T-standard: Guiding Principles


Unified set of standards for the teaching profession

Guiding Principles

Adopting a student-centred approach

Students’ developmental and learning needs is in the centre of the T-standard+. Revisiting policy documents from Education Commission Report in 1999 to present, one can find that the aim of education for Hong Kong students in the 21st century has remained consistent – Promoting all-round development and lifelong learning through a student-centred curriculum. With this in mind, the nurturing of the following three essential attributes of students were agreed upon and became the common aims of both PST and PSP:

  • Whole-person Wellness
  • Key Competences for Adulthood
  • Change Agility for Tomorrow

It was clearly stated from the outset that both Standards do not exist for their own sake, but to facilitate professional growth of principals and teachers for nurturing learners today to become leaders tomorrow.

Moving towards a core competences orientation

In recent years, educators worldwide have been putting much effort into redesigning school curricula to develop students’ core competences, which facilitates the application of knowledge to real life situations. In line with this move, the T-standard+ describes teachers’ and principals’ competences, which are a combination of knowledge, skills, understanding, values and attributes in action as they perform their duties. Teaching and leading require far more than technical skills. This explains why in the Standards, teachers’ and principals’ missions are interpreted as professional roles they play and the descriptors are written as stories or narratives of teachers and principals taking up their professional roles at different stages of professional growth.

Embedment of core values

TCF (2003) is underpinned by six core values: (1) belief that all students can learn; (2) love and care for students; (3) respect for diversity; (4) commitment and dedication to the profession; (5) collaboration, sharing and team spirit; and (6) passion for continuous learning and excellence. These six core values constitute the basic premise of the TCF (2003), presuming that the framework is meaningful to teachers only when they affirm these fundamental beliefs, values and attitudes. In T-standard+, the six core values continue to be the cornerstone of the framework, being embedded in the stage descriptors, which is a move that aligns well with the worldwide trend of manifesting educational values through ethical practices when defining competence standards for teachers.

Alignment with local and international educational policies and practices

Research was conducted with regard to teacher competency frameworks of other countries and policies on teacher CPD worldwide. Special reference was made to OECD literature and European Commission papers on education, which unfolded results of extensive surveys on the subject and latest international educational trends. Findings were presented at meetings for thorough deliberations based on the context of Hong Kong.

Alignment with local educational policies and practices is equally important to ensure that the Standards are coherent with all other educational endeavours. The theme of All-round Development and Lifelong Learning as objectives of Hong Kong education since 1999 is ever-present, and close reference was made to the Basic Education Curriculum Guide (2014) and Secondary Education Curriculum Guide (2017) when spelling out the professional roles and expectations. Alignment has also been made with other domains of education with regard to quality assurance, initial teacher education, professional development and curriculum development, etc.

Ensuring adaptability and flexibility for professional autonomy

Since the implementation of school-based management in 1999, schools have become the loci of change, where good practices flourish with diversity and innovation, leading to a raise in quality of education. In the case of TCF (2003), many schools have tailor-made their own sets of TCF specific to their needs and context based on the framework. Members of the Special Meeting and the T-standard+ Consortium are of the view that the proposed T-standard+ will continue to be generic and open to adaptation. As teaching is multi-dimensional and dynamic, the broad spectrum of teachers’ and principals’ work cannot always be clearly defined. The T-standard+ is therefore a set of expectations and goals that allows room for interpretation. It serves as a reference tool that can be used flexibly by the teaching profession and its supporting partners, with full respect to their professional autonomy.

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