Symposium Highlight (Draft)

A Journey of ‘Affectionate Education’ to Compose the Beautiful Hearts and Minds

(Hong Kong – 20 July 2021) The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education (the HKAGE or the Academy) has been unfailingly providing gifted students with appropriate learning opportunities over the years so that their potential can be unleashed. Being aware of the global academic research trends in recent years, the Academy recognises that affective education (AE) plays an important supporting role in the intellectual/cognitive development of gifted students.

Funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the HKAGE launched the Jockey Club ‘Gifted in Bloom – Harmony in Heart & Mind’ Programme (the Programme) in collaboration with The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth in late 2017. A series of AE courses and activities had been provided for gifted students as well as their parents and teachers, based on a framework built upon the eight AE themes proposed by the Education Bureau, namely Self-Affirmation, Self-Management, Group Interaction, Creativity, Widening of Perspectives, Life Education, Career-Oriented Education and Leadership Training; and enriched with the theories and concepts of Positive Psychology, Whole Person Development, and 21st Century Competencies so that the courses would cater better for the needs of gifted students. The Programme was concluded with the Student Symposium: The Beautiful Hearts and Minds of Gifted Students, a finale organised to provide participating students an opportunity to reflect on the entire learning journey under the Programme and celebrate their learning. The Academy was honoured to have the presence of Ms Michelle LI Mei Sheung, JP, Permanent Secretary for Education and Ir Dr Alan LAM Hiu Fung, Chairperson of the HKAGE, at the Student Symposium on 18 July 2021 to cherish the beautiful hearts and minds of gifted students.

Student-led Symposium

The Student Symposium: The Beautiful Hearts and Minds of Gifted Students comprised three main themes, namely, Theme 1: How a Gifted Mind Starts (referring to an artefact or incident to describe how giftedness was discovered and how it has developed over the years); Theme 2: The Voice of Gifted Learners (clarifying misunderstandings and explaining views, thoughts, feelings or wishes to parents, teachers, or peers.); and Theme 3: I Think • I Feel • I Learn (sharing knowledge or skill on a topic mastered and unpacking the learning strategies, the learning process and the learners’ feelings). Programmes of the Student Symposium included Welcome Remarks and Opening Remarks by the officiating guests, Panel Discussion, Poster Session and Student Presentation Parallel Sessions. One characteristic of the Student Symposium was that it had been co-organised with HKAGE student members under the guidance and support of the Academy’s programme staff. Taking up different duties and roles such as the emcees, the moderators and the presenters, the students demonstrated their creativity and team spirit. The achievements and unique brilliance of gifted students were showcased on the stage of the Kowloon Xiqu Centre! At the Symposium, about 30 gifted students shared their minds and enthusiasm for learning, as well as their unique stories along the learning journey, through PowerPoint presentations, speeches, dialogues and other interactive activities, giving the audience a better understanding of gifted students.

Officiating Guests’ Remarks

Ms Michelle LI Mei Sheung, JP, Permanent Secretary for Education, compared gifted education to the process through which the renowned jade-disk ‘Heshibi’ had been taken out from an ordinary-looking stone. With the support and nurturing of the HKAGE, comparable to the carving and polishing by a skilful jewellery craftsman, the hidden potential of those ordinary-looking gifted students could be fully unearthed just like the ‘Heshibi’ being eventually taken out as an invaluable and flawless jade-disk. Ir Dr Alan LAM Hiu Fung, Chairperson of the HKAGE, said that the gifted students’ performance demonstrated in various roles and positions in the Student Symposium exhibited exactly the results of AE they had received under the Programme.

Panel Discussion among Star Guests 

In addition to sharing by the students, three star guests, namely Dr Jason CHAN Kwan Kit (‘Dr Fire’), Assistant Professor of the Department of Chemistry, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Mr Phoenix WAN Hok Man, Founder of ‘Youth Entrepreneurship Warrior’; and Ms Christie LIN Pui Hang, Lawyer; had been invited to have dialogues with Dr Jimmy WONG Kam Yiu, Executive Director of the HKAGE on ‘Talent Development’ and their experience along the path of their own potential development. When he was in junior secondary school, ‘Dr Fire’ would buy the materials needed and conduct experiments at home. Later he went to the UK for his secondary school study. With his teacher’s guidance and encouragement, he made rapid progress on the road of chemistry research. He then came to realise the importance of teachers to students and was determined to offer his contribution to the younger generation.

Mr Phoenix WAN shared that he had come from an underprivileged family and had always been unable to sleep tight at night with the poor living conditions. He had also been labelled a ‘problem student’ for challenging the teachers in class. However, Phoenix had grasped the opportunity under the adversity and spent his sleepless nights studying and working hard. He eventually became a start-up entrepreneur and the Chairman of a youth entrepreneurship organisation. He wished the principal and teachers in his school days could see what he had currently accomplished.

Ms Christie LIN had been assessed to be a low ability child with speech disorder in an intelligence test taken when she was a young kid. Fortunately, her family had not restricted her learning and development after the assessment but continued to trust her ability and allow her to try in various fields. With their support, Christie was currently an eloquent lawyer.

Dr Jimmy WONG, ‘Father of STEM Education in Hong Kong’, shared his grade 4 result slip and said that he had yet to be enlightened and his academic performance then was only average. He had even failed ‘Natural Science’, a subject comparable to ‘STEM’ in which he had achieved eminence currently. As the DSE results were about to be released, Dr WONG also took the opportunity to encourage students and DSE candidates that ‘The future has unlimited possibilities. Don’t be discouraged by gains and losses at one time.’

The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education, a subvented non-governmental organisation, was established in 2008. It aims at serving the education sector in Hong Kong, offering high quality information, support and appropriate learning opportunities to gifted students, their parents, teachers and other stakeholders engaged in gifted education. Most of its programmes are provided free-of-charge.