|By Miss Lee Suet Ying, the Chairman of HKAHSS||中文原文|
The development in the Chinese History curriculum in junior secondary schools has aroused much discussion in the public since the first consultation initiated by the Education Bureau in September 2016. The incumbent Chief Executive has clearly stated that Chinese History must be offered as an independent compulsory subject in junior secondary levels, in addition to infusing the Basic Law in all junior secondary subjects, especially Chinese History. This has inevitably caused the public much worry about the development of Chinese History in the long run.
Ever since the second consultation report released in October 2017, staff at the Education Bureau has been responding to doubts and concerns raised by the education sector with regard to the contents of the curriculum development in Chinese History. On 24 May 2018, the Education Bureau announced the finalized Chinese History curriculum for junior secondary levels. While the curriculum framework is now settled, our Association still considers that there are a few points worth deliberating further.
Firm Stance on Professionalism
To enhance professionalism in education, we believe that any unnecessary interventions should be avoided in developing the Chinese History curriculum in the long run. Heated arguments regarding the curriculum have been going on for years. Now that the curriculum framework has been finalized, planning on the actual implementation should entail professional discussion more than anything else. We believe it is a matter of fact for children in Hong Kong to study Chinese History. However, when it comes to how the subject should be taught and studied, it is best to leave the matter to those with expertise in curriculum development with the least interference. This will facilitate effective and efficient development as well as implementation of the curriculum which will eventually bring benefits to our students.
Besides, we need to take caution regarding the infusion of Basic Law in the Chinese History curriculum. While the Education Bureau has tried to make further good-will elaboration and remind schools to handle the issue with wisdom, the question lies on how both can be taught effectively and efficiently. Without any precedent, the collaboration of subject teachers and scholars is crucial. Unnecessary political interventions will bring more harm than good to the teaching of both Basic Law and Chinese History.
What’s more, Chinese History should not merely serve as a tool for the cultivation of national education. It should train students to think both critically and in multiple perspectives. It also aims to enhance students’ cultural literacy and broaden their horizon as well as core qualities which we expect to find amongst students in 21st century. In this regard, the teaching of Chinese History should stay as close as possible to the original curriculum and focus on cultivating the essential skills in students
Flexibility in curriculum arrangements
Some schools offer Chinese History as an independent subject in the junior secondary levels while others opt for a merge of two history subjects, namely Chinese History and World History. Some even combine Chinese History into the “Humanities” subject. Both Chinese History and World History share similar elements and the challenge only lies in how these elements are appropriately aligned in the curriculum. We have some recent studies confirming the effectiveness and success in merging both Chinese History and World History as one subject.
Unfortunately, as it is clearly stated in the finalized document that Chinese History must be offered as an independent subject, can schools that have achieved significant success with their school-based curriculum (mentioned in the previous paragraph) continue with their arrangements? We hope that the answer is positive because with diverse curriculum models operating on the same plane, it would induce insurmountable benefits to the development of the Chinese History curriculum. For instance, comprehensive discussions regarding the curriculum framework and pedagogies will stimulate and encourage reflections, which in turn will promote innovation in the teaching and learning of Chinese History.
Apart from the above, our Association believes that it is important for non-Chinese speaking students to study Chinese History. By doing so, they will get immersed into the Chinese culture with ease. Therefore, shouldn’t the Education Bureau offer necessary arrangements to assist the non-Chinese speaking students to facilitate their studying of the Chinese History subject? The special committee set up by the Education Bureau to support Non-Chinese Speaking Students in the learning of the Chinese Language and Chinese Culture should carefully listen to the voices of principals and teachers in the front line. It should genuinely look into the needs of these students in learning Chinese and review the policy of requiring these students to study Chinese History in Chinese.
Promoting innovations in teaching
Many countries have been making different attempts to teach History creatively. For instance, in some cities in the Mainland, collaboration between museums and schools is much encouraged to promote innovation in teaching. As Dr Joseph Ting Sun-pao, former Advisor to the Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, put it “Educational visits to museums complement the school history curriculum.” Schools can organize museum visits according to the contents in the curriculum. Through visits and activities, students can understand the history world, broaden their horizon and consolidate their prior knowledge.
Recently, relics of antiquity have been unearthed in Hong Kong. For example, an ancient well and large quantity of antiquities, traceable to the Song Dynasty (about 1000 years ago), were excavated from the construction site of the Sha Tin-Central MTR link. These can enhance our understanding of the living conditions of ‘Hongkongers’ in the Song Dynasty while the discovery of a wartime bomb in the Wan Chai district can deepen students’ understanding of World War II when the US and Japan were engaged in lethal combats. With the unearthing of relics comes great opportunities to explore and promote a brand new teaching pedagogy for Chinese History if Antiquities and Monuments Office could cooperate with schools in developing innovative elements in the curriculum for students.
We believe Chinese History can be taught in a lively and interesting way, which will motivate students through real-life examples. With continual professional exchanges and discussion, flexibility in curriculum arrangements as well as innovative elements, the development of Chinese History can be very promising.
2016 年9 月，教育局就初中中國歷史科課程的修訂推出第一次諮詢稿。自此之後，坊間和學界又再對中史科發展掀起激烈討論。其後，新任特首明確指出中史科要在初中獨立成科地推行，再加上有關如何在初中不同科目，特別是中史科，實踐《基本法》教育，在在令大家對初中中史科發展憂心忡忡。2017 年10 月，第二次諮詢稿出爐，當中可見到教育局同工在不少地方均嘗試回應學界對課程內容和實施的一些疑慮。上周四，教育局公布初中中史科最終課綱。經歷多年，課程框架或許已落實，但香港中學校長會認為，中史科的未來發展還有幾點值得大家一起思考。