Direction of Curriculum Development

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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 benefit 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 emphasis 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) and the General Studies (GS) for Primary Schools Curriculum Guide (Primary 1 - 6) have been updated and recommended by the Curriculum Development Council (CDC)1 to support the ongoing renewal of the school curriculum at the primary and secondary levels.

In updating the KLA and GS Curriculum Guides, the respective KLA and Ad hoc 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 between 2015 and 2017 to gauge schools’ views on the major updates of the respective Curriculum Guides.

The General Studies Curriculum Guide for Primary Schools (Primary 1 – Primary 6) (2017) supersedes the 2011 version. It presents the updated curriculum framework which specifies GS’s curriculum aims, learning targets and objectives, delineates the direction of ongoing curriculum development, 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.

Schools are encouraged to take into consideration their contexts, needs and strengths when adopting recommendations of the curriculum guide to help students achieve learning goals of the school curriculum. Reference should also be made to the Basic Education Curriculum Guide - To Sustain, Deepen and Focus on Learning to Learn (Primary 1 – 6) (2014) and relevant KLA Curriculum Guides (2017) 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 to deepen their holistic understanding of curriculum planning at the school, learning area and subject levels.

1 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 and GS 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 General Studies and every learning field for Primary Schools Curriculum Guide are always welcome. These may be sent to:

Chief Curriculum Development Officer (Kindergarten and Primary) Curriculum Development Institute

Education Bureau 13/F, Wu Chung House 213 Queen’s Road East Wanchai

Hong Kong

Fax: 3104 0542



Key Messages General Studies (GS)

• provides diversified learning experiences for students, so that they can gain a better understanding of themselves, society, the country and the world.

• arouses students’ interests in learning, enables them to learn effectively and use generic skills to enquire issues related to science, technology and society.

• cultivates positive values and attitudes for healthy personal and social developments.

Existing Strengths

• schools develop school-based GS curriculum according to their strengths and students’ needs.

• teachers generally agree that GS can help develop students’ generic skills (e.g., communication, study and collaboration skills), and cultivate positive values and attitudes.

• enquiry-based learning is an important strategy in GS. Teachers are facilitators of learning, helping students learn how to learn.

• Owing to technological advancement, schools have sufficient equipment to promote e-learning.

• community resources can help promote life-wide learning.

• schools emphasise diversified assessments as a means to foster learning.

Direction of Curriculum Development

• to establish a culture of continual renewal of the school-based curriculum according to the GS curriculum framework, students’ needs and interest, and societal changes.

• to strengthen the vertical continuity and lateral coherence of the GS curriculum, as well as the linkage to cross-curricular learning experiences.

• to achieve the aims of the GS curriculum through sustaining the Key Tasks in the curriculum reform, and effective use of learning and teaching strategies and resources.

• to formulate a GS assessment policy according to the assessment guidelines set out in the GS Curriculum Guide, to develop teachers’ assessment literacy and to use the data or information collected to inform curriculum planning and refine learning and teaching strategies.

Principles of Implementation

• all primary schools implement the GS curriculum according to the suggestions of the GS Curriculum Guide.


• develop school-based GS curriculum according to the GS curriculum framework and the strengths of schools.

• make use of diversified learning and teaching strategies to provide students with different learning experiences.

• enhance teachers’ professional development and collaboration for the promotion of students’ learning.

Curriculum Aims

The GS curriculum aims at enabling students to:

• maintain healthy personal development and become confident, rational and responsible citizens.

• recognise their roles and responsibilities as members of the family and society and show concern for the common good.

• develop a sense of national identity and be committed to contributing to the nation and the world.

• develop curiosity and interest in the natural world and technological world as well as understand the impact of science and technology on society.

• develop care and concern for the environment and practice green living.

Entitlement of Students

• all students learn GS from Primary 1 to Primary 6.

• students gain learning experiences of all core elements.

• students are provided with sufficient learning time for GS, which constitutes 12-15% of the total lesson time in the primary curriculum.

Central Curriculum

The GS curriculum, in the form of an open and flexible curriculum framework, sets out the learning targets and learning objectives for the development of students’ construction of subject knowledge, as well as development of generic skills, positive values and attitudes under the following six strands:

• Health and Living

• People and Environment

• Science and Technology in Everyday Life

• Community and Citizenship

• National Identity and Chinese Culture

• Global Understanding and the Information Era

There should be a balanced coverage of the six strands. Students are entitled to the learning of Chinese history and culture in the strand “National Identity and Chinese Culture”.


Central Curriculum and School-based Curriculum Adaption

Schools are encouraged to adapt the central curriculum in developing their school-based curriculum so as to achieve the learning targets and learning objectives set out in the GS Curriculum Guide. Measures may include:

• adjusting the learning objectives according to students’ needs, interests and abilities

• establishing a teaching team while taking strengths of the school and teachers’

professional knowledge and capabilities into consideration, organising learning contents to cover all core learning elements, adopting appropriate learning and teaching strategies and modes of assessment, and designing assignments and extended activities.

Learning and Teaching

• to develop new elements of ongoing renewal of the school curriculum, to promote STEM education and coding education, to deepen values education and enhance students’ integrative use of generic skills and to improve learning through effective use of learning and teaching strategies.

• to adopt diversified teaching strategies such as enquiry-based learning and e-learning, to help students deepen their learning, and move towards self-directed learning.

• to develop positive values and attitudes, strengthen affective development and nurture a sense of national identity through discussing and analysing life events.

• to arouse students’ interest in enquiry and construct knowledge through hands-on, minds-on and problem-solving activities, to encourage them to face challenges with perseverance and propose creative solutions.

• to make flexible use of textbooks, choose quality learning and teaching resources, and avoid confining learning to textbooks or written assignments.

• to make good use of community resources to enhance teachers’ professionalism and open up opportunities for promoting life-wide learning.


• to devise a school-based assessment policy and enhance teachers’ assessment literacy.

• to use diversified assessment to reflect students’ learning comprehensively.

• to help students understand themselves and improve their learning, and achieve self- directed learning through self-reflection and feedback from multiple stakeholders in different assessment tasks.





Key Messages


Chapter 1 Introduction


1.1 Background 2

1.2 Positioning of GS in the School Curriculum 2

1.3 Rationale and Direction of Development 3

1.4 On-going Renewal of the School Curriculum

– Focusing, Deepening and Sustaining 5

1.4.1 Developing STEM Education 5

1.4.2 Deepening Values Education 6

1.4.3 Sustaining the Development of Generic Skills 7 1.5 Development Strategies in the GS Curriculum 8

Chapter 2 Curriculum Framework


2.1 Aims 12

2.2 Learning Targets 13

2.3 Components of the GS Curriculum Framework 14

2.3.1 Strands 15

2.3.2 Generic Skills 15

2.3.3 Values and Attitudes 16

2.4 Learning Objectives 17

2.4.1 Core Learning Elements 18

2.4.2 Extended Learning Activities 18

2.5 The Thematic Approach 48

2.6 Life-wide Learning Activities 48

Chapter 3 Curriculum Planning, Management and Leadership


3.1 Central Curriculum and the Development of

School-based Curriculum 70

3.1.1 Guiding Principles for

School-based GS Curriculum Planning 70

3.2 Curriculum Planning, Implementation and Evaluation 72

3.2.1 Curriculum Planning Process 73

3.2.2 Use of Curriculum Resources 75

3.2.3 Curriculum Implementation and Monitoring 75

3.2.4 Curriculum Review 75

3.3 Curriculum Management and Leadership 76

3.3.1 Importance of Curriculum Leadership of GS 77 3.3.2 Developing Learning Communities and

Sharing Resources 77

3.3.3 Professional Development of Teachers 78


3.4 Directions of Curriculum Planning 79

3.4.1 Development of STEM Education 79

3.4.2 e-Learning 89

3.4.3 Reading across the Curriculum 95

3.4.4 Project Learning 95

3.4.5 Values Education 101

3.5 Modes of Curriculum Planning 105

3.5.1 Lateral Coherence across Learning Strands 105 3.5.2 Devising Learning Themes with

Unique School Contexts 106

3.5.3 Vertical Continuity of the Curricula in Consecutive

Key Stages 108

3.6 Interfacing between Different Learning Stages 109 3.6.1 Interface between the Kindergarten and

Primary Education Curricula 109

3.6.2 Interface between KS1 and KS2 110

3.6.3 Interface between Primary and Secondary Curricula 110 3.7 Flexible Arrangement of Curriculum Time 112

Chapter 4 Learning and Teaching


4.1 Guiding Principles 118

4.1.1 Providing Various Learning Opportunities 118 4.1.2 Stimulating Students’ Learning Motivation 119

4.1.3 Catering for Learner Diversity 119

4.1.4 Developing Students’ Self-directed Learning Abilities 120 4.1.5 Developing Students’ Generic Skills and

Cultivating their Positive Values and Attitudes 121

4.2 Learning and Teaching Strategies 122

4.2.1 Collaborative Learning 122

4.2.2 Adopting Life Events for Promoting Values Education 123

4.2.3 Scientific Investigations 126

4.2.4 Project Learning 129

4.2.5 Develop Computational Thinking through the

Application of Coding 134

4.3 Reading across the Curriculum 137

4.3.1 Reading and Writing 137

4.3.2 News Discussion and Data Analysis 140

4.4 e-Learning 144

4.4.1 Facilitating Collaborative Learning with e-Learning 144 4.4.2 Effective Use of Multimedia for

Learning and Teaching 145

4.5 Life-wide Learning 147

4.5.1 Service Learning 147

4.5.2 Museum Learning 148

4.5.3 Cross-boundary Learning 149


4.6 Assignments 150

Chapter 5 Assessment


5.1 Aims of Assessment 154

5.2 Modes of Assessment 155

5.2.1 Assessment of Learning 155

5.2.2 Assessment for Learning 156

5.2.3 Assessment as Learning 157

5.3 Summative Assessment 159

5.3.1 Planning of Summative Assessment 159

5.3.2 Questions Related to Current Issues 159

5.3.3 Using Summative Assessment to

Provide Feedback on Classroom Teaching 161

5.4 Formative Assessment 162

5.4.1 Inquiry and Assessment Activities in

STEM Education 162

5.4.2 Assessment of Project Learning 164

5.4.3 Assessment of Self-Management Skills 165

5.4.4 Self-assessment 168

5.5 Self-assessment and Self-directed Learning 169

5.5.1 Preparatory and Extended Learning 169

5.5.2 The Learning Portfolio 170

5.6 The Importance of Feedback in Learning and

Assessment Practices 171

5.7 Schools’ Assessment Policy 172

5.7.1 Planning and Co-ordinating Assessment Policies

in GS 173

5.7.2 Assessment Literacy 174

5.7.3 Assessment Activities and Assignments 174

Chapter 6 Learning and Teaching Resources


6.1 Resources Management in Schools 180

6.1.1 Human Resource Planning 180

6.1.2 School-based Resources Bank Management 180

6.2 Facilities and Equipment in Schools 182

6.2.1 GS Room 182

6.2.2 School Library 183

6.2.3 Information Technology Facilities in Schools 183 6.3 Selection of Quality Learning and Teaching Resources 185

6.4 Printed Materials 186

6.5 Making Good Use of e-Learning Resources 186

6.5.1 Electronic Books 187

6.5.2 Educational Television Programmes 187

6.5.3 The Internet 188

6.5.4 EDB Learning and Teaching Resources Platform 188


6.6 Community Resources 189



1 Example of Collaborative Problem Solving Skills


2 Examples of Holistic Thinking Skills


3 Example of Self-directed Learning - Time Management






Membership of the Ad Hoc Committee on General Studies for

Primary Schools



Chapter 1



1.1 Background

The General Studies (GS) curriculum was first introduced in response to the recommendations of Education Commission Report No. 4 and has been implemented since 1996. The GS Curriculum Guide published in 2002 was developed on the basis of the previous one and was revised in accordance with the curriculum reform. It aimed at guiding children towards a better understanding of themselves and the world around them, and the inter-dependence among people, things and the environment. The comprehensive curriculum helps develop students’ to acquire basic knowledge and develop abilities, values and attitudes, fulfilling the aims of education. As scientific, technological and social developments in Hong Kong have been rapid, it is necessary to introduce an open and flexible curriculum framework that enables teachers to enhance their students’ capabilities to learn how to learn so that they can meet and overcome challenges of the new century.

In response to societal changes and needs of schools, the Curriculum Development Council (CDC) updated and enriched the GS curriculum in 2011 to keep abreast of recent developments and allow students to learn how to learn through contents related to their daily life. The secondary and primary curricula have now entered a new era known as “Ongoing Renewal of the School Curriculum”. To help students face the challenges brought about by the rapid developments in the 21st century, and to sustain the vision of the 2001 curriculum reform, the school’s GS curriculum should provide them with learning experiences that enable them to construct knowledge, develop a global perspective, and develop life-long learning capabilities, so that they can contribute to the knowledge-based economy and society nowadays. To this end, the CDC further updates and enriches the GS curriculum in 2017 to align with the Basic Education Curriculum Guide – To Sustain, Deepen and Focus on Learning to Learn (Primary 1 – 6) (BECG) published in 2014, and to serve as a reference for schools to further focus on the learning and teaching of GS for continuous improvement of students’ learning effectiveness.

1.2 Positioning of GS in the School Curriculum

The GS curriculum provides diversified learning experiences for students to lay foundations for the Key Learning Areas (KLA) of Science Education (SE), Technology Education (TE) and Personal, Social and Humanities Education (PSHE), and to progressively develop their positive values, attitudes and generic skills. GS is expected to be a nurturing ground for students to develop thinking skills and a foundation for their whole-person development, cultivating in students care for their family, community, society, nation and the world, as well as love and respect for others and willingness to contribute for the common good. The GS curriculum will continue to be student- centered, and be renewed through focusing, deepening and sustaining in order to promote self-directed learning and whole-person development among students.




As recommended in the BECG (2014), 12-15% of total lesson time should be allocated to GS.

1.3 Rationale and Direction of Development

The GS curriculum is designed according to the notion that students’ learning experiences should be connected, so that they can gain understanding of themselves, society and the world, and maintain healthy personal development to become confident, rational and responsible citizens, contributing to the family, the local community, the nation and the world. Directions of the ongoing development of the GS curriculum are as follows:

Moving forward towards the objective of student-centred development

Schools are encouraged to build on their existing strengths, and improve their learning and teaching strategies through student-centered learning approaches.

These strategies include hands-on and minds-on exploratory activities that allow students to integrate and apply knowledge and skills, sustain their interests in science and technology as well as develop their creativity; a wide range of interactive learning activities that help students explore issues from multiple perspectives, care for the development of society and the nation, develop positive values and attitudes including treasuring lives, building resilience and self-improvement; encouraging good use of information technology (IT) and e-learning tools that improve learning and teaching effectiveness, facilitate students’ self-directed learning and enhance their information literacy.

Maintaining an open and flexible curriculum framework, strengthening the whole- school curriculum planning

GS provides an open and flexible curriculum framework that enables students to gain basic understanding of the six strands through rich learning experiences, and gradually develops their generic skills and positive values.

The GS curriculum further strengthens the lateral coherence of different strands and the vertical continuity of the learning themes at different key stages, helping schools to plan their whole-school curriculum so that the themes can better suit students’ abilities, interests and learning needs. In addition, “strengthening the interface between GS and kindergarten curriculum as well as secondary curricula” is also an important aim of the GS curriculum.


Improving learning and teaching strategies, emphasising assessments literacy

The GS curriculum renewal emphasises the necessity for teachers to illustrate sophisticated concepts with appropriate contents to suit the needs of students, to devise different learning and teaching strategies, and to facilitate student learning through the use of IT according to their abilities and levels. Teachers should employ diversified strategies and design assessment tasks that reflect students’ learning effectiveness and performance from multiple perspectives, as well as facilitate self-directed learning.

In addition, teachers are advised to follow the above directions and emphases of the GS curriculum development to provide students with diversified learning experiences, and this includes:

Expanding the learning space

Schools should provide students with sufficient time for enquiry-based learning and life-wide learning activities, as well as learning to make use of electronic tools and platforms. In doing so, students play an active role in the search for knowledge and the construction of their own beyond lessons for the development of generic skills, values and attitudes that are essential for whole- person development. Appropriate use of community resources e.g. museums, facilities and activities provided by community organisations and other public and private bodies is encouraged, in order to widen students’ scope of learning beyond the school setting.

Integrating students’ learning experiences

Thematic and life-wide learning activities under the GS curriculum can strengthen the link between the contents of various strands, and connect lessons to students’ real-life experiences. For instance, project learning could tie in with Reading across the Curriculum and visits to deepen learning;

sharing of life events would allow students to understand that the Basic Law is relevant to their daily life. These activities meet the needs and interests of students, enhance personal and social developments of students, and strengthen the development of generic skills.

Enhancing students’ interest and curiosity in science and technology

Schools should promote STEM education to strengthen students’ integration and application of knowledge and skills in science and technology. In addition,



students’ curiosity can be nurtured and their creative, innovative and problem- solving skills can be enhanced. Teachers are encouraged to provide students with diversified learning experiences, including project learning, e-learning, scientific investigation and the design of simple technological products so as to further develop students’ computational thinking and self-learning skills.

Emphasising students’ affective development

The GS curriculum emphasises learning elements related to affective development, including emotion management and healthy lifestyles, as well as the rule of law and national identity, helping students cultivate a sense of belonging to the local community, the country and the world. Values education can be promoted through news discussion, life events sharing, project learning and life-wide learning activities, as well as through meaningful learning experiences planned and implemented in the school-based curriculum.

1.4 On-going Renewal of the School Curriculum – Focusing, Deepening and Sustaining

The curriculum reform launched by the EDB in 2000 aimed to stimulate students’

thinking and develop their capabilities to “Learning to Learn”. Since the Learning to Learn curriculum reform was first implemented, there have been a lot of changes and challenges in our society and around the world, such as those related to economic, scientific, technological and social developments. Therefore, to maintain Hong Kong’s competitive edge and better prepare our students for the various local and global changes taking place, it is necessary to reinforce the Learning to Learn curriculum reform, in order to sustain and deepen the accomplishments. In view of the on-going renewal of the school curriculum, the curriculum framework of GS remains open and flexible, with the following new emphases added:

1.4.1 Developing STEM Education

The GS curriculum has to be constantly improved to strengthen students’

ability to integrate and apply their knowledge and skills. Schools may enhance curriculum planning to increase science and technology related core learning elements, and select mathematical concepts and skills that are suited to students’ abilities to enrich learning and teaching activities regarding the application of science and technology in solving daily life problems.

Students are provided with hands-on and minds-on learning opportunities to demonstrate their creativity and innovative capabilities. Relevant examples are provided in Chapter 3 “Curriculum Planning, Management and Leadership”, Chapter 4 “Learning and Teaching” and Chapter 5 “Assessment”.


1.4.2 Deepening Values Education

School should continue to adopt a whole-school approach in promoting the seven priority values and attitudes, namely “Perseverance”, “Respect for Others”, “Responsibility”, “National Identity”, “Commitment”, “Integrity”

and “Care for Others” stated in the BECG (2014). When promoting values education and cultivating students’ positive values and attitudes, schools are encouraged to connect them with aspects including personal development, family, society, country and the world, and keep them in line with school’s mission and context. Values that are further enhanced in the updated GS curriculum include:

Healthy lifestyle

The GS curriculum continues to promote students’ healthy personal and social developments. Students will learn to show empathy for others, take care of themselves in everyday life, and develop good hygiene habits and manage their emotions, so that they will be able to deal with and manage stress with a positive attitude, and ask help from the others and maintain their mental health. Schools are advised to select suitable materials and customise them to meet the learning needs and abilities of students. Students will learn about everyday topics such as “life, aging, illness and death”, and to treasure and respect life. Schools should continue to promote “drug education” and “sex education” to help students master the appropriate ways of making friends and resisting temptations. In the face of climate change, schools should raise students’ environmental awareness through everyday topics related to the basic necessities of life (clothing, food, housing and transport), so that they would develop a healthy lifestyle and practice green living.

Care and inclusion, respect for rule of law and willingness to make contributions to the common well-being

Schools should help students understand the multi-cultural backgrounds of Hong Kong residents and the importance of obeying laws and order, as well as experience how residents live harmoniously and care for each other in this society. Through learning about the constitutional background of the Basic Law and “one country, two systems”, students would be inspired to learn about the relationship between the Central Authorities and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and care about social affairs. The life experience of students and their participation in group discussion would help them understand the rights and responsibilities of Hong Kong residents, and become citizens that respect the rule of law.



National identity and sense of belonging to the nation and the society

The strand titled “National Identity and Chinese Culture” of the GS curriculum enhances students’ understanding of the development of Chinese culture, helps them appreciate the inheritance of history and culture, as well as develops their respect and care for the developments of the nation and Hong Kong. Building on students’ experiences in visiting museums and heritage in Hong Kong, teachers can help students understand the chronology of historical events of Hong Kong and the nation, as well as discover about important historical figures and their deeds, so as to help students understand their national identity and show concern for the development of the nation and society. Schools are expected to continue to make use of interesting stories or themes that are related to students’ everyday life or experience to facilitate student leaning through Reading across the Curriculum, project learning and e-learning.

Information Literacy

Through project learning, enquiry learning and e-learning strategies, schools are expected to nurture students’ abilities and attitudes in using information effectively and ethically (which include understanding the world of information;

applying information technology to process information and produce user- generated contents; learning to locate, evaluate, organise and present information to create new ideas; protecting their privacy and refraining from unethical use of information such as cyberbullying and infringing intellectual property rights).

With regard to developing self-management skills, and personal health and safety, students will be able to give matters appropriate consideration and make suitable decisions (e.g. eye care, not indulging in web surfing).

1.4.3 Sustaining the Development of Generic Skills

Based on past experiences of implementing the curriculum reform and in response to dynamic changes in society and recent research, the nine generic skills are grouped under three clusters of related skills, namely basic skills, thinking skills and personal and social skills, for better integration, understanding and application. Please refer to Chapter 2.3.2 for details.

GS teachers are advised to build on their existing strengths. Apart from developing students’ communication, self-learning and collaboration skills in each key stage, as well as enhancing students’ critical thinking skills, they can also provide opportunities for students to integrate and apply the generic skills in presenting their learning outcomes.


1.5 Development Strategies in the GS Curriculum

Schools are encouraged to develop a culture of teamwork and update the curriculum according to the GS curriculum framework, the needs and interests of students as well as societal changes. In the whole-school curriculum planning, schools should strengthen the vertical continuity and lateral coherence of the GS curriculum, and the linkage among GS and other subjects as well as other learning experiences in school to achieve the curriculum aims of GS. Furthermore, with the various support measures from the EDB, tertiary institutions and other related organisations, schools can create space for learning and teaching of GS.

Since the implementation of the GS curriculum, schools have, to a certain extent, made achievements in the learning and teaching. They can build on their existing strengths and move towards the following goals:

• KS1 (Primary 1 - 3)

Our students will Our teachers will

• develop a healthy lifestyle and self- management skills

• be able to meet the requirements of everyday life, live in harmony with other people, and develop empathy

• acquire the basic skills in using e-learning tools and respect intellectual property rights

• develop a keen interest in observing the environment and actively participate in learning activities

• have firsthand experiences and cultivate curiosity in both the natural and scientific worlds

• develop investigative and enquiry skills to solve everyday problems

• strengthen personal and social life education by using a life event approach in order to help students practise care and inclusion, as well as respect others

• avoid being textbook-bound in teaching, and provide diversified learning activities to keep students engaged in active enquiry

• make use of e-learning strategies to promote IT for interactive learning

• design hands-on and minds-on activities to arouse students’ interest in the natural and scientific worlds

• emphasise investigative and enquiry learning to help students solve everyday problems



• KS2 (Primary 4 - 6)

Schools should also formulate an overall GS assessment policy following the guidelines set out in the GS Curriculum Guide, and make use the data/information collected to analyse student learning, thereby developing effective learning and teaching strategies to enhance their learning.

Our students will Our teachers will

• participate actively in scientific investigation, master basic science process skills to solve everyday problems

• participate actively in learning, be open-minded to receive feedback from different parties (e.g. teachers, peers and parents) and develop self- directed learning capabilities

• live a healthy lifestyle; know how to get along with people and maintain a positive attitude by being caring and inclusive

• show care for the development of the community and the nation, respect the rule of law, and be willing

to contribute for the common good

• develop information literacy, use information and information technology ethically and effectively

• Develop STEM education activities to help students apply and integrate knowledge and skills and fulfill their creative potential

• adopt diversified learning and teaching strategies to help students engage in self-directed learning

• cultivate in students with positive values and attitudes towards life including treasuring lives, building resilience, striving for self-

improvement, helping them develop healthily and fostering their personal and social development

• provide diversified learning resources and activities to cultivate students’

sense of belonging and national identity

• guide students to use e-learning tools for better learning and develop their information literacy


Chapter 2




The curriculum framework for GS comprises a set of interconnected components namely:

• fundamental subject knowledge;

• generic skills; and

• positive values and attitudes.

The relationships among knowledge, generic skills, and values and attitudes are illustrated in the following diagram.

The framework sets out what students should know, value and be able to do at Key Stages 1 and 2. Schools and teachers can exercise their discretion and flexibly plan and develop different curriculum modes to meet their students’ needs.

The learning contents of Personal, Social and Humanities Education (PSHE), Science Education (SE) and Technology Education (TE) Key Learning Areas (KLAs) is the continuation of the core learning elements in the six strands of GS, which can facilitate a smooth transition between the primary and secondary level. Cross-reference should be made to the Curriculum Guides of PSHE, SE and TE KLAs.

2.1 Aims

The GS curriculum aims to enable students to:

• maintain healthy personal development and become confident, rational and responsible citizens;

• recognise their roles and responsibilities as members of the family and society, and care about the common good;

Curriculum Framework



Skills Values &



Curriculum Framework

• develop sense of national identity and be committed to contributing to the nation and the world;

• develop curiosity and interests in the natural and technological worlds as well as understand the impact of science and technology on society;

• develop care and concern for the environment and practice green living.

In the last decade, the Curriculum Development Council sets out the Seven Learning Goals in accordance with the aims of both Hong Kong education and the school curriculum, among which the basic understanding of subjects, development of generic skills, as well as cultivation of positive values are closely related to the curriculum aims of GS.

2.2 Learning Targets

Students are expected to:

• understand their growth and development, develop a healthy lifestyle and respect for themselves and others, and attach importance to harmonious interpersonal relationships;

• understand the development and changes of the community, and appreciate and respect multiculturalism of Hong Kong;

• develop care and concern for the well-being of their families, the community of Hong Kong, the nation and the world, and as a result understand their roles and responsibilities in their families, society and country, respect the rule of law and contribute for the common good;

• develop interest in exploring the scientific world and technological world, be able to integrate and apply science and technology knowledge and skills to solve everyday problems;

• understand the impact of science and technology on human society and the environment, and practise green living;

Responsibility National Identity HabLanguaLearning Skillsit of Readingge Skills Breadth of Knowledge

Healthy Lifestyle


• develop capabilities of effective and ethical use of information and information technology, engaging in continual learning.

2.3 Components of the GS Curriculum Framework


Understanding and the Information Era

Health and Living

National identity and Chinese Culture

Community and

Citizenship Science and Technology in Everyday Life

People and Environment

Interrelated Strands

The aims and learning targets of General Studies

Diverse learning experience to equip students with a solid knowledge foundation for further learning in Science Education, Technology Education and Personal, Social and Humanities

Education Key Learning Areas.


Diverse learning and teaching strategies+

Different modes of assessment Holistic curriculum planning

Generic Skills

Values Attitudesand


Curriculum Framework 2.3.1 Strands

Strands are used to organise the curriculum content. There are six strands in the GS curriculum, which provide students with diversified learning experiences that lay a solid knowledge foundation for their learning in SE, TE and PSHE KLAs. The six strands are:

• Health and Living

• People and Environment

• Science and Technology in Everyday Life

• Community and Citizenship

• National Identity and Chinese Culture

• Global Understanding and the Information Era 2.3.2 Generic Skills

Generic skills are the foundation of students’ capabilities for leaning to learn.

They can be developed through learning and teaching of different subjects or KLAs, and are transferable among learning contexts. In 2001, the CDC proposed nine generic skills to be developed through the implementation of the school curriculum. They are communication skills, IT skills, numeracy skills, self-management skills, study skills, collaboration skills, critical thinking skills, creativity and problem-solving skills.

Sustaining the Development of Generic Skills

After consoliding experiences of curriculum implementation over years the nine generic skills are now grouped under three clusters, namely basic skills, thinking skills, and personal and social skills, so as to help teachers design meaningful context to facilitate students’ application of these skills in a holistic manner.

Basic Skills Thinking Skills Personal and Social Skills Communication Skills Critical Thinking Skills Self-management Skills

Mathematical Skills1 Creativity Self-learning Skills2 IT Skills Problem Solving Skills Collaboration Skills


1 Numeracy Skills was used in Learning to Learn: Life-long Learning and Whole-person Development (2001), and

2 Study Skills was used in Learning to Learn: Life-long Learning and Whole-person Development (2001).


The flexible GS curriculum framework provides learning space for students to develop generic skills to be applied in different learning strands. Schools should organise various generic skills in a meaningful way when conducting curriculum planning, so as to provide students with opportunities to integrate and apply these generic skills in daily life and showcase their learning outcomes. The following learning and teaching examples of collaborative problem-solving skills and holistic thinking skills explain how different generic skills can be integrated and applied effectively:

1. Collaborative problem solving skills

Collaborative Problem Solving skills refers to students’ abilities to solve problems with synergised efforts through effective division of labour, as well as incorporation of information from multiple sources of knowledge, perspectives, and experiences in solving problems. Compared to individual problem solving, collaborative problem solving has distinct advantages because it enhances the creativity and quality of solutions through stimulation brought by the ideas of other group members. In the 21st century, it is particularly important for people with different perspectives and talents to solve problems with the effective use of communication technology.

2. Holistic Thinking Skills

Critical thinking skills, creativity and problem solving skills are conventionally categorised as higher order thinking skills. These three skills can be combined and employed integratively as holistic thinking skills to deal with complex issues. Building upon students’ learning experience, developing holistic thinking skills can guide them to deploy critical thinking skills to assess the validity of given information, creativity to explore possibilities, and problem solving skills to examine the feasibility of each alternative.

2.3.3 Values and Attitudes

alues are qualities that students should develop as well as principles behind their behaviour and decisions. Cultivating students’ positive attitudes can help them cope with challenges and problems with an optimistic and positive mind, and approach people and events around with appreciation and acceptance.

Schools should adopt “perseverance”, “respect for others”, “responsibility”,

“national identity”, “commitment”, ”integrity”, and “care for others” as the seven priority values and attitudes.


Curriculum Framework

In GS, values education can be manifested in topics and activities of related strands. Schools can provide learning experiences for values education (such as sex education, health education, environmental education, human rights education and Basic Law education) through life events and analysis of current affairs to help students develop positive values and attitudes. Schools can also adopt different learning contexts to help students consider an issue from multiple perspectives, analysing it rationally and objectively, as well as developing humanistic qualities.

Values education and cultivation of positive attitudes have been incorporated in the relevant strands of the GS curriculum, which include:

• empathy and healthy lifestyles, treasuring life and rejecting temptations;

• valuing and caring about the natural environment, showing concern for and accepting responsibility for environmental conservation;

• perseverance, facing challenges and solving problems with integrity;

• care and inclusion, respect for the rule of law, willingness to contribute to the common good;

• national identity, caring about development of the country and society;

• effective and ethical use of information, enhancement of information literacy.

2.4 Learning Objectives

Learning objectives define more specifically what students are expected to learn in accordance with the broad learning targets for Key Stages 1 and 2. Therefore, the knowledge and understanding, as well as skills, values and attitudes to be developed are fully spelt out in each strand.

堅毅 尊重他人責任感 國民身份認同 承擔精神誠信 關愛

Perseverance Respect for Others

Responsibility National Identity Commitment Integrity Care for Others


2.4.1 Core Learning Elements

The core learning elements of each of the six strands in GS are related to the learning contents of three Key Learning Areas, namely Personal, Social and Humanities Education, Science Education and Technology Education. They provide enriched learning experiences and a solid knowledge base for students’

continual learning.

The core learning elements of the six strands constitute approximately 80% of the total lesson time for the GS curriculum. They suit the developmental needs of students. It may be more desirable for some students to concentrate on the core learning elements so that they are allowed more time to understand and develop generic skills as well as relevant values and attitudes.

2.4.2 Extended Learning Activities

Extended activities constitute approximately 20% of the total lesson time of the GS curriculum. Students can further pursue in-depth study of particular topics from the core learning elements. Schools may organise extended learning activities in various forms:

(1) Self-directed Learning Activities

Teachers can encourage students to read about relevant topics and complete extended assignments by self-study to further examine particular topics in greater depth. Self-directed learning can bring students challenges, allowing them to construct knowledge and consolidate learning through the experience, leading to a greater sense of achievement.

(2) Project Learning

Project learning should focus on meaningful, authentic and open-ended questions to enhance students’ motivation to learn. Since there are no model answers, students can apply their prior knowledge to explore and solve problems under teachers’ guidance. For curriculum planning as well as learning and teaching examples of project learning, please refer to Chapter 3.4.4 and Chapter 4.2.4.

(3) Science and Technology related Learning Activities

When designing science and technology related learning activities, schools may help students master science process skills and technology skills for solving problems in everyday life.


Curriculum Framework The suggested time allocation* of project learning and science and technology

learning activities is as follows:

* The above suggested time allocation is applicable to subject based projects/ science and technology learning activities.

Cross-curricular projects/STEM education activities should be carried out during the flexible time, which accounts for 19%” of total lesson time in the primary school curriculum.

The learning objectives, core elements and proposed extension elements of the six strands are listed in the following tables.

Project learning Science and Technology related Learning Activities KS 1 Not less than 15 hours Not less than 15 hours KS 2 Not less than 20 hours Not less than 20 hours


Strand 1: Health and Living

This strand aims at arousing students’ awareness of their growth and development, as well as helping them to develop a healthy lifestyle. Students are expected to have basic understanding of physical, psychological and social health, possess a positive attitude towards their personal growth and development, as well as develop self-management skills, so that they could make informed decisions related to their health and safety and care for and concern the community with empathy. Through life-wide learning opportunities, they should also be guided to carry out investigations on health-related issues.

KS 1 KS 2

Knowledge and understanding

• to identify the different stages of growth and development

• to recognise different body parts and organs

• to understand that there are individual differences in growth and development

• to know the importance of maintaining personal hygiene, environmental hygiene and safety, and ways of bringing them about

• to recognise the importance of food to health

• to recognise methods of cooking food and food processing

• to understand one’s own needs and interests and realise that personal emotions and behaviours may influence oneself and others

• to understand the importance of family to an individual

• to understand the harm of drug abuse

• to recognise functions of major systems and organs of our body

• to know the physical and emotional changes which occur at puberty and ways to cope with them

• to know the factors affecting one’s health and safety

• to know the ways to manage risks

• to understand one’s own needs, aspirations and strengths and ways to address one’s weaknesses

• to be aware of the positive or negative consequences of one’s actions on oneself or others

• to understand the effects of drug abuse on individual, the family and society

• to recognise the importance of setting life goals


Curriculum Framework

KS 1 KS 2

• to understand the importance of living with a positive attitude and treasure life

• to know the ways of making sensible consumer decisions

• to understand the importance of personal and community health

Skills • to develop healthy living and eating habits

• to manage oneself in everyday life and to exercise self- discipline in managing personal hygiene, safety and emotions

• to observe safety rules in everyday life

• to take advice of elders to make decisions related to health

• to use appropriate verbal or non-verbal ways to

communicate with others and to express emotions

• to plan how to make good use of one’s time and money

• to be able to manage the changes on mental and physical health during puberty and practise a healthy lifestyle

• to master the skills for managing emotions and rejecting temptation

• to analyse one’s health information and make informed decisions

• to identify current issues concerning health and environmental hygiene, and carry out investigations into selected ones

• to identify situations that expectations differ according to gender and understand how these expectations may influence one’s choices and options

• to express one’s anxieties, excitements and uncertainties to family members, peers and elders, and to seek help from elders, counsellors or

institutions when necessary

• to enhance relationships with family members and peers while developing assertiveness skills


Learning Objectives

Core learning Elements

Key Stage One:

• different parts and organs of our body

• different stages and changes of human growth and development

• similarities and differences between boys and girls

• uniqueness of an individual (e.g. likes and dislikes, attributes and abilities, thoughts and feelings)

• planning daily schedule

• getting along with friends and family members

• the need to express feelings and emotions which would influence oneself and others

KS 1 KS 2

• to make sensible consumer choices

Values and

attitudes • to treasure and make efforts to stay healthy

• to be positive towards healthy living, including eating habits, work, rest and physical exercise

• to accept changes that occur as one grows and individual differences in growth and development

• to treasure harmonious relationships with family members, peers and the others

• to take a proper attitude in using medicine

• avoid taking harmful substances and drugs

• to appreciate the uniqueness of individuals and respect for their strengths and weaknesses

• to accept that individuals are different in their growth and development during puberty

• to treasure one’s own body

• to accept sexual feelings and reactions, and show positive attitudes in dealing with them

• to develop empathy and concern feelings of others

• to reject inappropriate behaviours

• to treasure and respect for life

• to show commitment in participating in activities related to promotion

/ maintenance of community health


Curriculum Framework

• decision-making in simple dilemmas

• conflict resolution skills in everyday life

• the importance of food, physical exercises and rest to health (e.g. balanced diet, regular exercise, proper posture, eye care)

• the importance of food hygiene and safety of processed food

• basic personal hygiene habits and environmental hygiene practices (e.g. proper hand-washing, no littering)

• personal safety (e.g. protecting our body, including the private parts)

• general safety issues in everyday life (e.g. home safety, sports safety)

• ways of seeking help when facing problems (e.g. health, safety)

• proper handling and use of medicine

• managing oneself in everyday life (e.g. personal hygiene, emotions, time and money)

• the harm of taking harmful substances (e.g. cigarettes, alcohol) and drugs

Key Stage Two:

• functions of major organs and systems of our body

• different stages and characteristics of one’s growth

• physical, psychological and social changes of boys and girls during puberty

• individual differences in growth and development during puberty

• dealing with stress and frustration (e.g. peer pressure, harassment, study, emotions)

• gender roles and relationships

• sexual feelings and reactions, and ways to deal with them

• enhancing relationships and assertiveness skills (e.g. ways to express emotions, strengths and weaknesses of oneself or others)

• dealing with unfamiliar situations and challenges

• the strategies of managing and minimising risks in everyday life (e.g. safety, health, relationships)

• healthy lifestyles (e.g. regular daily schedule, do not indulge in Internet surfing, healthy diet)

• major causes of common diseases, their influences on health and prevention (e.g.

communicable and non-communicable diseases)

• managing and using money

• problems and solutions related to environmental hygiene in Hong Kong

• the effects of drug abuse, substance abuse on individual, family and society

• say “NO” to gambling, drug abuse, smoking, drinking and sexual requests

• simple first-aid and safety in everyday life


• people and organisations that provide assistance in first aid and prevent accidents and violence

• activities related to promotion/ maintenance of community health Suggestions for Extended Learning Activities

Depending on students’ abilities and interests, as well as strengths of the school, teachers may consider providing more in-depth study on selected contents within the strand. For example:

When students learn about healthy diet in KS 1, they can find out what healthy food is through project learning, including studying food labels, and practising a healthy diet by designing a menu and preparing food for ‘Healthy Picnic Day’ and ‘Healthy Christmas Party’.

In KS2, students might enquire into the social issues related to this strand through case study, e.g. gambling, compensated dating and overindulgence in online games. They can understand the causes of these problems and their impact on teenagers. Schools can also use external resources provided by relevant organisations to organise learning activities, such as visits, seminars and workshops, so that students can have a better understanding of these issues.


Curriculum Framework

KS 1 KS 2

Knowledge and understanding

• to recognise the basic needs, features and growth process of living things

• to recognise the simple classification of living things

• to recognise living things in different environments and the interdependence among living things

• to identify the features of day and night and their influences on people’s everyday life

• to identify features of local weather and their influences on people’s life

• to know the features of our immediate environment

• to understand the interaction between the natural

environment and human activities in local community

• to understand the need for energy saving

• to know the major process of the life cycle of living things

• to know the biodiversity and classification of living things

• to recognise the interdependence between living things and their environment

• to know the characteristics of different climatic regions

• to identify and describe climate and seasonal changes and their effects

• to understand how people are affected by the natural environment and how they react to the limitations imposed by the natural environment

• to recognise the Earth as a wealth of resources

• to understand people’s responsibility of

environmental conservation, treasure and make good use of resources of the Earth

Strand 2: People and Environment

This strand aims at arousing students’ concern for the environment and its sustainable development. Students are expected to acquire a basic understanding of the nature and the relationships between people and the environment, and be willing to bear the responsibility of environmental conservation. Through enquiry learning on the interdependence between living things and the environment, and influences of climate change on people, students can understand the importance of treasuring resources of the Earth, protecting the environment, and be willing to practise green living.

Learning Objectives


KS 1 KS 2

• to understand the cost of consuming natural resources and the various ways to manage and use resources Skills • to make careful observation of

our surroundings

• to identity similarities and differences of living things and carry out simple classification

• to observe features on maps and photographs

• to draw pictorial maps to illustrate key features of our community

• to plant or take care of small animals

• to develop environmentally friendly living habits

• to classify living things according to their biological characteristics

• to plan and carry out simple investigations related to environmental issues

• to draw sketches/maps and other graphical representations to display information

• to mark patterns on maps and other graphical representations

• to report on patterns of energy use in the home, school and other places

• to make good use of natural resources and practise green living

Values and

attitudes • to appreciate that there are similarities and differences among different types of living things

• to appreciate the

interdependence of living things in the natural environment

• to cultivate a caring attitude towards animals and plants

• to show concern for

environmental conservation and make wise use of natural resources

• to appreciate the wonder of the nature and show interest in exploring our environment

• t o respect and care for living things and show concern for endangered species

• to recognise the importance of environmental conservation, and to actively participate in it

• to be open-minded and objective towards different views


Curriculum Framework

Core Learning Elements

Key Stage One:

• characteristics of living things

• the basic needs and growth processes of living things

• simple classification of living things (e.g. animals and plants, invertebrates and vertebrates, flowering and non-flowering plants)

• planting or taking care of small animals

• living things in different environments and the interdependence among living things

• features of day and night and how the pattern of day and night is related to everyday life

• climate and weather changes in Hong Kong and how they affect everyday life

• safety measures in activities under different weather conditions (e.g. equipment required, contingency plan)

• characteristics of our living environment

• how the natural environment in the community affects people’s life

• care of the environment and ways of conserving resources (e.g. reduce electricity use, save water, reduce waste)

• develop environmentally friendly living habits in everyday life Key Stage Two:

• cycles in the living world

• life cycles of living things

• biodiversity and classification of living things (e.g amphibians, reptiles)

• interdependence and interaction between living things and the environment

• forms and functions of living things and their adaptation to the environment (e.g.

camouflage of animals, needle leaf of plants)

• concern for endangered species

• life of living things in different climatic regions

KS 1 KS 2

• to show concern and take action in caring for and improving the environment

• to show concern for issues owing to climate change

• to show concern for local and national environmental issues


• effects of natural changes of the environment (e.g. climate change, natural hazards) on people and how people respond to these changes

• individuals’ responsibilities in environmental conservation

• the Earth as a source of resources

• renewable source of energy (e.g. wind energy) and non-renewable source of energy (e.g. natural gas)

• some local and national environmental issues

• make good use of resources and practise green living (e.g. waste reduction at source, saving energy)

Suggestions for Extended Learning Activities

Since the aims of this strand are to arouse students’ concern for the environment and its sustainable development, it is desirable to provide students with authentic learning situations to enrich their learning experience. For example, teachers organise outdoor visits or ecotours (e.g. visit to Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Hong Kong Wetland Park, and country parks) for students to get in touch with the nature.

In KS1, students can choose a plant they are interested in for in-depth study. Through planting and carrying out simple experiments, students can investigate conditions for plant growth, such as the effects of light on plant growth.

In KS2, students can choose an environmental issue that they are interested in and conduct project learning. They can play the role of different stakeholders and consider the issues from various perspectives. They can also debate on some environmental protection issues to develop their critical thinking skills. Furthermore, students can design and conduct scientific investigations to find out the ways to save natural resources, for example, designing water-efficient shower head and finding out the most energy-efficient light bulb. Through the learning process, students’ problem solving skills and creativity can be developed.




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