Most secondary school students probably imagine that time at university consists mainly of attending lectures and seminars plus completing projects and assignments. But if all goes well, they will discover that, in fact, it is likely to be one of the most stimulating, challenging, interesting and empowering times of their lives.
Besides having new experiences and meeting new people, they will have plenty of opportunities to gain new perspectives and acquire skills that go well beyond the basic course materials.
For example, Peony Lui Yan-pui, who at the time was a Year 2 undergraduate at The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK), took the chance to create “Math is Fun” games for a supplementary class taught over six weeks at Po Leung Kuk Grandmont Primary School. This was the centrepiece of her own Co-curricular and Service Learning (CSL) course.
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Through her interaction with the young pupils, Lui was pleased to find she could have a positive impact on their understanding and learning.
“Initially, some of my students didn’t seem thrilled to be there,” said Lui, who will soon complete her BA (Honours) in Human and Organisational Development. “But after playing the games, they seemed to grow increasingly fond of maths and cherished the fact that we had made learning fun.”
Her story illustrates the rationale behind the university’s CSL courses, which combine experiential learning with community service. They also allow students to apply their subject-related knowledge and skills where there is a need in society.
EdUHK introduced a compulsory three-credit co-curricular learning course in undergraduate programmes in the 2012-13 academic year. A service-based learning element was added in 2014-15. Nearly all the current options involve collaboration between the university and external partners including schools, NGOs, public sector bodies and religious organisations. Most services are directed towards helping primary and secondary school students, the elderly and the underprivileged.
“CSL courses place students in unfamiliar situations that require them to apply what they have learnt,” said Professor Christina Yu Wai-mui, Associate Vice President of Student Learning at EdUHK. “Students must exercise creative thinking and problem-solving skills to provide appropriate services. This process allows them to reflect upon broader issues and construct a new understanding of themselves and the needs of those they are looking to help.”
In addition to CSL offerings, EdUHK also provides a variety of overseas and experiential learning programmes to help its students widen their horizons, nurture a sense of cultural diversity and facilitate their personal development. Such global learning opportunities are made possible by EdUHK’s extensive partnership with leading universities as well as various EdUHK funding schemes. Among them is a Global Learning Enhancement Fund which offers up to HK$10,000 to every full-time undergraduate to participate in non-local learning programmes, from full-semester exchange programmes and internships to short-term study trips, summer programmes and cultural exploration.
Find out more about the programmes on offer at www.eduhk.hk/degree