Brain Game: If you could set up your own school, how would you run it?

  • Each week, our readers vote for their favourite answer and the contestant with the least votes is eliminated
  • This week, contestants talk about how they would run their own school
Kelly Fung |

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What would your perfect school look like?

Every Wednesday we ask our Brain Game contestants one interesting, thought-provoking or just plain quirky question. Their answers will be published anonymously in Young Post. Then readers vote for their favourite answer. We will eliminate the contestant with the least votes every week until we have a winner. The ultimate Brain Game winner will win a fabulous prize.

Votes close at midnight on Sunday.

Contestant 1

I’d make sure all my students are mentally healthy. Mental health plays a huge role in a student’s performance at school; if they are stressed, they’ll do badly in tests and exams. Common mental health problems faced by students include depression, anxiety and self-harm. I’d organise programmes, such as talks about depression, counselling sessions, and activities that would build students’ self-esteem, to help tackle those problems. 

When we were kids, we all dreamed about school with lots of break time and our favourite classes. But in reality, all the classes help us. 

However, some students excel in a certain subject more than the others. So I’d create groups for each subject, from Group 1 (the best) to Group 4 (the weakest). I believe that this would help outstanding students to continue to improve.

And because I worry that students in Group 4 may feel that they’re underperforming, I’d come up with alternative lessons such as design and cooking to help them discover their talents.

Contestant 2 

As a hater of the traditional, hectic education system in Hong Kong, I would want my school to be stress-free and fun. That’s why my school would train students to explore their potential from a young age, and encourage them to think, instead of memorising facts. There would be equal time spent in playtime and classes, while exams would be tough but minimal. 

In junior secondary school, students would focus on their interests. At the end of their third year, we’d ask them whether they’d like to go on the “academic” pathway (taking highly recognised public exams and attending university) or the “career” pathway (where students will receive a short-cut to starting employment while completing their studies). Once they’d made their decision, they’d spend the next three years fulfilling their tasks. School time would end early for all students, giving them a chance to rest and have fun every day.

In addition to the usual school facilities, there would be a gigantic cinema, a multi-purpose film studio, a library the size of a hall, and a swimming pool that turns into an ice-skating rink in the winter. 

School fees would be about HK$3,250 per month (including interests classes), with financial assistance available for needy students.

Contestant 3

The aim of my school would be to help students realise their self-worth. At the beginning of the year, guided by their teachers, students would vote on class rules and a Bill of Rights, giving them a sense of ownership over their daily lives. 

In contrast to today’s environment, which encourages passive acceptance of the rules of a powerful group that claims to know what’s best for us, my school would recognise the inborn skills of each student. There would be no grades. Instead, teachers would mark each project, taking the learning style of each student into account. This would motivate students to work harder, not because of their desire to get an A, but because of their desire to master all the necessary skills, earn the respect of their teachers and fellow students, and establish a positive self-identity.

By treating students as respected individuals rather than products in an assembly line, we would encourage them to believe in themselves and value their education. We would develop generations of self-aware, capable adults who know what they want from life. And we would increase the supply of our most valuable resource: happiness.

Contestant 4

My school would be a “secret”, out-of-this-world facility in Hong Kong’s countryside. 

The curriculum would be fun-oriented, with assessments banned. Classes would be conducted in all languages to cater to international students. If students attended 95 per cent of their classes, they would be exempted from paying school fees.
In real schools, pupils are assigned to their houses randomly. In my school, they would join one of the five houses depending on their interests and capabilities. 

In the House of Anime, Miss Hologram would offer voiceover and cosplay lessons inspired by her students’ favourite anime characters such as Nezuko and Dio Brando. In the House of K-pop, pupils would receive dance and vocal training. Upon graduation, they could pursue a career with music companies such as YG, JYP, SM and Big Hit Entertainment. In the House of Intellect, students would be able to freely debate government policies and social issues with housemates and experts. In the House of Creativity, there would be classes on a vast range of topics for tech-savvy pupils and aspiring writers and artists. In the House of Sensation, pupils would create trends on Tiktok and Twitter, and write headlines for the world’s media. 

Studying at this school would surely enrich students’ school life.

Contestant 5

First, students would be able to choose their principal. I’d select candidates who are current teachers and let my students vote for their favourite. Such a principal would provide quality education for my students.

Pet care would be a mandatory subject. Every student in my school would have a pet. Learning to look after an animal makes children more mature. They grow up to be responsible adults, and better able to take care of themselves and their families.

My school would only have three academic days a week, while there would be PE lessons every day. Monday to Wednesday would be academic days; Thursday and Friday will be activity days, with lessons such as cooking and art, helping students to relax. PE would be the first lesson every day, so that all students would be energised for their day of classes.

Last but not least, students’ parents would take the same tests and exams as their children. This is the best way for parents to understand school life and their children’s workload. Publishing parents’ exam results would surely be the greatest event of the year!

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