New university needs lecturers with real teaching experience

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 February, 2016, 12:15am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 February, 2016, 12:15am

I was very pleased to read that the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) is likely to become the Hong Kong University of Education.

Both titles clearly reflect the fact that the primary function of this institution is to offer high quality programmes of initial teacher training for intending primary and secondary teachers in Hong Kong together with relevant in-service offerings, master’s degrees and PhD studies.

Meeting the demanding requirements for effective teacher education dictates the employment of full-time staff with: high levels of scholarship or subject knowledge as evidenced through doctoral studies; a high level of pedagogical expertise shown by a recognised teaching qualification such as a diploma or degree; and a substantial record of teaching excellence in local or international schools. It must be impossible for those with only a PhD – however accomplished in research and publication – to demonstrate the type of teaching approaches advocated for schools (that is, not mere teacher talk) or to offer informed, supportive advice to students on teaching practice.

To offer reassurance on these matters HKIEd should now provide a breakdown of its currently employed full-time lecturing staff, stating clearly:

How many lecturing staff it employs in total across its initial teacher education programmes;

How many of these same staff hold a relevant PhD or EdD;

How many possess a formally recognised teaching qualification;

How many have at least five years’ successful teaching experience in local or international schools at either primary or secondary level; and

How many of its staff meet all of the essential requirements above.

Conversely, it should tell us how many of its lecturers hold no recognised teaching qualification and have no substantial school teaching experience?

The future Education University of Hong Kong’s first duty to intending teachers is to provide top-class teaching delivered by qualified and experienced practitioners who value their profession. It would be perverse for an institution that has always supported the call for a fully qualified, fully trained teaching profession to itself provide instruction by those with no more knowledge or experience of teaching than the man on the street.

Other teacher education providers, such as the University of Hong Kong and Chinese University might provide the same facts and figures.

Phil Glenwright, Tai Po