Values Education in St. Paul’s College
The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom
Values underpin everything we do in education, especially in this day and age when advances in science and technology enable people to do what was once thought impossible.
The Education Bureau has recently put together the Values Education Curriculum Framework, requiring schools in Hong Kong to promote values education through nurturing in their students the ten priority values and attitudes: Perseverance, Respect for Others, Responsibility, National Identity, Commitment, Integrity, Care for Others, Law-abidingness, Empathy, and Diligence.
Since our founding in 1851, values education has always been at the core of our curriculum and St. Paul’s College’s mandate is to educate young people of Hong Kong based on Christian principles. As a Christian school, the biblical perspective to values education is essential because it helps people to see the relevance of Christian values to the modern world.
We have decided to use Christian values as a reference point to unpack the priority values proposed by the Education Bureau. Using the school motto “The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom” as a starting point, we have come up with eight groups of core values that form the basis of values education in St. Paul’s College. In addition, as Hong Kong is uniquely positioned as a place where east meets west, we have decided to include both biblical verses and Chinese sayings to illustrate these core values.
II. What values are promoted in St. Paul’s College?
The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom
In the Bible, the translated word “fear” can mean respect, reverence, or awe in the presence of greatness. How is the fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom? Contrary to popular beliefs, the Bible says that wisdom does not come from knowledge but from our reverence for Almighty God. To put it simply, if we put God first (God-centred vs self-centred) in everything that we do and think, we learn to act according to God’s will and that is the beginning of wisdom.
1. Respect [Good manners, Humility and Inclusiveness]
That is why our first value is respect which includes self-respect, respecting others and respecting God.
Self-respect is recognizing that we are worthy, and that we deserve love and consideration by others. This is important, because with self-respect, we treat ourselves with care and we learn not to compare with others. This self-respect comes from the understanding that we are all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
In human relationships, respect means good manners, inclusiveness, and humility. At the very basic level, good manners tell people that we respect their feelings. At another level, respect helps to build trust in relationships. If we can accept ourselves as who we are, we also learn to accept others for who they are. When we learn to appreciate other people’s needs and differences, we develop inclusiveness. When we learn to consider other people’s needs as more important than ours, we develop humility.. As Paul said, “... in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3)
Jesus Christ is the exemplar that we as Christians try to emulate in our daily lives by doing our best every day. When being tested by the Pharisees and the Herodians (Mark 12:15-17) as to whether taxes should be paid to the Emperor or not, Jesus famously says, ‘Give to Caeser what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.’ It is he, as the Son of God, who is demanding respect for those in human authority. By the same token, a similar respect for God is required by us as human beings.
2. Compassion [care for others and empathy]
己所不欲，勿施於人 /親親而仁民，仁民而愛物。 《孟子 ‧ 盡心上》
If the God that we revere is the God of love, then we must learn how to love others and compassion is an important component of love.
The Bible is full of examples of Jesus feeling compassionate about people by healing them, by feeding them, and by helping them. One form of compassion is expressed through showing our care for others, sometimes in small acts of daily kindness. Compassion is also expressed in the form of sympathy for people who are in a less fortunate situation or who are suffering. Empathy and compassion go hand in hand. Empathy is about feeling other people’s pain, and sadness whereas compassion is that strong compulsion to take action to ease the sufferings of others.
Again it is Jesus who demonstrates biblically for us the nature of compassion in tending to the needs of a crowd who had assembled around him on one of his preaching expeditions. ‘Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.’ (Matthew 9:35-36) Compassion requires a cause and an action. Jesus is stirred to do something for the people because of his care and concern for them in their distressed state. It is, as a result of his care for them, that he heals them of their sicknesses and educates them via his teaching.
3. Commitment [Diligence and Perseverance]
Commitment is a direct response to our reverence for the Almighty. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). It is this greatness of God’s love that inspires us to be committed to serving and honouring Him. The Apostle Paul is an example of such commitment - a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1-2). To be committed to putting God first in our lives is a way of honouring and respecting God.
A commitment is a promise or a firm decision to do something. At a personal level, students are expected to be committed to learning and to excelling in their academic and non-academic pursuits. It is a commitment that requires diligence because it demands time, energy, and focus to achieve, and at the same time perseverance because a commitment means not giving up and sticking with it to the end, no matter how difficult it is. At an interpersonal level, a relationship, such as marriage, is a lifelong commitment that requires two people to work hard together to love and cherish “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health”. At a professional level, work is also a commitment. Professionalism means being conscientious in discharging one’s responsibilities in all circumstances.
4. Citizenship [national identity, global citizenship, law-abidingness]
天下之本在國，國之本在家，家之本在身。《孟子 ‧ 離婁上》
We revere God because He is the Lord and the King. We are His people in the kingdom of God which, Jesus says, is not of the world (John 18:36). For kingdoms that are of the world, the Bible asks us to pray for those in authority. “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
As such, the College is committed to developing in our students a national identity as citizens of China, and a global identity as citizens of the world. Students should understand their rights and responsibilities, and their obligations to carry out their duties to uphold the laws of the country. (national identity, law-abidingness).
5. Integrity [honesty, justice, law-abidingness]
見利思義，見危授命。 《論語 ‧ 憲問》
We revere God because He is the Almighty and He knows our hearts. We are asked to be the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:13-16) and that is why we have to be righteous. Integrity means doing the right thing even when no one is watching (honesty, justice, law-abidingness)
The Bible gives many instructions as to how we, as believers, should act with integrity. In the Old Testament we are admonished ‘To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity.’ (2 Samuel 22:26) This indicates that integrity is something received and displayed in equal proportion. Additionally, in the book of Job, the writer describes the conduct of what a person with integrity should include. "Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause." (Job 2:3) This reinforces the motto of the College, which stems principally from the ‘Fear of the Lord.’
6. Hope [resilience, positivity and a growth mindset]
We revere God because of His steadfastness. For Christians, hope is more than just wishful thinking. It is based on the assurance of God’s promises and His steadfastness. “Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation with prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6)
Our Christian hope is based on the trust that we have in our relationship with God. We are assured that God is faithful and He will complete what He has begun. We therefore wait confidently for God’s promise to be fulfilled.
This hope that we have in Him gives us the strength and resilience to face difficulties and setbacks. It helps us to be positive about changes and challenges, which enables the development of a growth mindset. Christians therefore believe that God has a plan for everyone and that, no matter what, He will give us enough strength to face the challenges before us, and walk with us through these ordeals. He is our refuge, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
7. Thankfulness [gratitude and appreciation]
God asks us to “give thanks in all circumstances”(1 Thessalonians 5:18). The respect that we have for God is a response to His loving kindness. His greatest gift to mankind is salvation, the redemption of sin through the death and resurrection of Christ. That is why we have to be thankful to Him for all His provisions. In good times or in bad times, Christians learn to count our blessings to be grateful and appreciative of all the provisions of God.
Thankfulness to God for all that He does for us is perhaps the most important part of our human existence. There are so many factors affecting our lives that are outside of our human control. The apostle Paul in his letters to the churches in Asia and the surrounding regions emphasized the continuous need for the giving of thanks to God (Eph 5:20; 1 Thess 5:18). As a place of educational instruction, the College is committed to developing within the mindset of our students the continual need for the expressing of thanks for the good that others do on our behalf.
8. Stewardship [responsibility]
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms”. (1 Peter 4:10)
God created Earth and we are asked to look after His creation. That means it is our responsibility to take care of the world and all that is in it. Stewardship is the Christian concept that we are responsible for managing wisely what God has given us, which includes time, wealth, abilities, talents, relationships, and resources of the world. Such Christian stewardship encompasses both acceptance of responsibility and appreciation of God’s gifts to man.
The parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 is a good illustration of the idea of stewardship. Like the master in the parable, God expects people to make good use of the gifts that He has given them and each person will eventually have to give an account of how these gifts have been used.
As stewards do not own their gifts, there is no sense of entitlement. “Give us this day our daily bread” from the Lord’s Prayer is an acknowledgement that all things come from God. Other than the principle of accountability, Christian stewardship is therefore associated with gratitude, being grateful for God’s provisions so that the only rightful response is to give back what we take to better our community and our world.
III. Implementation of Values Education in St. Paul’s College
1. An overview of the year plan
2. A Whole-School and Multi-pronged Approach
To enable an effective implementation of values education in St. Paul’s College, it is imperative that we adopt a multi-pronged approach to permeate values development in everything that we do including form teacher periods, assembly, formal curriculum and informal curriculum.
We also adopt a whole-school approach because we recognise that it is everyone’s responsibility to help students develop a positive value system.
2.1 Form Teacher periods
Resource materials will be developed for Form teachers to use during the Form Teacher Period on Tuesday morning. It is expected that at least one Form Teacher Period a month should be devoted to the discussion of each of the topics listed.
|What is diligence?
|Diligence in learning
|Perseverance in learning
|Perseverance in adversities
|Commitment in relationships
|Commitment in work
|Rights and Responsibilities
|Appreciating the culture of our country
|Understanding the achievements of our country
|For life and nature
|Hope in God
|Hope in God
|Faith in God
|Hope in God
|Integrity in workplace
|Care for Others
|Care for the Community
|Being an active listener
|Committed to relieving the sufferings of others
|Sustainability at school and in the community
|Sustainability in China and the world
|Hope in God
|Hope in God
|Love in God
|Hope in God
|Integrity in workplace
|Exploring the ascribed and achieved identities
|Exploring one’s root
|Civic and National Participation
2.2 Morning Assemblies and worship services
In an effort to reinforce the messages of the value matrix, the overall theme for the 2023-2024 school year will focus on the importance of values as an integral part of the makeup of every person.
2.3 The Visual Environment: Campus Display and College TV
To create an ambience imbued with the core values, posters and quotable quotes should be regularly displayed around the campus to remind students of the importance of these virtues. Another platform that could prove to be very effective is to have students from the different Form groups produce short skits that demonstrate each theme in partnership with the College TV network. By engaging students as actors, script writers, editors, and producers in the process, a deeper appreciation for each value can be cultivated.
2.4 Promote the SPC Values Education Framework to Parents
We will work with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to promote the SPC values framework to all parents because we recognise that both teachers and parents are responsible for shaping students’ character and for inculcating positive values in them. It is therefore essential that parents are made aware of their importance as role models for students and that values are taught consistently at school and at home.