Part II Career-oriented Studies (COS)
Chapter 6 Professional Development of COS Teachers
6.5 The teachers are expected to undertake ongoing professional development programmes to improve their mastery or to collaborate with others to ensure that the five dimensions of the COS framework are part of the course delivery.
6.6 Professional development may take the form of structured courses, job attachment, school-based training and mentoring. The mechanism for assessing and certifying the teachers’ practical skills and suitability for teaching COS will be further explored.
6.7 The respondents to the questionnaire for schools generally support the framework for professional development, and schools have projected the professional development needs of teachers intending to be active in COS (see Question 14 of Appendix 1).
6.8 Tertiary institutions have offered to work with EMB to provide teacher training courses in response to the increasing demand from teachers to be trained to take up COS.
6.9 Some stakeholders are concerned that there may be insufficient qualified teachers for COS. School councils/educational bodies and teacher education providers are also concerned about the readiness and qualifications of teachers teaching COS. Others feel that the framework and funding for professional development is inadequate to enable secondary teachers to engage in COS.
Teachers with responsibilities for career guidance particularly need support to help students make their choices.
The Way Forward
6.10 Like most other educational changes, the successful implementation of COS requires an active and committed principal, who has a positive and modern view of applied learning. Sound leadership will lead to a new conceptualisation of curriculum that resists the domination of a generalised and abstract knowledge-based curriculum, and establish applied learning as a sustainable and valued pathway for students.
6.11 Careers teachers also play an important role in the implementation of COS as they guide and advise students to better understand their strengths, interests and aptitudes (see Chapter 4). EMB is also committed to supporting secondary teachers who are willing and able to teach COS courses in partnership or collaboration with tertiary providers.
6.12 Current projection of student numbers and courses does not indicate a problem of teacher supply, and the tertiary sector has a flexible capacity to employ contract teachers and practitioners to meet market needs. However, it is important to ensure not only the quantity but also the quality of teaching. The focus is on ensuring that all five dimensions (A to E) are met, rather than insisting on the competence of individual teachers in all five dimensions.
6.13 A team of personnel with complementary skills, knowledge and experience can fulfil the requirements of these dimensions. Adopting a collaborative approach to fulfilling the teaching requirements can encourage active partnerships between schools and providers.
6.14 The survey also reflects that there is an urgent need to put in place a framework for professional development and training programmes for teachers to better understand their students and their needs, and to enable them to effectively teach and guide students (see Question 14 of Appendix 1).
6.15 Professional development programmes targeted at principals, careers teachers, teachers, and tertiary institution teachers and practitioners are being planned.
An enthusiastic and supportive principal is essential to manage the changes demanded by the introduction of NSS, including COS. It is expected that principals will need to master three related areas of COS:
Professional leadership – Principals will need to understand the educational principles and practices to support applied learning;
performance-based (competency-based) assessment; and non-statistical inter-school and inter-subject moderation.
Management – Principals will need to manage the impact of innovation including a diversified curriculum, out-of-school learning, flexible timetabling, school-based assessment, and the Diversity Learning Grant (DLG).
Relationships and Positioning – Principals will need to work with employers and further education providers. They have to add diversity to the curriculum, and provide multiple pathways for students, with reference to the QF, the specifications of the industry and professional standards.
(b) Careers Teachers
Teachers who engage actively with their tertiary partners and accompany their students to the provider or training venue are best placed to give sound advice and guidance, particularly about the balance of practical and theory work in the courses. These teachers also gain valuable insights into the range and nature of education available in institutions of further education. They can assist those students who would like more information and guidance on their post-school choices. In particular,
students who wish to pursue a work-based route have a particular need for guidance on options and prospects.
Teachers who work closely with course providers are also able to discuss with them issues related to the students’ learning experiences and can identify areas where shared information can enhance the quality of the learner’s experience, such as teaching methods, management of learning activities, prior knowledge gained at school, common approaches to curriculum topics and use of information and communication technology.
Workshops will be held for teachers who are responsible for giving advice on career matters. The workshops will be constructed to provide an in-depth analysis of the impact of COS on secondary schools and to identify the specific needs of career advisors. A module for professional development will be designed to meet those needs.
Teachers who wish to teach COS courses are responsible for acquiring the relevant subject knowledge and expertise. Professional development will focus primarily on strengthening teaching skills. The focus for COS is on teaching competence in practice, rather than licensing teachers based on their attendance at professional development courses.
Schools, in particular those operating in Mode 2 delivery of COS, can engage tertiary providers for ‘on-the-job’ teacher training during a COS course, combining subject and pedagogic training. Such mentored training should aim to expand the coverage of a course that a secondary teacher can reach.
(d) Tertiary institution teachers and practitioners
Experience suggests that some tertiary institution teachers and practitioners may not fully understand the demands and capacities of school-aged students. For instance, teachers may overestimate the ability of students
in this age group to work and concentrate effectively for long periods of time. As a tool for continuous improvement, it is proposed that the tertiary providers conduct a review to survey and collate the opinions of the teacher, their students, other teachers who know their work, and the teachers’ superiors (e.g. the course supervisor or Head of Department). A comprehensive view of the teacher’s capabilities will lead to an individually tailored professional development programme.
6.16 Professional development programmes should not be limited to structured courses but can cover a whole range of activities, including job attachment and shadowing, school-based training and mentoring. Perhaps the most important thing is the development of networks within the areas of studies to facilitate the sharing of experiences and expertise. Persons with relevant expertise will be invited to give advice to the preparatory COS committee on the staged introduction of professional development programmes.
6.17 The Teacher Professional Preparation Grant (TPPG) is available to schools that offer NSS classes starting from the 2005/06 school year for four years to support teachers including Careers Masters and Mistresses, to prepare for the implementation of the new curriculum.