Must be more positive about ESF

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 March, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 March, 1993, 12:00am

AS a relatively new principal to the English Schools Foundation (ESF), I am amazed at the tone of letters regarding the ESF.

Yet again on February 20, the teachers of ESF were given bad publicity.

To be effective in primary education requires learning and teaching of high quality and ESF teachers achieve this by evaluating their own practice in comparison with the features of effectiveness discussed at staff development and in-service training initiatives.

What is not apparent in the letter is the amount of time spent by teachers after school, evaluating and improving their practice.

In fact the largest proportion of the staff development programme takes place after school, almost every night of each week of the school year. What is also not written down is the time spent during Easter and summer holidays when ESF teachers are attending courses both in Hongkong and in the UK in order to enhance their professional skills and expertise. How many employees in Hongkong can give the same commitment to their craft? We have a very dedicated staff in ESF who work long hours planning and preparing for their pupils and who believe that the opportunities to review their practice by self-evaluation or by contact with others is crucial to their learning and the quality ofteaching they offer.

Her Majesty's Inspectors regularly visit ESF schools and the evidence from inspections is that high standards of learning and teaching are found in our schools, in which both long and short-term planning is thorough.

All of this planning is accomplished in our primary schools with teachers working collaboratively after the pupils have gone home.

The quality of the relationship between the teacher and pupils is central to effective learning in any classroom. This is of particular importance in our primary schools, because a single teacher will normally be responsible for most, if not all, of the curricular experience of pupils in a class. Apart from their professional qualities, ESF teachers have personal qualities associated with effective teaching including patience, understanding, fairness, drive, determination and a sense of humour.

This sense of humour has been stretched in recent months with the various Letters to the Editor.

It's time now to offer praise to the hard working staff who manage our schools - principals, management teams and teaching staff. They are creating schools where pupils are actively engaged in learning, where they are approaching their studies with excitement and enthusiasm and are knowledgeable in those areas that they are studying.

Pupils' progress and development are influenced positively where schools and the community work in partnership. In order for this to happen, we need now to proceed in a more positive manner and establish supportive working relationships.

E. A. GIBB Principal Kennedy School