Going global to give students a new voice

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 February, 2010, 12:00am

It is natural to have views about what you are learning and how you can contribute to the school environment and community you are part of.

Traditionally, many schools have lacked channels to express those views. But the British Council's Connecting Classrooms - Student Voice project has for nearly three years been helping some of the most innovative schools in Hong Kong to develop new relationships with their pupils.

Next month, students, principals and teachers from these schools will share their initiatives with schools across Hong Kong, in the Connecting Classrooms - Student Voice: Care and Action Forum, at St Paul's Convent School, with the support of the Education Bureau.

Up to 300 students, principals and teachers are expected to take part in the forum. They will be joined by a group of nine students and educators from Portsmouth in Britain. Schools there are on the cutting edge of involving students in the development of education.

The visitors will also learn about developments in Hong Kong. Here, Student Voice is being developed to support education reforms, which envision that students should not be passive recipients of education, but can develop independent and creative learning skills, and contribute to the school and wider community. Some schools, such as Lok Sin Tong Wong Chung Ming Secondary School, are using Student Voice activities as part of the Other Learning Experiences in the new senior secondary curriculum.

We are now calling the project Student Voice: Care and Action because, as students develop into active young citizens, with their rights and responsibilities better acknowledged, they will be more able to lead and participate in activities that enrich school life and the community.

We expect the next forum to be even more dynamic than the last. It provides a meeting place for students from different countries to exchange views on how to make learning more meaningful and enjoyable. Learning beyond subject domains and outside the classroom is becoming a global trend.

Katherine Forestier, director of Education Services at the British Council, initiated Student Voice in Hong Kong

The forum will be held at St Paul's Convent School, Causeway Bay, on March 20, 9.30am-4pm.