CUHK’s New Bachelor of Education (Liberal Studies) Programme Provides Inter-disciplinary Training
In 2005, the Education Bureau (formerly the Education and Manpower Bureau) announced that the three-year New Senior Secondary (NSS) Curriculum will commence at Secondary 4 in September 2009, and Liberal Studies (LS) will become a core subject. In response to the local educational policy and school needs, the Faculty of Education at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) will launch a new teacher-training programme, namely Bachelor of Education in Liberal Studies (JUPAS code: 4355) (see Appendix 1) in 2009. The admission quota is 23 students for 2009-10, and 30 each for 2010-11 and 2011-12.
The new Bachelor of Education (Liberal Studies) Programme is a four-year full-time programme. The two major components are Education (Educational Studies, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Educational and Teaching Methodology and Teaching Practice) and Areas of Study (“Self and Personal Development”, “Society and Culture” and “Science, Technology and the Environment” as prescribed by the NSS Curriculum and Assessment Guide). Throughout the four years of study, students will be able to integrate theory and practice by way of school attachments in Years 1 and 2, and teaching practice in Years 3 and 4. Students will be able to interact with frontline teachers and develop into “reflective practitioners”.
The biggest challenge lies in how to strike a balance between breadth and depth when constructing the programme. Confined by disciplinary streaming in the old Senior Secondary Curriculum, most students lack depth of knowledge and training in multi-perspective thinking. Prof. Yeung Sau-chu Alison, the Programme Coordinator explained, “As a comprehensive university, the Faculty of Education’s pioneering collaboration with four other Faculties (Arts, Medicine, Science and Social Science) in offering courses related to the three NSS Areas of Study, the first-of-its-kind in Hong Kong, will consolidate students’ multi-disciplinary knowledge base and analytical thinking. For instance, different disciplines may analyse the topic of globalization from different angles and theories. To facilitate students’ integration of knowledge and teaching, the Faculty of Education will offer 11 LS-specific courses, including three courses on ‘Pedagogical Content Knowledge’ and the rest on ‘Educational and Teaching Methodology’ to enhance students’ teaching efficacy.”
In addition, as the implementation and assessment of “Independent Enquiry Studies” has been a challenge for all LS teachers, students of the programme will learn various research methodology and assessment methods. In Year 4, they will complete a Project Report, the equivalent of a graduation thesis, under the tutelage of a supervisor. This research experience will help them to integrate theory and practice, and learn to encourage independent learning among senior secondary students in the future.
Double Degree Programmes in Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education Launched in 2008-09
Capitalizing on the strength of a comprehensive university, since last year, the Faculty of Education has been collaborating with the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, the Department of English and the English Language Teaching Unit in offering two co-terminal double degree programmes, namely Bachelor of Arts (Chinese Language and Literature) and Bachelor of Education (Chinese Language Education), and Bachelor of Arts (English Studies) and Bachelor of Education (English Language Education) (see Appendix 2) . The first cohort of students was admitted in September 2008. In 2009-10, the admission quotas will be 20 for the former and 23 for the latter. Upon completion of the four-year undergraduate programme, students will be awarded Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education. Graduates of the two programmes will have acquired substantial subject knowledge and educational theories in face of educational challenges in Hong Kong.