Dear HKIS alumni,
I have recently completed my doctoral dissertation, “Teaching for Social Conscience in Hong Kong Secondary Schools.” The picture above is from my graduation at the University of Western Australia in Perth in March, 2010. I was very happy to be accompanied to my graduation by my mother, who typed up all of my HKIS interviews and by my father, the elder Dr. Schmidt, who coached me through the 4-year process.
A bit about my research . . . The research I conducted at HKIS explains how students who have taken courses and have had service experiences in Hong Kong or in Asia began a ‘journey of social conscience’ during their high school years. The results are fairly consistent: if students take certain courses, go on service trips, and continue to engage in further courses and experiences, it’s likely that their way of perceiving and acting in the world will be impacted in predictable ways.
But what happens to that journey after students graduate from HKIS? I’m frequently asked, “What is the long-term impact of our service programs upon students?” Does the impact of service make irreversible changes within students that continue to influence them in the future, or do those thoughts ‘wear off’ in time as students join other communities and become involved in different interests? The answer to this question is especially significant as the school is moving forward with plans to start a Service Learning Center that will be housed on a yet-to-be-constructed site next to the middle school.
This blog entry and my requests to alumni to write a response is my first attempt to answer this question. I hope that this initial brainstorming will give me direction to do a more formal longitudinal study in the future. Please answer my question below in all honesty so that I can get a better understanding of the long-term impact of our service programs. While this may go without saying, I want to emphasize that I’m not looking for a ‘right answer.’ Understanding the impact of our programs, for good or for ill, is of greatest importance.
More could be said about my research or about what other researchers have found on related topics, but I don’t want to unduly influence your remarks. (If you would like to know more about my research or discuss other aspects of this question more personally, feel free to contact me: email@example.com).
So, here’s the question:
How have the courses you took and/or experiences you had at HKIS related to social awareness and service impacted you since leaving high school?