The development of learning study and its shifting focus in university-school partnership: The case of Hong Kong

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Abstract

Learning Study, an enriched version of lesson study, developed during the education reform era in Hong Kong and evolved into a participatory action research model with a theoretical underpinning framework and collaboration between teachers and university researchers. It has once been used as a major model for enhancing partnership between a university and schools for the preparation of pre-service teachers in Hong Kong. In recent years, a shifting focus of this partnership model has been witnessed with recognition of broader needs of schools as well as the accomplishment of a wide range of educational goals including: promoting peer observation through open lessons which serve as a platform for professional exchange; fostering assessment for learning; developing self-directed learning and e-learning strategies, etc.. With the university school collaboration under the Learning Study approach, the value and applicability of the above new initiatives are put into empirical research.
This paper reviews the Learning Study programs and projects developed since year 2000 in one of the major teacher training university in Hong Kong, the Education University of Hong Kong. Documents including reports, program books, case studies reports, monographs and related research papers are collected and reviewed in order to identify the challenges encountered and the resolutions found in developing the Learning Study approach in the school community in Hong Kong. Using the framework of Walse & Backe (2013) about the characteristics of effective university-school partnership, this paper analyzes the strategies and critical elements of the Learning Study approach to be developed as a long-lasting and major universityschool partnership model.
This paper first illustrates the development of the Learning Study approach in Hong Kong since year 2000 to explicate the shifting focus of university-school partnership - from meeting the need of school placement to accomplish broader education goals by addressing the gap between theory and practice. Recently, the Learning Study approach was used to help schools test on the effectiveness of the new interventions and theories has resulted in a series of projects and programs which have further integrated the notion of community of practice (CoP). The paper then explores the strategies, potential and challenges of the approach as a model for university-school partnership and teacher professional development using the following constructs: a shared conceptual understanding, mutuality in roles and relationships, sound operational plans: infrastructure, funding and sustainability, and evaluation of outcomes and process. It is argued that Learning Study seems to have good potential to be sustained as an effective partnership model between the school community and university to realize their shared vision of improving teaching for the benefits of students. The research work generated from the Learning Study approach is theory-driven as well as empirically-based. Thus the tension between schools and university for different goals has been resolved. Nevertheless, the implementation of the approach is not without challenges, either at practical level and system level. The paper can shed light on how to develop and sustain an effective university-school partnership model using the Learning Study approach. Copyright © 2017 World Association of Lesson Studies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

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Hong Kong
university
school
learning
teacher
community
study program
university education
learning strategy
teacher training
action research
electronic learning
empirical research
education
funding
sustainability
infrastructure
reform
Teaching

Citation

Ko, P. Y. (2017, November). The development of learning study and its shifting focus in university-school partnership: The case of Hong Kong. Paper presented at the World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS) International Conference 2017, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan.