To me, Liberal Arts or General Education, or put it more precisely, the Common Core Curriculum at the University of Hong Kong, encourages the creation of a learning environment that will induce youngsters to be curious, to question, and to explore. This in turn gives students the chance to engage their abilities in independent and creative thinking, and eventually nurtures more innovative talent. The subject undeniably enriches students’ understanding of the real world. If they can have a better sense of how the world functions, there is less chance they will be deceived, either by power or by privilege.
It is perhaps more compelling for students to be vigilant if ‘‘truth’’ that is grounded on scientific inquiry and rational deliberation becomes less crucial in a ‘‘post-truth’’ world, in which subjective emotions and personal beliefs seem to be the most relevant in discussions of any kind. This also justifies the rationale of an inquiry-based learning approach, as emphasised in the conception and design of the Core. Teachers try their very best to pinpoint the main concepts in the field, and link them to the debates in the real and diverse world students face.
At this critical juncture, with endless social disputes and political deadlock, Hong Kong obviously needs more critical and new modes of thinking to solve all problems, big and small. I believe all of us can always draw on our learning and take the city forward. Our knowledge-based world does not lack intelligent people. However, only a few are both knowledgeable and compassionate. Our society certainly needs more enthusiastic and passionate educators to guide and inspire students along the lifelong learning journey. Meanwhile, as teenagers, we can all make a difference, as we are the future. May this difference be rooted in clear thinking and sensitivity towards diversity.
As one of the Common Core Student Ambassadors, I am always happy to help shape the University Common Core courses and make them more student-centred through engaging in different regular meetings, sharing sessions, feedback discussion, student-teacher consultative sessions, student-student workshops, and promotional activities. After all, I do believe the success of every curriculum does not only rely on teachers but also on the input from students. I am sure that the Core can be shaped in a better way in the future.
Adrian M. H. Lam graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor of Arts in English Studies and Politics and Public Administration. He is currently a full-time Master of Education student on Curriculum and Pedagogy at the Faculty of Education. He is also a member for the Common Core Curriculum research group. He is now working on a number of research studies regarding the Curriculum, including perceptions of teachers and students towards the Core, the potential of developing teaching-research nexus through the Core, the research trajectory of professors in relation to the Core, and the incorporation of global citizenship into the curriculum conception and design of the Core.
You can understand my background more and check out my previous ore even forthcoming publications through https://www.linkedin.com/in/lam-man-ho-adrian-187450130/ and the Common Core website from time to time!