Newsletter No. 466

8 466 • 4.11.2015 ’ 口谈实录 Viva Voce 本刊由香港中文大学资讯处出版,每月出版两期。截稿日期及稿例载于 www.iso.cuhk.edu.hk/chinese/newsletter/ 。 The CUHK Newsletter is published by the Information Services Office, CUHK, on a fortnightly basis. Submission guidelines and deadlines can be found at www.iso.cuhk.edu.hk/english/newsletter/ . 梁美仪教授 Prof. Leung Mei-yee 大学通识教育主任 Director of University General Education 中文大学最近成为首间获美国通识教学协会颁赠优化通识 教学奖的海外学府,什么因素激发角逐此奖项? 通识教育本身不是一个专科,不同大学各师各法,水准如何很 难界定。教资会近年强调国际参照标准,大学通识教育部一向 留意世界各地有关的模式和评鉴标准。大学在2012年全面推 出通识教育基础课程,学生反应良好,但我们不敢自满,去年 特邀请了国际知名的通识教育研究专家 Jerry Gaff 来校做一 个全面检讨。他对基础课程印象很深,鼓励我们角逐此奖,所 以我们便决定一试。 可以说说奖项的评审标准吗? 评审涵盖由酝酿到施行、成果以至由此衍生的持续改善的一 个完整周期。我们需解释怎样界定优化的需要,计划是否跟大 学的使命和学生需要配合,有没有研究或实证作为基础,过程 是否有不同持份者参与;实践计划是否审慎擘画;可有改善学 生学习的证据,而且能否据此帮助持续改进。 从什么时候起参与中大的通识教育? 我的本科是历史,在法国念硕士和博士学位,1999年加入大 学通识教育部出任副主任,协助其时的主任 张灿辉 教授,推出 通识教育丛书,筹划推广通识文化的校园活动,也于现代语言 及文化系兼任助理教授。2003年通识教育需要全面建立素质 保证机制,我转为全职服务通识教育部。 个人学习通识的经验又如何? 当年在崇基学院, 沈宣仁 教授的大一通识课「大学理念」带出 清晰讯息:大学教育与中学教育截然不同,不再是追求模范 答案,而是要自己寻学问。这给我很大啓发。此外,毕业前的 Senior Seminar要求不同学系的同学组成队伍,因应各人专 长,发掘论文题目和资料。我组成员来自哲学系和数学系,我 们从天文、思想和历史等角度探讨《通胜》,还访问了堪舆学 和历法专家 蔡伯励 先生,是很新鲜的跨学科研习经验。 早前你代表大学往密尔瓦基领奖,介绍中大的通识教育 时,反应如何? 评审单位对于我们循序渐进落实基础课程,掌握学习成果的 实证资料,逐步优化的过程非常欣赏。他们也讶异于一所综合 研究型大学竟能发展出这样学分虽少却既广且深、影响全校 学生的基础课程。一位评审员甚至说要重新检视改革通识教 育的方法—与其每次全盘修整,是否应该效法中大,集中做好 一个小范畴,从大一开始为学生打造共同的学习经验。 基础课程带给学生什么挑战?他们接受吗? 在这个知识无限复制的网络时代,我们要求学生摒弃二手三手 资料,阅读原典。在大班外还有小组讨论,他们须面对面口头 与人沟通,并整理思想,化为有条理的文字。 深感欣慰的是2012年全面推行后,在一年级课的学生评估 里,基础课程可说稳占榜首。学能提升研究中心进行的相关查 考,也得出正面评价。「太多阅读」、「程度太深」等评语当然 不断出现,但他们也「乐于被迫」,庆幸因课程强制而认真学 习了本应拥有却出于惰性不肯追求的知识,思考严肃课题。学 生本对学习非本科知识略有微言,但根据课前课后的比较,文 科生对科学、理科生对人文课题的兴趣均大有提高。 如何舒缓紧张繁忙的生活? 耕种,我家天台种了生菜青瓜等。我还喜欢看小说,最近舍沉 重的作品,重看 珍 ・ 奥丝汀 ,轻松一点。一般认为她写的是爱 情小说,但我觉得她其实是在寻常生活里探讨人性的不同面 向,讲无分贵贱,以诚待人和尊重别人的重要。这也给常处于 繁忙状态的我一点啓示,别忘了照顾他人的感受。 CUHK recently became the first institution outside the US to be bestowed the Exemplary Programme Award for Improving General Education by the Association for General and Liberal Studies. What made the Office of University General Education (OUGE) decide to compete for the award? General education (GE) is not a discipline in its own right. Different universities have their own ways of developing and teaching it. There’s no universal yardstick for measuring their performances. The University Grants Committee (UGC) has stressed the importance of meeting international standards. We have been paying attention to the education models and assessment methods related to GE around the globe. In 2012, the Chinese University introduced the General Education Foundation Programme (GEF). Although it has been well received by students, we are not complacent. Last year we invited Jerry Gaff , a world renowned GE expert, to review our programme. He was very impressed by the GEF and encouraged us to compete for this award. So we gave it a shot. What were the association’s assessment criteria? The assessment covered the entire process—development, implementation, results, and how to ensure continuous improvement. We had to explain how we define our need for improvement, how the improvement scheme dovetailed with missions of CUHK and met the needs of students, whether the curriculum was based on research or empirical data, whether there was participation by different stakeholders, whether the implementation was carefully designed, whether there was evidence of improvement in student learning which could facilitate continuous improvement. When did you get involved in developing GE at CUHK? I studied history and obtained my master’s degree and PhD in France. I joined the OUGE in 1999 as an assistant director, helping Prof. Cheung Chan-fai , the then director, to publish the ‘General Education Series’ and promote the concept of GE on campus. I also served as an adjunct assistant professor at the Department of Modern Languages and Intercultural Studies. In 2003 when there was a need to develop a quality assurance mechanism for GE, I began to work full-time with the OUGE. What were your personal GE experiences? Back then at Chung Chi College, I was greatly inspired by a message that Dr. Philip Shen delivered in a freshmen GE course ‘Idea of University’: university education is completely different from secondary education. You wouldn’t be given model answers; you have to learn by yourself. Before graduating, we had to complete a ‘Senior Seminar’, which required students from different departments to form teams to decide on paper topics and conduct research according to our respective expertise. My teammates were philosophy and mathematics students. We studied the Chinese almanac Tung Shing from the perspectives of astronomy, intellectual tradition, and history. We also interviewed Mr. Choi Park- lai , an expert in Chinese geomancy and calendars. It was a refreshing experience in interdisciplinary learning. You received the award in Milwaukee and gave a presentation on CUHK General Education. What was the response? The assessment panel was impressed by our well-paced implementation of the GEF, collection of empirical data of learning outcomes, and step-by-step improvements. They were surprised that a comprehensive research university can develop a foundation programme with relatively low credit requirements and that has an extensive and deep impact on all students. One of the panel members even said that it was necessary to review the way of GE reform— conventional sweeping reforms may no longer be desirable. Perhaps it would be better to learn from CUHK’s experiences of focusing on small areas first and exposing students to common learning experiences as a foundation for learning partnerships. What challenges does the GEF pose to students? How was it received by them? In the digital age when people can cut and paste from the Internet whenever they like, we require students to give up second- or third-hand information and to read the classics. There are seminars in addition to large-class-size lectures. They have to engage in face-to-face and verbal communication, and organize their thoughts into coherent sentences. Since its introduction in 2012, the GEF has consistently ranked top in freshmen evaluations. According to a survey conducted by the Centre for Learning Enhancement and Research, freshmen feedback is generally positive. Of course comments like ‘too many readings’, ‘too difficult’ constantly show up. But the students are ‘happy to be pushed’. They are happy to be pressed to think about serious topics and acquire necessary knowledge that they wouldn’t otherwise learn due to laziness. At first students are reluctant to learn knowledge outside their main subjects. But according to comparisons of before- and after-course surveys, both arts students’ interest in science and science students’ interest in the arts have grown. How do you relax? Through gardening. I grow lettuces and cucumbers on the roof of my home. I also like to read novels. But recently I don’t have the energy for heavy ones. I prefer to read Jane Austen novels; they tend to be lighter. People generally see her as a romance novelist. But I think that her works explore the various faces of humanity, and depict the importance of treating others with sincerity and respect, regardless of social class. This serves as a reminder to consider other people’s feelings in my constantly busy life. Photo by ISO staff

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