learning Skills Information Technology
Skills Problem Solving Skills Collaboration Skills - Presenting these skills in clusters also promotes a better understanding of
the relationship between individual skills and reflection on thinking habits, and avoids application of individual skills in isolation. Integrative application of generic skills, pioneered by collaborative problem solving skills and holistic thinking skills, is suggested to better equip our students for learning and other pursuits. Please refer to Section 2.2.4 of this Guide
8 “Mathematical skills” and “self-learning skills” are referred to as “numeracy skills” and “study skills”
respectively in earlier curriculum documents, such as Learning to Learn: The Way Forward in Curriculum Development – Lifelong Learning and Whole-person Development (CDC, 2001).
for further elaboration.
(6) Promotion of national and global understanding
- As Hong Kong is tied closely with our nation and the world, education in Hong Kong attaches great importance to the development of a sense of national and global identity. One of the Seven Learning Goals of Primary Education is for students to “understand their national identity and be concerned about society, the nation and the world, and to fulfil their role as responsible citizens” (refer to Chapter 1 of the BECG) while one of the Seven Learning Goals of Secondary Education is for students to
“become an informed and responsible citizen with a sense of national and global identity, appreciation of positive values and attitudes as well as Chinese culture, and respect for pluralism in society” (refer to Booklet 1 of the SECG).
- Accordingly, it is natural for our students to understand the development of the history, culture, economy, technology, political system and law of their country and to foster in them a sense of national identity. In SECG,
“reinforcing the learning of Chinese history and Chinese culture” has been put forth as one of the MRE.
- Strengthening students’ global knowledge and global perspectives will facilitate their understanding of the complex, diverse and interdependent world in which they are living, as well as the opportunities and challenges found in the regional and international contexts in which our country is situated. The emphasis on strengthening students’ global knowledge and global perspectives has also been highlighted in education policies in places around the world9.
- In view of the further development of reform and opening-up on the Mainland, possessing global knowledge and a global perspective has become all the more important for people in Hong Kong. Development of a global perspective and intercultural competences (UNESCO, 2013) must be further enhanced amongst the younger generation through providing opportunities for students to participate in different projects and initiatives involving our country and the rest of the world.
- The PSHE KLA, which involves helping our students deepen their understanding of various changes in local, national and global contexts, is highly relevant and well-placed for achieving the learning goals of broadening and enhancing students’ national and global understanding.
9 These include the European Union (O’Loughlin & Wegimont, 2003), Australia (MCEETYA, 2008), Singapore (Singapore Ministry of Education, 2010), South Korea (ROK Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, 2008) and the United States of America (NCSS, 2010). The importance of fostering global perspectives to the development of the Mainland of China has also been acknowledged by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (2016).
(7) Language across the Curriculum
- Language plays a crucial role in facilitating the learning of PSHE subjects.
Students need to conceptualise the subject content through language and practise their language skills for communicating clearly about the content based on subject-specific conventions and styles. Students studying PSHE subjects will need language support in both Chinese and English to cope with demands on the use of specific language features in presenting the subject content.
- Terminologies and vocabulary used in PSHE subjects usually carry rich meanings or abstract concepts and the content is often presented in a precise and concise manner. These styles of language use may hinder student learning or make it difficult for students to present their understanding in written words. This is particularly true when the language features vary from subject to subject in this KLA.
- There has been an increased attention on providing language support to address students’ needs in studying PSHE subjects in past years, particularly in the areas of terminologies/vocabulary and writing skills.
There is continued need to place Language across the Curriculum as a key focus for curriculum development for enhancing students’ learning effectiveness.
1.4.2 Organising cross-KLA learning activities to support STEM education in the PSHE KLA
STEM education is one of the MRE for ongoing curriculum renewal. In the local curriculum context, STEM education is promoted through the Science Education, Technology Education and Mathematics Education KLAs. Please refer to Booklets 1 and 2 of the SECG for details.
The PSHE KLA shares the objectives of promoting STEM education, in particular strengthening students’ ability to integrate and apply knowledge and skills, and developing students’ creativity, collaboration and problem solving skills.
The PSHE KLA can contribute to STEM education through cross-KLA learning activities. Teachers of the PSHE and STEM-related KLAs can collaborate and provide social contexts for students to apply knowledge and problem solving skills.
In the process of working on learning tasks in these activities, students can explore the problems from multiple perspectives, strengthen their ability to integrate and apply knowledge and skills learned in different KLAs in meaningful contexts, and develop associated generic skills and positive values and attitudes.
1.5 Strategies for Curriculum Development
This section recapitulates some of the useful strategies which could be used continuously for taking forward the PSHE KLA curriculum.
1.5.1 Using the updated Four Key Tasks to promote the key focuses for curriculum development
In the BECG and the SECG, the Four Key Tasks are updated as:
(1) Moral and Civic Education: Towards Values Education;
(2) Reading to Learn: Towards Reading across the Curriculum;
(3) Project Learning: Towards Integrating and Applying Knowledge and Skills across Disciplines; and
(4) Information Technology for Interactive Learning: Towards Self-directed Learning.
While schools continue implementing the key tasks, they could simultaneously promote the key focuses for curriculum development in the PSHE KLA to enliven learning and teaching, and help students achieve whole-person development and become self-directed learners.
(1) Moral and Civic Education: Towards Values Education
- This key task is closely related to the key focuses of values education and the promotion of national and global understanding. The design of a school-based curriculum or a programme for moral and civic education can also serve the purpose of promoting these key focuses.
(2) Reading to Learn: Towards Reading across the Curriculum
- The key focuses including humanistic qualities and Language across the Curriculum can be promoted through Reading to Learn: Towards Reading across the Curriculum. For example, teachers can ask students to read articles from the resource package A Reader in Humanistic Literacy (Junior Secondary) (EDB, 2009) (《 性 情真章──人文素養讀本（初中）》) published by the PSHE Section of the Curriculum Development Institute, and arrange different post-reading activities to help students reflect on their reading experience, and learn the relevant language skills.
(3) Project Learning: Towards Integrating and Applying Knowledge and Skills across Disciplines
- Project learning has been very useful for deepening students’ learning in the PSHE KLA and connecting their subject-based and/or cross- subject/KLA learning experiences. Building on existing strengths and experience, schools can also plan project learning with a focus on broadening students’ national and global understanding, strengthening
students’ integrative application of knowledge and skills (including generic skills), reading to learn, and/or e-learning within the PSHE KLA and across KLAs.
(4) Information Technology for Interactive Learning: Towards Self-directed Learning
- With the advent of more e-textbooks and e-resources, enhancement in students’ digital awareness and information literacy, and e-learning becoming one of the key focuses for curriculum development in the PSHE KLA, this key task will continue to be emphasised in the PSHE KLA curriculum.
1.5.2 Aligning life-wide learning with the PSHE KLA curriculum
Life-wide learning (LWL) broadly refers to student learning in real contexts and authentic settings to achieve learning targets that are more difficult to attain through classroom learning. Please refer to Booklet 7 of the SECG for details.
In the PSHE KLA, LWL has already become a part of the learning and teaching.
A central feature of LWL is experiential learning which involves providing opportunities for students to have first-hand experience with real-life situations in order to construct understanding of a certain theme/topic through interacting with people or the environment in those situations. The learning process requires that students take actions (e.g. interact with others, apply their knowledge, integrate theory and practice, etc.) and reflect on their actions, with the aims of deepening students’ understanding of a certain learning area, broadening their horizons, promoting their whole-person development and developing their lifelong learning capabilities.
LWL in the PSHE KLA can be provided by schools alone, the EDB, and/or in collaboration with non-governmental organisations within the community.
Activities could include community studies, visits, community service and community improvement programmes in Hong Kong, on the Mainland and overseas, etc. In addition to developing an in-depth understanding of the community, our nation and the world, these LWL activities can promote key focuses, such as humanistic qualities and entrepreneurial spirit, and encourage an early start on life planning. Below are two examples of addressing the key focuses for curriculum development in the PSHE KLA through promoting LWL learning among students.
Humanistic Qualities and Promotion of National and Global Understanding Schools can arrange students to participate in voluntary or humanitarian relief work on the Mainland or overseas to help develop students’ humanistic qualities, sense of national identity as well as global perspectives. Students’ first-hand experience with persons and objects can help clarify misunderstandings and broaden perspectives.
Some existing programmes enable schools to promote an entrepreneurial spirit as well as engage students in life planning. For example, the Business-School Partnership Programme provides the learning environment for students to understand different careers, establish right work attitudes, adapt to changes of the economy and ultimately achieve whole-person development.
1.5.3 Promoting the development of higher order thinking skills
The provision of opportunities for students to enquire from multiple perspectives and formulate alternative interpretations/solutions to historical and contemporary issues and problems during and after lessons of PSHE subjects contribute to their development of higher order thinking skills, such as critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and creativity, and application in an integrative manner.
The PSHE Section, the EDB, has distributed to all local secondary schools the Curriculum Support Materials on Developing Higher-order Thinking Skills in PSHE Classrooms (2):
Lesson Exemplars (EDB, 2010). The examples and lesson plans provided aim to illustrate the development of students’ higher order thinking skills in relevant topics in different PSHE subjects. For example, problem solving skills, reversal thinking and creative thinking could be developed in the topic “Could the First World War be avoided?”, and problem solving skills and creativity could be fostered in the topic “How can land use conflicts be solved?”. Another booklet Resource Package on the Integrative Use of Generic Skills in Junior Secondary Subjects in Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area (EDB, 2017a) has also been made available to schools.
1.5.4 Developing communities of practice to promote teachers’ professional development and capacity building
The development of a community of practice among PSHE teachers within a school will facilitate the sharing of a common vision, the engagement in reflective dialogue and shared decision making as well as the provision of a caring and productive environment.
When communities of practice are developed among PSHE teachers beyond the school, they can facilitate the networking of like-minded PSHE teachers to explore curricular and pedagogical issues of mutual interest, exchange experiences and teaching ideas in PSHE subjects, collaborate on tasks that are aimed at improving learning and teaching practices in the PSHE KLA, and advance teachers’ professional knowledge and capabilities.
1.6 Building the Foundation for Lifelong Learning
In the 21st century, the rapid pace of technological development, demographic changes and globalization, etc. are transforming our society, our nation and the world.
To better equip our students to face the uncertainties and challenges and make the most of opportunities brought by the changes, it is necessary to strengthen students’
capacity for lifelong learning through a broad and balanced school curriculum, which will help students construct a solid knowledge foundation for progressing through the various stages of learning, foster students’ whole-person development and nurture their lifelong and self-directed learning capabilities. Learning in the PSHE KLA will continue to prepare our students for meeting the demands of the changing world.
Chapter 2 Curriculum Framework
2.1 Curriculum Aims of the Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area
2.1.1 Overarching aims
The PSHE KLA aims to enable students to:
understand themselves, society, our nation and the world at large;
maintain a healthy personal development; and
contribute to the well-being of the family, the local community, our nation and the world as confident, informed and responsible persons.
2.1.2 Learning targets Students will learn to:
develop a healthy lifestyle both physically and emotionally, have a positive outlook on life and treasure harmonious relationships with family members and others in different communities;
develop an understanding of the changing relationships of people, locations and events in the past and how they impact on the human society today and in the future;
appreciate the characteristics and values of their own culture and the influences of culture on human life, and develop appreciation and respect for the culture and heritage of other communities;
appreciate the interaction between human beings and the environment in terms of the processes and patterns of natural and human features in different places, and participate in sustaining, conserving and improving the environment;
appreciate that the optimal use of resources is achieved through enterprise and management, and that people’s participation in economic activities and their ever-changing nature give rise to new work opportunities and conditions; and
demonstrate active and responsible citizenship based on an understanding of and a respect for the roles, rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups, and a due concern for the importance of justice and making recommendations to tackle local, national and global issues.
Example 9 “Learning targets of the PSHE KLA embedded with humanistic qualities and entrepreneurial spirit” provides a diagram to illustrate the congruence between the learning targets of the PSHE KLA curriculum and the objectives of two key focuses for curriculum development in the PSHE KLA.
2.2 The Curriculum Framework of the Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area
The three major interconnected components of the curriculum framework, that is, Knowledge in KLAs, Generic Skills, and Values and Attitudes (refer to Figure 1.1 in Chapter 1 of this Guide), are to be achieved through studies in the PSHE KLA. It sets out what students should know, value and be able to do at various key stages of learning.
There are six strands in the PSHE KLA curriculum to specify the major concepts and knowledge to be learned and the insights and perspectives that each brings to the PSHE KLA curriculum (refer to Table 2.1). These six strands are:
(1) Personal and Social Development (2) Time, Continuity and Change (3) Culture and Heritage
(4) Place and Environment
(5) Resources and Economic Activities (6) Social Systems and Citizenship
• Representing the different perspectives for enquiry in the PSHE KLA curriculum, these six strands enable schools to:
- organise core elements/essential content for learning for the purpose of linking the development of knowledge and understanding, competence and skills as well as values and attitudes into a holistic learning process. For example, Strand 3 “Culture and Heritage” links understanding of Chinese culture with analytical skills for comparing different cultures and promoting the concern for conserving cultural heritage;
- integrate core elements/essential content for learning across different subject areas. For example, Strand 5 “Resources and Economic Activities”
helps synthesise all the related aspects of Life and Society (Secondary 1 - 3) and Geography for enquiring into issues such as “resources utilisation in Hong Kong” at the junior secondary level; and
- accommodate core elements/essential content for learning and new knowledge from subject areas or disciplines not normally included in conventional subjects. For example, knowledge from Psychology and Sociology can be accommodated in Strand 1 “Personal and Social Development” for the analysis of personal issues, such as peer influences on the development of values of adolescents and Internet/network addiction.
• The six strands and the core elements/essential content for learning in these strands (see Section 2.2.3 of this Guide) would help schools tackle overlapping content to strengthen coherence.
Table 2.1 Strands, Sub-strands and Related Perspectives
Strands Sub-strands Perspectives
1. Personal and Social
• Healthy lifestyles
• Sexuality issues
• Human relationships
People as individuals and social beings
2. Time, Continuity and Change
• Time and chronology
• Cause and effect
• Change and continuity
• Historical significance
• Historical interpretations
People in relation to time
3. Culture and Heritage
• Foundations and characteristics of culture
• Customs and traditions
• Challenges, conflicts, collaborations and repercussions of the modern world
• Cultural globalisation, diversity and interaction
People in the cultural world
4. Place and Environment
• Nature of places and environments
• Patterns and processes
• People-environment interrelationships
• Conservation and sustainable development
People in relation to space and the environment
5. Resources and Economic Activities
• Use of resources
• Production and consumption
• Role of government in an economy
• Interdependence of economies
People in relation to the material world
6. Social Systems and Citizenship
• Rights, responsibilities and social values
• Social norms, rules and law
• Local, national and global identities
• Social system, political system and interaction
People as groups