Odyssey to Excellence...

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Odyssey to Excellence...

A Learning Profession of Vibrancy A Teaching Profession of Excellence

Odyssey to Excellence...

A Learning Profession of Vibrancy A Teaching Profession of Excellence

Progress Report

2015

Progress Report

2015

Committee on Professional Development of Teachers and Principals

Hong Kong

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Leaf Impetus Heights

ew

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Setting off on a journey to excellence… 4

Executive summary 6

1. Undergoing a positive transformation… 12

2. Forming shared views… 20

3. Realising T-excel@hk… 28

(i) T-standard+ Unified set of standards for the teaching profession 32 (ii) T-datasetPD Dataset built on territory-wide system survey to

inform policies and strategies 34

(iii) T-trainß New types and modes of training to be explored to

meet professional development needs 36 (iv) T-surf24/7 One-stop portal for sharing of information

and resources, and for self-paced professional development anytime, anywhere

38

(v) T-craft3 Three-tier mentorship scheme to support

practitioners transitioning into new career stages 40 (vi) T-share Reinforcement of professional learning communities

for networking, sharing, interactive exchange and collaboration

42

(vii) T-applause Promotional and contribution schemes to celebrate

achievements of high-performing practitioners 44

(viii) T-bridge Bridging the theory-practice gap with feasibility

studies on improvement of teacher preparation 46

4. Embracing the challenges ahead… 50

Acknowledging our supportive partners… 54

Engaging stakeholders… 55

Annex I: An overview of policies relating to professional development of

teachers and principals in Hong Kong 56

Annex II: Terms of Reference of COTAP and Sub-committees under COTAP 58 Annex III: Membership of COTAP and Sub-committees under COTAP 64 Annex IV: Membership of Special Meetings on Review of TCF 69

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The Committee on Professional Development of Teachers and Principals (COTAP) was reconstituted from the former Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications (ACTEQ) in June 2013.

It takes on a more holistic purview of advising the Government on the professional development for the continuum of the teaching profession, including teachers and school leaders, at different career stages. Our other important function is to provide a platform for networking, sharing, interactive exchange and collaboration among the teaching profession. We will also commission educational research and evaluation studies to inform policy and strategy formulation with an evidence-based approach.

Since COTAP’s inception, we have engaged in extensive dialogue with key stakeholders in the education sector to discuss and understand the aspirations of, and challenges faced by, the teaching profession as it shoulders the responsibility of preparing our younger generation for the 21st century, a new era noted for its vagueness, uncertainties, complexity and ambiguities. This is to enhance mutual understanding, form shared views and explore opportunities for collaboration.

We recognise that education in the 21st century, especially in the local context of Hong Kong, should be for nurturing our young people, not only with knowledge and skills for life-long learning,

S etting off on a journey

to excellence…

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but also with positive attitudes and values, as well as global perspectives and national identity. We are convinced that the teaching force and school leadership play pivotal roles in ensuring a high- quality education system, and that the quality of our teaching profession, including school leaders, is of paramount importance for students’ achievement and whole-person development.

Building on the firm foundation laid down by ACTEQ in the past, and drawing upon best practices overseas, we have reviewed both the strengths and issues of concern in the professional development of our teaching force and identified priority areas for continuous improvement. We have, since, drawn up our vision, mission, objectives and strategies to take these forward.

COTAP’s vision is to foster a robust teaching profession of excellence in Hong Kong, which in our view should also be a vibrant learning profession.

Through shared vision, mission, objectives and strategies, we aim to build a quality teaching profession comprising teachers and school leaders who, in pursuit of continuous improvement and excellence, are focused on student learning and growth, adroit in reflective and evidence-based practice, and supportive of school accountability and effectiveness. As broad strategies, we would catalyse a paradigm shift in the school sector;

promote use of evidence and data at system, school and individual levels; and build a learning community and facilitate collaboration, so as to achieve new heights in school effectiveness, teacher quality and student performance. Our main targets are to have school leadership and reflective culture strengthened, teacher quality enhanced and a supportive environment put in place for professional development. During the first phase of our work, we have drawn up a number of areas of focus under broad strategies and these will be further developed rigorously for implementation.

This will be an exciting and challenging journey, an Odyssey to Excellence.

This Report, being the First Report on COTAP’s work, presents our thoughts, recommendations and commitments. We firmly believe that realisation of our vision requires the sustained joint efforts and support of all stakeholders. We would deeply appreciate your views and insights on this Report and cordially invite you to join hands with us on this voyage for a Learning Profession of Vibrancy, and a Teaching Profession of Excellence.

Carrie WILLIS Chairman, COTAP

S etting off on a journey

to excellence…

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This Report summarises the progress made by COTAP since June 2013 and presents its views and recommendations, as well as its work plan towards building a vibrant teaching profession of excellence for the betterment of students’ achievement and whole-person development.

In most high-performing Asian education systems with brilliant student performance in international assessment, a more centralised approach to the development of teachers and principals has been adopted. Hong Kong, in comparison, has provided a relatively higher degree of autonomy for schools since the implementation of school-based management (SBM) in 1999, resulting in a genuine respect for school-based decision-making, sharing of vision and mission by stakeholders and diversity in pursuit of accountability and quality. With the more mature development of SBM, schools in Hong Kong are considered to be the loci of change and school leaders are expected to bring about improvement in teacher quality through fostering a reflective culture that supports evidence-based practice and accountability for the betterment of student learning and growth. Against this background and anchored on the solid foundations laid down by its predecessor, ACTEQ, COTAP has worked towards building shared vision, mission and objectives for the professional development of teachers and school leaders in Hong Kong. It

E xecutive summary

providinga platform for interactive exchange COTAP’s logo signifies our

aspiration in building a vibrant teaching profession of excellence in Hong Kong through

Preparingteachetrs &len r taetaining

Promoting&suppo

rting CPD

Strengthening school

leadership

andcollaborationin three mainareasofwork

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has extensively engaged key stakeholders in the process and carefully deliberated on their views and aspirations. Reference has also been made to best practices outside Hong Kong through sharing, visits and literature reviews.

COTAP’s vision is to firmly root in Hong Kong

“A Learning Profession of Vibrancy, A Teaching Profession of Excellence”.

Our mission is “To foster a vibrant teaching profession of excellence for the benefit of student learning and growth through formulating strategies to enhance teacher preparation, promote and support continuing professional development (CPD), and strengthen school leadership”.

The objectives are, thus, “To nurture a quality teaching profession comprising teachers and school leaders who, in pursuit of continuous improvement and excellence, are focused on student learning and growth, adroit in reflective and evidence-based practice, and supportive of school accountability and effectiveness”.

COTAP proposes to deploy three main strategies to achieve these objectives—

► catalysing a paradigm shift in the school sector;

► promoting use of evidence and data at system, school and individual levels; and

► building a learning community and facilitating collaboration.

Three main targets, with specific details set under each, have been identified—

► Strengthened school leadership and reflective culture

• Schools are accountable, reflective and dynamic professional learning organisations;

• School leadership is enhanced to take forward school development; and

• Reflective practice, self-improvement and effective CPD planning are realised at individual and organisational levels.

► Enhanced teacher quality

• Teachers are equipped with the necessary attributes and capabilities that meet the expectations of schools and society;

• High importance is attached to practice in practice; and

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• The quality of professional development programmes is enhanced.

► Supportive environment for professional development in place

• More space for CPD is created;

• Increased opportunities and modes of professional learning are provided to meet the needs of the teaching profession;

• Professional expertise is maximised to promote excellence in teaching and leadership in and outside schools; and

• Talent is attracted, retained and engaged.

In pursuing these targets, COTAP will launch an overarching project “T-excel@hk”, the title of which symbolises a teaching profession of excellence in Hong Kong with “T” standing for the teaching profession as a whole, including both teachers and school leaders. Eight areas of focus are being planned under T-excel@hk, and they will be prioritised and implemented in phases—

T-standard+ – Unified set of standards for the teaching profession to provide clear reference for teacher preparation, CPD and school leadership development, targeting a positive impact on student learning and growth;

T-datasetPD – Dataset built on territory-wide system survey to inform policies and strategies for the professional development of teachers and school leaders at different career stages, effecting a feedback loop at system and school levels to drive informed decision-making supported by evidence;

T-trainß – New types and modes of training to be explored to meet the changing professional development needs of teachers and school leaders, enhancing the quality and relevance of the programmes, and allowing for diversity;

T-surf24/7 – One-stop portal for sharing of information and resources, and for self- paced professional development anytime, anywhere, facilitating professional learning and development;

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T-craft3 – Three-tier mentorship scheme to provide quality on-site support for practitioners transitioning into new career stages (student and novice teachers, middle leaders and newly- appointed principals);

T-share – Reinforcement of professional learning communities for networking, sharing, interactive exchange and collaboration within the teaching profession, so as to build a vibrant learning profession to drive robust school leadership, and promote innovations and improvement in pedagogy and student development;

T-applause – Promotional and contribution schemes to celebrate achievements of high-performing practitioners, in recognition, and for promotion, of the professionalism and status of the teaching profession, to help attract and retain talent; and

T-bridge – Bridging the theory-practice gap through feasibility studies on how best to improve the design and delivery of teacher preparation programmes, e.g. clinical model, so as to help novice teachers better meet the challenges in schools.

COTAP aspires to create new impetus through its strategies in close collaboration with the teaching profession and schools, and together scale new heights in school effectiveness, teacher quality and student performance. COTAP will continue to communicate and work closely with all stakeholders to take forward its recommendations in the first phase of work and start its deliberation of issues in other specific areas in the future months (including developments in the kindergarten (KG) sector, support for students with special educational needs, non-Chinese speaking students and other emerging issues).

Be a windrider breaking wild waves.

– History of Song of the Southern Dynasties

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Ahoy! Embarking on an

uncharted journey…

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Background

In the past decades, education in Hong Kong underwent remarkable, positive transformation through a series of reforms, which included policies and strategies for the professional development of teachers and principals. These reforms are considered to have been instrumental in promoting students’ achievement and whole- person development and Hong Kong students have performed well in various international assessments, such as Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).

Teachers’ professional development was previously the responsibility of the then ACTEQ. In 2003, ACTEQ drew up a comprehensive Teacher Competencies Framework (TCF) as a useful guide and reference, for both individual teachers and schools, for formulating professional development plans relevant to their respective needs. ACTEQ also recommended to the teaching profession

U ndergoing

a positive

transformation…

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a soft target of 150 CPD hours in each three-year cycle, which has since been put into practice and supported by the profession.

Separately, on school leadership, having articulated the underpinnings of CPD for principals, the Education Bureau (EDB) prescribed in 2002 a structure of six core areas of leadership required of the principals (including strategic direction and policy environment; learning, teaching and curriculum; teacher professional growth and development; staff and resources management;

quality assurance and accountability; and external communication and connection to the outside world). These elements have since guided the overarching professional development and leadership programmes for aspiring, newly- appointed and serving principals. The Government received advice from the then Steering Committee on Principals’ Professional Development (SCPPD) on the certification of aspiring principals and the professional development of newly-appointed and serving principals. Annex I gives an overview of these policies.

Hong Kong is often highly commended by overseas education experts for its school-based approach in promoting the professional development of the teaching profession. SBM has been implemented in the school sector since 1999, whereby schools are given autonomy and entrusted with the responsibility for student-centred and quality- focused curriculum design and delivery, resources management, transparent and accountable school governance and day-to-day administration.

Through SBM, schools exercise this greater autonomy and responsibility, taking into account their own strengths and characteristics. They have more space to create an enabling environment conducive to continuous school improvement, and put in place a rigorous mechanism for school self-evaluation of the quality of their learning and teaching, so that student learning and growth will benefit. School-based decisions and leadership have, thus, become more important and school leaders, including principals, vice-principals, middle leaders, school managers and school supervisors have to work in close collaboration with one another in driving school improvement and enhancing governance.

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The increasingly important and demanding roles played by school leaders in catalysing positive changes in our schools are consistent with international trends. Studies of high-performing systems overseas show a growing recognition of the importance of effective school leadership in improving educational outcomes and, notably, by leading change and transforming schools through empowerment and team-building. Proactive strategies to develop school leadership are evident in many top-rated education systems (e.g. Singapore, Victoria and Ontario), including early system-level support for high-potential school leaders and specially designed leadership programmes for unleashing the potential of aspiring leaders.

Likewise, Hong Kong needs to roll out policies and strategies in a more holistic manner to further strengthen school leadership and enhance teachers’

professional development to better equip our students for the challenges in the 21st century, and for succession planning and school development.

This has led to the establishment of COTAP, which advises the Government on policies and strategies for professional development across the continuum of the teaching profession.

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COTAP has been reconstituted from the former ACTEQ since 1 June 2013, with an expanded purview covering professional development across the continuum of the teaching profession at different career stages, from student, novice and experienced teachers, to aspiring, newly-appointed and accomplished school leaders. It will also facilitate networking, sharing, interactive exchange and collaboration within the teaching profession, and commission educational research and evaluation studies, where necessary, to inform policy and strategy formulation, adopting an evidence- based approach.

Since its inception, COTAP has undertaken an environmental scan of the landscape of the professional development of teachers and principals in Hong Kong, reviewed current policies and strategies, and identified issues of concern and priority areas for improvement. COTAP has engaged in an extensive dialogue with key stakeholders, including school councils, heads’ and deputy heads’ associations, school sponsoring bodies (SSB), educational bodies, teachers’ associations, parents, KG sector and teacher education institutions (TEIs), so as to better understand the issues and challenges faced by the teaching profession in keeping pace with the times, with a view to building shared vision and seeking collaboration.

To maintain a global perspective and through literature reviews, sharing and visits, COTAP has also drawn upon, and learnt from, best practices from outside Hong Kong, including Shanghai, Australia, California, Finland, Ontario, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

Three Sub-committees have been set up under COTAP for more detailed studies and focused deliberation on the areas of preparing teachers and retaining talent;

promoting and supporting CPD; and strengthening school leadership. These

COTAP’s

vision, mission, objectives

and strategies

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are, respectively, the Sub-committee on Initial Teacher Education, Sub-committee on Teachers’

Professional Development and Sub-committee on School Leadership. Annexes II and III set out their Terms of Reference and membership.

Having discussed in depth with key stakeholders, made reference to best practices in other high- performing education systems, and carefully deliberated with Committee and Sub-committee members, COTAP has formulated its vision to build

“A Learning Profession of Vibrancy, A Teaching Profession of Excellence” in Hong Kong. Its mission is, thus, “To foster a vibrant teaching profession of excellence for the benefit of student learning and growth through formulating strategies to enhance teacher preparation, promote and support CPD, and strengthen school leadership”.

COTAP is convinced that leveraging on the strength of our SBM system, school leadership is the essential driver for professional development. In articulating its vision and mission, COTAP aims at nurturing a quality teaching profession comprising teachers and school leaders who, in pursuit of continuous improvement and excellence, are focused on student learning and growth, adroit in reflective and evidence-based practice, and supportive of school accountability and effectiveness. It proposes to bring about new impetus through the strategies of catalysing a paradigm shift in the school sector;

promoting use of evidence and data at system, school and individual levels; and building a learning community and facilitating collaboration. Through concerted efforts, COTAP aspires to scale new heights in school effectiveness, teacher quality and student performance.

In catalysing a paradigm shift in the school sector, COTAP sees schools under SBM as the best loci of change and seeks to facilitate their transformation into dynamic learning organisations. Schools would be supported in developing a path to excellence, leveraging on their respective characteristics and strengths, fostering a reflective culture, promoting evidence-based practice at individual and organisational levels, and enhancing school accountability and effectiveness. All of these have, ultimately, the same objective of striving for continuous improvement in students’ achievement and whole-person development.

Another area of paradigm shift which COTAP will promote, is the use of evidence and data at system, organisational and individual levels. COTAP will encourage organic feedback loops to be instituted, drawing from educational research and evaluation studies to inform the formulation and improvement of policies and strategies that are conducive to the development of the teaching profession and will benefit student learning and growth.

Efforts will be made to build a robust learning community within the teaching profession by providing a platform for collaboration and professional exchange. Collaboration among the teaching profession, school sector, TEIs, parents’

associations and EDB would be encouraged in order to promote evidence-based reflective practice at all levels.

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A Learning Profession of Vibrancy A Teaching Profession of Excellence

To foster a vibrant teaching profession of excellence for the benefit of student learning and growth through formulating strategies to –

• enhance teacher preparation,

• promote and support continuing professional development, and

• strengthen school leadership

To nurture a quality teaching profession comprising teachers and school leaders who, in pursuit of

continuous improvement and excellence, are –

• focused on student learning and growth,

• adroit in reflective and evidence-based practice, and

• supportive of school accountability and effectiveness

OBJECTIVES MISSION

VISION

• Catalysing a paradigm shift in the school sector,

• Promoting use of evidence and data at system, school and individual levels, and

• Building a learning community and facilitating collaboration

STRATEGIES

Shared vision, mission, objectives and strategies for the betterment of students’ achievement and

whole-person development

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Encompassing views...

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New modes and types of CPD …

Constructive views from stakeholders

A gap between the capabilities of novice teachers and schools’

expectation… Experienced

mentors needed…

Competency standards for the

teaching force…

More exposure for school

leaders… Need to retain

and engage talent …

Methodical review of international policies

and good practices

Preparing teachers and retaining talent

Promoting and supporting CPD

Strengthening school leadership

Ho ng Kong CONTEX T

COTAP attaches great importance to working closely with key stakeholders in promoting the professional development of teachers and school leaders. This will enhance mutual understanding and allow the formation of shared views on the direction and strategies for Hong Kong to build a vibrant teaching profession of excellence for the betterment of students’ achievement and whole- person development.

It has been widely acknowledged that the younger generation will face increasingly complex challenges in the 21st century, an era of unprecedented technological advances, fast changes in economic, social and political environments, intensified impact of globalisation and keen international competition. The fundamental question is how the new generation can be better prepared for these challenges through education. Developing and sustaining a vibrant team of teachers and school leaders of excellence will be an essential element in helping Hong Kong students flourish, grow and unleash their potential.

Through extensive literature reviews, sharing and visits, COTAP has made reference to international policies and good practices relating to the professional development of teachers and school leaders, especially those of high-performing education systems. In-depth discussions with various stakeholder groups have further helped COTAP evaluate the relevance and applicability of these policies and practices in the context of Hong Kong.

F orming shared views…

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21 New modes

and types of CPD …

Constructive views from stakeholders

A gap between the capabilities of novice teachers and schools’

expectation…

Experienced mentors needed…

Competency standards for the

teaching force…

More exposure for school

leaders…

Need to retain and engage

talent …

Methodical review of international policies

and good practices

Preparing teachers and retaining talent

Promoting and supporting CPD

Strengthening school leadership

Ho ng Kong CONTEX T

F orming shared

views…

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The major views gathered by COTAP from stakeholders can be summarised in three areas in the following paragraphs—

preparing teachers and retaining talent,

promoting and supporting CPD, and

strengthening school leadership

Preparing teachers and retaining talent for sustaining a high-calibre teaching force

• To inform curriculum planning and delivery of initial teacher education (ITE) programmes, there should be a mechanism for regular feedback from schools on the attributes, capabilities and professional conduct expected of TEI graduates, which could be channeled to TEIs for reference.

• To provide student teachers with adequate opportunities to learn through practice, the teaching practicum could be further enhanced by close collaboration between TEIs and schools.

• To help raise professional status and retain talent, the contributions made by exemplary teachers and school leaders should be given recognition and publicity.

Promoting and supporting CPD for further enhancement of school effectiveness and teacher quality

• To better inform CPD planning and provision at system level, a mechanism could be developed to gauge the professional development needs of both teachers and school leaders, including their preferred types and modes of CPD.

• To equip the teaching profession with the necessary knowledge, skills, values and attitudes for meeting the challenges of the new era, the quality and relevance of professional development programmes could be further enhanced. More flexibility and, hence, increased opportunities for professional development, should be allowed for developing different modes and duration of programmes, such as a blended mode of self-paced e-learning and face-to-face tuition.

• To facilitate reflective practice, self-improvement and effective CPD planning at individual and organisational levels, the current TCF for teachers would need to be updated and a set of standards for school leaders developed.

• To maximise peer learning and support under a collaborative learning culture, professional learning communities could be further promoted both in and outside schools.

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Strengthening school leadership for school improvement and continuity of teaching expertise

• To take forward school improvement, school leaders should be committed to transforming schools and building a reflective school culture that supports evidence-based practice and accountability.

• To further broaden their horizons, cross-sector attachments of middle managers and principals could be considered.

• To better pool experience and expertise in mentoring, a comprehensive mentorship scheme could be considered, with coordination and support at system level, to enhance school- based mentoring for practitioners transitioning into new career stages, including student and novice teachers, middle leaders and newly- appointed principals.

Guided by its vision, mission, objectives and strategies, and taking into account the views of stakeholders as set out in the preceding paragraphs, COTAP has decided on three main targets, each with a number of specific details —

► Strengthened school leadership and reflective culture

• Schools are accountable, reflective and dynamic professional learning organisations;

• School leadership is enhanced to take forward school development; and

• Reflective practice, self-improvement and effective CPD planning are realised at individual and organisational levels.

► Enhanced teacher quality

• Teachers are equipped with the necessary attributes and capabilities that meet the expectations of schools and society;

• High importance is attached to practice in practice; and

• The quality of professional development programmes is enhanced.

► Supportive environment for professional development in place

• More space for CPD is created;

• Increased opportunities and modes of professional learning are provided to meet the needs of the teaching profession;

• Professional expertise is maximised to promote excellence in teaching and leadership in and outside schools; and

• Talent is attracted, retained and engaged.

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2.1 Teachers are equipped with the necessary attributes and capabilities that meet the expectations of schools and society 2.2 High importance is attached to practice

in practice

2.3 The quality of professional development programmes is enhanced

1.1 Schools are accountable, reflective and dynamic professional learning organisations

1.2 School leadership is enhanced to take forward school development 1.3 Reflective practice, self‐improvement

and effective CPD planning are realised at individual and organisational levels

3.1 More space for CPD is created

3.2 Increased opportunities and modes of professional learning are provided to meet the needs of the teaching profession

3.3 Professional expertise is maximised to promote excellence in teaching and leadership in and outside schools

3.4 Talent is attracted, retained and engaged

A v irtu ous cycle for con tinuous student‐focused im

prove men t

Strengthened school leadership

and reflective culture

Enhanced teacher quality Supportive

environment for professional

development in place

2.

1.

3.

Targets that COTAP works towards...

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To realise its vision, mission and objectives, take into account stakeholders’ views and input, and draw upon best practices overseas where relevant to the Hong Kong context, COTAP proposes to launch an overarching project “T-excel@hk” which encompasses a number of areas of focus that work collectively towards the targets described above. Details of the proposed T-excel@hk are presented in Chapter 3.

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Manoeuvring through waters…

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This Chapter presents the overarching T-excel@hk project for rolling out COTAP’s strategies for nurturing a vibrant teaching profession of excellence, which the very title of the scheme symbolises, with “T” refers to the teaching profession at various career stages, from student, novice and experienced teachers, to aspiring, newly-appointed and accomplished school leaders. Eight areas of focus have been identified under T-excel@hk in COTAP’s first phase of work, namely T-standard+, T-datasetPD, T-trainß, T-surf24/7, T-craft3, T-share, T-applause and T-bridge.

COTAP’s deliberations under each of these areas are elaborated in Sections (i)-(viii) below.

R ealising

T-excel@hk…

3

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STRATEGIES VISION

MISSION

OBJECTIVES

Targets that COTAP works towards...

A virtuous cycle for continuous student‐focused im provement

Strengthened school leadership

and reflective culture

Enhanced teacher quality Supportive

environment for professional

development in place

2.

1.

3.

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T-excel@hk

T-standard+ T-datasetPD T-trainß

T-surf24/7

T-craft3 T-share T-pride T-bridge

T-standard+ T-datasetPD T-trainß T-surf24/7

T-craft3 T-share T-applause T-bridge

For the betterment of students

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T-excel@hk

T-standard+

T-standard

+

Unified set of standards for the teaching profession

T-datasetPD

T-dataset

PD

Dataset built on territory-wide system survey to inform policies and strategies for the professional development of teachers and school leaders at different career stages

T-craft3

T-craft

3

Three-tier mentorship scheme to support student and novice teachers, middle leaders and newly-appointed principals

T-share

T-share

Reinforcement of professional learning communities for networking, sharing, interactive exchange and collaboration

Effecting a feedback loop at system and school levels to drive informed decision-making supported by evidence

Providing a clear reference for teacher preparation, CPD and school leadership development, targeting a positive impact on student learning and growth

Providing high-quality

on-site support for practitioners transitioning into new career stages

Building a vibrant learning profession to drive robust school leadership, and promote innovations and improvement in pedagogy and student development

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T-trainß

T-train

ß

New types and modes of training to be explored to meet the changing professional development needs of teachers and school leaders

T-surf24/7

T-surf

24/7

One-stop portal for sharing of information and resources, and for self-paced

professional development anytime, anywhere

T-pride

T-applause

Promotional and contribution schemes to celebrate achievements of

high-performing practitioners

T-bridge

T-bridge

Feasibility studies on how best to improve the design and delivery of teacher

preparation programmes, e.g. clinical model

Enhancing the quality and relevance of the programmes, and allowing for diversity

Facilitating professional learning and development

Highlighting the teaching profession’s achievements and contributions, in recognition, and for promotion, of the professionalism and status, to help attract and retain talent

Bridging the theory-practice gap in teacher preparation to help novice teachers better meet the challenges in schools

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Unified set of

standards for the teaching profession

T-standard+

(i) T-standard +

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As education practitioners shoulder the huge responsibility of nurturing the growth and development of the younger generation, society holds high expectations of the standards of the profession, in terms of their professional knowledge, skills, values and attitudes. In high-performing education systems, e.g. Ontario and California, rigorous competency standards or frameworks are prescribed for the teaching profession. In some countries, e.g. Australia and Ireland, there are also threshold requirements for graduates of ITE programmes.

In Hong Kong, the then ACTEQ introduced in 2003 a TCF as a reference tool for individual teachers to locate their own stages of professional maturity and for schools to look at the competency profiles of their teachers individually and collectively. The TCF has since been widely accepted in the school sector as a tool for CPD planning. Furthermore, the Government prescribed in 2002 six core areas of leadership for the professional development of principals, namely (1) strategic direction and policy environment; (2) learning, teaching and curriculum;

(3) teacher professional growth and development;

(4) staff and resources management, (5) quality assurance and accountability; and (6) external communication and connection to the outside world. These core areas of leadership have since been incorporated into the leadership training programmes for aspiring, newly-appointed and serving principals. With the series of reforms in the

past decades and the changes in the education landscape in the 21st century, COTAP considers it timely that the TCF and the core areas of leadership should be reviewed, updated and enhanced.

Stakeholder groups have indicated to COTAP the need for a coherent set of standards for the teaching profession in the KG, primary and secondary sectors, including both teachers and school leaders at different stages of maturity along the continuum of professional growth. It has been suggested that, apart from enhancing the current TCF as an updated set of standards for teachers, a related set of standards for school leaders, incorporating updated core areas of leadership, could be developed and interfaced with those for the teachers. This would form a unified set of standards, namely T-standard+, for reference by members of the teaching profession at various stages of their professional growth. T-standard+ is to positively align at system level a coherent direction for the planning, design, delivery and review of ITE for student teachers and for CPD of serving teachers and school leaders. It will support and facilitate CPD planning, implementation and evaluation at individual, subject panel, functional committee and school levels.

The development of T-standard+ and its successful implementation will need to go hand in hand with a robust infrastructure of evidence-based exemplars of planning tools.

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Dataset built on territory-wide system survey to inform policies and strategies

T-datasetPD

(ii) T-dataset PD

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As COTAP promotes a reflective culture and the wider use of evidence and data in the school sector to inform policy and strategy formulation and decision-making, its own recommendations should, likewise, be data-driven and well supported by evidence-based information. COTAP is inspired by the practice in some high-performing education systems, such as Australia and Finland, where information on the demographics (e.g. age, gender and race), professional qualifications and current work situations (e.g. post, salary and workload) and feedback (e.g. career aspirations, CPD and appraisal issues) are collected on a regular basis to inform policy formulation and practice. The Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also provides a comprehensive cross-country analysis that helps participating countries to draw reference from others facing similar policy challenges.

Hong Kong has yet to establish at system level a mechanism to collect and collate data and evidence to inform policies and strategies. COTAP, thus, proposes that one should be set up under T-datasetPD, the dataset on the professional development of the teaching profession, based on which evidence-based analyses could be made of the attributes and capabilities expected of the profession at different career stages, and respective professional development needs could be determined. It is suggested that, as in Australia and Finland, T-datasetPD could be updated at regular intervals (e.g. two to three years) to keep abreast of the latest developments in order to support informed decisions on system-level planning and review, as well as the planning, design and delivery of ITE and CPD programmes for teachers and school leaders. Relevant data from T-datasetPD could also enable Hong Kong to benchmark against world-class practices and standards.

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New types and modes of training to be explored to meet professional development needs

T-trainß

(iii) T-train β

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CPD is widely deployed in many countries as a major way to equip teachers and school leaders with the necessary knowledge and skills to bring about improvement in student learning and growth. It is also accepted that committed and high-performing teachers and school leaders are the keys to quality education. It can be seen that many countries have made considerable efforts to enhance the quality of CPD. For instance, in Australia and the UK, the Government devises a holistic leadership curriculum as an organising focus to strengthen the coherence of various leadership programmes.

In Hong Kong, to drive quality education, similar efforts have been made to build the capacity of teachers and school leaders through various CPD programmes, covering a wide range of topics and themes, including curriculum planning and implementation, school administration, and leadership skills. There are also some evaluation mechanisms to assess feedback for reviewing curriculum design, delivery and quality of the programmes.

Stakeholders’ views suggest that there is a need for more flexibility and enhanced relevance in the provision of CPD programmes. It is proposed that a blended mode of programmes be explored for more effective and efficient delivery, such

as e-learning mode blended with face-to-face tuition. Related issues of technical support, course design and quality assurance would need to be investigated in depth. COTAP will be gauging the professional development needs of teachers and school leaders, including their preferred training types and modes, under T-datasetPD. Based on the outcomes, new types and modes of programmes would be developed and experimented with under T-trainß. The trial schemes could be further improved and refined in the light of experience gained and more widespread implementation by programme providers encouraged.

Consideration could also be given, under T-trainß, to exploring incentive measures to encourage teachers to undertake CPD, e.g. sponsorships for attending local and overseas conferences; CPD course fee reimbursement as a new funding mode;

and credit accumulation and transfer through

“credit-bearing” CPD programmes leading to higher qualifications.

Some stakeholder groups have also suggested cross-sector attachments for broadening the horizons of teachers and school leaders. A new

“Programme for Leadership Enhancement for Serving Principals” that comprises attachments to the non-education sector will be the first trial scheme under T-trainß.

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One-stop portal for sharing of information and resources, and for self-paced professional development anytime, anywhere

T-surf24/7

(iv) T-surf 24/7

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The advance in technologies has broken down geographical and time boundaries, and made it possible for connectivity and access anytime, anywhere. It has become a world trend that more and more professional learning, sharing and exchange is undertaken online. Ontario and Victoria provide two successful examples of overseas practice, whereby online professional development platforms enable teachers and school leaders to access up-to-date professional development information and resources, and share professional insights with counterparts across the territory.

In Hong Kong, the EDB’s Training Calendar System (TCS) has facilitated teachers and school leaders in enrolment into CPD programmes and activities offered by the Government. Local tertiary institutions and educational bodies separately disseminate information on their programmes via the internet. COTAP considers that there is scope to make better use of current technologies to further facilitate the teaching profession’s learning and development.

COTAP proposes to develop a one-stop portal, an e-platform named T-surf24/7, to enable the teaching profession to have easy access to information on various professional development programmes offered by the EDB, tertiary institutions and other educational bodies. There would also be access to various e-learning resources and repositories for self-paced learning, and supporting tools for CPD planning and evaluation at individual, subject panel, functional committee and school levels.

The one-stop portal of T-surf24/7 will involve large- scale collation of the information and resources relating to professional development provided by various parties including the EDB, tertiary institutions and other educational bodies. It will be developed and enhanced incrementally in phases. Specific professional development needs of teachers and school leaders, and the views from the school sector on their preferred web information, resources and services would help shape the planning and design of the overall infrastructure of T-surf24/7.

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Three-tier mentorship scheme to support practitioners

transitioning into new career stages

T-craft3

(v) T-craft 3

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Many education systems worldwide attach importance to mentorship for teachers transitioning into new career stages. This is especially important for fresh graduates joining the field, since the first few years of teaching are generally considered most critical to their long-term professional growth. In countries such as Singapore and the UK, mentorship for novice teachers embraces relevant and comprehensive learning experience, with one to two years of coaching from expert senior teachers who serve as mentors.

In Hong Kong, novice teachers are provided with school-based mentoring support in their first year of experience under the Teacher Induction Scheme, which offers them a comprehensive environment conducive to their developing professionalism. The Induction Tool Kit introduced by the then ACTEQ in 2008 provides the framework for systematising the mentoring processes under the school-based Teacher Induction Scheme. Mentors attend a Mentorship Training Programme for Teachers offered by the EDB, which helps prepare experienced teachers to assume the role of mentors for novice teachers in a school-based context. New school leaders also receive mentoring support and, under the Structured Support Programme, newly-appointed principals can, through meetings, networking and sharing of practical experience, seek advice from their mentors, who are mostly experienced principals.

Discussions with stakeholders reflect that mentoring support in Hong Kong could be further strengthened and facilitated. Mentoring should also be arranged for teachers who have assumed new leadership roles, to help them master the skill sets for their new responsibilities. COTAP proposes, therefore, to develop a comprehensive mentorship scheme, T-craft3, to provide practitioners transitioning into new career stages (including student and novice teachers, middle leaders and newly-appointed principals) with on-site support for learning their craft.

Under T-craft3, a central pool of quality mentors could be formed from experienced high-performing teachers and school leaders, who could be deployed to offer support services, counselling and practical advice to schools on the implementation of school- based induction and mentoring, train the trainers, and establish regional networks for interactive exchange and experience sharing. Stakeholders are of the view that accomplished teachers honoured with the Chief Executive’s Award for Teaching Excellence (CEATE) could be a valuable resource for supporting this proposed mentorship scheme.

Distinguished experienced principals would also be invited to support the scheme.

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Reinforcement of

professional learning communities for

networking, sharing, interactive exchange and collaboration

T-share

(vi) T-share

In a party of three, there must be one whom I can learn from.

In a party of three, there must be one whom I can learn from.

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– The Analects of Confucius

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Fostering a collaborative culture is an effective strategy for enhancing teachers’ professional knowledge, improving student learning, developing school leadership and sustaining school improvement. Through professional learning communities (PLCs) in the education field, teachers and school leaders could learn and benefit from the sharing of experience and expertise, and ample opportunities for collaboration. PLCs are, therefore, widely advocated in many countries.

PLCs have also flourished in Hong Kong’s school sector. Keeping pace with the curriculum reforms and pedagogical innovations, collaborative lesson preparation, peer lesson observation and experience sharing are encouraged in schools, cultivating a learning culture among teachers.

There are also joint school functions, staff development days, teacher support networks and quality circles at district or regional level to facilitate exchange across schools on themes of shared interest. Through professional learning, sharing and exchange, our teachers and school leaders strive for excellence.

COTAP is of the view that PLCs, as a powerful strategy for staff development and school improvement, should be further developed and reinforced within and across schools, networks and regions. COTAP, thus, proposes to establish the T-share scheme, which will proactively promote sharing of insights from research, innovations in pedagogy and school leadership, and facilitate interactive exchange and networking within the teaching profession for enhanced school effectiveness and teacher quality. The aim is to inculcate a strong collaborative culture that positively supports a professional learning environment for the teaching profession, which will ultimately enhance the quality and consistency of instructional practice, support school development and, most importantly, benefit student learning.

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Promotional and

contribution schemes to celebrate

achievements of high-performing practitioners

T-pride

(vii) T-applause

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COTAP is of the view that an enhanced professional status and respect for the teaching profession in society would help attract and retain talent in the profession. This is evident from the developments in some overseas countries, notably in Finland.

In Hong Kong, efforts have been made over the years to raise public awareness of the importance of the teaching profession. Hong Kong celebrates Teachers’ Day on 10 September each year, when nominated teachers receive commendations in recognition of their commitment and excellence in teaching. To further promote a culture of excellence and collaboration, teachers participate in a highly prestigious award scheme, CEATE, which honours accomplishments in different key areas. There are now over 600 teachers honoured with these awards, and the CEATE Teachers Association has been set up to propagate and share good teaching practices.

Taking into account stakeholders’ views, and to further reinforce efforts in this respect, COTAP proposes to establish T-applause, which will embrace a series of promotional and contribution schemes to celebrate achievements of high- performing practitioners.

Scholarship schemes will be considered under T-applause. COTAP could build on the success of current Scholarship for Prospective English Teachers, and explore similar schemes for deserving teachers of other specialisms. Schemes to support the pursuit of higher qualifications could also be considered.

Inter-school and territory-wide events or competitions could be organised to commend and propagate success stories in caring and nurturing student growth and development, with wider use of the social media to maximise publicity.

Recognition of excellence in school leadership will also be considered under T-applause, and COTAP will further explore stakeholders’ suggestions of certificates of excellence and study grants for high-performing school leaders.

COTAP would also review overseas practice and explore the feasibility of a number of other interesting and more complex suggestions, including post-graduate teacher training programmes at master’s degree level, campaigns to promote excellence in research and evaluation studies, and an expert track for teachers.

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Bridging the theory-practice

gap with feasibility studies on

improvement of

teacher preparation

T-bridge

(viii) T-bridge

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ITE programmes lay a firm foundation of the theoretical underpinnings upon which practical teaching expertise is built. It is a common practice in many countries to require student teachers or fresh ITE graduates to undergo internship or induction before they become qualified teachers.

In Hong Kong, student teachers of full-time ITE programmes undertake a teaching practicum (TP), during which they are placed in local primary and/

or secondary schools, depending on the stream in which they specialise, to teach a particular subject in the classroom with guidance from teacher mentors. With on-site guidance and support from experienced teacher mentors and placement in the school context, TP should offer a valuable opportunity for student teachers to put theories into practice. Such experience should be very useful in equipping student teachers for effective discharge of teaching duties in their future career.

Discussions with stakeholders reflect that the value of TP is widely acknowledged, but more could be done to better bridge the theory-practice

gap, and more importance could be attached to practice in practice, so that ITE graduates will be better equipped with the necessary attributes and capabilities that meet the expectations of schools and society.

COTAP proposes to pursue this issue with T-bridge, under which COTAP will explore the best way forward in bridging the theory-practice gap in teacher preparation. Improvement to the existing arrangements in the design and delivery of ITE programmes will be considered and better communication between the school sector and TEIs will be facilitated. Feasibility studies on internship and the clinical model, a prevalent model guiding the design and delivery of ITE, will be undertaken, drawing reference from overseas practices, including those in Finland and Victoria. The aim is to ensure that student teachers are given ample opportunities and intensive guidance to apply the pedagogical theories acquired in their ITE programmes and learn about practice in practice in the school context.

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49

Consolidating global revelations...

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Embracing

the challenges ahead…

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The preceding chapters outline the progress made by COTAP in the past months, and its first phase of work. COTAP will further develop, prioritise and implement in phases the eight areas of focus under T-excel@hk, having regard to feasibility, practicality, interface and impact considerations, as well as resources implications. A phased approach would allow room for continuous improvement in the light of experience.

COTAP will first start development of T-standard+, as a unified set of standards could provide a useful reference and anchor for the teaching profession in its teacher preparation, CPD and school leadership development, targeting a positive impact on student learning and growth. Special Meetings on Review of TCF (membership at Annex IV) have been set up and literature reviews on relevant competency standards and frameworks from developed countries are being undertaken, with a view to deliberating a way forward for formulating an updated set of standards for teachers in Hong Kong.

COTAP also attaches priority to T-datasetPD, which aims to effect a feedback loop at system and school levels to drive informed decision-making supported by evidence. COTAP will roll out, first and foremost, a mechanism at system level to gather evidence and data on the professional development needs of teachers and school leaders, evaluation of outcomes and identification of service gaps, so that it may make evidence-based informed decisions in formulating recommendations on policies and strategies for the development of the profession.

With consolidated findings from T-datasetPD, T-trainß could then be launched. Thereby, the current provision of CPD programmes will be reviewed and new types and modes of programmes will be explored, so as to better meet the fast changing needs of teachers and school leaders.

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COTAP will also start development of T-surf24/7, the one-stop portal to facilitate professional learning and development of teachers and school leaders anytime, anywhere. T-surf24/7 would enable the profession to have easy access to information on various CPD programmes, including those provided by the Government, TEIs, educational bodies, tertiary institutions and non-governmental organisations. It would be a repository for e-learning resources to support self-paced learning, and eventually it may well be possible for this to support the e-learning elements under the new types and modes of programmes to be developed under T-trainß. The teaching profession would also be able to use T-surf24/7 for CPD planning and evaluation at individual, subject panel, functional committee and school levels, adopting supporting tools developed from T-standard+.

COTAP will begin to roll out activities under T-share to facilitate collaborative learning and experience sharing on themes of common interest among teachers and school leaders, drive robust school leadership, and promote innovations and improvement in pedagogy and student development.

Work on the other areas of focus will then follow.

T-craft3, a three-tier mentorship scheme, will be developed for implementation at system level, targeting student and novice teachers, middle leaders and newly-appointed principals so that they may benefit from quality on-site support and learn their craft as they transition into new career stages. Promotional schemes to be organised under T-applause will be planned to highlight the achievements and contributions of distinguished members of the teaching profession, raise public awareness of their professionalism and status, help attract new talent into the field, and retain dedicated and high-quality members in the profession.

COTAP would study, under T-bridge, how best student and novice teachers could be helped to bridge the theory-practice gap, and better meet the expectations and needs of schools and society.

COTAP will facilitate better communication and collaboration between the school sector and TEIs for continuous improvement of programme design and delivery, and better connection between theories learnt in ITE programmes and real-life practice in schools.

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As COTAP drives the implementation of T-excel@hk, it will also start discussion on the issues and challenges faced by the teaching profession in other areas, including the developments in the KG sector, support for students with special educational needs, non-Chinese speaking students and professional development for language teachers. COTAP will disseminate information on its work progress from time to time.

COTAP has embarked on an exciting journey, an Odyssey to Excellence in school effectiveness, teacher quality and student performance. COTAP will work closely with the teaching profession, school sector, TEIs, parents and EDB for synergised efforts in realising the shared vision, mission, objectives and strategies for fostering a robust and vibrant teaching profession of excellence in Hong Kong .

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References

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