• Blanche Chu
    Blanche Chu
    February 15, 2019 at 1:33 pm #2815

    While “teaching” and “research” may be different when driven by different purposes/contexts, are they necessarily categorical in the context of our professional development?

    Are there any examples of PD activities that promote a healthy blending/integration of the two? Would anyone like to add to the list?

    1. Teachers serve as markers of public exams and go through standardisation processes led by the HKEAA or other examining bodies, and then disseminate insights gained within their own teaching teams with a different institutional context, and further work on ways of improving assessment processes, e.g. developing rubrics, refining rubrics, deeper understanding of linguistic features, etc. These create opportunities to explore issues through hands-on experience, and ideally these can be followed up with conference presentations and other publications.

    2. Teachers serve as reviewers of conference abstracts, journal publications … these opportunities allow oneself to be updated on how certain teaching issues can be approached academically. These are potential PD opportunities to enrich one’s teaching strategies.

    3. Teachers write and publish in journals or educational magazines which welcome entries that are classroom-oriented. While most journals are scholarly, there are increasingly more journals or magazines that provide a platform for practitioners to share and explore the “academic angle” behind everyday classroom activities. Any examples?

    Shirley Chan
    February 16, 2019 at 12:25 am #2818

    By means of attending and presenting in conferences especially related to ELT, teachers gain insights from others with different institutional backgrounds and may even be challenged by the newly shared pedagogy in the new millennium. Through these opportunities, teachers would be able to experiment and administer the teaching strategies sparked by other presenters. Spontaneously, teachers can enlighten and enrich other professionals by sharing teaching outcomes after the new practices in the next conference. In return, both students and teachers will reap the benefit from the PD activities.

    Catherine Lin
    Catherine Lin
    February 18, 2019 at 12:24 pm #2824

    One of the examples could be that teachers attend workshops and seminars that require teachers to reflect on their teaching and share their teaching experiences and examples in either a formal or less formal way. This self-reflection is useful to identify effective practices that should be promoted and less effective ones that need to be modified and even abandoned. It functions as a precious extrinsic motivational factor to force teachers to critically evaluate their teaching effectiveness and to improve and innovate teaching in the process of seeking solutions to overcome the current and foreseeable challenges.

    Cherry Chow
    Cherry Chow
    February 19, 2019 at 6:52 pm #2829

    Research and teaching are inter-related and can be blended in different ways. Here are some examples:

    1. Teachers can participate in different research projects related to teaching. For example, they can collaborate in developing a checklist to mark students’ academic essays. The checklist can
    contain concrete features of a good academic piece and whether the particular student can demonstrate them, therefore giving students vivid comments in how they can excel in their papers. In the process, teachers have to review the checklist, conduct pre-test and post-test with students, attend standardization training and evaluate how practical the checklist is, thus meaningful insights can be gained. The common mistakes found from the project can make ones’ teaching content more targeted at students’ needs. Marking essays according to concrete items can also allow teachers to be selective in giving comments to different individuals.

    2. Teachers can share their good practices of what insights they have gained from participating in symposiums and conferences with colleagues of the language centre. In order to be able to share what one has learnt, one has to reflect on the event, with the help of the literature, and think about the current teaching community. One can be kept up-to-dated with the latest trends in teaching and learning so as to apply the theory into practice. Sharing good practices with colleagues allows the whole community to grow and this eventually benefits the students.

    Sin Wang Chong
    Sin Wang Chong
    February 20, 2019 at 2:14 pm #2832

    When I attended the symposium organized by the EAP/ESP SIG on 26 Jan, the notions of ‘experienced teachers’ and ‘expert teachers’ by Prof. Amy Tsui were really fascinating to me. While all of us who have been teaching for more than a decade or so can proudly claim that we are ‘experienced teachers’, not all of the ‘experienced teachers’ are ‘expert teachers’, according to Prof. Tsui’s research. ‘Experienced teachers’ are those who are very skillful at performing pedagogical routines; ‘expert teachers’, on the other hand, excel not only at the implementation/execution level, but also at the design level. While an ‘experienced teacher’ focuses on the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of teaching, those with a higher level of expertise contemplate also on the ‘why’. These ‘why’ questions may include: Why am I teaching in this way? Why are not my students learning? Why some students react more positively towards this teaching method than others? Why doesn’t this teaching method work? Essentially, what differentiate ‘expert teachers’ from ‘experienced teachers’ is the high degree of autonomy (as exemplified by their constant practice of self-evaluation and reflection) the former possess.

    One way to develop expertise in ELT is to bridge the nexus between research and practice, or what Sato and Loewen (2019) call opening the ‘research-pedagogy dialogue’. As frontline teachers, we can contribute to this dialogue in two ways. First, we can be the consumers of research by reading pedagogic research and implementing some evidence-based practices in our own classrooms. To take a step further, we can evaluate the effectiveness of our own practice by conducting action research, exploratory research, and appreciatory inquiry. I have recommended two journals which publish more practice-oriented papers in ELT in a recent blog post (see here: https://hkcpdhub.hku.hk/blog/blog_cpt/documenting-and-reflecting-on-your-innovative-elt-teaching-practices/).

    If you are interested in knowing more about ‘research-pedagogy dialogue’, I highly recommend you read the latest (short) article by one of my teachers, Dr. Masatoshi Sato, published in ELT Journal (Oxford University Press).


    Sato, M., & Loewen, S. (2019). Do teachers care about research? The research-pedagogy dialogue. ELT Journal, 73(1), 1-10.

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