FAQ about Life-wide Learning
1. Do schools have to do LWL?
No, schools do not have to do LWL but most schools have been doing LWL activities for a very long time, maybe in different names and to different extent. LWL is not a new thing, but instead, it offers a new definition for all out-of-classroom or out of school learning opportunities, by focusing on learning and by linking up with the school curriculum. The over-arching notion covers a wide range of learning activities, such as extra-curricular activities, co-curricular activities, community service programmes, career-related experience and museum visits. Schools should cautiously implement LWL in accordance with their own capacities: Remember, this is something optional but beneficial to our students!
2. Our school's timetable is already very packed. How can we find time and resources to run LWL activities?
The hint is to start with the existing activities that works, and try to organize new programmes in accordance with the resources available (e.g. expertise, time and organizational links). The quality of experience that offered to our students is more important than the quantity of LWL activities.
3. What benefits could LWL contribute to raising achievement and classroom learning?
It depends on the type of LWL. Some LWL activities have direct impact to classroom learning (e.g. museum learning, thinking skills courses) and some activities aim to help students to learn better in classroom in indirectly, such as attitudes towards working with peers, building self-worth and confidence (e.g. community service, career-related experience). According to research findings from other countries (e.g. United Kingdom and USA), LWL itself motivates students to learn more effectively and adopting better attitudes towards learning. After all, the benefits of LWL are not confined to helping students to learn better at schools but to develop students multiple potentials and to enable students to be life-long learners.
4. Are there any examples, both local and international, for my school to learn about running LWL programmes?
Yes, 'learning beyond the classroom' has been emphasized in a number of countries (UK, USA, China, Taiwan and Singapore). All of them have different aims, emphasis, and approaches (and certainly weaknesses). The LWL Section will try our best to include some examples in the web site (http://www.edb.gov.hk/cd/lwl) for teachers to make reference.
5. Does LWL equivalent to extra-curricular activities (ECA)?
No, LWL is not equivalent to ECA but in principle, extra-curricular activities are forms of LWL that generally refers to a wide range of out-of-lesson activities. Traditionally, these activities serve weak links with the school curriculum and were regarded as less important. However, under the new framework of LWL, most ECA could be included in school curriculum.
6. In my opinion, LWL is too wide. Does my school need to cover all five experiences while planning LWL programme?
The overall policy of LWL is deliberately wide to broaden the existing curriculum and the learning contexts in this rapid-changing society. However, this does not imply that schools have to cover all five learning experiences (or all skills and values) in their LWL programme. Instead, schools should holistically devise a LWL strategy to identify particular areas that links with overall school development, traditions and student needs. The principle is to aim for quality of learning and connectedness with curriculum.
7. Who should be the best person to co-ordinate LWL in our school? Curriculum co-ordinator? ECA Master? Deputy Head? Head of department? …
LWL is a whole school business. Generally, it should be the person, who also holds the overall responsibility of curriculum planning. Some schools assigned their ECA Masters to lead the planning.
8. Our school has a long tradition of running extra-curricular activities, such as chess clubs and museum trips. I cannot see the idea of LWL could have any new impact to the current provision.
The idea of LWL aims to help schools to plan more holistically, in terms of students' whole-person development. Therefore, it does not really matter how we named these activities as long as they made a consistent, demonstrable impact on students' learning and personal development. Since there are many ways in achieving the aim - whole person development, schools are invited to share their successful cases or best practices related to LWL. (Our e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )
9. How to assess students' learning in LWL activities?
The question takes the assumption that we should assess all students in LWL activities. In actual fact, the crucial question we should ask is for what we assess. Assessment in LWL should aim for promote ownership of students' own learning. Strategies such as self-assessment, portfolio assessment, diaries/ student logs are all recommended, depending on the nature of activities. Any assessment tools that could empower students to evaluate the whole learning process freely with their teachers (rather than just self-assessing their own learning) have a unique impact to student learning.
10. How can school ensure the quality of learning while some LWL activities are normally conducted by non-teachers (e.g. museum staff, professionals)?
Preparation is essential for all teachers who organize LWL activities, such as trips and field learning. Relevant information should be obtained from various sources (including LWL Databank, people comments, web-sites) at a very early stage. Teachers are also encouraged to arrange a pre-visit to the site and to meet key people before the activity. It is proved to be a good strategy to make sure we know the place and people well in advance so that suitable arrangements could be incorporated in the programme. For example, a teacher may found that the worksheet provided by a museum is not appropriate to her students. The teacher decided to take initiative to re-design the learning materials.
11. Would LWL increase teachers’workload?
Life-wide Learning (LWL) is a strategy that aims to move student learning beyond the classroom into other learning contexts. It requires teachers making good use of resources and settings available at their schools and in the communities, in order to create suitable learning contexts for particular educational purposes. Such experiential learning enables students to achieve certain learning goals that are more difficult to attain through classroom learning alone. However, LWL works best particularly in raising students’ motivation and deepening their understanding of what is learnt in the classroom. It is definitely not 'all-powerful'. Its success rests mainly on how much schools/ teachers and students understand the purposes and the meaning of each activity: 'Why do we learn it this way?'. It is definitely not quantity but quality that matters, i.e. teachers need to ensure that the experience is aligned with the aim being pursued, and that the students reflect on what has occurred and learn from it.
12. Is LWL an add-on in the school curriculum?
Life-wide Learning complements KLAs and four Key Task. Life-wide learning is not an ‘add on’or a combination of unconnected activities. To ensure that life-wide learning is conducive to the long-term personal development of students during schooling, it is necessary for schools to develop a system to facilitate it, to plan in accordance with the objectives across KLAs and Key Tasks and their own existing strengths in extra-curricular activities, and to use continuous assessment for the improvement of it.
13. Any cost-effective measures suggested?
- Levering collaborations and building partnerships with outside organisations
- Participating in relevant networks (e.g. Life-wide Learning Network Scheme)
- Encouraging involvement from parents, school social workers and local community
- Prioritize the development of different programmes
- Whole school strategies in reviewing programme offered
- Good use of resources available，For Example, Life-wide Learning Activity Databank