HKERA International Conference 2018

Outlines of Featured and Invited Symposia and Keynote Speeches

HKERA Featured Symposium, 10:00 – 11:30, YIA LT3

The Future of Teacher Education

Prof. A. Lin GOODWIN, Dean, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Prof. Christine HALSE, Associate Dean, Faculty of Education and Human Development, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Prof. Kit Tai HAU, Co-Director, Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Teaching the Students We Have As If They Were the Students We Want: Mindsets, Pedagogical Principles, and Love

In this talk, Prof. A. Lin Goodwin will begin by outlining some of the enduring questions that continue to trouble the field of teacher education: What is worth examining and why? What are pressing issues and imperatives that we as researchers and education professionals must address? She will then focus on the perennial question of educating all children well, and what it means to teach for justice, equity and diversity. To address this central question, she will share findings from a recent study that illuminates how a master teacher’s ways of thinking about her students, working with and engaging her students, and valuing her students, result in their achieving high levels of success.

The Role of Critical Intercultural Teacher Education in an Era of Change and Fake News

We live in an era of dramatic changes where economic globalization, inter-ethnic/inter-faith violence, transnational population movements, oppression of freedoms, and the power of technologies and “fake news” have become the “new normal”. These conditions place an increased responsibility on teacher education to ensure that future generations have the skills and capabilities to engage with the diverse and changing social, economic and political cultural conditions of everyday life.

Influential agencies like UNESCO and schooling systems around the world have taken up this challenge. Prof. Christine Halse proposes that Asia and particularly Hong Kong should follow suit but that teacher education in these contexts needs to move beyond narrow notions of culture and also adopt a critical, social justice orientation. Drawing on research evidence, Prof. Halse shows why interculturality is central to our collective social, economic and political well-being and futures.

Data Speaks: Research and Evidence-based Teacher Education

In designing professional teacher development programmes, large-scale international teacher and principal comparison surveys could be one useful source of information to tell us: (a) the characteristics of our teachers, particularly those working in more effective educational systems; (b) the professional development programmes they already had; (c) their current teaching environment, mentorship (or professional support receiving), and teaching style; (d) their perception and evaluation of the professional development they had; and (e) their evaluation of their own needs and direction of development, among others. We will examine the above issues among the high-achieving economies (e.g., Finland, Singapore, Japan) in the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) and Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA). We will reveal similar and discrepant patterns among these economies and discuss ways forward in teacher preparation.

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Keynote Speech 1, 11:45 – 12:45, YIA LT3

Diversity in Higher Education: The Adaptation to the Increased Ethnic Diversity of University Students in Europe and the U.S. in Three Phases

Prof. Maurice CRUL, Professor of Sociology, the Free University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Higher education is the last bastion in education in Europe and North America to become more diverse. Already in seventies and eighties elementary and secondary schools experienced an increased ethnic diverse student population because of migration families and their young children. Somewhat later in time these young migrant children started to enter post-secondary vocational programmes. It is only in the last decade that higher education institutions became much more diverse in terms of ethnic diverse student population. In Amsterdam for instance now the majority of the freshmen students in the two universities of applied sciences are of immigrant descent. In the two universities, it is about a third of the students now. The increase in the future will no doubt grow since under the age of fifteen, two-thirds (!) of the children have an immigrant background. Also in the U.S. and Canada more and more cities and states are becoming majority minority. Places where everybody belongs to an ethnic minority group including the old majority group of Anglo-Saxon “whites”.

The fact that the experience with ethnic diversity for higher education in Europe and the U.S. is still recent means that we are in the beginning of a process of adaptation of the higher education institutes. Based on the experiences in elementary and secondary schools, where there are now forty years of experiences, we can expect the following reaction pattern in three phases. First of all many institutions are in denial about the changing composition of their student population. Ethnic diversity being important for vocational institutions but not for research universities is often the discourse. It is considered a marginal phenomenon that doesn’t need extra attention. The underlying idea is also often that the pre-selection in primary and secondary schools has made the students that can apply already assimilated.

Usually after a while when numbers start to increase more dramatically, a period of upheaval and sometimes panic follows in the organization. In this period people in the organization usually start to formulate problems around the new student population because business as usual is disrupted at all levels. The next step is to accept the new reality (or at least part of the organization accepts it) and people try to tackle the issues at stake most often with the aim of changing the attitudes and the behaviour of the new students. Fix the students! Make them more like the old mainstream student. This is the result in all kinds of remedial and extra study guidance programmes primarily to close retention and study success gaps with the old majority group of students. Often, after monitoring the results of these programmes, institutions conclude that the gaps have remained or sometimes even have grown further. This sometimes leads to a period of despair and disillusionment among the staff and especially among people who run these remedial programmes. This is what many higher education institutions are now at the moment.

A few higher education institutions are now moving ahead into a new phase — a phase that many elementary and secondary schools before them have already taken. In this phase the most important change is that people start to see that the organization itself needs to change and become diversity-proof. I will sketch briefly the most important ingredients of such an approach by giving examples of some of the Dutch universities that start to move in that direction.

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Keynote Speech 2, 09:30 – 10:30, YIA LT3

Five Decades of Research on School Bullying: What Have We Learned?

Prof. Shelley HYMEL, Head, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education, University of British Columbia, Canada

School bullying is not a new problem, but one that has long been considered a normal part of growing up. It is only in the past half century that school bullying has become the focus of research, owing in large part to the tragic deaths of our youth that have been linked to bullying in countries around the world. Although questions still outnumber answers, our understanding of the nature and impact of bullying has increased dramatically over the last 50 years, supported by an unprecedented international research exchange. In this presentation, we consider how research has changed our understanding of bullying, and our efforts to address the issue.

Bullying is a distinct form of interpersonal aggression, characterized by intentionality, repetition and, especially, an imbalance of power. The child who bullies has some advantage over the child who is victimized, be it in size, number, strength, age, verbal skills, intellectual or athletic competence, or social status. It is also a common student experience. Although prevalence rates vary across countries, a 2017 UNESCO report indicates that 246 million children and youth around the globe face bullying each year.

Bullying is also an underground activity that is not always evident to adults. Seminal observational research has shown that, adults seldom intervened in ongoing bullying, yet peers were present in the vast majority of incidents, shifting our focus from bullying as a problem of the bully or victim, or their relationship, to bullying as a group phenomenon. Bullying also takes many forms. Although physical and cyber bullying are often of greatest concern, social and verbal bullying are far more common, but less visible to adults.

Moving beyond stereotypes of bullies as socially incompetent, we now know that there is no one type of bully. Rather, scholars distinguish between socially intelligent, popular bullies, and marginalized, unpopular, less socially intelligent bullies, as well as “bully-victims”. One common characteristic of bullies, however, is their tendency to morally disengage, justifying and rationalizing their behaviour in a variety of ways.

Importantly, in the past five decades we have learned much about the correlates and consequences of bullying, for both victims and perpetrators. Victimized children are at risk for mental health difficulties as well as academic problems, and recent research from neuroscience shows that the impact of bullying can “get under the skin” and last a lifetime. Bullies are also at risk, for both internalizing and, especially externalizing difficulties and later criminality.

Accordingly, a variety of prevention and intervention programmes have been developed to address school bullying, each in a somewhat different way. Although some have demonstrated significant positive outcomes, results have been mixed, with overall reductions in bullying estimated at only 17–23%. With increasing recognition of bullying as a group phenomenon, scholars have called for a social-ecological framework in addressing the problem, focusing on the role of peers and the overall social climate of the school in encouraging or discouraging bullying. Bullying, then, may be best viewed as part of a larger mandate for schools — the need to promote social and emotional competencies, not just academic skills. Addressing bullying within this broader framework holds considerable promise for the next generation of school children.

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Invited Symposium, 15:30 – 17:00, YIA LT3

Promoting Equity, Access, Diversity & Inclusion Through Global Access to Postsecondary Education (GAPS)

Dr. Catherine MILLETT, Senior Research Scientist, Policy Evaluation and Research Center, Educational Testing Service & GAPS, U.S
Ms. Mary TUPAN-WENNO, Executive Director, ECHO Center for Diversity Policy, the Netherlands
Prof. Celeste Yuet Mui YUEN, Department of Educational Administration and Policy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
(Moderator: Mr. Wâtte ZIJLSTRA, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands)

Participation in post-secondary education is the gateway to economic and social prosperity for individuals and countries. In this symposium, three papers will be presented that address the theme of Equity, Access, and Diversity in Education: Theory, Practice, and Research. While the presenters represent three countries/regions, the work presented will span multiple countries.

Equity in Education

While institutions compete for students, they cooperate by leveraging knowledge of how students succeed at a particular institution and they seek complementarity by recognizing that student/institutional fit may increase completion. Their goal is for students to succeed in getting TO, THROUGH and BEYOND higher education. While conventional indicators and assessments of literacy and mathematics are valuable in the admissions process, and for predicting student persistence and completion and career pursuits, institutions are seeking ways to increase their rates of student success. How can advancements in social and emotional learning (SEL) research and assessment be leveraged towards contributing to expanding opportunity, expanding knowledge of student needs for support, and improving student outcomes. Conclusions from a June SEL in tertiary education seminar will be presented.

Diversity & Inclusion

In a time of increasing diversity in education, disparities in academic performance and growing gaps in employment between groups of students become more prevalent. New policies and programmes to enhance an inclusive learning environment are developed to close these gaps. The challenge for institutions remains to create an inclusive educational environment that holistically responds to the diversity of life journeys, academic motivation and the perseverance of all students. Identifying and capitalizing the intrinsic motivation of the diversity of students requires more than just believing in the talent and aspirations of students. Having an eye for diversity and inclusion means being aware of different perspectives, experiences and social identities and validating them positively and equally. This symposium will also focus on questions such as: What does it take from an institution to achieve study success for all students in a multicultural student population? How can diversity policy be given shape in a sustainable way?

Education Equality and Economic Efficiency: Obstacles and Access of Underprivileged Youth to Post-Secondary Education in Hong Kong

In the post-colonial Hong Kong, the disparity between poor and rich in getting access to post-secondary education (PSE) remains a burning issue. South Asians, Chinese immigrants and low-income youth are no strangers in Hong Kong schools and yet they face a higher risk of leaving school without PSE credentials than their more affluent mainstream counterparts. Such youth are among the most socially disadvantaged groups in society and only a very small number have succeeded in enrolling in PSE. Heckman (2015) suggests that educational investment targeted at children from disadvantaged backgrounds actually promotes social mobility and equity by increasing the opportunities for creating capabilities. In this presentation, I argue that to ignore or to perpetuate this situation works against social equity and economic efficiency. Findings of my on-ongoing project will be shared to unfold the situation further.


Tuitt, F., Stewart, S., & Haynes, C. (2016). The racial and ethnic imperative for realizing a critical and inclusive pedagogy around the globe [Web blog post]. Retrieved from

Tuitt, F., Haynes, C., & Stewart, S., (Eds.). (2016). Race, equity and the learning environment: The global relevance of critical and inclusive pedagogies in higher education. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Tupan-Wenno, M., Camilleri, A., Fröhlich, M., & King, S. (2016). Effective approaches to enhancing the social dimension of higher education. IDEAS Consortium.

Zijlstra, W., Asper, H., Amrani, A., & Tupan-Wenno, M. (2013). Generiek is divers. Sturen op studiesucces in een grootstedelijke context. ECHO.


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