With regard to recent relevant policy initiatives, a number of universal core values and sustaining values and attitudes were identified and emphasised by the Hong Kong Government Education Department in its 1996 documents "Conceptual Framework for School Civic Education" and "Guidelines on Civic Education in Schools". Recognising the need to enhance the quality of the existing schools system, a 1997 document on "Quality School Education" (ECR7) preceded the launch of a comprehensive review of Hong Kong's entire education system with the aim of producing an Education Blueprint for the 21st Century. The review and reform process has been entrusted to the Education Commission, a body of education policy-makers and practitioners which also advises the Government on overall educational objectives and priorities.
Initial contacts were made by Living Values with the Education Department in 1997 and this was followed by meetings with the Curriculum Development Institute of the Education Department. In parallel with this policy-level approach, steps were also undertaken to offer Living Values directly to schools and teachers. Approval was received in 1998 from the ED for Living Values materials to be made available at an ED venue for collection by all primary and secondary schools and in early 1999 the ED's Teachers' Centre distributed an Information Leaflet on LV to all primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong, notifying them accordingly.
Living Values also met Mr. Joseph Wong, Secretary for Education and Manpower, and Mrs. Fanny Law, The Director of Education, and subsequently received letters of support. On-going contact and the exchange of information and views has been maintained with the Education Department and its Curriculum Development Institute. At the invitation of the Director of Education, a presentation on Living Values was made in late 1999 to the Board of Education, a high-level advisory body for curriculum decision-making. Thirty minutes was allotted for the presentation but there was such strong interest that the discussion continued for nearly ninety minutes. A follow-up meeting was subsequently held personally with the Chairman of the Board of Education and various initiatives discussed.
Various further presentations have been made to other bodies and individuals, in particular those involved or concerned with the reforms, including the Chairman of the Education Commission. Contact has been made with representatives of local Universities and the Hong Kong Institute of Education, and some of the individuals there are actively involved in LVE. LV materials have been supplied to the three main teachers' professional organizations.
LVE has also been represented at several education conferences and made presentations. For example, following its intervention at the Education Commission's Public Forum on Education Reform, Living Values was invited to present a paper at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association's 16th Annual Conference. Held at the Institute of Education, the Conference theme was "Exploring New Frontiers in Education" and it attracted an audience that included policy-makers and researchers from the local and mainland Chinese education community. A paper entitled "Values Education and Life-wide Learning" shared details of LVE and generated interest for further activity amongst local educators.
In February 1999, Living Values also participated in the Hong Kong Institute of Education's International Conference on Teacher Education, met the Institute's Director, Professor Ruth Hayhoe, and other senior faculty members, and received a request for copies of LV materials for the Institute's Centre for Citizenship Education. In June 2000, Living Values presented a paper at an International Conference on Values Education and Citizenship Education in the New Century at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Living Values formally submitted views and submissions on the Education System Reform Proposals to the Education Commission in July 2000 and, in February 2001, to the Curriculum Development Institute on its Consultation Document entitled Learning to Learn. Both sets of submissions emphasised the need for time-tabled values education to be integrated into the school curriculum.
Overall, Living Values has met with a warm response from educationists, especially those engaged in the reform of the education system.
In December 1998, a whole-day educators' training workshop was conducted by Diane Tillman, LVE's International Coordinator for Content and Training, with two participants from the Curriculum Development Institute, two from the Hong Kong Institute of Education and a number of school teachers/principals. An introductory workshop and presentation of LVE was also held for the Salvation Army School.
In the following two months, three more workshops were held, including one on "Integration of Values in Education" for 60 primary school teachers, in conjunction with the Hong Kong Council of Early Childhood Education and Services.
The distribution by the ED's Teachers' Centre of information on LVE to all primary and secondary schools in April 1999 led to many requests for copies of LV materials and was followed by several more workshops for invited educators. These included introductory workshops in Cantonese at the Teacher's Centre for about 60 primary and secondary school teachers and a planning workshop with participating educators.
Building on this, in October 1999 over 30 local educators, and one teacher from the well-known English-speaking King George V School, gathered for a full day's Living Values training at the Teachers' Centre, which offered its main Conference Hall for the day. Welcoming remarks by Dr Derek Sankey, Senior Lecturer at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, reminded teachers that the most important resource for values education was themselves and encouraged them to make classrooms a safe place to grow; LVE international trainer Diane Tillman ably conducted the rest of the session, inspiring many to go further into this topic. Diane also conducted three sessions at the Hong Kong International School on subsequent days, introducing Living Values to a total of about 80 educators, parents and deans.
Having introduced many to Living Values, it was time to take a more detailed look at questions of implementation. A Seminar was held in January 2000 at the Education Department's Teachers' Centre for an invited group of teachers, student guidance officers and three curriculum experts from the governmental Curriculum Development Institute. Led by Derek Sankey, participants were guided into an evaluation of the main practical issues involved in Hong Kong in implementing a locally-sensitive values-based educational programme. Starting with the premise that the problem with most curricula is that they leave values out, small group discussions deliberated on whether values can find a designated slot within the new curriculum currently being developed for Hong Kong in the context of overcrowded classrooms, the pressure of exams, passive students and teacher-directed learning. With Living Values as the focal point for the workshop, the key points that emerged were synthesised by group facilitators. In summary, while some teachers expressed concerns with regard to issues such as classroom seating arrangement, the rigid attitudes of head teachers, school policy and parents' intolerance to new ideas, it was thought that, with sufficient guidance, LV activities would be applicable to local schools. The materials can be adapted to reflect the local culture and customs. Although some teachers said they would feel comfortable carrying out LV activities, others would like more training and support. It was agreed that once teachers have internalised the values themselves, LV can be implemented successfully.
Commissioned by the Education Department, the Hong Kong Institute of Education organised a series of In-Service Teacher Training Courses on Civic Education in early 2000. As part of the Courses, Living Values was invited to run two sessions of two and a half hours each for primary and secondary school principals and teachers in March 2000. Attendance was encouraging and there was an enthusiastic response to the interactive sessions run by local teacher Esther Lung and LVE trainer Lai Lai-Fong, both of whom took participants through some of the LVE activities. The majority of participants requested copies of the Chinese editions of the Values Activities books and plans were made to take the Programme up in schools. Course Coordinator Dr Philip Hui Kwok-Fai described the sessions as "a most valuable experience for in-service teachers".
Living Values met in 1999 with Father Alfred Deignan, Chairman, and Andrew So Kwok-wing, Chief Administrator, of The Hong Kong International Institute of Educational Leadership and it was apparent that there was much in common between the two organizations as the HKIIEL aims to develop values-based leadership through values education. Ideas were shared and approaches discussed and in October 2000 Living Values was invited to give a talk at the Institute's Annual General Meeting. In January 2001 Living Values conducted two sessions, each of three hours duration, as part of the Institute's Values Education Course for in-service teachers.
Living Values teacher-trainer Lai Lai-Fong started using LVE activities in a secondary school within the Tung Wah Group of schools and quickly found that children even in this non-stop city have a natural affinity for peace and readily warmed to activities that helped them develop and express it. The message was spread among other Tung Wah Group Schools and Sin Chu Wan Primary School in Hong Kong's New Territories was the first school to take up piloting of the Programme on a whole-school basis in September 2000, using a Chinese translation of the Values Activities book for 3-7 year olds and dedicating about two hours a month to LVE activities. The School's Principal, Mr Shum Fu-ming, reported that children and teachers like the Programme, although the shortage of available time is a factor.
Teens Tonic is a children's learning centre which promotes the whole person development of children aged 3 to 12 years' old through a variety of arts and performing activities. Its Principal, Karen Ng came in contact with LVE in 1999 Karen Ng came into contact with LVE in 1999 and began holding Living Values courses in November 1999, in both Cantonese and English, and soon began seeing an improvement in the children's social skills and attitudes.
She reported: "Recently, we started "Value of the Month" in which we promote one value each month in the Centre. The value is posted up as a graphic design on our notice board at reception area and we mention this in our bi-monthly newsletter that is distributed to all our members and in response to enquiries. In this way Living Values is not just a particular course that we run but values are everywhere in our Centre. Tutors also help to convey the value message in other courses such as arts and crafts, music and dance and different personal growth courses. At present almost 20 children attend our Living Values classes weekly and at one stage we had over 40 kids!"
The two Kindergartens of the privately-run Jimmy's Education Institute also began to implement LVE in late 2000 following two training sessions there for teachers and, when Living Values attended the schools to officiate at their 20th Anniversary Open Day, rooms were beautifully decorated with photographs and the fruits of some of the activities undertaken.
Four teachers at the Hong Kong International School have undertaken LVE training and they have been making use of some LVE activities and techniques in the classrooms of this prestigious school.
Some values activities were also undertaken at Pillar Point Refugee Camp which, now closed, held many Vietnamese "boat people".
Aiming to raise awareness of values, a "Values in Action Composition Competition" was organised in Hong Kong over the 2000 summer holidays by the Hong Kong Council of Early Childhood Education and Services and prizes offered in three primary age-group categories for compositions on LVE's twelve values.
In late 2000 Living Values made a presentation to trainee teachers at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.
In June 2001, a newsletter and questionnaire was sent to participating schools, organizations and teachers to ascertain the extent to which they have been using LVE materials.
Participants at "Values Education:
Principles and Practice
a Seminar and Train-the-Trainer
and the Beijing Institute of Education
in Beijing, China
from 10th to 14th August 2001
Visits were first made in 1996 to a Middle School in Beijing where some LVE activities were undertaken and, although the Programme is not formally being implemented, there have also been some follow-up sessions in subsequent years. An observer from the Chinese Academy of Sciences commented that the motivation of the children had been greatly enhanced and that this was transferred to other lessons. Meetings have also been held with and presentations made to various universities, teachers and other educationists, including the Beijing Institute of Education, Peking University, the National Centre for Education Development Research, Capital Normal University and Beijing Normal University.
In early 1999 a draft Chinese translation of the Values Activities for Children aged 3-7 was presented to the Education Department for their review and some 250 copies subsequently printed. The first draft of Values Activities for Children aged 8-14 in Chinese was also completed not long thereafter. Following a series of exploratory discussions and planning meetings, LVE accepted a kind offer from the Beijing Institute of Education for the Institute to edit and publish in Chinese both these books. The Chinese edition of the books will include a number of values activities created by local teachers in Beijing. A seminar will also be held at the Institute in August 2001 at which some 40 teachers from 20 schools around Beijing will be trained in the use of LVE materials so that piloting of the books may be taken up in these schools from September 2001.
In Southern China's Guangdong Province, a seminar on Living Values is being arranged for teachers and parents at the Zhongshan Youth Activity Centre in September 2001.
Discussions have been held with UNESCO's office in Beijing and UNICEF's offices in Beijing and Hong Kong and support has been expressed for LVE, ideas exchanged and various possibilities explored.
Living Values activities in Hong Kong have also been the subject of presentations in 1998 and 1999 at International Conferences of UNESCO's Asia Pacific Centre of Educational Innovation for Development. UNESCO-ACEID holds such conferences each year in furtherance of ACEID's work for sustainable human development through improving the quality, relevance and effectiveness of education and schooling. On-going contact is maintained with UNESCO's Principal Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand. In July 2001 Living Values participated in the Experts and Trainers Workshop on Education for International Understanding at UNESCO's Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding in Korea, which was organized by UNESCO - APNIEVE / APCEIU. Much interest was expressed in Living Values and various possible partnerships and future activities were discussed.
Living Values is a registered entity in Hong Kong; its primary objects include:
To encourage educators, parents and caregivers to look at education as providing students with a philosophy of living, thereby facilitating their overall growth, development and choices so they may integrate themselves into the community and world at large with respect, confidence and purpose; and
To help individuals think about and reflect on different values and practical implications of expressing them in relation to themselves, families, others, the community and the world at large.
Number of Sites Using Living Values Education
Total number of sites 6
Mr. Peter Williams worked with somewhat older students for several months in a middle school in Beijing, China. When he asked his Chinese colleague, Ms. Ao Wen Ya, why she thought a peace visualization was successful, she said: "It helped the children to find peace by themselves. It helped the children to feel happy and relaxed. It made them really want to be happy and motivated to build a better world and be kind to each other." She additionally noted: "Sometimes the children can be naughty in class; they don't concentrate. Now they are more engaged in their subjects because they are interested. They are motivated to learn because they are valued as people. They are now calmer and not as naughty. The quality and standards of work are higher. They are willing to take risks to express themselves well with more confidence." Mr. Williams added: "The lessons really did something. Their attitude is more positive, and they are better organized both individually and as a group." An observer from the Chinese Academy of Sciences commented that the motivation of the children had been greatly enhanced, and it transferred to other lessons.
Filmed in Beijing at the Beijing Institute of Education and the China National Children's Centre during six days of training with local teachers, this 23-minute film demonstrates the Living Values Education Programme model of values education. The Programme is founded on the premise that it is when we experience and live our values that we can truly teach them and its approach focuses on a primary aspiration of teachers worldwide: to improve the teaching and learning environment by developing a values-based atmosphere in the classroom.
Fundamental human values - such as respect, responsibility, peace, honesty and love - are also explored in workshop activities from Living Values' series of award-winning books. Blending time given to knowledge-input with moments of guided reflection, the methodology both identifies good practice in teacher development while also demonstrating how values education may more effectively take place in school classrooms.
DVD copies of the film, including English and Chinese subtitles, may be ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org