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Secondary school teachers and civil servants from Hong Kong visit the Graduate School of Education

Graduate School of Education hosts reception for visiting STEM teachers and civil servants

The Graduate School of Education hosted a reception for 15 secondary school teachers and five civil servants from Hong Kong on April 25. The event was designed to welcome the visitors who had arrived for a four-week stay in Exeter. Many GSE staff have lived or worked in Hong Kong and the event provided an opportunity to share experiences and memories.

The visit is a result of Hong Kong policy-makers’ concerns about how education in the region scores in international comparisons such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). In PISA 2015, the UK performed above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average in Science, with a higher percentage of students being top performers when compared to Hong Kong. Students in the UK also out-performed many OECD countries in terms of the appreciation of how science works and demonstrated greater self-efficacy in science. The visit will allow the teachers an opportunity to visit schools and see how the UK prepares students for the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

This group is one of three chosen to study abroad. Another group has visited Finland to look at inclusion of students in schools and a third is in Australia looking at how schools there teach entrepreneurship. The Exeter-based study programme will provide participants with knowledge of relevant theories, research and latest policies and practices in the UK, and, more importantly, offer insight into how the effective measures can be adapted in the Hong Kong context. The teachers will explore how schools try to promote scientific creativity, problem-based learning and the use of educational technology.

The university-based programme is taught by experienced researchers and teacher educators and the whole programme is led by Dr Lindsay Hetherington. Professor Justin Dillon, who has worked in Hong Kong and who teaches on the programme said: ‘The UK has had a strong history of innovation in science education which is the envy of the world. Despite increasing managerialism in schools, there is still scope for creative STEM teachers to challenge their students in ways that will surprise our visitors. But this is not a one-way process, we know that we can learn from our guests and we intend to maintain the relationships that we build up over the next month’. 

Date: 30 April 2018

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