in the way history is taught in Hong Kong are being inspired by researchers
at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Until recently,
school students learnt mostly Chinese dynastic history.
In 1998, the
Education Department introduced a new curriculum, giving a framework for
teachers to focus specifically on Hong Kong history, culture and society.
One problem said Assistant Professor Dr Liu Tik-sang at HKUSTs Humanities
Division, has been that teachers were left wanting for teaching material.
Another need was a teaching methodology to help enrich the learning experience
resident of Tai O tells her story (right); an archeological dig near
Sai Kung (far right)
wanted to show there are methods other than teaching and learning from
a book, added Dr Liu. The researchers drew together a committee
representing a broad range of the academic and educational institutions
and gathered advice on key locations and events representing Hong Kong
50 teachers took part in a certificate course of conferences, public lectures,
fieldtrips, and teaching demonstrations to flesh out teaching material
and methods. Three printed volumes from the research have been distributed
to Hong Kong schools inspiring history teachers to adopt the new classroom
To make the
subject more interesting to students, said Dr Liu, teachers were shown
how to use learning games, audio-visual material, and they were encouraged
to take their students on field trips. Various historical sites, both
urban and rural, were suggested.
Tai O on Lantau
Island at the mouth of the Pearl River, for example, was Hong Kongs
main business area at one time, said Dr Liu. Half way between Hong Kong
and Macau, it was ideally located for maritime trade. It was, and still
is today, a fishing and farming community.
encouraged to visit the village and talk to inhabitants to get a better
sense of history. Other recommended fieldtrip locations include an area
from Central to Western for insights into Hong Kongs early colonial
history and Chinese business, Lung Yeuk Tau in the northern New Territories
as an example of an ancestral lineage community, and Sai Kung to Kowloon
City for its history of early settlers and wartime guerrilla activities.
The Jiao Festival,
still held in villages every 10 years to cleanse the physical and spiritual
world, is recommended as an illustration of cultural history. Co-PI Dr
Chi-cheung Choi said: We set out to show that history is not just
a vague, abstract idea. Through active rather than passive learning, it
can be very exciting and students will learn better.
Dr Tik-sang Liu:firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Siu-woo Cheung: email@example.com
Dr Chi-cheung Choi:firstname.lastname@example.org