President delivers education talk to teaching professionals

Michelle Leung

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Professor Way Kuo, President of City University of Hong Kong (CityU), delivered a talk at the Education Convergence annual seminar on 4 December. He shared the results of his study on teaching performance evaluations and the relationship between teaching and research from his recent publication, Clarifying Some Myths of Teaching and Research.

Education Convergence is a professional teaching body formed by a group of teaching professionals who care about education affairs in Hong Kong. Members include principals and teachers from primary and secondary schools and lecturers from tertiary institutions.

Twenty members and executive committee members of Education Convergence attended the event, including Mr Alan Chow Ping-yan, Chairman of Education Convergence and Principal of Holy Carpenter Secondary School; Mr Hui Wai-tin, Vice-chairman of Education Convergence and Senior Lecturer, Department of Education Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University; Mr Ho Hon-kuen, Vice-chairman of Education Convergence and Vice-principal of Elegantia College; and Dr Francis Cheung Wing-ming, Secretary General, Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority. Also attending the event were Professor Chan Chi-hou, Acting Provost, and Professor Julia Tao Lai Po-wah, Chief-of-Staff of CityU.

Alan Chow expressed his gratitude to Professor Kuo for sharing the results of his study. “Professor Kuo’s study is closely related to teaching. As teachers of primary and secondary schools or university lecturers, our teaching is more persuasive if the content is centred on research results,” he said.

Based on a study and analysis of teaching performance evaluations of 400 faculty members over a five-year period and collected from more than 10,000 students at Texas A&M University, US, Professor Kuo illustrated the factors affecting students’ ratings from different viewpoints, such as student seniority, class size, faculty age, gender and research output.

Before showing the research results, Professor Kuo conducted a simple survey with the audience about their perceptions of how faculty gender and class size might affect teaching evaluations. The perception among the audience and society was that small classes would enhance teacher-student interactions and result in higher teaching performance ratings. Professor Kuo’s study revealed, however, that when classes had more than 21 students, the class size had little effect on teaching evaluations.

Professor Kuo also quoted from his study, saying research productivity correlates positively with teaching performance. He concluded that conducting research, as a way to acquire knowledge, could satisfy our curiosity and suggested promoting the concept of research as early as in primary and secondary education.

Ho Hon-kuen commended Professor Kuo for his inspiring talk and said education should similarly inspire without necessarily always leading to a finite conclusion.


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