Charity urges city's schools to adopt 'emotional education'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 March, 2009, 12:00am

Education on managing emotions should play a bigger part in the city's schools as the economy worsens, a charity group says.

The Art of Living Foundation Hong Kong Centre called on local teachers to take part in its Non-Aggression Programme, which is aimed at helping people manage their emotions and stress. They can then pass the skills on to their students.

Students at Poinsettia School, a Nepalese primary school, participated in the programme last month.

They performed a variety of relaxing exercises. Other parts of the course include stretching and games. Instructors say participants learn to be confident in the face of challenges.

'Children know if adults are unhappy,' said Sylvia Luk Kam-yee, a co-ordinator for the foundation's Hong Kong chapter. She said teachers should teach their students how to find their inner strength.

'Students are taught academic knowledge at schools. It is rare that they are taught how to manage their own emotions,' she said.

After the Sichuan earthquake last year, the organisation introduced the programme to more than 15,000 children there to relieve stress.

The organisation has now shifted its focus to helping students in Hong Kong who are under a lot of stress, especially as people face the challenges posed by the economic crisis. The group says it is important for children to support their families.

'Instead of asking why it [the crisis] is happening, they will think about how they can change,' instructor Timothy Wong Chung-ming said.

Heavy academic workloads and extracurricular activities had left children with little time to relax, Mr Wong said, adding that many of them are unhappy even if they bury their noses in video games.

Relaxing by stretching the body could be helpful in restoring a positive mindset, he said.