The Harbour School

Explains Progressive Education


Progressive schools, like The Harbour School, implement student-centered ideas and practices, engaging its students in every aspect of school life and giving them ample opportunities to participate in their learning actively. But what is Progressive Education exactly? What are its methods and how do children benefit from it? Little Steps explains how Harbour School uses progressive Education and how it makes learning fun.

  • Harbour-School-Implements-Progressive-Education-Hong-Kong-Inquiry

    Progressive education is a pedagogical approach that started in the late nineteenth century arising from democratic ideals and in opposition to traditional schooling. Meaning that students should learn through their own experiences, rather than drilling material in. 


    Two core principles of progressive education are:

    1. Respect for diversity: meaning that each individual should be recognized for his or her own abilities, interests, ideas, needs, and cultural identity.
    2. The development of critical and socially engaged intelligence: this enables our students to understand, participate effectively and work collaboratively in the community, becoming engaged citizens.
  • Harbour-School-Implements-Progressive-Education-Hong-Kong-Inquiry

    Inquiry is meant to be very thoughtful, investigative, and purposeful, and if done properly, leads to creativity and exploration, but within an intellectual, collaborative context. Inquiry does not mean hands-on, at least not exclusively. Parents often fear that inquiry means the end to instruction because of the risk of over-enthusiasm about experiential learning and thus there is a lack of structure. But there is always a teacher in the room who has enough professional and life experience to impart knowledge and skills to students and knows how to strike the balance between explicit curricular objectives and student interest and autonomy. This type of inquiry with traditional subjects opens up an entire world where traditional disciplines fuse into one and become active through the design, creation, and reflection. Much of the process of inquiry involves:

    * discussion

    * exchange of ideas, and

    * quiet self-reflection.

  • Harbour-School-Implements-Progressive-Education-Hong-Kong-Learning-Fun

    Progressive education thrives on lessons and students views and ideas are heard and valued. It is believed it is likely that they will want to keep on learning and even more likely is, that they will want to share and grow on what they’ve learned.


    Ways that The Harbour School make learning fun:

    *  The Harbour School believes that each student is different, with different needs, learning styles and interests. And they provide a range of opportunities to suit each student.

    *  The school provides learning environments that are safe, exploratory, exciting and inspiring.

    *  The Harbour School delivers high-quality teaching and teamwork. Their teachers are not only highly accomplished and dedicated to the school’s mission, they work collaboratively so that there is a rich and in-depth understanding of each student’s strengths, interests, and abilities. This way they build programs which will work for individual students and their unique strengths.

  • Harbour-School-Implements-Progressive-Education-Hong-Kong-Learn-Anywhere

    In traditional schools, students are taught that learning happens only in the classroom, seated behind the desk. But this couldn't be further from the truth, knowledge can be obtained anywhere at whatever location as long as the pupil is eager to learn. The concept of learning studios has a long tradition in universities particularly in the arts, physics, and architecture, and there is a movement at universities to incorporate such Learning Studio facilities in renovations of existing facilities and in new construction, and for use within other disciplines.

    • The Harbour school firmly stands behind this and therefore does not have traditional classrooms, instead they have flexible spaces. These spaces can be altered based on the teachers’ and students’ views of how their physical environment can best support learning and teaching at any given time. 
    • The Harbour School utilizes their Centers of Excellence with their makerspace, The Foundry, their in-house wet-lab, the Marine Science Center, and their 50-foot sailboat, the Black Dolphin. The Black Dolphin is a unique, dynamic platform to access and study Hong Kong’s marine environment.
    • Other innovative methods include combining some of their middle school math and science time where planned and designed a hydroponic garden business in the Foundry and they sell herbs and vegetables in Ap Lei Chau
  • Harbour-School-Implements-Progressive-Education-Hong-Kong-Student-Centered

    To "unlock the best" in their students, The Harbour School has integrated strategies such as the Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is a strategy used to identify possible barriers in the learning environment and then determine ways to reduce or eliminate them so all students can be successful. 

    • At The Harbour School, they begin with student goal setting based on what they observe of students learning as well as formal and informal assessments and parent feedback in student goal setting and review meetings.
    • They use curriculum-based assessments as well as standardized assessments such as International School Assessments (ISA) and Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) growth scores, to determine what their school as a whole and what individual students need to meet their objectives.
    • This is done by allowing students choice in their learning, providing opportunities for different ways to access content such as books, newspapers, oral delivery of information, graphic novels, pictures, video, etc, and allowing students to express what they know through multiple sources such as written text, art, performance, video recordings, etc.
  • Harbour-School-Implements-Progressive-Education-Hong-Kong-Future-Learning

    The Harbour School enthusiastically researches and utilizes the latest technologies and pedagogies, and they attempt to prepare students for the challenges and capabilities of the future! They are committed to developing the attributes that will be most valued in jobs of the twenty-first century, which most people agree are skills such as creativity, problem-solving, communication, critical thinking, flexibility, collaboration, kindness, and self-direction.

  • The Harbour School, Harbour Village, 2/F, 23 Belcher's Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, +852 2816 5222

  • The Garden, 138 Lee Chi Road, Hong Kong, +852 3708 9060

  • The Grove, 332 Ap Lei Chau Bridge Road, Hong Kong, +852 3905 0180, [email protected], www.ths.edu.hk

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