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The Dream-maker – Chu Tsz Wing
The Dream-maker – Chu Tsz Wing
Chu Tsz Wing
Chu Tsz Wing
Principal of Baptist Rainbow Primary School, Expert Group Members of CoolThink@JC

Chu Tsz Wing, who became a primary school principal at the age of 33, is redefining our perception of how a “principal” should be both inside and out. Playing the role of a “big brother”, Principal Chu spends lunches and playtime with his students, and is immensely popular among them. In his life’s script, “dreaming” is not the privilege of those of a certain class, age or wealth, but an equal right for everyone. He gives his students and teachers free reign to dream, and together they come up with little inventions to solve problems in life and in the community. He gave Baptist Rainbow Primary School a true rainbow of hope, shaping it into a space where everyone dares to dream.

With his brainchild, the “Dream Starter” programme, students and teachers share their “dream” and are given one year to turn it into reality. Some students and teachers wished to contribute to environmental protection through creating the “Cordless Drill-powered Kart”. To give their dream a chance to come true, Principal Chu took it upon himself to find commercial partners and funding to help the students make the bold leap. “Whether the outcome ends in failure or in success, at least we have tried.” The process is often the most valuable lesson.

CoolThink@JC began in 2016 to encourage schools to combine scientific method with teaching resources to help students solve problems.
“Dreams” began with the school-closure crisis

Now 36, Principal Chu is one of the few young school principals in Hong Kong. His career had been smooth sailing since graduation, yet just 3 years ago, on his first day as principal, he received a letter notifying him that his school was on the verge of being closed down. “On 1st September, the first day of school, we had only 5 primary one students and 14 teachers in the whole school”. In 3 weeks, he managed to recruit 16 primary one students from foster families, barely meeting the minimum to keep his school afloat. Meanwhile, he also had to raise funds through contacting different businesses to promote ideas such as design-by-child concepts or 3D murals drawn by a hundred pairs of hands in exchange for sponsorship in funding or equipment, so as to pull the school’s finances back from the red. In the same year, Principal Chu became a father, and had to divide his time between his family and his school. It was a hugely challenging period for him.

Was it a low point of his life, awash with setbacks, helplessness and misery? “Thankfully, none of these emotions happened to me!” said Principal Chu. He completed his studies in a traditional academic system, and his dream of becoming an inventor, though it never came to fruition, drove him to dedicate himself to child education. Putting a mundane life behind him, Principal Chu has taken the leap of faith and implemented numerous creativity-inspiring policies, including introducing digital teaching, “zero-assignment teaching” and “daily play lesson”, all in a bid to unleash the imagination of both teacher and student. He also abolished the demerit system to create a stress-free environment in which students can enjoy to learn. Under his leadership, the whole school embarked on a journey to realise their dreams, breaking down the chains that limit possibilities.

Thanks to Principal Chu and his “Dream Starter” programme, students and teachers joined hands to build the “Cordless Drill-powered Kart” in a bid to help protect the environment.
Now 36, Principal Chu is one of the few young principals in Hong Kong.
Blazing new paths for children through personal example

Today, insufficient student intake has become a thing of the past and in recent years the school has even seen parents who knocked on Principal Chu’s door asking to have their children transfer to the “happy school”, where they can grow and develop their strengths. “Let them think of a solution, as in the end they have to be the ones to face the issues.” Principal Chu stresses teaching by example, which is why he tends to take the first step when encouraging his students and his son to solve problems. “If we forbid them to do something, we only limit their curiosity; instead I choose to let them try.”

To inspire the children’s creativity, Principal Chu joined CoolThink@JC, and was one the first Expert Group Members to join the programme. The programme was launched under the collaboration of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and City University of Hong Kong in 2016. It aims to teach computational thinking and coding in primary school classrooms. Baptist Rainbow Primary School is one of the resource schools and regularly holds workshops and seminars, encouraging schools to combine scientific methods with teaching resources to help students solve problems and develop life skills. Principal Chu believes the programme can promote creative thinking on campus as well as in the community, and is the way to realise what he calls “the true purpose of education”.

With Principal Chu’s help, more children now dare to dream and to enjoy and learn the process of pursuing their dreams.

“What drives me is not to help students find their dreams, but have dreams find our children.” As technology changes the world, education changes our children. Principal Chu looks forward to inspiring children to try more; invent more; not necessarily realise their dreams, but dare to dream; fearless to enjoy and learn the process of dreaming.

CoolThink@JC
Website: http://www.coolthink.hk/
Email: coolthink@hkjc.org.hk

Through the heartwarming stories, we salute remarkable individuals and inspire the community with their positive values.

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