A study of the role and duties of a form teacher in junior secondary schools in Hong Kong

Mo Kuen LEUNG, King Por Edwin WONG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


INTRODUCTION: In Hong Kong, almost all secondary schools adopt the "Class System" to allocate students into different classes. A teacher is assigned to each class as a form teacher of the class. He is responsible for the moral and social life training of the students in the class (Yau and Luk,1986). There are some assigned duties for form teachers and also there are some unofficial duties that are assumed to be taken up by them. Since 1979, the nine-year free-education has initiated a problem in secondary schools. Under this compulsory education system, no matter a student is interested in studying or not, he has to stay in a school until he is 15 years old. That is why there are more and more juvenile delinquency problems happen in secondary schools. The role of a form teacher became more important and his work- load was tremendously increased since then. Besides being a counselor, a form teacher is also vital in the development of the class spirit. Sometimes, a form teacher even takes up the role of parents in caring for the students (Yau and Luk, 1986). From the aspect of the school, a form teacher is expected to act as a bridge between the school, the parents and the class. He is to twin together the strength of the school, the home and the society's education. Besides, as schools nowadays tend to be more administratively individualized, the multi-functional effects of a form teacher must augment his role as a moderator in different functional groups of the school. Thus, a Form Master System is very important in secondary schools education because a form teacher can act as a twist-tie that binds together the community, the home and various departments of the school. He is a moderator in school administration. He is also a front line educator because he can approach the students right away easily. In China, there is a much greater expectation on a form teacher that it may even have a study mainly on "Form Teachers" and a Form teachers' handbook describing their role and duties. But in Hong Kong, the form teacher system is not recognized as that important as in China. We don't have a formal document or any working rules defining the work area and quantities of work of a form teacher. Now, we are facing the hand over of Hong Kong to China on first of July, 1997. Is there a need to bring the education system in Hong Kong close to the one in China? In a time like this in Hong Kong when the home is losing its functions, when the society's network is falling apart, when the school administration has lost its prime purpose and idealism due to emigration and individualism, our young people lose their directions. Form teacher is an important leading person to the young people. Thus, a well structured sound Form Master system is worth to be developed. FOCUS OF STUDY: Hong Kong has been undergoing tremendous changes in recent years. Under the compulsory education system, the demands on teachers grow accordingly. The duties of a form teacher become more and more trivial, but heavier and heavier. His role is more and more complicated. No one will doubt the importance of a form teacher to the development of a student, to a class as well as to the effectiveness of schools (Yau and Luk, 1986). It is hoped to find out the most important roles and most meaningful duties of a form teacher so as to bring into full play his functions and effectiveness in school education. The aim of this study is to investigate the role and duties of a form teacher in junior forms in Hong Kong. At the same time, we will try to sort out the difficulties they are facing and a more effective system is hoped to be developed so as to strengthen the functions of a form teacher in secondary schools. PROCESS OF INVESTIGATION: A study was carried out in a Christian secondary school of good banding. An intensive qualitative study was adopted. Structured interviews were successfully carried out, six for junior form students, six for form teachers in junior forms, and six for senior teachers in the executive committee. Opinions of three parents were collected through telephone interviews and direct interviews in the Parents' Night. Based on the information gathered after analyzing these interviews and some literature reviews, a questionnaire was developed and fifteen junior form teachers in the selected sample school completed the questionnaire. The results showed that the form teachers themselves recognized their importance in school education. They felt that some important and urgent duties did not have educational meanings. These could be taken up by any unimportant person such as a clerk but it was always those miscellaneous works that were time-consuming and made them feel tired and exhausted. They did find difficulties and needed help and support from the school. The ongoing Form Master System was not encouraging to the form teachers. The results obtained in this study were promising and meaningful that we do hope that an extensive study can be carried out in other schools in future so that a well structured and sound Form Teacher system can be established in secondary schools. CONCLUSION: This abstract is to point out the importance of a form teacher under a compulsory education system of Hong Kong. The study is to find out the most important roles and meaningful duties of a form teacher, the difficulties they are facing and the support they need. With the results, it is hoped that a well planned and structured Form Master System can be established so as to strengthen the educational effectiveness of a form teacher in secondary schools.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1997


Leung, M. K., & Wong, K. P. (1997, November). A study of the role and duties of a form teacher in junior secondary schools in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association (HKERA) 14th Annual Conference: Compulsory Education and Beyond, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China.


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