3. The "Coordinator of Formation".

Starting next school year, I hope I can do more networking of all those concerned with the over-all growth of our students: Form-teachers, the Ethics and Religious Education Panel, Guidance Committee, Discipline Committee, Mentors, Pastoral Team, extra-curricular activities . . . .

Given my background as a trained psychologist, I would like to build up a counselling team over the years to come so that every student will be properly attended to for growth before anyone really gets into trouble.

As much as possible, we want to take proactive measures beforehand rather than acting reactively through punishment, which hardly leads to growth. There will also be more "Formation Periods" instead of "P.S.".

4. How to create communities to which we all want to belong?

Participation and good communication are some of the key elements. Wah Yan already has good channels for participation: panel and numerous committee meetings, student representatives, members of Exco for the Student Association, agenda for Advisory Meetings posted for comments, suggestion box, news group, the "Democracy Wall", the Principal interviewing every teacher every year.. Both Mr. Norman So and I myself give much importance to allowing students to experience more and more democracy in school so that they will be real leaders in future. We are also appreciative of any responsible suggestions and complaints from staff and students no matter how contrary they are to our own views. I hope more and more people will use the forum in the news group or my email address for such dialogue.

So much of happiness in life depends on communication. Yet it is never easy. It is not based on reality but on perceptions. We all share in the responsibility to reflect and check and make sure that our perceptions match reality. The art of communication is a life-long learning process. But a good beginning must be made in the family and in the schools. In contrast to the traditional education with much focus on content, schools must emphasize much more today on the recognition of feelings and the art of good relationships.

5. How can we foster growth into authentic and genuinely free

 

persons as the beloved of God?

How to reconcile individual freedom with the needs of others, of society is a recurrent challenge. Often freedom deteriorates into the American John Wayne culture. The one with the faster gun has the say. Original Christianity has always been a great advocate for freedom. It is freedom from the slavery of sin, freedom to be the sons and daughters of God. It is always based on the love of God poured into our hearts. St. Augustine said, "Love and do whatever you want." There is some tendency today and at Wah Yan to take freedom as "do whatever you like". Without love and a sense of responsibility, without consideration for others, there is no true freedom. It is often just selfishness, indulgence and license.

We also need to learn that genuine freedom comes through discipline and the choice of limits and the appropriate respect for rules. If no one respects traffic rules, there will only be chaos. If we have never learnt the discipline of typing, we don't have the freedom to really type well.

Classic Greek philosophy talks about perfection in potential or in reality. Before Michaelangelo carved the world-famous Pieta, now housed in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, that marble was perfect in potential only. When Michaelangelo used his freedom to choose and commit to the form of Pieta, he achieved perfection in actuality. That's how we must use freedom. Only when we choose to commit ourselves to loving someone, taking on the other's well being, growth and development as our own rather than "freely" liaise with anyone we like, do we perfect our freedom.

I really regret how I just followed my whims in my younger days trying to dip into so many languages without focus. I wasn't really free. When we do things out of lack of self-esteem or just to please others to win approval, again we are not free. Freedom is not just a birthright. We have to learn to grow into freedom, with its source in the unconditional love of God.

6. Applications of the new Brain-Mind studies and Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP).

I was the first to introduce NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) into Hong Kong in 1981. It studies how we use our mind and teaches us how to model after excellent patterns in life and history. It has an increasing following and its applications are

wide-ranging indeed, esp. in teaching and learning. The studies on the brain and the mind develop so fast that we are way behind in our traditional educational approaches in school. They will help us to understand the ways we learn and teach, the question of discipline and freedom, our emotions and the dominance factor of our brain . . . all in a new light. I hope I'll be able to support and add to what some of our teachers have started doing in this respect.

7. Work more in conjunction with past students as mentors.

We had a couple of student "computer prodigies" featured in the most popular "Next Magazine" recently. Part of the credit was due to Mr. Wong Wai Leung, who was instrumental in setting up the school net at Wah Yan. He took the initiative to link up with Mr. Ringo Lam, a past student, at the Chinese University for summer jobs and internship. The same could be done with past students in other professions. So many are only too willing to help. This kind of becoming mentors by past students will be a real contribution, not only to Wah Yan, but to the world.

8. Becoming Chinese citizens of the world.

As the world is becoming increasingly one and smaller through instant communication and complex interactions, we must both treasure our unique identity as Chinese and also develop an international, global vision. Mastering the language tools of Chinese (including Mandarin) and English will serve us well for the rest of our life. Acquiring the openness of mind to understanding other cultures and religions and worlds will prepare us to be citizens of the world.

I have only listed a few of my dreams. Only human beings can dream. May we always keep our idealism and creativity! In the "dreaming" stage we want as many ideas as possible. We spark off each other and develop more creative ones consequently. Then we go through the "realist" and the "critic" stages and maybe back to the "dreaming" stage for a better formulation and choice of goals. This is known as the Walt Disney Creativity pattern that is modelled by NLP. I have therefore offered a number of points as an invitation for dialogue and on-going collaboration.

May we be dreamers, realists and critics all in one and work together in building an on-going learning community at Wah Yan for the new millennium!

George Zee, S.J.

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