T-standard+

Unified set of standards for the teaching profession

Background and Development

The teaching profession is a learning profession. The complexity of this profession requires every practitioner to be a lifelong learner as they shoulder the huge responsibility of nurturing our younger generations.

The society holds high expectations of the standards of the teaching profession, in terms of their professional knowledge, skills, values and attitudes. Therefore, professional development of educators has always been high on the agenda of the Hong Kong Government, as in other high-performing education systems.

In 2003, the Teacher Competencies Framework (TCF) was introduced by the then Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications (ACTEQ) to lay out the landscape of professional growth for teachers, allowing teachers to locate their own stages of professional maturity and also helping schools to look at the competency profiles of their teachers individually and collectively. The TCF has since been widely accepted in the school sector as a reference and a planning tool for continuing professional development (CPD).

For school leaders, in 2002, the Government announced the “Continuing Professional Development Framework for School Principals”. There have been six core areas of leadership for the professional development of principals, namely (1) strategic direction and policy environment; (2) learning, teaching and curriculum; (3) teacher professional growth and development; (4) staff and resources management; (5) quality assurance and accountability; (6) external communication and connection to the outside world. These six core areas have since guided the professional development and leadership programmes for aspiring, newly-appointed and serving principals.

Both frameworks have significantly raised the awareness of the sector towards the importance of CPD and the teaching profession in Hong Kong has come a long way, with the introduction of curriculum reforms, new initiatives in education and social changes in recent years. A culture of professional exchanges and self-reflection has been nurtured and professionalism enhanced, enabling the profession to rise to the challenges of contemporary education, which calls for new demands in mindset, knowledge, skills and attitudes.

In June 2013, the Committee on Professional Development of Teachers and Principals (COTAP) was reconstituted from the then ACTEQ. In its first Progress Report (2015), an overarching project T-excel@hk, which encompasses eight areas of focus in fostering a vibrant teaching profession of excellence was put forward. Among them, T-standard+ seeks to develop a coherent set of standards for teachers and principals to promote self-reflection and professional development of the teaching profession, which in turn would benefit student learning and growth.

The T-standard+ is developed with the teaching profession for the growth of the profession.

There are 3 phases:

Phase From Foci of Work
1 August 2014 Deliberating and formulating a set of professional standards for teachers
2 February 2016 Piloting and feedback collection on the draft T-standard+
3 December 2016 Piloting and feedback collection on the draft T-standard+

In Phases 1 and 2, a Special Meeting on Review of TCF (Special Meeting), with Professor HAU Kit-tai as the convenor, was set up under COTAP in August 2014 to kick-start the work. Members of the Special Meeting included teachers and school leaders, parents and representatives from school sponsoring bodies (SSBs) and teacher education universities (TEUs), etc.

  • The 6th Special Meeting on Review of TCF (24 February 2016)

    The 6th Special Meeting on Review of TCF (24 February 2016)

  • The 6th Special Meeting on Review of TCF (24 February 2016)

    The 6th Special Meeting on Review of TCF (24 February 2016)

  • The 6th Special Meeting on Review of TCF (24 February 2016)

    The 6th Special Meeting on Review of TCF (24 February 2016)

  • The 6th Special Meeting on Review of TCF (24 February 2016)

    The 6th Special Meeting on Review of TCF (24 February 2016)

  • The 6th Special Meeting on Review of TCF (24 February 2016)

    The 6th Special Meeting on Review of TCF (24 February 2016)

  • The 1st Meeting of the T-standard Consortium (24 February 2016)

    The 1st Meeting of the T-standard+ Consortium (24 February 2016)

  • The 1st Meeting of the Co-opted System Partners of the T-standard Consortium (25 February 2016)

    The 1st Meeting of the Co-opted System Partners of the T-standard+ Consortium (25 February 2016)

  • The 1st Meeting of the Expert Group of the T-standard Consortium (19 May 2016)

    The 1st Meeting of the Expert Group of the T-standard+ Consortium (19 May 2016)

  • The 2nd Meeting of the Expert Group of the T-standard Consortium (7 July 2016)

    The 2nd Meeting of the Expert Group of the T-standard+ Consortium (7 July 2016)

  • The 3rd Meeting of the Expert Group of the T-standard Consortium (7 September 2016)

    The 3rd Meeting of the Expert Group of the T-standard+ Consortium (7 September 2016)

  • The 2nd Meeting of T-standard Consortium (28 September 2016)

    The 2nd Meeting of T-standard+ Consortium (28 September 2016)

  • The 2nd Meeting of T-standard Consortium (28 September 2016)

    The 2nd Meeting of T-standard+ Consortium (28 September 2016)

  • The 2nd Meeting of T-standard Consortium (28 September 2016)

    The 2nd Meeting of T-standard+ Consortium (28 September 2016)

On completion of Phase 1 in February 2016, the Special Meeting was reconstituted into the T-standard+ Consortium, with an expanded membership, working under the leadership of Prof HAU Kit-tai as the convenor and Sr Cecilia WONG Yeuk Han as the chief advisor. The T-standard+ Consortium followed up on formulating the Professional Standards for Teachers of Hong Kong (PST) and at the same time steered the development of the Professional Standards for Principals of Hong Kong (PSP).

Composition of the T-standard+ Consortium and foci of work:

Composition Foci of Work
Professional Learning Community (PLC) About 55 members
[comprising teachers, school leaders, parents, and representatives from SSBs and TEUs]
Focusing on practices and experience from the frontline perspective
Co-opted System Partners About 10 representatives
[comprising representatives from educational bodies and councils of school heads]
Focusing on expectations and requirements from the system perspective
Expert Group
(Core group)
About 15 representatives from both the PLC and Co-opted System Partners
[including principals, vice principals, representatives from TEUs, SSBs and Hong Kong Principals' Institute (HKPI)]
Focusing on fundamental beliefs, theoretical underpinnings and underlying principles from the research perspective

Members of the Special Meeting and subsequently the T-standard+ Consortium gathered to review the development of Hong Kong education and shared thoughts on the local education arena before portraying future challenges of the teaching profession. Extensive literature reviews of education policies and good practices of high-performing education systems were also undertaken to acquaint members with the global trends of education in the 21st century. Competency standards and frameworks, as well as programmes for initial teacher education (ITE) and school leadership development in regions including Shanghai, Australia, California, Finland, Ontario, Singapore and the United Kingdom were studied to identify key features and strengths. The findings of the literature reviews were shared and deliberated amongst members to evaluate their relevance and applicability in the context of Hong Kong. A draft was then proposed for members’ vigorous discussions before consensus was reached.

A pilot study and focus group discussions on the two sets of draft Standards were conducted from February to November 2017, involving more than 500 teachers from 12 schools for PST and 41 principals for PSP.

Upon the views and comments from teachers, principals as well as TEUs, the draft PST and PSP were further refined for a community-wide feedback collection held in July 2018, during which all schools were invited to give feedback through an e-survey and opinion from the public was also solicited through the T-standard+ webpage. Results show that teachers and principals agree with the professional roles and that the Standards can be used as effective tools for professional development.

Throughout the process of development, the drafts of the T-standard+ have undergone revisions and refinement based on feedback collected on various occasions and is indeed a group project of the teaching profession.