Free update courses for secondary school teachers

Sharon Ng

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City University of Hong Kong (CityU) is hosting the 11th Teachers Update Course 2008 (TUC) from 14 June to 27 June to provide accessible, stimulating courses geared to the needs of Hong Kong’s secondary school principals and teachers on a free-of-charge basis. TUC aims to ensure teachers are well-equipped to face the challenges of an evolving education environment.

An opening ceremony was held on 14 June. Professor Way Kuo, President of CityU, said at the opening ceremony that he was delighted CityU had been hosting the TUC for 11 years. “When three men are walking together, there is one who can be my teacher,” said Professor Kuo, quoting from The Analects of Confucius, which points out that learning is an exciting experience because we can learn something every day. “With the new curriculum coming into effect in the future, teachers should think about how they can make an impact on society, and how to become role models and educate students to become decent citizens.”

Another officiating guest, Dr Chan Ka-ki, Principal Assistant Secretary (Curriculum Development), Education Bureau, said, “The 3-3-4 curriculum reform brings many opportunities as well as challenges, therefore life-long learning is needed to stay equipped to succeed in a fast-changing contemporary world. Learning is not just for students, but everyone.” She also paid tribute to CityU’s efforts in hosting the TUC for close to a decade and its broader contribution to education.

The keynote speaker, Professor Ron Oliver, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), Edith Cowan University, West Australia, shared his experience in the design, development, implementation and evaluation of technology-assisted learning and learning resources. Throughout his

teaching career, he has applied technology to engage and motivate his students and has always sought to understand what techniques work and why. “Authentic learning relies upon different forms, such as discussion, role-playing and the implementation of technology, as well as a commitment to students using the real-life situations as the starting point to discussion and analysis,” said Professor Oliver.

After the opening ceremony, Professor Oliver, Professor Lilian Vrijmoed Kwan Lee-ping, Dean of Student Learning, Dr Eva Wong Yee-wah, Director of Education Development Office, and four winners of the 2008 Teaching Excellence Awards, namely Mr Dean Fisher, English Enhancement Course Tutor from the English Language Centre, Dr Paul Lam Heung-fai, Assistant Professor from the Department of Building and Construction, Dr Paul Shin Kam-shing, Associate Professor from the Department of Biology and Chemistry, and Dr Tom Vinaimont, Assistant Professor from the Department of Economics and Finance, were invited to conduct a panel discussion and convey their teaching experiences to the audience.

Professor Lilian Vrijmoed said secondary schools and universities had great expectations of the new curriculum format and TUC provided a golden chance for them to exchange opinions. Dr Eva Wong added access to advanced e-learning, together with face-to-face workshops, would further enhance the open and free exchange of ideas.

This year’s main theme “Developing Reflective Professionals” encompasses effective pedagogy and good practices for teaching and learning, technologies to support student learning, language enhancement and support for curriculum change, as well as updates and content development for specific subjects. All seminars and workshops are held at CityU from 14 June to 27 June.

The two-week programme will comprise 32 sessions, including Ethical Theories and Their Applications, Introduction to Brain Gym, Crisis Intervention in School, Workshop for e-Learning for Putonghua, and Language Companion Course, totalling as much as 80 hours of professional development. These hours can be accredited towards Continuing Professional Development, as required by the Education Bureau. To date, more than 1800 registrations have been accepted.

The Ethical Theories and Their Applications series are divided into six sessions, including Introduction to Ethics, Major Western Ethical Theories and Confucian Ethics. Dr Chan Ho-mun, Associate Professor of the Department of Public and Social Administration and coordinator of the series said, “As Ethics and Religious Studies will be introduced in the 3-3-4 normative degree courses, one of our aims is to design for teachers of this subject techniques of applying the ethnical theories in such a way they can analyse and explain often complex issues to their students.”

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