Staff development in Hong Kong secondary schools
Quality assurance is a global trend in education. It has a close relationship with the issue of staff development. With the implementation of School-based Management in 2000, all secondary schools in Hong Kong have the obligation to incorporate the policy of staff development as one of the major items in the year plans of their schools. The aims of this study are: investigating the staff development policies of selected Hong Kong secondary schools; understanding the strategies adopted to coordinate these policies in relation to School-based Management; examining the implementation of staff development, including its purposes, needs identification, activities, evaluation and perceived effectiveness; exploring the perceived directions and trends of staff development and discussing the likely implications for policy, practice and research in Hong Kong. This study, which is unique as there is no similar research applicable to Hong Kong schools, takes the qualitative approach. This helps to achieve a comprehensive study of staff development in three selected secondary schools in Hong Kong. Seven informants from each school, including the Principal, the Teacher-in-charge and a member of the Staff Development Committee, and four other teachers, were invited to provide information for this study. The major information was detected from the interviews of the Principals and the Coordinators of the Staff Development Committees. Other information was supplemented by observation and documents. The validation was a study of the documents and the interviews of the other teachers. All these were used as a means of triangulation to validate the information of the key informants. Results of the study showed that there was an evolution in the practices of staff development. In order to know the trend of staff development, an investigation of the changing factors and the underlying causes was initiated. It showed that strategies were adopted to face the recent trend. Not only did these three schools have written staff development policies, but they also had a clear link between policy formulation and programme implementation. Staff development activities were organized in different levels. Moreover, it also identified the roles of the principal and the teacher-in-charge, and illustrated the achievement as well as the difficulties of staff development in these three schools. Finally, models are also constructed to demonstrate the practices of staff development in Hong Kong.