Event report

July 1, 2020

FAB Meetup “Reinventing education in Hong Kong” Report

There are more discussions on how we can provide different education experiences to children. FabCafe Hong Kong hosted a FAB Meetup on 28 May to explore how we can reinvent education in Hong Kong and we were delighted to invite teachers and principal to join this meetup and shared very inspiring insights with us.

Online FAB Meetup “Reinventing education in Hong Kong

Under the pandemic of COVID-19, we are exploring different ways for children to learn, such as using online tools and games. When students are all studying at home, the traditional education format and setting are being challenged. How can education in Hong Kong be reinvented? What will be the alternatives? There are some schools in Hong Kong that build their unique teaching environments and provide different learning experiences for students. FabCafe Hong Kong has invited two teachers and one principal from 3 schools to share their experiences and insights.

The meetup was hosted in panel discussion format and divided into 5 parts.

Part 1 – Introduction

We have invited Joyce, the principal of Catholic Mission School, to this FAB Meetup. She introduced CMS is a government-subsidized primary school and they emphasize a lot on the human centred approach. She believed that children need to be taught with correct values at school, not only to focus the knowledge for exams and homeworks.

Joyce Chung, Principal of Catholic Mission School

We also have Ryan, the digital literacy coach from Victoria Shanghai Academy. Ryan is the key person at school to integrate technology with students, teachers and parents, so he shared he has put a lot of efforts on all the digital related resources during the class suspension from February to May. 

Wincy then introduced Forest House Waldorf School, which implemented a child-centred curriculum to the school. Waldorf School uses a lot of storytelling, painting and singing in lessons and Wincy believed this unique teaching method is suitable for her kids as well. 

Part 2 – During Pandemic

Then we asked three speakers how they face the challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Joyce first responded that they put “gratitude” as the theme of school during the pandemic. Not only the technical preparation for virtual classrooms, CMS also encouraged students to share their emotions everyday, to ensure the human connections were still there even if there was no face-to-face communication.

Ryan then shared that not all students got all resources for online learning so loaning devices and wifi cards was the first step. Upskilling the teachers and finding the most suitable tools for online learning were also the challenges during the pandemic. In order to motivate students to learn online, Ryan created a robot challenge for students and students felt excited about it.

Ryan Krakofsky, Digital Literacy Coach from Victoria Shanghai Academy

Wincy shared that as Waldorf School did not use too much technology so it was a big challenge at first. But later the teachers got used to digital communication with parents, and teachers have set up tasks for students to complete at home like doing houseworks or cooking with parents. When they started using ZOOM for online learning, parents were concerned about the long screen time for their kids, so they minimized the screen time for younger students.

Part 3 – Values vs Knowledge

Teaching students about values like trust and gratitude are equally important as teaching knowledge based subjects nowadays. We asked 3 speakers how their schools balance the two aspects. Ryan said VSA introduced design thinking workshops to students and they are able to observe the community and design possible solutions to solve some of the problems in the community. Meanwhile, teachers will bring in subjects like maths and science, depending on the design projects. 

For Waldorf School, Wincy said they teach values by demonstrating how to treat the things surrounding them, such as their gesture and attitude when they need to present something to others. Wincy also mentioned that they teach students about money concepts and maths knowledge at the same time by running their own shops in the classroom setting.

Wincy Chan, Teacher from Forest House Waldorf School

Instead of focusing on knowledge teaching, Joyce believed that learning should be a journey that the school should walk together with students and parents. CMS has developed their own lesson plan which they called a “learning journey”. They classified 3 stakeholders in this journey which are teachers, students and parents. Through the journey map, teachers are able to set up goals and expectations and design possible assessment plans.

Part 4 – Creativity & Collaboration

With more advanced technology available nowadays, humans are unique with our creativity and collaboration. We would like to know how our speakers teach creativity and collaboration at schools and if it is possible to teach at all. Wincy mentioned Waldorf School is using a lot of storytelling to train students’ creativity and students are encouraged to draw the images they imagined in their minds after they listen to the stories. Singing is a way for Waldorf School to bring students together to collaborate, as students would need to sing in different parts to make everyone harmonized. 

Ryan shared that there are design projects at VSA that students are able to choose their own topics and their own ways to do the projects. Ryan believed providing the environment for students to take ownership of learning is crucial to foster creativity. There is also a robotics team at VSA that students are able to work in groups to join robotic competitions. 

Joyce believed that keeping the curiosity of students is the key to bring creativity. She said creativity is about how students express themselves in their own ways. For collaboration, Joyce believed collaboration is not about training specific skills to students, but it should start with little things in daily life, such as how students understand and care about each other with kindness.

Part 5 – New Assessment System

In terms of reinventing the education system, we might need to consider how to change the existing assessment system in Hong Kong. Joyce admitted that the exam system in Hong Kong is not something that any local schools can easily change or remove. But her school is trying their best to build up students’ positive thinking in their first 4 years at CMS, which can help students not to collapse easily when they face pressure when they are in primary 5 and 6.

Ryan then shared that under the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) there are no exams at all, but there are peer assessment and self assessment for students to reflect on what they have learned so far. At the end of the programme, instead of using exams to grade students, there is a celebration of learning like projects or showcases for students. He found that it is important to let students know where they can go next and how they can get there. 

At Waldorf School, Wincy shared that it is totally different from others. They look at students’ individual development and they do individual assessments on how students catch up with each subject or skill. In this way, teachers are able to adjust the teaching plans based on each students’ learning needs. 

At the end we had a 30-minute Q&A session. Online and offline audiences are interested to learn more on learning alternatives in Hong Kong. It was our honour to have 3 wonderful speakers to share their valuable experiences and insights. FabCafe Hong Kong is going to host more meetups in the future and we will discuss different local and global challenges. Stay tuned and hope to see you next time on FAB Meetup!

Click here to watch the full recording of the meetup on YouTube.

Click here for more event highlight photos on Flickr.

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  • FabCafe Hong Kong Editorial Team

    This articles is edited by FabCafe Hong Kong.

    Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this article with us.
    Contact us

    This articles is edited by FabCafe Hong Kong.

    Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this article with us.
    Contact us

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