Character Building in Hong Kong – Field Study
Newsletter 4

(22 July 2020)
The research is funded by Wofoo Foundation Limited, Hong Kong.
This newsletter serves to give readers an update of the progress and latest findings of the research.

研究發現 Key Findings at this stage

  1. 學校應把焦點集中於幾個學校重視的品格;
  2. 要找出目標品格所帶出的效益,並建構推行的實際方案;
  3. 選擇正確策略,積極推行;
  4. 為教職員提供足夠的資源及時間;
  5. 為教職員提供發展的機會;
  6. 讓學生感到教師的關懷及支持;
  7. 適時評估各項品格培養計劃的成效及改善策略;
  8. 利用和富品格概念以理念驅動及實證為本進行搜證及推行。
From our field study data, the research team is unable to draw a definite conclusion pointing to any exemplary or evidently effective strategies for character building. In other words, there does not seem to be a single effective approach that suits every school. However, the research data showed that relationships are an essential factor for success. Positive relationships including teacher-student relationships and family-school relationships were found to be major drivers of success. When students feel their teacher’s timely encouragement and care, students are more likely to build a positive character. There are also other critical factors that enable character building, which include: opportunities for building character, teachers’ commitment to character building, leadership, school climate, and effective evaluation of character building. Based on the findings in the field study, the research team would like to make the following recommendations:
  1. Focus on a few selected characters that the school values.
  2. Differentiate the target characters from benefits, and identify practical approaches to building these characters.
  3. Whichever implementation strategy is preferred, apply a positive approach.
  4. Provide adequate resources, especially time, for teaching staff to build students’ characters.
  5. Provide teachers with staff development opportunities.
  6. Let students feel that their teachers are supportive of their development.
  7. Evaluate the current CB processes and outcomes and streamline the programme.
  8. Use the Wofoo model to further theory-driven and evidence-based research and practice.
在通訊二時,我們提出了「和富品格概念」,這是根據正向教育研究(Pennington, Dillon, Noble, & Yeung, 2018; Pennington, Yeung, Dillon, & Noble, 2018) 的指導框架修訂而來。每個人都是一個獨立個體,各人的成長條件雖有不同,但個人的成長發展可概略地分成兩種成就:學術(例如:知識學養,思維判斷等)和非學術(例如:個人福祉、關心社會等)成就。個人要有效成功產出上述兩種成就,必須養成某些品格,這是個人成長的根源。植物的成長需要土壤及水份的支援,個人的成長也有兩個層次的支援。在學校的課堂層面,學生需要教師及同儕的支援。自決理論(Kadir, Yeung, Ryan, Forbes, & Diallo, 2018; Deci & Ryan, 2008)指出,教師可以為對學生提供三項支援:自主性、關聯性和能力支援。當教師鼓勵學生在建立社會關係和建立個人能力中作出個人選擇時,學生逐漸把理想的品格內化成個人的獨特性格,從而發揮個人的作用,為社會作出貢獻。

In our Newsletter 2, we proposed a Wofoo model of character building, which was based on a guiding framework for positive education research (Pennington, Dillon, Noble, & Yeung, 2018; Pennington, Yeung, Dillon, & Noble, 2018). In this model (see Figure), a student is an individual that grows within different conditions, but success can be defined in terms of two major outcomes: academic (such as intellectual and thinking capabilities) and non-academic (such as personal wellbeing and contribution to society). For one to attain these two outcomes, like a plant, one needs to build strong roots (i.e., character). A plant needs soil and water as support whereas a student needs two levels of support – from the school and from the system. Within the school and classroom, students need support from the teachers and their peers. Self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2008; Kadir, Yeung, Ryan, Forbes, & Diallo, 2018) is useful for guiding teachers to provide students with three kinds of support: autonomy, relatedness, and competence support. When students are encouraged to make their own choice in establishing social relationships and in building their competence, a positive character will be internalised to mobilise their personal strengths and contribute to society.

The Wofoo Model of Character Building
The education system and society at large form another level of support. The education system needs to support students’ whole-person development and create pathways for the future. With adequate support from the education system and society, the roots (character) will be healthy and the plant (the student) will be strong to yield the two fruits (academic and non-academic) that we desire.

Our preliminary findings show little difference from other studies elsewhere in revealing that no single approach suits every school in character building. We need to further our research to find out how schools build students’ character with an aim to clearly identify specific factors that effectively build a certain character attribute. We will also need an instrument to measure and evaluate character building, and to delineate which driving factor may bring which character attribute we wish to nurture.

參考書目 Reference

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development, and health. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 49(3), 182–185.

Kadir, M. S., Yeung, A. S., Ryan, R. M., Forbes, A., & Diallo, T. M. O. (2018). Effects of a dual-approach instruction on students’ science achievement and motivation. Educational Psychology Review.

Pennington, R., Dillon, A., Noble, T., & Yeung, A. S. (2018). Assessing positive education using the PROSPER framework. In R. V. Nata (Ed.), Progress in education (Vol. 54, pp. 135-154). New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Pennington, R., Yeung, A. S., Dillon, A., & Noble, T. (2018). Positive education: Theory, practices, and challenges. In L. A. Caudle (Ed.), Teachers and teacher education: Global perspectives, challenges and prospects (pp. 139-155). New York: Nova Science Publishers.
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