University of Hong Kong – Nurturing a twenty-first century teaching force through community-based experiential education
This project was set up by a small Experiential Learning (EL) team at the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong in 2016-17. It aims to re-think how teacher education can adapt to a rapidly changing and unpredictable global context while bringing benefits for the teaching profession and the wider community. Through the establishment of a mandatory EL curriculum for all new teachers on its preparatory courses, this project seeks to promote a third layer of learning in teacher education, making the community outside the university an inter-space for reciprocal knowledge building and the source of multiple learning opportunities for teachers-to-be.
This compulsory, credit-bearing EL curriculum across all ITE programmes was the first example in Hong Kong and south-east Asia. In a grade-conscious culture, the project creators choose to emphasize learning ‘processes’ over grades so all courses are pass/fail (no grades); they want students to see the purpose of serving the community above individual grades and marks. Ongoing reflective practice is promoted using multiple modalities (written, photo voice, poster conferences, debriefing) to connect students’ experiences. They create multiple platforms for partners to collaborate with them and one another. An annual fair is held for new pre-service teachers and alumni to meet with community partners for exchanging ideas, thereby promoting sustainability in their own fields and quality assurance.