Chinese University of Hong Kong

Whole Person Education: Engaging the Eyes, Mind, Feet, Hand and Heart

Philip Leung, left, shares ideas on whole person education.

Philip Leung, left, shares ideas on whole person education.

Whole person education cultivates both values and knowledge, so that students may use their college or university training to improve their communities as well as to advance their professional careers. This approach resonates with the United Board’s mission of promoting Christian presence in higher education, which is grounded in the belief that each person deserves to grow as a whole person – physically, intellectually, socially and spiritually. It creates opportunities for students to integrate knowledge acquired in one course into others, and for them to apply and test their classroom learning by interacting with a wider community.

But even educators who appreciate the potential value of whole person education may wonder “What does it look like in practice?” Professor Philip Leung, former head of Chung Chi College at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, provided a thoughtful response in his presentation at the United Board’s 2013 Asian University Leaders Program, held January 28 – February 1 in Hong Kong. Professor Leung said whole person education tests the eyes, the mind, the feet, the hand and the heart:

  • The eyes must be observant, developing a long perspective, seeing things from several perspectives, and looking beyond the concrete and the visible.
  • The mind can be trained to think analytically, logically and effectively.
  • The feet lead students to discovery through field visits, travel and exchange programs.
  • The hand should be engaged in more writing, as students use essays and research papers to reflect upon and analyze the information received in their courses and in their time in the community.
  • Perhaps most importantly, educators can instill a love of learning in the hearts of their students, helping them to genuinely enjoy the process of knowledge acquisition and intellectual growth.

(Excerpted from Horizons, April 2013)