Teachers Update Course 2006 embraced by secondary school teachers

Audrey Chung

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City University of Hong Kong (CityU) is organizing the Teachers Update Course 2006 in June and July for secondary school principals and teachers keen to embrace change and upgrade their qualifications for facing the challenges of the changing educational environment. This year, over 2,500 participants have enrolled in the Course, a record high since 1998.

In line with its commitment to promoting educational development in the community, CityU has been offering the Teachers Update Course free of charge every summer since 1998. The aim of the Course is to help update secondary school principals and teachers on subject knowledge, teaching pedagogies and emerging educational issues. Their participation adds up to 8,500 hours of development, another record high for this year, and can be counted towards the hours for Continuing Professional Development, as required by Hong Kong’s Education and Manpower Bureau.

The theme for Teachers Update Course 2006 is “Developing Reflective Professionals—Embracing Change”. To help prepare teachers for the challenges of the new 3-3-4 academic structure, the Course comprises a total of 43 sessions in six areas: embracing change in teaching and learning; supporting curriculum change; understanding media culture and media education; globalization and secondary school education; promoting teachers’ personal development; and updating subject knowledge.

The success of the Course is attributed to the hard work of more than 50 CityU staff members who volunteer to offer teaching sessions. Dr Chan Ho-man, an

associate professor in the Department of Public and Social Administration at CityU, and Ms Jean Young, Head of CityU’s English Language Centre, are both long-term supporters of the Course.

“Hong Kong’s education reforms emphasize uplifting students’ learning abilities in areas such as critical and creative thinking. Most secondary school teachers want to integrate these two elements into their lessons to cultivate students’ higher-level thinking,” Dr Chan said.

“In my sessions, I share teaching insights and provide participants with real-life examples related to art, science, engineering and society so that the teachers can use those examples to illustrate to their students the skills and methods of critical and creative thinking,” he said.

This year Dr Chan’s sessions entitled “Logical reasoning” and “Biases in Judgment and Decision Making” are launched in conjunction with two other sessions entitled “Misuse of Language and Fallacies” and “Creative Thinking” as a series to help secondary teachers develop their students’ language ability and higher-level thinking.

Meanwhile Ms Young is offering a new session called “Introduction to Brain Gym” aimed at equipping secondary school teachers with ways to help students focus and learn more effectively.

“Brain gym is a series of physical exercises in which our mind and body are closely connected. It is commonly used in primary schools, and it is also good for secondary students, helping them become more focused, better able to concentrate and less stressed. Participants will experience different movements to activate different parts of the brain and discuss ways in which these movements can be incorporated into lessons,” Ms Young said.

Previous participants said the Course was highly practical. “It equips me with the know-how to respond to different circumstances in the education sector, for instance, handling media interviews,” said Mr Frankie Har Tsoen-kei, an English teacher from Caritas Yuen Long Community Education Centre, who took part last year in one of the sessions on working with the media. “I can apply the techniques in handling enquiries on student discipline problems and complaints from parents,” Mr Har said. This year Mr Har has enrolled in four sessions and he found the content directly relevant to his subject and the teaching method highly interactive.

Mr Yeung Yiu-chung, an economics teacher at Ha Kwai Chung Government Secondary School, has participated in the Course since 2004. He said that he gained both professional knowledge and insights into new teaching methods from the sessions he participated in previously. “This year I have enrolled in three courses on media education, critical thinking, and career and personality. I will apply what I have learnt in the session on critical and creative thinking in preparing notes and discussion questions and in marking students’ assignments. I want to be my students’ role model and in turn help them develop critical thinking,” Mr Yeung said.

The Teachers Update Course 2006 is led by CityU academic and professional staff, and is recognized by Hong Kong’s Education and Manpower Bureau. Participants will be awarded certificates of attendance. The sessions will be held on CityU campus from 13 June to 7 July. Topics for the sessions are available at: http://www.cityu.edu.hk/tuc

The Teachers Update Course 2006 covers:

Ø Embracing change in teaching and learning - Designing a problem-based learning environment to facilitate science subjects; copyright in teaching and learning; pedagogical use of advanced technologies in formal and special education, etc;

Ø Supporting curriculum change - Misuse of language and fallacies; how to promote and implement life education in school; assessment for deeper learning, etc;

Ø Understanding media culture and media education - Workshop on handling media interviews in times of school crisis; the art of story-telling; an introduction to film narrative, etc;

Ø Globalization and secondary school education - Leading in times of adversity; events marketing for secondary schools, etc;

Ø Promoting teachers’ personal development - Personality and career; Living with counseling, etc;

Ø Updating subject knowledge - Radio Frequency Identification Technology and its applications in industry; the benefits of microbial genome projects, etc.


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