Special-needs teaching can do better: review

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 June, 2007, 12:00am

The quality of teaching in special-needs schools is satisfactory, but teachers have a lot of room for improvement, a government report has concluded.

The Education and Manpower Bureau released a report yesterday with the results of inspections of 27 special schools, carried out between 2003 and last year.

The quality of teaching was satisfactory, it said, and the majority of students had a good grasp of the teaching material. More than half of the schools adopted a diverse range of assessment methods.

However, fewer than 30 per cent of schools were effective in self-evaluation and most did not have a clear mechanism for self-assessment.

Teaching strategies adopted by the majority of teachers were monotonous and there was not enough student interaction. The majority of teachers offered little to develop ability to learn independently, while a few had low expectations of their students.

Chan Kwok-kuen, head of the Lutheran School for the Deaf, agreed that special schools had not developed a mature mechanism for self-evaluation. 'The concept is quite new here. We need more time to develop a better system.'

He added that teachers in special schools were too lenient and should develop appropriate expectations, adding they should use different strategies to assess students' ability and interest.

Mr Chan said nurturing students to learn independently was restricted by several factors, including an overly protective environment.

'Some students can't see a future, which also affects their interest in learning,' he said.

Andrew Tse Chung-yee, administrative director of the Centre for Advancement in Special Education at the University of Hong Kong, said special schools should take the lead in stimulating students. 'It's especially important for them to be able to cater for the diverse needs of students.'