Defend for the Freedom of Discussion in Class

Chan Kwok-kuen
Director, Publication Department

Modern teaching methods stress the freedom of discussion between teachers and students or among students which is regarded as an important way for students to acquire and pursue knowledge. The teaching by indoctrination, disciplinary or authoritative instruction which is against the youth modern learning mentality has now been abandoned.

In class, all topics are worth being discussed with freedom, no matter whether they are social, ethical, academic, artistic, environmental or politically sensitive, or whether they are controversial or non-controversial. We should let teachers and students be given opportunities for rational discussion and emotional sharing. This not only allows the exchange of different ideas and juxtaposition of positive ideas with negative ideas, but also facilitates teachers and students to construct the knowledge together throughout the process of teaching and learning. It is desirable of teachers and students to work together to create knowledge and inspire new ideas.

The concept of constructivist teaching is now advocated to encourage students to actively participate in learning and teachers who play the role of teaching plan designer and facilitator should allow students to express their opinions freely so that the truth can be discussed in an open way. Teachers should therefore not manipulate students and students should not follow the teachers blindly.

Confronted with the brutal intervention of the Education Bureau in professional autonomy, we should therefore defend for the freedom of discussion of our frontline teachers in class.