The Faculty of Education of Beijing Normal University (BNU) is proud to announce that the Fourth Global Teacher Education Summit will be held in Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China, during 23-26 October, 2020. The 2020 Summit is entitled “Policy, Research and Practice in Teacher Education and Teaching: Global perspectives”.
Subthemes of the Summit
1. The education system and teacher education and teaching
Recent challenges that confront educational systems over the world delineate the dilemmas in their role as an inherently coherent developmental tool that can be managed from the top and deployed for national interests. The emergence of subsystems with diverse missions and goals, and the decline of public confidence in their efficacy, educational systems struggle to reestablish legitimate markers of quality and to reinvent themselves as the main provider of human resources for national development. Among the many problems that education faces today is to nurture persons with the appropriate knowledge base and disposition for teaching, on the one hand, and to assign practicing teachers to positions in which they can teach subject field(s) that are relevant to their education and training, on the other. The world’s school systems are in dire need of teachers who are professionally ready and suitably deployed. While the attractiveness of the teaching profession can be traced to cultural legacies and ideological persuasions inherent in the education systems, its future will be determined by the social status it affords and the economic benefits that it bestows upon aspiring individuals.
• Systemic factors affecting teacher education and teaching
• Roles of culture, history, and society on teacher education and teaching
• Policy and change in teacher education and teaching
• School system as laboratory and support for teacher education and teaching
• Influence of test-based accountability and market competition on teacher education, teaching, and school system
• Cross-national and/or cross-system comparison of teacher education and teaching
2. Issues in Teacher Education
Teacher education has suffered from a loss of public confidence. In certain countries, teachers are certified after they pass an examination operated by governments; and in others, the responsibility of certifying teacher quality has been transferred from university-based teacher education to the schools. In policy-making circles, certain bleak assessment of the impact of teacher education casts doubt on its effectiveness. In the teaching profession, school leaders find that graduates of teacher education often lack the kind of professional preparedness that they have expected. In the university, teacher education is not considered a superior field of study. Be that as it may, university-based teacher education (and a growing number of school-based programs) continue to be seen as the major providers of teachers for the schools. More than ever before, teacher education needs to re-examine its approach to preparing and developing teachers by drawing insights from cognitive science and the practice of teaching in order to address critical issues in the classrooms today. When teacher education can integrate its recent innovations into a process associated with learning to teach, perhaps it can assume its role in teacher certification with greater confidence and conviction.
• Advances and innovations in teacher education
• Quality assurance of teacher education
• University-school collaboration for teacher education
• Preparing teachers for diversified settings
• Roles and identities of teacher educators in universities and schools
• Teacher education and teacher certification
3. Issues in the Improvement of Teaching and Learning
Formal teaching in the classroom and school is central to the work of professional teachers. It is in teaching that the beliefs, knowledge, skills, commitment, resilience, and professionalism of teachers are demonstrated. Through research, new curricular theories and pedagogical innovations have been introduced to the teachers. Through administrative measures, the schools have also sought new ways to enhance the quality of teaching and learning. In the main, however, efforts to improve teaching have been focused on one or two isolated components, such as more professional development, richer curriculum, or external expert guidance in the absence of a coherent approach to enhancement. The tasks of designing, organizing and improving teaching and learning often rely on the labor of individual groups of teachers that work with a variety of unrelated sources of advice. The enhancement of teaching and learning may benefit from an agenda that is based on a refined understanding of teacher professionalism and identity as well as a clear recognition of social justice as its goal. It is from this perspective that critical curricular and pedagogical issues such as the ethical dimensions of teaching, teaching for diversity, and equitable distribution of learning opportunities can be earnestly explored.
• New directions of teaching and innovations in teaching
• Teacher professionalism and identities
• Problems of adopting foreign ideas and methodologies
• Teaching and learning with technologies (social media)
• Role of auxiliary teacher educators in teaching and learning
• Teaching for diversity, special needs, and social justice
4. Leadership in schools and teacher development
Persons in responsible positions in schools are vital for safeguarding their quality and for developing their teachers and students. Past research has shown that effective principals are a factor in the elevation of student academic achievement, along with such related factors as the inculcation of values for accountability, the creation of positive school climate for growth, and the effective management of teaching for learning. Examples of effective school leadership notwithstanding, one of the principals’ main roles has been, ironically, to buffer the interference of external pressures on teachers rather than to guide their professional development. There are different layers of leadership in successful schools, from the principal, through the directors of academic studies and student affairs, to ordinary teachers not in official positions. An understanding of the interaction and mutual influences of teacher leaders at different levels of the school organization should afford a deeper understanding of how teachers can be empowered to lead and to innovate.
• Impact of school organization and governance on teacher performance and accountability in teaching
• Design, organization, and delivery of effective pedagogical leadership
• Role of school leaders in the professional development of teachers
• Role of school leaders in creating and sustaining learning communities in schools
• Interaction of different layers of leadership in teaching and teacher education
• Assessment of leadership practices for quality improvement
5. Teacher education and teaching in multiple contexts
Recent emphasis on educational collaboration that transcends institutional and geographic boundaries created new opportunities for schools, universities and governments alike to engage in projects for enhancement partnership, regional cooperation and internationalization. Teachers, teacher educators, researchers and government officials work in a multiplicity of contexts where the purposes of duties and the constraints of affiliation can only be disentangled by an examination of their past and present roles and identities. Their involvement in multi-site teacher education, university-school development projects, overseas study programs, international assessment exercises requires that they can think, learn and function in multiple contexts. Such “boundary-crossing” endeavors assume the existence of an intercultural awareness that is backed by sound methodologies. For their implementation, the exploration of issues such as conceptualization, professional space, and time commitment need to be guided by operational principles which can enrich the simple formula of transfer, translate, and transform.
• University-school-government partnership for school improvement
• Advances in “border-crossing” educational research
• Issues in internationalization of education
• University-based teacher educators in school-based teacher education
• Innovations in multi-site teacher professional development
• Complexity of roles and identities in “border-crossing” endeavors
6. Learning sciences, education reform and teacher education innovations
Teachers and educational practitioners owe a hefty intellectual debt to the learning sciences, which have guided their understanding of learning and fostered insights into its complexities. By relying on the advances in neuroscience and cognitive science, the learning sciences provided a knowledge base from which new ideas are propagated and novel experiments are launched. In educational reform endeavors, research findings from the learning sciences constituted a rationale for change and a guidepost for novel professional practices. Ideas that are bred by the learning sciences yield new educational forms, such as learning environment design, learning support mechanisms, and assessment as learning. For school teachers, the learning sciences illuminate the possible dimensions of “core-competencies” – future-focused learning, social adaptation, lifelong learning for development – attributes that are identified by international agencies and national governments alike for establishing common professional standards for the teaching force. The changing pedagogical context has posed new challenges to teaching and teacher education. Tension between advocates of traditional subject teaching, which stresses the acquisition of disciplinary knowledge in a hospital curricular environment and requires teachers to develop interdisciplinary competencies, have impacted the design and delivery of teacher education in reforming systems of education.
• Advances in neuroscience and cognitive science and their implications for teaching and learning
• Learning environment and promotion to teacher learning
• Teacher learning and reform of teacher education
• Teacher professionalism, core competencies, and innovations in teaching and teacher education
• Changes in conventional subject teaching and emergence of new instructional modes
• Teacher education and the integration of key pedagogical approaches