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Teachers’ Professional Development to Move with the Times

Dr Christine Choi

Under Secretary for Education

 

      Hong Kong’s sustainable development is underpinned by a strong manpower supply, and teachers are the key to building the talent pool. It is for this reason that we attach great importance to teachers’ training and development. We are committed to providing teachers with different opportunities for professional development and enabling them to exert their professional expertise and realise education vision.  Teachers’ roles and their professional development modes, however, should evolve with the times so that they could flexibly and continuously keep abreast of the changing education landscape.

 

A platform for professional development

 

       The Hong Kong Teachers’ Centre (HKTC) was officially established in 1989 to strengthen the spirit of mutual support and solidarity among teachers and promote their professional development. The HKTC has contributed to teachers’ professional growth, as well as their physical and mental well-being through talks, seminars, workshops and a wide variety of activities. In 2001, the HKTC launched the Educational Research Award Scheme to promote teaching and research culture among teachers. Thanks to the concerted efforts of its Advisory Management Committee members and member organisations over the past three decades, the HKTC has become a platform of professional exchange and experience sharing for teachers. With an exemplary record of achievements, the HKTC has penned a remarkable chapter in the history of teachers’ professional development in Hong Kong. Due to the pandemic last year, schools had suspended face-to-face classes for a period of time, and complemented students’ home learning with online lessons in order to achieve the goal of “suspending classes without suspending learning”. To enhance learning effectiveness, teachers actively explored innovative modes of learning and teaching, such as widely applying information technology in real-time teaching, organising online activities, as well as providing learning and emotional support for students. Challenges encountered in teaching amid the pandemic have driven teachers to engage in professional sharing more intensively. Moreover, quite a number of teachers’ professional development and cross-border professional exchange activities have been conducted online. Leveraging technology to broaden teaching perspective has become a new trend in teachers’ professional development across the globe.

 

       Changes in society and advancement in technology have bought both new challenges and opportunities in the realm of professional development for teachers. Education reforms have revolutionised the roles and responsibilities of teachers. To respond to the needs in teaching and students’ learning process, teachers have to pursue continuous learning and keep upgrading themselves. Professional development activities for teachers have flourished in terms of both quality and quantity, as evident from the offer of diversified and systematic programmes by the Education Bureau (EDB), post-secondary institutions, school sponsoring bodies and various schools. Collegial collaboration, school-based assistance, sharing and exchange of ideas and structured learning programmes have all proliferated to meet teachers’ professional development needs. With the developments in information technology and cloud computing, peer exchanges within and outside schools, as well as inter-school and cross-border professional sharing have become more accessible, and brought about the burgeoning of learning communities and exchange platforms, thus setting a new milestone for the diversification of teachers’ professional development.

 

Mission accomplished with a legacy of experience

 

       Looking back, the past some 30 years have been very fruitful for the HKTC.  With the dawning of a new era in teachers’ professional development, the HKTC has completed its historic mission as a professional development platform for teachers. We have decided to cease its operations in September this year. To show our appreciation for the hard work of the trailblazers, the HKTC Secretariat will upload those valuable resources as well as distinguished educational researches amassed by the HKTC onto the EDB website for public access upon consolidation. During the transition, the Secretariat will continue to provide support for member organisations that have submitted applications for co-organising activities. As the election for the 24th session of the Advisory Management Committee is deemed no longer necessary, in the presence of non-EDB witnesses, the Secretariat will destroy all the “Voting Result Reply Forms” and “Election Reply Slips” received. In addition, to encourage teachers to conduct educational research, the EDB will introduce a new educational research award scheme under the T-excel@hk Project launched by the Committee on Professional Development of Teachers and Principals in the 2021/22 school year by drawing on the HKTC’s experience in administering the Educational Research Award Scheme. This is to further promote educational research, foster a reflective culture among teachers, and enhance the quality of learning and teaching. Details of the new scheme will be announced by mid-year.

 

Integrating resources to reach another milestone

 

       Looking ahead, in light of the latest curriculum development, education policies, and education development trends in the Mainland and the international community, the EDB will continue to review teachers’ needs for professional development and integrate resources with comprehensive planning.More suitable and pertinent trainings will be provided for teachers through flexible and diversified modes, including a blended mode of face-to-face and online real-time lessons. We will also encourage the formation of learning communities to facilitate professional exchanges and nurture talents for the development of Hong Kong

 

28 January 2021