GE Teacher & Student Conference

Session 1

Working the Trans-: General Education, Cross-Disciplinary Projects, and the Common Core@HKU

Gray KOCHHAR-LINDGREN (The University of Hong Kong)


In English

In this 20-minute presentation, I will introduce how student projects in the Common Core, the General Education Programme at The University of Hong Kong, embody the practice of the trans-, a prefix marking cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral, and cross-border work of all types. I will first, through one slide, introduce the Common Core; secondly, I will offer a quick sampling of student projects; and, finally, conclude with a brief theorization of the trans-, the inter-, and the tasks of General Education.


Facilitating Peer Learning: A Student's Perspective from the PASS Leaders in GEF

CHAN Chung Hin Ben, CHIU Hang Yin Cheryl, LEUNG Wai Hong Raygo & SHEA Sze Ying Cheryl (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

In Cantonese

Widely adopted in different parts of the world, Peer Assisted Study Session (PASS) provides a platform for peer-led collaborative learning for students enrolled in a targeted course. It consists of weekly one-hour, voluntary study sessions led by "PASS Leaders", students who have previously completed the targeted course and have demonstrated strong competency. In this presentation, as the PASS Leaders of the General Education Foundation (GEF) Programme in CUHK, we will introduce the background, operation and benefits of the PASS scheme. The experience and reflection of our engagement in PASS will be shared, including the significance of the relationship building among the participants and the PASS Leaders. We will also discuss the challenges encountered, such as managing sessions with fluctuating class size and supporting participants with diverse learning abilities, and how the PASS Leader training and the regular meetings help us to meet these challenges.


Education or the Courage to Confront Plurality – Arendtian Reflections on Teaching Classics

TAI Yuen Hung, Jacky (Hong Kong Baptist University)

In English

Although Hannah Arendt is not a prominent thinker of education, her article "Crisis in Education"(1) collected in Between Past and Future (1961) has continued to attract attention of education scholars.(2) In this paper, I attempt to characterize school as a lieu of confrontation between the public world and the private world by drawing from Arendt's reflections on education. With reference to my experience at universities, teaching classics in humanities is perhaps one of the most illustrating examples of making students confront plurality of ideas. On the one hand, students are invited to enter into dialogue with great thinkers in the history of humanities. On the other hand, they are drawn to confront diverging standpoints among their fellows and hence to debate with them. I then advance the claim that teaching classics is one of the best ways to foster students' courage to confront plurality in two senses, namely plurality of ideas in history and plurality of perspectives at present and this amounts to cultivating students a responsibility for the world, which is crucial to their vision of political action. Arendt's conception of responsibility goes beyond the divide between radicalism (equality) and conservatism (authority) in education theories in the way that education for Arendt is man's persistent exercise to re-examine the tradition without renouncing the courage to defend or challenge it in the light of new experiences.

(1) Hannah Arendt, Between past and future: eight exercises in political thought, New York: Penguin Books, 2006.

(2) Mordechai Gordon. Hannah Arendt and education: renewing our common world, Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2001. Jean Lombard, Hannah Arendt: Education et modernité, Paris: Editions L'Harmattan, 2003.


In Dialogue with Vegetables: An Experiential Learning by Rooftop Farming

LI Ming Kenneth (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)


In English

In an urbanized environment like Hong Kong, it is not an ideal place for growing our own food. On the contrary, it is so easy to purchase various foods from supermarkets. It seems that we are quite distant from our nature nowadays. While enjoying the convenience of modernization, it is easy for us to forget what Rachel Carson emphasized in Silent Spring that we are in the web of life like other creatures do. In order to deepen students' reflection on the related topics discussed in the General Education Foundation course UGFN1000 In Dialogue with Nature, rooftop farming was practiced to transform abstract ideas to real experience. This experience helped fit them into the shoes of farmers who have been facing dilemma of pest invasion and the constraint in using synthetic pesticides. Through this experiential learning, students also experienced the work of the Mother Nature by growing their own seasonal vegetables. Apart from farming techniques and the science behind, other topics including organic farming, environmental protection, recycle and upcycle, development of local farming industry were also discussed. In this presentation, the details of the experiential learning using rooftop farming for teaching UGFN1000 In Dialogue with Nature will be shared.


My Study Journey: On General Education (學思歷程:從我與通識結緣談起)

CHEN Ying (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)

In Putonghua



Responsibility and Contemplation
Two Modern Classics on Nature and Being Human

Klaus COLANERO (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)


In English

General education can be seen as aimed at reflecting on what is a life well conducted and what should be a good society.

Human life, no matter whether societal or individual, practical or intellectual cannot be dissociated from nature: a life becomes moral when values are upheld in the practical circumstances by humbly taking into account the non-subjective behaviour of nature; a society is built on human interactions mediated by natural phenomena; the human world can only be built within the constraints of nature. Such interactions with nature are the main playing ground of individual and collective responsibility.

At the same time human life is reflection and contemplation on our place in the world, on the sense of being here as humans rather than in a different form.

With this talk I intend to show that Primo Levi's "The periodic table" and Italo Calvino's "Mr. Palomar", already recognized as classics of world literature, used in conjunction can be an excellent means to help students to reflect on the above fundamental issues.

Of particular educational value is the fact that the two works, though complementary from the point of view of their main themes (nature and responsibility for Levi, and nature and contemplation for Calvino), show alternative attitudes towards nature and human society: Levi's active responsibility leads to contemplation, while Calvino's yearning for meaning and unity with nature appears to drag him away from personal responsibility.


Bridging the Gap: Rethinking Women Through Debates in the Common Core at HKU

Carol TSANG (The University of Hong Kong)


In English

This presentation explores how students of both sexes debate women's issues in the Common Core classroom at HKU and its implications on teaching gender in a General Education context. In Spring 2017 I revamped a Common Core course titled CCHU9043 Rethinking Women: The Big Debates, which engages over 100 students in discussions about women's livelihood across time and culture. Both the lectures and tutorials use the debate format to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to rethink everyday issues such as dating, marriage and housework, first on a personal level, before then making philosophical enquiries about gender relations, sexuality and reproductive rights. Students debate questions including "Are single women still being stigmatized in the 21st century?" and "Is marriage more or less challenging today than in the past?" The aim is to encourage students to rethink women's position in everyday settings through interrogating each other, an activity still too rarely seen on campus. The presentation explores, particularly, how the big class debates promote dialogue and understanding between the sexes by exposing students' stereotypical views and expectations towards each other. Students' verbal and written responses reflect that gender issues are mostly discussed among members of their own sex, but hardly between the sexes. The course allows students to challenge their assumptions about women's experiences and develop friendships across all ten HKU faculties and between the sexes. The presentation concludes by exploring the possible approaches to teaching gender interactively in General Education and how the course echoes the UN's HeForShe initiative at HKU.


The Inestimable Power of Students: Taking the Lead in Hong Kong's General Education Programmes

LAM Man Ho Adrian (The University of Hong Kong)


In English

The paradigm shift of higher education in the 21st century is motivating different curriculum designers to create a learning environment aligning with the active involvement of student creators with cross-disciplinary collaboration and higher-order thinking skills. However, large discrepancies still exist between the perceptions of teachers and concerns of students as shown by the continuing difficulties in developing flexible and effective General Education programmes both worldwide and in Hong Kong. Through contextualising both the pragmatic needs and idealistic concerns of the Common Core of The University of Hong Kong, this paper will argue for the active engagement of students in the curriculum design and pedagogical decision-making from a bottom-up approach that would help narrow the existing teacher-student relationship from a top-down perspective. After briefly reviewing the conventional institutional channels of involving students at The University of Hong Kong such as course and teacher feedback, staff-student consultations, Student Ambassadors, and student-student workshops, I will suggest an even more drastic and radical transformation in developing General Education programmes in Hong Kong, including the Common Core at The University of Hong Kong. The active shaping of student-planned curriculum as an ''open innovation'' with a facilitation on behalf of professors is a pioneer approach that should be adopted by an educational system in Hong Kong that is dominated by mandated curriculum and standardised assessment. All of these issues shed light on how significant learning with self-empowerment, motivation, and ownership can be ultimately achieved when students are really positioned as the genuine designers, users and learners.


Spirituality and Classics Reading (靈性與經典閱讀)

CHENG Wai Pang, Julie CHIU, LAM To Kam & WONG Wing Hung (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)


In Cantonese

在人類漫長的文明發展史中,「靈性」 (Spirituality) 向來都是個重要的面向。過去,「靈性」大多跟宗教有關,但在現代社會中,「靈性」卻不限於宗教。「靈性」涉及人類對超越與神聖的嚮往,而透過對於大於個人存在的神、大自然等之觀照與沉思,人們對於內在的自我有了更深入之了解,從而安身立命。四位講者將會從經典閱讀的經驗出發,探索當中的「靈性」面向及可能性。


Session 2

Re-education of Human History with Science: "Neanderthal Man" as a Core Text for General Education Course

CHAN Chi Wang (The University of Hong Kong)


In English

The genetic science is revolutionizing human self-understanding in the 21st century as some of the mysteries about human and humanity could now be answered scientifically. After the Genome Projects of Human and Neanderthal, scientists could investigate quantitatively the differences between these two products of evolution at the genetic level, and present provoking evidences that overthrew traditional theories. Svante Paabo, as a key person to uncover the mystery of the Neanderthal man, has written his journey of discovery into a popular science text. Some big questions like "What is the origin of human?", "What is the meaning of ethnic group?" and "What makes human a unique species?" are reignited in the book which could serve as valuable discussion materials for general education courses.

Strategies for using the text in a group of students with various academic interests are reflected. Sets of general education course lesson plan on the topic of Neanderthal are presented. Learning outcomes, discussion questions, classroom simulations and assessments are designed and their linkages are discussed.


A 12-Day Life-Lesson in Cambodia

LUI Wing Lam (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)


In English

The title of this service-learning course is Social Poverty in Developing Countries. It allows students to learn about the real poverty situation in Cambodia through experiencing the local life in a village and doing volunteer work there.

The reflection will be done from three perspectives, which include challenges encountered, changes before and after the trip as well as the future plan to help the needy in the world.

The sharing will start with a brief discussion of the volunteer work done in Cambodia, including renovating a local community hall, visiting a primary school and several domestic families. It will then be followed by my personal experiences on how I overcame different challenges during the trip. This will be illustrated with real examples and inspiration.

I will also discuss the course's effectiveness in raising students' awareness of global poverty, stimulating personal growth, enhancing understanding of poverty and fostering changes in attitude towards Cambodians before and after the trip.

As a global citizen, it is also important to reflect on what contributions can be made to alleviate poverty. The service trip combines theories with practical experiences which enables participants to gain better understanding of the poverty situation in developing countries and design action plan to solve the problem. This presentation also provides an opportunity for students to share experiences and give feedback for future enhancement of the course.


On Course Design and Organization (論經典閱讀核心課程的設計與組織)

FANG Renjie (Fudan University)

In Putonghua



Virtual Reality, Soft Skills, and the Common Core@HKU

Nicol PAN (The University of Hong Kong)

In English

2016 was coined "The Year of Virtual Reality" (VR) by Western media as Facebook purchased the Oculus Rift for 2 billion US dollars. The resurfacing interest in VR is not without social economic ground. Tech giants such as Microsoft, Samsung, HTC and Sony have recently invested millions of dollars for commercially ready VR products. So far the only commercial success of VR has been the worldwide "Pokemon Go" game. Is gaming all there is to it for VR? What business VR has with student learning? The HKU Common Core Course titled: Virtual Worlds, Real Bodies, exposes students to the latest VR development. Students experience firsthand this dreamy technology through creating their own VR world, at the same time critically evaluating the existing and potential application of VR in everyday life. The inter-disciplinary nature of the course which combines technology with humanities, provides a valuable opportunity for students not only to learn the hard skills of STEM, but the equally important soft skills offered by humanities. Students learn how to build meaningful VR contents, and learn to appreciate that programmers or not, ordinary people like themselves have the power to shape how future technology would change our world and our identities. Students gained understanding of the historical, socio-cultural and political significance of new technology, and reflected on the use of VR as a medium for art and cultural preservation. They are led to ask critical social and ethical questions when a new technological medium is introduced to the society, and demonstrate their ideas through the making of the virtual world.


Past Present and General Profession: Personal Example (今古合流通專並繫--以己身為例)

ZHU Shunqi (Tunghai University)

In Putonghua

陳寅恪先生在《讀哀江南賦》中寫道:「古事今情,雖不同物,若於異中求同,同中見異, 融會異同,混合古今,別造一同異俱冥,今古合流之幻覺,斯實文章之絕詣,而作者之能事也。」其論斷實是通識教育的要旨,顯明了專業與通識的並行互繫的原理,最後更回到一「人」的課題之上。我將以自身的建築專業學習為例,試著誠懇地回顧通識教育所起的作用,如何體認在處理人的空間時得把建築納入廣袤人類文明之中,希望以此作為對陳先生論斷的一個小註腳。


The General Education I Experienced at Fudan University (我所經歷的復旦通識教育)

YANG Kexun (Fudan University)

In Putonghua



Using Mathematical Modelling Approaches to Inform Design of General Education Courses: Creating Synergisms and Reducing Trade-offs

Mark McGINLEY (Lingnan University)


In English

General education courses, and general education programs in general, are designed to meet a number of different, and sometimes competing goals. For example, class time allocated to learning content material may not be able to be used to simultaneously increase communication ability. How should educators decide how to allocate valuable resources such as classroom time, student effort, and other limited resources to maximize the effectiveness of General Education courses and programs? Although mathematical modelling has been an effective tool for informing research and practice in areas such as science, engineering, and economics, education theory has remained largely verbal. Here I will attempt to illustrate the utility of mathematical modelling by exploring how developing optimality models can guide education decisions. Two of the important intended learning outcomes of Natural Disasters: Science and Society course I teach as part of the Science, Technology, and Society Cluster at Lingnan University are (1) for students to be apply to apply the "scientific method" to answer questions and (2) for students to be able to explain and apply content knowledge related to earthquakes. The results of optimality models indicate that the value of a class can be maximized when learning associate with two different areas are positively synergistic and when resource allocation tradeoffs are reduced. I will discuss how I used this knowledge to develop class activities to maximize student attainment of course learning goals.


From Classroom to Overseas: My Development and Reflection with the Journey in General Education

SHUM Yu Hei (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)


In Cantonese

In my undergraduate life at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, I have participated in many activities related to the General education. As a student I attended the general education foundation courses, which started my dialogue with classics. As a discussion leader I led peer-assisted study sessions for 5 semesters, which I received and shared many interesting ideas with other students. As a moderator I moderated the discussions at two General Education Student Seminars in 2015 and 2016, which was a great platform for me to discuss the core texts with the excellent presenters there. This year, as a presenter I have gone to California for the ACTC Conference 2017, which was a fascinating opportunity for me to appreciate diverse enduring questions concerned by many brilliant students. Through these experiences I did not only grow in the academic aspect but also in other aspects, I would therefore like to share the processes and outcomes of my learning in the session. Furthermore, in the session I will also share what General Education means to me based on my own reflection of the experiences.


Session 3

Enhancing the Emotional Intelligence of Hong Kong College Students through a General Education Course

Sharon LEUNG, Wendy CHEUNG, Emily KO & Chloe LI (Hong Kong Baptist University)

In Cantonese

If college students are to become well-rounded service leaders, they need to be able to understand themselves and respond to situations effectively. They also need to inspire others and build strong relationships. Drawing on the work of Daniel Goleman, this paper reports the findings of research into whether students' emotional intelligence (EI) can be enhanced through a 13-week (39 hours) general education course combining lectures, experiential workshops, group projects and reflection essays. Data were collected over 3 years (2013-2016) from 3 cohorts of students (n=183 students, 135 females and 48 males) studying Service Leadership and Emotional Intelligence at a Hong Kong university. A pre- and post-test design was adopted in the study, which used a 50-item inventory for Emotional Intelligence Skills Assessment (ELSA) and a 21-item assessment rubric for emotional intelligence knowledge and skills assessment to evaluate whether course participants' emotional intelligence had developed as a result of the course. ELSA measures students' level of emotional and social functioning based on the five core areas of "perceiving", "managing", "decision making", "achieving" and "influencing". The results showed that the participants' EI had improved significantly in all areas except 'achieving'. The EI assessment rubric analysis also showed that the students experienced a significant enhancement in EI concepts, self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. The results suggest that it is possible to improve EI among college students in a relatively short time.


Adaptation of a Simulation Video Game to Enhance Students' Experience in Classics Reading

KIANG Kai Ming (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)


In Cantonese

The GEF Programme requires students to read classics of science and humanities, and invites them to reflect on perennial questions, e.g. what is truth, what is a good life, etc. Students have to explore a large amount of texts that covers areas of science, technologies, culture, religions, economics, politics and warfare. The complexity and diversity of background knowledge underlying the classics is a source of difficulties students often encounter in studying GEF.

Gamification is a new trend in education globally. Via a successful educational game, students face challenges and uncertainties within the game scenarios that demand them to think through the educational elements behind. Unlike the traditional classroom teaching, a game visualizes the educational content with which students can interact directly, and the feeling of involvement creates a deeper impact to students' understanding of abstract ideas and their historical background. Playing the game as an outside class activity can also motivate students to learn the relevant subject matter independently.

Civilization is a popular strategy video game series that allows one to make decision to build and to lead an empire to flourish in a simulated world. We have modified this game with a historical scenario that recaps the world of the 16th century, the knowledge of the historical background of which is highly relevant to many texts selected in GEF. Results showed that students find the game to be interesting to play and useful for learning in the course.


Students' Attainment of Affective Learning Outcomes in a Science General Education Course: A Focus Group Study

NG Ka Leung Andy (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)


In Cantonese

Affective learning outcomes are often difficult to measure through survey and course assignments. For the general education foundation course In Dialogue with Nature, besides the cognitive outcomes such as understanding of the contributions, limitations and societal implications of scientific inquiry, it is also intended to arouse students' interest to natural science, to enhance students' appreciation of scientific knowledge towards their intellectual development, as well as to cultivate their open-mindedness. To investigate students' attainment of these affective outcomes, eight focus group interviews, with a total of 35 students, were set up in the academic year 2015-16. This study aims at addressing two questions: (1) Did students achieve the intended affective learning outcomes after taking the course? (2) What scientific issues are relevant to their attainment of such outcomes? In the presentation, the research findings will be reported. The implications of the findings to science general education will be discussed.


Drama in the Classroom

Sharron FAST (The University of Hong Kong)

In English

"Tell me and I will forget," the Confucian proverb goes. "Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand."

Since January 2015, I have acted as the Teaching Assistant on CCHU 9057 – Killing Stories – The Search for Truth in the Narratives of War. Our lectures explored killing in war across a spectrum of perspectives. We looked closely at why we kill (ethics, motivation), how we kill (weapons), the symbols of killing used in battle, strategy and tactics, the representation of war in films/entertainment and the psychological impact of killing in war. The topics are delicate, and often unpleasant or at least uncomfortable for some students.

In designing the assessment mechanism for this course, our goal was to involve the students in the materials intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally. This was achieved by assigning a series of one-act plays, in which students wrote, directed and depicted real historical battles.

In the present paper I will investigate the benefits of using drama in the classroom as an assessment mechanism.

Drama is a teaching tool that allows students to participate, demonstrate, and observe in a "controlled," or non-threatening, environment. It provides a non-traditional opportunity for students to both learn and demonstrate learning. At the same time, drama helps students get in touch with their creativity and spontaneity, to develop confidence in the expression of their ideas and to empathise with the characters they play on stage. Finally, it teaches self-discipline, acceptance and cooperation with others.


Analysis of the Effects of Prior Knowledge and English Proficiency in Classics-reading General Education Courses

KIANG Kai Ming (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)


In English

We have studied the relationship between various variables related to the students' background and their attainments in the two general education foundation courses, UGFN1000 In Dialogue with Nature (UGFN) and UGFH1000 In Dialogue with Humanity (UGFH) in The Chinese University of Hong Kong. The study aims at investigating if students lacking either prior knowledge related to the course or English proficiency would be disadvantaged in taking these general education courses. Our study statistically analysed both the data obtained from the Entry and Exit surveys, and objective data such as student's affiliated faculty, academic grades, high school subjects taken, DSE English grade, mother tongue and their learning environmental conditions. Better understanding of this relationship could lead us to the development of an educational model and assist teachers in delivering their courses in the most suitable way for the different types of students.


Experiential Learning of Scientific Methods (科學方法的體驗式教學)

WONG Muk Yan (Hang Seng Management College)


In Cantonese




Session 4

Assessing Teaching and Learning of General Education: A Practice of Peking University and Fudan University (通識教育如何提質升級:北京大學與復旦大學通識核心課程質量監測、診斷與評估)

LU Yi (Fudan University)

In Putonghua



Enhancing Information and Digital Literacy as a Life Long Skill: How CUHK Library Supports the Student Journey

Lily KO & John BAHRIJ (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

In English

Nurturing students to become lifelong learners and global leaders is one of the visions in the new CUHK Strategic Plan 2016-2020. It is also one of the long-standing missions of the University's General Education programme. The Library values information and digital literacy as lifelong skills. Our strategy is to enhance these skills to support the student journey.

According to the definition of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities to discover, to understand and to use information to create new knowledge as well as to participate ethically in learning communities. The Library targets to enhance students' information literacy skills to help them to transform to lifelong learners by offering a series of workshops on searching information, developing effective search strategies, and avoiding plagiarism. We also create library guides, short videos, online information literacy tutorial to encourage students to study at their own pace. At cross-university level, the Library has been participating in a 3 year UGC funded teaching and learning related project called the JULAC Information Literacy Project to develop and implement a shared interactive multimedia courseware to enhance information literacy in Hong Kong higher education. This paper will explore the benefits of existing library activities and the potential of the deliverables from the JULAC Information Literacy project.


Fostering Students' Sustainability Consciousness in General Education Classrooms: Local Perspectives and Global Approaches

Tamara SAVELYEVA (The Education University of Hong Kong)


In English

Stemming from a long tradition of liberal education in Hong Kong universities, General Education (GE) courses and programs have been part of Hong Kong tertiary education structure for less than a decade. Together with the recently implemented compulsory 2009 New Senior Secondary Liberal Studies (NSS LS) curriculum, GE represents a continues and sustainable structure of liberal education in the city. Although thousands of young Hongkongers participate in liberal studies courses and programs through secondary and tertiary levels of education, the influence of this structure of liberal education on their mindset remains unclear.

This paper features selected results of the RGC funded study, which investigated sustainability consciousness of Hong Kong first year university students, enrolled in GE programs. The analysis of ~5000 student surveys and over 1000 reflections revealed three main features of students' sustainability consciousness: intentionality to make a difference; engagement with complex questions about identity, society and nature; and eschatological perspectives, which included imaginative, future-oriented and action-oriented approaches to critical reflection, supported by the rhetoric of hope, promises and commitment for better future.

This presentation aims to discuss ways for implementing these findings in the GE and NSS LS classrooms with reference to local and international practices of liberal studies education.


The Change of Modern Science to a New Religion to the General Public after the Scientific Revolution

MA Yau Ka (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)


In English

This paper aims to discuss the fundamental similarities and differences between Science and Religion, and whether Modern Science has changed into a new religion to the general public. It was discussed from two perspectives – content of and attitudes towards modern scientific theories. The conclusion suggests that both aspects of modern science has become more inclined to the religious side, due to a lot of changes that happened especially during the Scientific Revolution. This also explains the absolute authority of modern science nowadays, and why it is inevitable under the advancement of science and technology.


Narrative Qualitative Assessment (NQA): Findings and Limitations

Julie CHIU, CHAN Hin Yan & GAO Xin (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

In English

How do we know if students complete the General Education Foundation (GEF) Program achieving what we hope they will achieve—becoming better thinkers? Teachers of In Dialogue with Humanity and In Dialogue with Nature engaged in a narrative-qualitative assessment of the concluding assignment of each of the two courses, scrutinizing students' cognitive complexity from one course to another. This presentation will briefly introduce the conceptual framework of the Wolcott-Lynch Model, from which a rubric was adapted into an analytical tool for the study. It will highlight key findings including understanding gained about the students, the teaching design, and limitations of the Wolcott-Lynch Model. It will also show results from an extended study, where students applied the "Steps for Better Thinking Competency Rubric" for self-evaluation of their approach to problems at course entry and exit points. Providing evidence for the course's effectiveness in enhancing cognitive skills, the exercise was also meant to promote students' self-understanding and reflective learning.


Imagining a College Life of Intelligence: A Glance at the Humanities Salon at Tunghai University, Taiwan

CHEN Hsusheng (Tunghai University)


In Putonghua

2013年春季,我和幾位老師在台灣東海大學的校園內發起了一系列名為「人文三缺一 」 (1) 的校園人文沙龍活動,活動於每學期每週四晚上舉行,至今依然持續著。此文我主要是以策劃人的角色分享人文三缺一2013年秋季系列的構想,我們是如何定位系列活動的主軸,以及如何盡可能的維持整個學期的基調。並進一步從幾年的經驗以及我個人的觀察,嘗試分析東海大學的知識生活現況為何,並企圖從中提問:通識教育除了在課程規劃與課堂之內,是否能在校園中找到另一種有別於課堂的可能性?

(1) 「人文三缺一」是一個知性社群的名稱,亦是每週固定的沙龍活動。「人文三缺一」這名稱意指我們對大學之中人文生活的想像,即讀書、思考、寫作加上對話,在此我們特別強調對話的重要性,大學之中不可缺乏對話。此活動的發想皆圍繞著一個問題:「大學生活該是怎麼樣?」,並把這些理念付諸實踐。在此,我們希望能促進師生之間與學科之間的知性對話,讓師與生之間能有更多的課堂之外的相互理解,因為我們深信知識的傳遞不能脫離生活中的言傳身教,因此我們的核心理念便是:對話與交流、閱讀與跨界,把書籍、知性和生活緊密結合。


Reflections on NQA Research in Students' Cognitive Complexity

PANG Kam Moon, YEUNG Yang & WU Jun (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

In English

The NQA project aims to enhance teachers’ understanding of, and thereby to promote, students’ cognitive development through assessment of student writings by the Wolcott & Lynch model on Steps for Better Thinking, 2006. Assessment result shows that most students performed as a “confused fact finder” or a “biased jumper”. The findings came up some debatable ideas: the ability of students to discern ‘uncertainty’ when they approach an open-ended problem, and the teaching strategies to maximize students’ awareness of the uncertainties so as to optimize students’ growth in better thinking in the long run. In this presentation, we shall first report on the explorations of “self-questioning”, which serves as a way of understanding the ability to recognize uncertainty, as a core class activity and a reflective response to what “uncertainty” might mean as an assessment components. Then, the attempts to improve the teaching and learning strategy to enhance and optimize students’ thinking skills will be reported.


Do We Know Our Students? A Sharing and Reflection Session

LI Ming Kenneth (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)


In Cantonese

"So, which topic did you choose?" I asked. "I do not come for my essay… Sir, why did you travel solo?" I was surprised. In a 30-minute consultation session of our reflective journal, a medical student began by sharing her view on solo-travel and continued with what it was like to be a first-year student, some philosophical topics and the difficulties in having serious discussion with her friends. During my five years teaching in General Education Foundation Course UGFN1000 In Dialogue with Nature in CUHK, students and I have the opportunity to discuss enduring questions on the subjects in class. Among the 1,300 students I have taught, I know many of them have performed well. However, how many of them do I really know in person? What do they care and why? Are they happy with themselves? For those students who have performed the otherwise, do I know them as well? What are their concerns and difficulties in study? How do they cope with their stresses in life? How well do our students know us, or do they want to? When we talk about whole-person education, isn't it important to know our students as individuals so that we, as educators, can guide them accordingly and nurture them to be better people? The answer may be obvious but the solution is not. Can a 30-minute consultation session help? Is it too idealistic to know our students with such limited time and other constraints? In this presentation, I am going to share my experience and reflection on the challenges when it comes to getting know my students, and how valuable it is to know them. You are most welcome to share your views.