Several schools in Hong Kong have launched experiments to relieve students of too much pressure from their responsibilities in school.
The Tuen Mun Government Secondary School (TMGSS) on Thursday introduced a rest day during which students only go to class for half a day and enjoy the rest of the day having fun on the playground, listening to songs and sharing their personal feelings on stage at the school hall, thestandnews.com reports.
Meanwhile, the HK Sze Yap C&IA San Wui Commercial Society School in Shek Kip Mei said it will make use of the long Labor Day weekend to hold its first homework-free day, in an effort to help students build up time management skills.
Many students at TMGSS said they felt relieved after going onto the stage to speak out what was on their minds.
One student urged his classmates to support the debating team in a school competition, while another offered a public apology for not behaving well in class.
After several hours of sharing mixed with tears and laughters, many students said such a relaxing activity should be held once a month or even once a week.
During a 20-minute reflection session, students were asked to close their eyes and imagine there is a bright sun within their body, and their parents and family members in the middle of the sun.
They were then asked to think of persons who they bear a grudge with, and try to forgive them. Many students were seen weeping during the exercise.
Students from secondary three to five were given the freedom to sit with whoever they wanted to at the school hall to watch motivational video clips, sing along with a foreign musician, learn to appreciate, love and feel thankful to the people around them, and finally put down their aspirations or pressures on a paper plane and fly it as far as they could.
Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim said last month he would consider introducing rest days at schools for students to share their feelings and give vent to their emotions.
TMGSS teamed up with several organizations, such as the Progressive Teachers’ Alliance, TSA Parents Concern Group and the St. James’ Settlement, to plan and prepare for the rest day.
Progressive Teachers’ Alliance member Chan Wai-kin, who has been teaching at TMGSS for 24 years, said the responses from both teachers and students were very positive, with many urging the school to hold more similar events.
At the HK Sze Yap C&IA San Wui Commercial Society School, vice principal Lee Ka-wing said having no homework during the Labor Day weekend does not mean students have nothing to do.
“We have asked students to plan what they would like to do as there is no homework,” he said. “It could be something they have had to given up because of homework.”
Lee stressed that there is no right or wrong in what the students do, as long as they are making good use of their time.
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