Hong Kong’s First Sustainability Across the Curriculum Workshop

In January this year, the HKUST Sustainability Education Community (SEC) held our first Sustainability Across the Curriculum workshop with participants from all across Hong Kong.

The one-day interactive workshop engaged Hong Kong educators and researchers currently teaching sustainability across the curriculum to explore sustainability-related skills and competencies and share ideas for teaching and learning.

The overarching goal of the workshop was to explore how to dissect interdisciplinary and cross-cutting sustainability topics and make them accessible and understandable for students in a way that influences their attitudes and behaviors toward sustainability.

Through a series of short presentations, lively discussions, group activities, and reflections, workshop participants identified “sustainability character development” as one of the key areas of focus for preparing students for life’s challenges in the 21stcentury.

What does building a sustainability character mean? The group explored this further by agreeing that a holistic collection of competencies, skills, and values are more important than specific areas of knowledge or content. After all, in the 21stcentury, most facts can be Googled or found in online tutorials. Good character, on the other hand, recognizes the ability to show compassion, empathy, appreciation, with the ability to demonstrate specific problem solving skills.

This means sustainability education needs to transcend the traditional knowledge domain and adopt pedagogical approaches that encourage students to empathize and engage with real world issues. Curriculum redesign needs to be partnered with a transition in assessment models towards qualitative and reflective activities. Lastly, this requires a commitment from educators to develop these competencies and feel empowered to talk about, and engage with, sustainability issues.

The workshop concluded with a consensus among participants that adopting a values- and competencies-based approach to sustainability education will help facilitate holistic character development of our students.

To learn more about the workshop, you can click to watch Workshop video

or Summary Report

In the future, workshops will continue exploring the topics include:

  • Detailed exploration of specific skills and competencies for development of lesson plans that can help build and embed those skills.
  • Consideration of how to develop important, yet intangible attributes such as empathy, appreciation, and respect in the context of understanding sustainability.
  • Deeper analysis of assessment models and frameworks

We look forward to more fruitful discussions and building up our understanding and teaching practice together. If you have any comments about the workshop or would like to connect with other SEC members, please don’t hesitate to reach out at green@ust.hk or sec@ust.hk.  

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