The 21st century has enabled a world that is seemingly without geographic borders, highlighting advancements in science and technology, economy, politics, and culture. These changes have brought about both opportunities and challenges to Hong Kong. Faced with these challenges, our students need guidance in developing proper value judgment and building a positive outlook on life. With the right opportunities and cultivation, they can develop into individuals of good character and realise their full potential while working towards a better tomorrow for Hong Kong.
Positive education has become a hot topic in educational field in recent years. It is actually a prompt of education’s long history of stressing shared values and good characters. Our school has long seen the importance of building good characters. In the spirit of collaborative influence, we create a framework of Character Building to guide students in all-round development and nurture them with the core values – Care, Respect, Integrity, Responsibility, Commitment and Perseverance. These core values are the combination of key teachings from different religions in Hong Kong, Confucianism, the Family Council and the Education Bureau. The framework aims to enable students to understand and embrace life through perseverance, integrity, commitment and a sense of responsibility, and to appreciate life with respect and care.
The Philosophy of Character Building
The building of good characters is a process that requires the collaborative efforts of the individual, the society and the school. It is an obligation we as educators all share, not least the parents. We believe that every child has the right to receive character education and will be benefited from it. Therefore, schools should give a deep thought as to what kind of people we want our students to be, how the development of good characters contribute to a flourishing life, and how to balance various virtues and values in this process.
The holistic development approach we advocate encompasses academic development, talent development and moral development for our students. With the help of decent Character Building, which we believe is an integral part of holistic education, our students would become confident and competent learners who can unleash their potential in both academic and talent realms.
Our goal on Character Building is to let our students undergo a comprehensive and cohesive system of primary education and develop into good citizens who possess the six core values (Care, Respect, Integrity, Responsibility, Commitment and Perseverance). We foster students with knowledge (Value in Mind), trigger their affection (Value in Heart) and provide opportunities and platforms for them to apply what they developed in their daily lives (Value in Action). We work hand in hand with parents and the community to develop our next generation into life-long learners and future leaders with good characters.
The Framework of Character Building
We adopt a whole school approach in Character Building, meaning an intentional and proactive effort by both the school and the community to instil in students the important core and ethical values. It is also a collaborative effort of all school personnel, parents and community members to help students on their roads to becoming a caring, respectful, principled and responsible individual. Our Community Hub is a fantastic platform for all our stakeholders to practise good characters.
The following is the Framework of Character Building at W F Joseph Lee Primary School:
Our school promotes six core values: "Care", "Respect", "Integrity", "Responsibility" "Commitment" and "Perseverance". A holistic and systematic approach allows our students to practise virtues at any time and in any place. Students acquire basic qualities of well-being in formal, informal and hidden curricula.
We nurture our students with six core values in the regular learning and teaching classroom activities for all subjects.
Students practise virtues by walking the talks and doing services. The implementation of fixed lesson time in programmes like Multiple Intelligence Programme (MI) and Potential Realisation Programme (PRP) helps students develop positive values and attitudes. A variety of programmes and school-based activities help promote a culture of shared values. These include Firefly Scheme, House Leagues, Acting Corner, Poetry Café, Buddy System, service learning, school team training, inter-school competitions, excursions and all kinds of extra-curricular activities, etc.
The hidden curriculum is an important curriculum in our school because it has strong and effective influence on students in many ways. A clean, attractive and functional school campus plays a direct and important role in promoting the relevant core values to students. Inclusive and equitable policies that guarantee participation and experience for all students can demonstrate good examples of fairness and caring. We place great emphasis on both the design of programmes and the learning processes, which need to be engaging, experience-enriching, constructive and developmental in the design, and encouraging, cooperative and collaborative in the processes.
Character Building is not something new to our school. It has become a shared language in everyday life for everyone in our school - students, teachers, non-teaching staff, parents and school managers, and is integrated into the curriculum as well as the school culture. The experience we gained through the practice in school as well as the data gathered from our Character Building research will be the supportive and fruitful information for our further development.