Students set out on new course
Mrs SY Fung
What were the challenges in preparing for and teaching Liberal Studies (LS)?
Helping individuals to master the skills of research, analysis, synthesis, problem solving, writing and meaningful persuasive expression takes a lot of time. To meet the exam requirements, teachers have needed to arrange extra lessons. Meanwhile, students have required individual attention and support.
What have you enjoyed about teaching LS?
The LS curriculum serves an important role, which is to help students become familiar with current issues. I have liked making students aware of issues that affect them today and will continue to affect them in the future. I like the transformational learning that evolves when students investigate different perspectives and, as a result, find they have shifted their own understanding.
What changes in students have you noticed since they started attending LS classes?
Students have become more mature. Their understanding of the world and people has improved because of the connectedness among the different LS disciplines. LS aims to help students become informed, rational and responsible citizens. We have tried to develop in students a range of life-long learning skills. Through analysis and discussion on a variety of contemporary issues, we have helped students to appreciate and respect diversity in cultures and views in a pluralistic society, and to handle conflicting values.
Gigi Ho Pui-chi
What has it been like to study LS?
I had a hard time giving layered and well-structured answers at the beginning. But soon after, I learned to focus on specific points, provide thorough explanations, and back them up with sound evidence. Another problem I encountered was being able to distinguish between similar concepts, especially regarding more complicated topics such as hybridisation and globalisation.
What have you enjoyed most about studying LS?
We have been encouraged to discuss and reason according to our own stance, and this has strengthened our communication skills and enhanced our ability to think logically and critically.
I have often been inspired by the in-depth and insightful arguments of my classmates. They have encouraged me to ponder related issues more deeply.
Do you feel that LS has impacted your personal development?
Studying LS for two years has been beneficial to my personal development. Most significant has been the developing clarity in my thinking. When handling new information, I can organise my thoughts. I have found this helpful in both my academic and personal life.
How are you feeling ahead of the first public exam scheduled for the end of the first semester?
Without much revision material, I am certainly feeling nervous. To consolidate my knowledge, I try to revisit sample papers and to read the newspapers.
Sylvia Sun Yiu-wai
What impact did you think LS would have on your child's education?
I appreciate that the essence of LS lies in the process of critical thinking, and not the answer to an issue itself, and that students need to think 'out of the box' to face future challenges. I am concerned that a public exam that is based only on what people have written may discourage creative, forward and independent thinking.
What difficulties did your child have in studying LS?
My daughter is interested in LS topics, but has been frustrated by the volume of material. All the modules cover an enormous spectrum, from global policies to human psychology. It is difficult - not just for secondary students, but also for any seasoned scholar - to digest within such a limited time.
Have you noticed any changes in your child's attitude that you attribute to LS?
It is good that my daughter has gained an awareness of various issues, but LS has not changed her approach to life.
How are you feeling ahead of the first LS public exam?
It is frustrating to see the effort of teachers and students reduced to an exam of just a few hours. Also, they will be judged by just a few people.