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Learning to understand a nation

Learning to understand a nation
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  Social Transformations in Chinese Societies Learning to understand a nation: Developing a national education curriculumimbued with Catholic social ethics for Hong Kong’s primary schools Hei-Hang Hayes Tang, King Man Eric Chong, Wai Wa Timothy Yuen,  Article information: To cite this document:Hei-Hang Hayes Tang, King Man Eric Chong, Wai Wa Timothy Yuen, (2019) "Learning to understanda nation: Developing a national education curriculum imbued with Catholic social ethics for HongKong’s primary schools", Social Transformations in Chinese Societies, Permanent link to this document: Downloaded on: 15 June 2019, At: 02:56 (PT)References: this document contains references to 29 other documents.To copy this document: permissions@emeraldinsight.comAccess to this document was granted through an Emerald subscription provided byToken:Eprints:ZGMCWAU7HUAE68WA6PGG: For Authors If you would like to write for this, or any other Emerald publication, then please use our Emeraldfor Authors service information about how to choose which publication to write for and submissionguidelines are available for all. Please visit for more information.  About Emerald Emerald is a global publisher linking research and practice to the benefit of society. The companymanages a portfolio of more than 290 journals and over 2,350 books and book series volumes, aswell as providing an extensive range of online products and additional customer resources andservices. Emerald is both COUNTER 4 and TRANSFER compliant. The organization is a partner of theCommittee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and also works with Portico and the LOCKSS initiative for digital archive preservation. *Related content and download information correct at time of download.    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   1   1   9 .   2   3   6 .   1   4   0 .   5   9   A   t   0   2  :   5   6   1   5   J  u  n  e   2   0   1   9   (   P   T   )  Learningtounderstandanation DevelopinganationaleducationcurriculumimbuedwithCatholicsocialethicsforHongKong ’ sprimaryschools Hei-Hang Hayes Tang, King Man Eric Chong and Wai Wa Timothy Yuen The Education University of Hong Kong, Tai Po, Hong Kong  Abstract Purpose  –   National identi 󿬁 cation among young people and the issues about how national educationshould be conducted have been the signi 󿬁 cant topics when the Hong Kong Special Administrative Regionwas entering its third decade of the establishment. This paper was written based on data the authorsobtained upon participation in a project organized by the Centre for Catholic Studies of the ChineseUniversity of Hong Kong. The project was carried out after the of  󿬁 cial curriculum, known as the Moraland National Education Curriculum Guide, was shelved due to popular resentment. The project aimed atcapturing the timely opportunity for substantial resources available for school-based operation of moraland national education and developing an alternative curriculum about teaching national issues andidenti 󿬁 cation for Catholic Diocese and Convent primary schools to adopt. This paper aims to investigatethenature of thisCatholicProject and examines the extent to which it is a counterhegemonic project or onefor teaching to belong to a nation (Mathews, Ma and Lui, 2007). It assesses the project ’ s possiblecontribution to citizenship and national education in Hong Kong, since the withdrawal of the Moral andNational Education Curriculum Guide. Design/methodology/approach  –   The authors of this paper worked in an education university of Hong Kong and were invited to be team members of this Catholic Project. The role comprised proposingtopics for teacher training, conducting seminars, giving comments to teaching resources, observing andgiving feedback to schools that tried out the teaching and designing/implementing an evaluative surveyand conducting follow-up interviews with involved parties such as teachers and key of  󿬁 cials of theCatholic Centre. Given this, the research involved can be perceived as action research. This paper waswritten up with both the qualitative and quantitative data the authors collected when working theproject. Findings  –   This paper reported a Catholic citizenship training project with the focus on a Catholic schoolproject on preparing students to understand the nation by learning national issues analytically. The ultimategoal was to ensure teachers in Catholic primary schools could lead the students to examine national issuesandothersocialissuesfromtheperspective ofCatholicsocialethics.Thoughtheprojectaroseafterthefailureof the government to force through its controversial national education programme, this paper found thatinstead of being an alternative curriculum with resistance  󿬂 avour, the project was basically a self-perfectionprogrammefortheCatholic.Itwasto 󿬁 llashortfallobservedofCatholicschools,namely,notdoingenoughtoletstudents examinesocial andnationalissueswithCatholicsocialethics, which,indeed, hada good interfacewith many cherished universal values. In the  󿬁 nal analysis, the project is not a typical national educationprogramme, which teaches students to belong to a nation but an innovative alternative curriculumtranscending the hegemony-resistance ideological tensions as advanced by western literature (for example,Gramsci,1971;Freire,1970;andApple,1993). Originality/value  –   The paper contributes to the literature of Hong Kong studies and citizenshipeducation studies. The results of such an innovative endeavour, which captures and capitalizes theopportunity and resources for developing a national education curriculum in school-based manner. Attentionwas paid to the endeavour ’ s nature and its possible contribution to the knowledge, policies and practices of citizenship and national education in Hong Kong amidst deep social transformations. In particular, the papercan addto thespeci 󿬁 c literature about Hong Kong ’ s citizenship andnationaleducationdevelopmentsincethe Catholic socialethics Received11October2018Revised21January2019Accepted10April2019 Social Transformations in ChineseSocieties© EmeraldPublishingLimited1871-2673 DOI 10.1108/STICS-10-2018-0015 The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   1   1   9 .   2   3   6 .   1   4   0 .   5   9   A   t   0   2  :   5   6   1   5   J  u  n  e   2   0   1   9   (   P   T   )  withdrawal of the Moral and National Education Curriculum Guide. Using an empirical example of Asianschooling and society, analysis of this paper illustrates the way in which development of an alternativecurriculumismoreinnovativeandinteresting,transcendingthehegemony-resistanceideologicaltensions. Keywords  National education, Alternative curriculum, Catholic primary schools,Catholic social ethics, Hong Kong citizenship education Papertype Case study Introduction Since the resumption of sovereignty in 1997, national education, with an aim to cultivate aChinese national identity among the young students, has become a major focus of theGovernment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Literature hasshown that the importance of citizenship education had been downplayed in the de-politicization projects of the Hong Kong colonial government ( Leung and Yuen, 2009; Ngai et al. , 2014 ), but patriotism, as a unifying ideology, has been instrumental to the nationalconstruction of the People ’ s Republic of China, especially since a legitimacy crisis in theearly 1980s ( Fairbrother, 2003 ). The ways in which citizenship education is designed,implemented and perceived differ signi 󿬁 cantly in the jurisdictions of Hong Kong andmainlandChina. In2012,topromote nationalidentity, andthus,thedevelopmentofnationaleducation, the Education Bureau of HKSAR endorsed the Moral and National EducationCurriculum Guideasdrafted by the Curriculum Development Council, 2012. This curriculumguide was intended to be an of  󿬁 cial and compulsory curriculum to be imposed on all schoolssupported by public funding. National education with assessment, thus, would become acompulsory part of the formal curriculum. Though promoting the understanding of thenation and national identity could be understood given the transfer of sovereignty, thisof  󿬁 cial curriculum of national education aroused much popular resentment. Biased content,problematic reference materials and controversial assessment method made this compulsorycourse, imposed with power on a top-down basis, unacceptable to many students, parents,teachers and educators. Public resentment compelled the government to shelve its proposal.After that, schools were required to take their school-based initiative in civic and nationaleducation and a one-off government funding was provided to all primary and secondaryschools for the purpose. As a corollary of these developments, Catholic schools wereequipped 󿬁 nancially,butwereinneedofadirectionofcitizenshipandnationaleducation.Against this backdrop, the project entitled  “ Teacher Development Project of CatholicSocial Ethics (National Issues) ”  was implemented. The project (henceforth addressed asCatholic Project) aimed at providing professional training to teachers of Catholic primaryschools so that they could effectively conduct civic and national education, with thecurricularmaterialsandpedagogic ideasoffered, in theuniversalistic frameworkofCatholicsocial ethics. In 2015-2016, the authors were invited to participate in a project organized bythe Centre for Catholic Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (henceforthaddressed as Catholic Centre). Such participation allowed the authors to acquire thequalitative and quantitative data required for the writing of the present paper. The papershares with its readers the results of such an innovative endeavour for enhancing thelearning about the national issues and examines the extent to which it is a project aboutteaching to belong to a nation ( Mathews  et al. , 2007 ). In short, this paper examines how thisproject works to provide an alternative to the of  󿬁 cial curriculum, particularly for Catholicschools.Ituncoverstheprocessofrecontextualization,whichtransformsknowledge aboutanationtobepedagogicdiscourses. STICS    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   1   1   9 .   2   3   6 .   1   4   0 .   5   9   A   t   0   2  :   5   6   1   5   J  u  n  e   2   0   1   9   (   P   T   )  TheCatholicproject Catholic Church and education The Roman Catholic Church has played a very important role in providing education inHong Kong. Such role dated back to the colonial period when the British colonialgovernment of Hong Kong encouraged foreign missionaries to set up schools both to meetthe increased local need for school places and to counteract the in 󿬂 uence over education of both the Nationalist Party (of Taiwan) and the Communist Party of China (of the mainland).The Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong and other Catholic missionaries remain as one of thelargestprovidersofschoolplaces.Relationship between the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong and the HKSAR Governmentonce became tense whenall HongKong schoolswere requiredto implement anincorporatedmanagement committee in the school in 2004. Such management committee shall draw inelected members from parents and alumni and appointed independents outside the schools.The Catholic Diocese then warned that such an incorporated management committee withpeople who may not familiarize with Catholic mission and values shall affect the Catholicvalues in running a school. The Catholic Education Of  󿬁 ce (2019) of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong spelled out in its vision and mission statements that Catholic education shouldaim at truth, justice, family, love, and life, as they are what God endowed us. It should beclear that the Catholic Church runs its schools with religious faith, and against this reality,theCatholicProject,whichisoutlinedbelowshouldbeconstrued.  An outline of the project  The Catholic Project was provided by the Catholic Centre (a division of the ChineseUniversityof Hong Kong)in 2015-2016. Catholic Diocese andConventprimary schools wereinvitedtosend teacherswhoareresponsible foreithercivicandmoraleducation orreligiouseducation to join this teacher training programme by using the subsidy the governmentgave to school to conduct citizenship and national education on own initiative. Altogether,60 schools and 140 teachers joined the project and they received 10 training sessions aboutdifferent dimensions of modern China and pedagogical training. According to a CatholicCentre ’ s of  󿬁 cial, this project aimed at learning about national issues with an analyticalsense. There was also a need of enhancing Catholic values in the teaching and learning of our students. At the outset of the project, the Catholic Centre visited 60 Catholic primaryschools.Afterthevisits,theof  󿬁 cialconcluded: First of all, they do not have clear understanding about Catholic social ethics. And talking abouthow to conduct national education, they are even fearful. It is because when they mention thisaspect of education, they may be criticized as brainwashing the students. But if they ignore it,they would anticipate pressures from the government for submitting to curriculum guidelines.Hence their stance is uncertain about how to move forward. Theof  󿬁 cialalsorevealedthat: Catholic teaching only exists in religious subject such as Bible, and some prayers and assembliesbut seldom touched upon views of life and the world, as well as social principles. Therefore, there is a room to do more on helping Catholic schools to teach students inunderstandingaboutnationalissuesimbuedwithCatholicsocialethics.Thehandbookforteachersstipulates: Catholic schools need to demonstrate Catholic spirit. They should inspire students with valuesthat come from Gospel of Jesus Christ. Catholic schools should nurture the younger generation so Catholic socialethics    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   1   1   9 .   2   3   6 .   1   4   0 .   5   9   A   t   0   2  :   5   6   1   5   J  u  n  e   2   0   1   9   (   P   T   )  that they can tell right from wrong, seek the truth, stand up to justice, love their family and berighteous people (p. 8). Inthesamebooklet(p.5),theobjectivesoftheprojectaredescribedas:  helping students understanding of Catholic social ethics;  nurturing among students virtues, such as care, righteousness and responsibilities;  helping students understand their nation with the help of Catholic social ethics;  encouraging students to express their opinion and listen to others to arrive at anethical conclusion; and  allowing students to make their suggestion on social issues and re 󿬂 ect on nationalidentity matters.Therefore, teachers went on to design their curriculum, which incorporates Catholic socialethics. General studies or Bible classes were particularly used to nurture students ’  valuesand understanding about China through the lens of Catholic social ethics. In operationalterms,theone-yearprojectcomprisedthefollowingelements:  conducting seminars to all participants over different topics, ranging fromunderstanding the Catholic social ethics; approaches, methods and issues inteaching citizenship and national education; to understanding selected nationalissues, etc.;  the production of teaching resources that participating schools can adopt and adaptfor use;  inviting participating schools to try out the teaching of national issues from Catholicsocial ethics with the help of the resources provided;  inviting experts to observe the trial teaching to give feedback and suggest possibleimprovement; and  carrying out a research on the effectiveness of the project through survey study andfollow-up interviews. Catholic social ethics Catholicperspectivesandvaluesasre 󿬂 ectedinsocialethicshavebeenthecornerstoneoftheproject. A brief description of which is hereby given. Catholic social ethics, as explained inthepreface of booklet entitled Catholic Social Ethics (  Teacher Edition  ) refers to theprinciplesand methods by which Catholics respond to social issues coming from the teaching of thePopeandtheBishops.Suchteachingcomprisesprinciplesofre 󿬂 ection,criteriainjudgementandguidesinaction.In this Catholic Project, the following were singled out as an important aspect of socialethics for primary school teachers to pick up in their pedagogical and curriculumdevelopment: human dignity; human rights and responsibilities; living with others; caringfor the poor and the weak; dignity and rights of the workers; justice and the weak; sharingand owning the wealth together; unity and caring; the common good; protection of theecological environment; complementarity principle; and people ’ s participation. In thebooklet, these aspects of Catholic social ethics were elucidated with stories from the Bible.Relevant sources in terms of the works of the Catholic Church were also given for teacher ’ sreferenceindesigningtheirlessons. STICS    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   1   1   9 .   2   3   6 .   1   4   0 .   5   9   A   t   0   2  :   5   6   1   5   J  u  n  e   2   0   1   9   (   P   T   )

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Oct 15, 2019
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