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Some Questions From Hong Kong’s Occupy Barricades for Teachers Everywhere

Ian Gilbert, Independent Thinking’s Founder, is currently based in Hong Kong and has been live-Tweeting from many of the protests.

Below are 17 questions and images from Ian inspired by his experiences this week for you to take and share with your colleagues and young people.

Let us know how you get on won’t you.


Lightsup II

1. Can you have genuine education without genuine democracy?


Hong Kong

2. If this was happening in your country, where would you be?


 Free Translation

3. Where would the people you have taught be?


Fuck the Police or Not

4. To what extent are you teaching your young people to be active citizens (these young people are rubbing the graffiti off)? What evidence do you have?


 We Are Not Enemies

5. Students are at the heart of the Occupy movement, led by a 17 year-old student namedJoshua Wong. Would one of your students be in a position to lead in such a way?


Keep Calm Be Alert

6. The Education Bureau of Hong Kong, the EDB, introduced ‘Critical Thinking’ into their curriculum. Here is an overview of what local children are taught. Is critical thinking taught in your school?


Torches Viewfinder

7. On the other hand, here is a piece from The Conversation in the UK which suggests that critical thinking can’t be taught because ‘you can’t teach people to be critical unless you are critical yourself’. What do you think?


Which is Weapon?

8. So, which is weapon?



9. What song lyric would your poster say?


Fight or Cry

10. Are your young people fighters or criers, neither or both?


Media III

11. These days modern technologies and online social networks mean the media is us. Or, in Ian’s words, ‘Be the media you want to see in the world’. Do you agree? If so, do your students know this?


No Violence

12. The Occupy Central protests have been marked by a policy of restraint and non-violence (on behalf of the protestors). Do you teach the same constraint? Is there a place for violence in struggle?


Nuremburg II

13. The Nuremberg Principles state that you have a moral obligation that transcends your country’s law. You cannot say, ‘I was just following orders’. Edward Snowden cited this too when he landed in Moscow from Hong Kong in 2013. To what extent does such a moral code influence your actions in school? Do your students know of this code?


Discussion Welcomed

14. To what extent is their a forum for discussion in your school and to what extent is discussion welcomed?


Why Are We Here Wall I

15. On this wall, protestors are writing the answer to that question – what would you write?



16. In the protests, everyone can take their turn to speak. Would you speak and, if so, what would you say? Would your students speak and what would they say?


Umbella & Police

17. Does your school produce the sort of young people who would do this? [ITL]



NB All the images on this page are by Ian with the exception of the last one, provenance unknown.

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