Forms of learning in senior secondary science as represented through an integrated curriculum

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter considers the forms of learning in science that are represented in an integrated approach to the curriculum in the final year of schooling. In Hong Kong, a new core subject called Liberal Studies (LS), which integrates multiple discipline areas including science was introduced at the senior secondary level (age 15–17) in 2009. The subject is intended to provide opportunities for students to do “cross-disciplinary studies, pertaining in particular to critical thinking, life education, values education and civic education, with due consideration given to their relevance in the Hong Kong context” (Curriculum Development Council & Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority 2007, p. 2). As such, it provides an important example of quite different forms of intended student learning at a level of schooling where the genuine complexities of real situations and contexts and phenomena can be explored. Learning and teaching takes on a thematic or issue-based approach with each of the six modules designed based on a specific theme. The integration involves multiple subject disciplines such as social science, citizenship education, geography, personal or self-development, science, technology and public health. Disciplinary-based knowledge is almost unidentifiable from curriculum documents, and subject boundaries are non-existent. The questions considered in this chapter include the nature of science knowledge learned through this subject, the purposes the science content of the subject serves for the students and for the society in which the students live, and whether the resultant science learning is coherent such that students’ science understanding is built up and accumulated. An analysis of the curriculum document (CDC/HKEAA 2007) and the teacher’s guide for the subject (CDC 2012) was conducted. Based on the findings, it could be suggested that learning and teaching of the LS curriculum needs to be seen and designed to be beneficial from both a disciplinary-based perspective and an integrated perspective of the curriculum. Copyright © 2015 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe future in learning science: What’s in it for the learner?
EditorsDeborah CORRIGAN, Cathy BUNTTING, Justin DILLON, Alister JONES, Richard GUNSTONE
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9783319165431
ISBN (Print)9783319165424
Publication statusPublished - 2015


learning method
Hong Kong
curriculum development
public health
social science


Cheng, M. M. H. (2015). Forms of learning in senior secondary science as represented through an integrated curriculum. In D. Corrigan, C. Buntting, J. Dillon, A. Jones, & R. Gunstone (Eds.), The future in learning science: What’s in it for the learner? (pp. 83-99). Singapore: Springer International Publishing.


  • Science learning
  • Core subject
  • Citizenship education
  • Civic education
  • Curriculum document