Newsletter No. 357

1 No. 357, 4.5.2010 第三五七期 二零一零年五月四日 No. 357 4 May 2010 本刊由香港中文大學資訊處出版,每月出版兩期。截稿日期及稿例載於 。 The CUHK Newsletter is published by the Information Services Office, CUHK, on a fortnightly basis. Submission guidelines and deadlines can be found at (續下頁 To be continued ) 通 識教育對培養學生廣闊的視野、綜觀全局而深入 分析的能力不可或缺。大學通識教育主任張燦輝 教授說:「General Education 一詞源自拉丁語 studium generale ,即來自各方的人一起學習的意思。General並非 普通簡單之意,而是為所有人而設,涵括所有人。」 目前中大的大學通識課程分為「中華文化傳承」、「自 然、科技與環境」、「社會與文化」和「自我與人文」 四個範圍,八個學院四十多個學系共同參與,每年 開辦二百多門題材廣泛的科目,某程度上已達到了 「來自各方的人一起學習」的理想,為學生開展了廣闊的知 識層面,灌輸了不同學科的價值的理解。 怎樣達到博採而不淺陋,本就是一門學問。由2012年9月 起,大學教育將改為四年制,本校通識課程也將由十五 增至二十一學分,並會推出一個佔六學分的全新必修「通 識教育基礎課程」。為此,大學於2009年推出了兩個先導 科目─「寫給當代的經典:追尋美麗人生與美好社會」和 「經典中的科學:宇宙和生命的探索」,讓學生選修。 為何必修?為何是經典? 為甚麼還要規限選課?通識教育基礎課程主任梁美儀博 士指出:基礎課程的理念是藉着共同的學習為學生建構 共同的智性及文化基礎。透過直探經典,培養學生深入閱 讀、思考和研討嚴肅課題的習慣,對自己信念和價值的反 思,對人類處境的敏銳感察,與老師和同儕在這些問題上 智性對話,形成學習社群,理解學習與生命的關係;這種 理解正是不斷學習的動力。 梁博士說:「我們選的經典都對人類社會有重大影響,蘊 含歷久不衰的信念和價值,討論了人類存在以來一直備受 關注的課題,儘管沒有既定答案,但必能激發對話。」她強 調對話的重要:反覆討論,激蕩思維,學生的獨立批判思 想漸漸形成,這正是終身學習的必須條件。 在這知識爆炸的年代,專業學科各自 發展,知識金字塔愈堆愈尖,每分每秒 都在衍生新知。被視為知識分子的 大學生,需要怎樣汲納知識? G eneral education (GE) is instrumental in broadening students’ horizons and developing critical thinking. Prof. Cheung Chan-fai, Director of University General Education, says, ‘“General education” is derived from the Latin term studium generale , which means “a university for all”. “General” here is not what most people take it to mean, “ordinary, simple”; but carries its Latin original meaning, “for all”.’ To achieve that ideal, currently in CUHK, more than 200 GE courses are offered by over 40 departments from eight Faculties. These courses, which fall into four areas, namely, Chinese cultural heritage; nature, technology and the environment; society and culture; and self and humanity, cover a wide spectrum of topics and give students extensive exposure to the values of different disciplines. From September 2012 onwards, local universities will adopt a four-year undergraduate curriculum. The required credits for GE at CUHK will increase from 15 to 21. The six additional credits come from the new compulsory GE Foundation (GEF) programme. Two pilot courses of the progamme were rolled out in 2009 as electives. They are ‘Classics for Today: In Search of Good Life and Good Society’ and ‘Science in Classics: Exploring the Universe and Life’. Why compulsory? Why classical texts? Why is the new programme compulsory? Dr. Leung Mei-yee, director of the GEF programme, explains that the programme is aimed at building a common intellectual and cultural foundation for the students through a shared learning experience. The study of classical texts enables students to develop the habit of reading on, thinking about and discussing serious topics. They will also be encouraged to examine their own beliefs and values, develop a sensitivity to the human condition, and carry on intellectual discussions with their teachers and peers on these issues. They will then form a learning community and try to understand the relationship between learning and life. This understanding will be the driving force for continuous learning. Dr. Leung says, ‘All the selected classics have had significant impact on human society, manifesting long lasting beliefs and values, and addressing issues critical to human existence.’ There may be no definite answers, but she stresses the importance of discussion to stimulating thought. This will foster student’s critical thinking, which is a prerequisite for life-long learning. Exploring Universe and Life Dr. Wong Wing-hung, associate programme director of the GEF programme, describes the course as ‘a journey sprung from the question of “Who am I?” Students taking the course read and compare the development of science in Western and Chinese cultures, compare how the humankind investigated, understood and changed nature and life, and reflect on human being’s place in nature.’ The students read selected passages from classical texts by Aristotle, Galileo and Newton, and ponder issues like ‘What is truth?’, the laws of life, the code of life, the limitations of science and the nature of human thinking— understanding science beyond calculations. In this age of information explosion, new knowledge is being generated every minute. How should university students discover and take in what they need? 構建中大人的共同學習經驗 Building a Common Learning Experience for Students 張燦輝教授(右)及梁美儀博士 Prof. Cheung Chan-fai (right) and Dr. Leung Mei-yee