Academic journal article International Journal of Child and Adolescent Health

Evaluation of a Training Program of Tin Ka Ping P.A.T.H.S. Project in China

Academic journal article International Journal of Child and Adolescent Health

Evaluation of a Training Program of Tin Ka Ping P.A.T.H.S. Project in China

Article excerpt

Introduction

In recent years, the prevalence rates of different types of risk behavior among Chinese adolescents are growing and the number of youth delinquents in China has rapidly risen. To promote positive development of Chinese youths, "moral education" ("de yu ke cheng") has been included into high school curriculum in mainland China over the past decades. Through taking this compulsory course, it is expected that Chinese high school students would be able to develop ethical habits that help them live good lives as conforming and contributing members of society (1). Despite that moral education tends to emphasize whole-person development of Chinese youths, some of its shortcomings are observed. For example, unlike academic subjects, the current moral education is unable to offer a clear syllabus or well-designed contents. The learning objectives of moral education are less defined and less explicit (2). Preaching and using slogan to emphasis virtues and values are still the main methods of teaching in moral education, whereas the adoption of innovative teaching methods such as experiential learning, interactive learning and situational learning are lacking.

Apart from moral education, there are other education programs focusing on positive youth development in adolescents in mainland China. The Tin Ka Ping Project P.A.T.H.S. is one of the most systematic and comprehensive program that funded through the Tin Ka Ping Foundation in Hong Kong and implemented by a large professional team that involved hundreds of experienced researchers, high school teachers and social workers from Hong Kong and mainland China. The initial version of this program is the Project P.A.T.H.S. (Positive Adolescent Training through Holistic Social Programs) in Hong Kong, which is a ground-breaking and systematic positive youth development program that already achieved prominent success in its implementation of the past decade in Hong Kong (3-5).

As a transplant of the Project P.A.T.H.S. in China, the Tin Ka Ping Project P.A.T.H.S. strives for dealing with all-round development of adolescents (2, 3). It has absorbed the successful experiences of the Project P.A.T.H.S. in Hong Kong and fully considered the local needs in its program design and implementation process. This program not only emphasizes Chinese traditional virtues and moral values, but also covers several ecological components and current youth issues. In addition to knowledge provision, practical skills for competence enhancement, relationship development, and conflict solutions are also included.

The Tin Ka Ping Project P.A.T.H.S. is particularly designed for the high school students in Grade 1 to Grade 5 in mainland China. In 2011 to 2014, a pilot project was conducted in four schools in Shanghai, Suzhou, Changzhou and Yangzhou. In 2014-15, a preparatory year emphasizing on training was arranged. Unlike traditional youth programs in mainland China that apply preaching as the primary teaching method, this program is activity-based and it encourages discussion and reflections of students.

The Tin Ka Ping Project P.A.T.H.S. places great emphasis on in-service training and treats it as an indispensable part of the implementation process, which is regarded another significant feature of this program. Prior to the delivery of the program, instructor training is offered to workers (e.g., teachers, social workers) from participating schools. The first 3-day workshop training took place in October 2014. This training workshop aimed to achieve the following objectives: 1) to understand the nature of youth development and to develop positive attitude to adolescent development; 2) to understand the concepts and rationale of positive youth development and relevant research and program; 3) to familiarize with the rationale, design, implementation, and evaluation of the Tin Ka Ping Project P.A.T.H.S.; 4) to understand the training contents and activities developed for high school Grade 1 students; 5) to review and obtain attitude, knowledge, and teaching skills that are beneficial to the success of the program implementation; 6) to develop a self-help network among the training participants (6). …

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