In Search of Transformative Power in Education (Presentation at Hong Kong Institute of Education)

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 10.08.13 PMI was invited by assistant professor Tracey Alviar-Martin to speak to her International Education class on January 25 at the Hong Kong Institute of Education to address how I have developed new courses for students at Hong Kong International School.

In this presentation I share how students at international schools like HKIS face the challenge of very high levels of achievement, as well as commensurate levels of stress, that seem at odds with these schools’ inspiring mission statements. Through many years of experimentation I have created a 9th grade interdisciplinary service-learning course called, “Humanities I in Action,” and a senior religion elective entitled, “Service, Society, and the Sacred,” that assists students to re-frame their sense of purpose. As I share in the presentation, Humanities I in Action fosters a greater sense of compassion within students, while Service, Society, and the Sacred aims to develop inner awakening. Together compassionate action and inner awakening offer students a far more fulfilling educational experience than the achievement model alone.

You may scroll through the slides or view as a slideshow at the bottom of the entry.

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Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 9.56.38 PMAt this point in the presentation I showed Bea Caradang’s first semester video about Humanities I in Action (3 minutes) and half of her second semester video (full video is 7 minutes) about her Elixir Project.

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The five words or phrases I used with this class:

  • Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (as in an exam)
  • Examination results
  • Getting a job
  • Leaving home
  • Occupy Central

To listen to Mark Williams’ Three Minute Breathing Space, hit here.

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About martinschmidtinasia

I have served as a humanities teacher at Hong Kong International School since 1990, teaching history, English, and religion courses. Since the mid-1990's I have also come to assume responsibility for many of the school's service learning initiatives. My position also included human care ministry with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in Hong Kong, southern China, and others parts of Asia from 1999-2014. Bringing my affluent students into contact with people served by the LCMS in Asia has proved to be beneficial to students and our community partners alike. Through these experience I have become committed to social conscience education, which gives students the opportunity to find their place in society in the context of challenging global realities.
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4 Responses to In Search of Transformative Power in Education (Presentation at Hong Kong Institute of Education)

  1. Jim Handrich says:

    Great summary of your journey and of curricular change led by you at HKIS. Thanks for sharing this. Do you have any sense on how religion teachers in other Lutheran high schools or doing teacher training respond to this? Is it just too foreign or distant to their thinking? Making any inroads there?

    • Hi Jim, Thanks for taking a look. Not sure, but I would think that Lutheran schools would very much welcome “compassionate action.” The “inner awakening” portion, which uses actual spiritual practices, may be a harder sell, which is a shame, since my primary practice is Centering Prayer, a Christian form of meditation, as I think you remember from Father Pennington. No, I haven’t had much contact with schools in the US recently.

  2. Pingback: “Christianity’s Hidden Driveshaft:” Cynthia Bourgeault’s Law of Three as Trinitarian Template of Transformation | Social Conscience and Inner Awakening

  3. Pingback: Homecoming at Last: Service Learning and the Divine Embrace | Social Conscience and Inner Awakening

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