Academic

HARROW INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HONG KONG

Leadership for a better world

Philosophy & Religious Studies Department

The department offers courses that develop a student’s ability to think analytically whilst enabling students to be informed and aware of different beliefs and ideals from around the world.

Students are expected to consider ethical, religious and philosophical topics from more than one point of view. Discussion and enquiry naturally plays a key role in the learning process, enabling students to handle topics confidently; it also helps students to develop the ability to express themselves articulately.

Curriculum Information

Prep School (Years 6-8)
In Year 6, students begin by investigating key themes such as morality, God and creation. Thinking skills and the method of expressing and justifying one’s opinion is focused on.

In Year 7, the course focuses on Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Ethical themes such as charity and animal rights are investigated alongside the study of religion through independent research and group work. 

In Year 8, the focus turns to Buddhism and Hinduism, investigating the religion’s practices and teachings.  Students then look at how religious belief can affect individuals to act and change different social and political situations.  In the Summer Term the topic of Morality and Ethics is explored, allowing students to apply their learnt concepts to more practically demanding theories and scenarios. 

Senior School (Years 9-11)
In Year 9, students build on their analytical skills by engaging with more challenging concepts such as classical and modern arguments for the existence of God, just war and the problem of evil and suffering.

In Year 10 the Edexcel IGCSE course begins and is examined at the end of Year 11. Part 1 challenges students to explore religious, philosophical and ethical issues, in both religious and non-religious contexts.  Topics include euthanasia, global warming, free will and determinism.  Part 2 allows students to investigate the practices of a particular religious community, analysing how a persons beliefs affects their actions and understanding of themselves and others in the wider community.

Sixth Form (Years 12-13)
At A-Level, students are introduced some famous classical philosophers and ethicists whilst exploring topics such as Religious Language, Miracles, Situation Ethics and the Conscience. Students are also expected to be aware and be able to comment on the dialogues between religion, philosophy and ethics in areas such as Religion and Science and Expressions of Religious Identity. This part of the course requires students to actively engage with the topics taught, forming their own opinions and expressing them in a personal way.

Outside the Classroom

Outside the classroom the department remains very active and arranges visiting speakers, workshops and events for all year groups. Such events have included talks from a visiting Jewish Rabbi and Muslim Imam, philosophy and thinking skills workshops with educators such as Ian Gilbert, as well as trips to different places of worship in Hong Kong.

The department ran a hugely successful international trip in 2016 to Germany and Poland. The trip was primarily concerned with the events of the Holocaust and in particular, the actions that took place at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, which was visited by the students.

Running in parallel with such events are the department's extra-curricular activities, which include Philosophy for Children and Philosophy Society. These extra-curricular clubs run at various points throughout the school's academic year.

Head of Department: Mr B. Robertson