Teacher Education and the University: A comparative analysis with implications for Hong Kong

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  • This article was downloaded by: [Northeastern University]On: 11 October 2014, At: 17:45Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK

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    Teacher Education and theUniversity: A comparativeanalysis with implications forHong KongRuth HayhoePublished online: 25 Aug 2010.

    To cite this article: Ruth Hayhoe (2002) Teacher Education and the University: Acomparative analysis with implications for Hong Kong, Teaching Education, 13:1, 5-23,DOI: 10.1080/1047210120128555

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  • Teaching Education, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2002

    Teacher Education and the University:a comparative analysis with implicationsfor Hong KongRUTH HAYHOEThe Hong Kong Institute of Education, 10 Lo Ping Road, Tai Po, New Territories,Hong Kong

    ABSTRACT The university of education might be seen as a new type of university, whichhas emerged in recent decades in Asia, and which may be able to contribute both to teachereducation and the needs of the knowledge society in new ways. This article begins with ahistorical overview of the development of universities and normal colleges in Western andAsian societies. It explores the value orientations of these two types of institution, and theirlinks to the different historical periods in which they emerged. These contrasting valueorientations are schematized in the second part of the paper, which addresses its corequestion: how can teacher education attain a level of excellence parallel to that ofuniversities, while maintaining those values of the normal college that are relevant to theknowledge society? A comparative historical analysis of three Western and three Asiansocieties in the third part of the paper gives an overview of different ways in which thisdilemma has been resolved. The fourth part then draws out four distinctive models of teachereducation that have emerged historically, and evaluates them comparatively. The paperconcludes with comparative re ections on teacher education in Singapore and Hong Kong,suggesting the model of a university of education as uniquely suited to the Hong Kongsituation, and possibly only culturally viable in an Asian environment.

    In a certain sense, universities have been teacher education institutions from theirearliest founding. If we consider the universities of Europe, the rst degree given wasthe masters degree, and the idea was that anyone who reached this standard wouldhave the right to teach in any university in Europe, the so-called ius ubique docendi(Hayhoe, 1999, pp. 45). Of course, they were teachers of the relatively smallnumber of elite students in the arts, philosophy, medicine, law and theologyallmale. If we consider Chinese traditions of higher education, those who were mostsuccessful in institutions such as the Taixue, the Guozijian, and above all the imperialexamination system, became scholar of cials, while the next echelon of scholars,those who did not succeed in passing the highest level of examination, the jinshi,often became teachers in non-formal academies (shuyuan), in clan schools and in

    ISSN 1047-6210 (print)/ISSN 1470-1286 (online)/02/010005-19 2002 School of Education, The University of QueenslandDOI: 10.1080/1047210120128555

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  • 6 R. Hayhoe

    private schools (sishu), and were highly respected as literati in their local communi-ties (Hayhoe, 1999, pp. 1012). However, there was no real profession of teach-ing, parallel to that of traditional bureaucrat, medical specialist, theologian/religiousleader or legal expert.Only with the creation of mass systems of schooling in the 19th century, rst in

    Europe, then in North America and gradually around the world, did the need arisefor a large number of teachers, able to manage modern schools established as publicinstitutions outside of home and family, with forms of organization and timetablingthat to some degree re ected the patterns of modern factories. Their task was toinculcate basic skills in reading, writing and arithmetic to the majority of children.The institutions created to train these teachers, in France, the United States andEngland, were called ecoles normales, normal schools or colleges of education. Theywere developed separately from universities and they were open to women (Ogren,1995, pp. 14), who had been barred from universities from their founding in the12th century up to the mid-19th century (Noble, 1992). Normal schools focused ontraining teachers with basic knowledge in a range of core academic subjects, andcraft type skills that would enable them to manage modern classrooms, handle anddiscipline young children, and provide them a basic preparation for entering theworld of work by their early teens. Gradually, as educational thought and theorydeveloped on the basis of newly emerging disciplines of psychology and sociology,as well as the more traditional discipline of philosophy, this craft knowledge gaineda degree of respectability and a theoretical basis as a kind of applied science ofeducation.The ethos and style of the normal school or college was quite distinct from that

    of the university. It had a strong commitment to overall moral formation, dealt withbasic disciplines of knowledge in an integrated way, and focused on the developmentof professional skills almost along the lines of a craft. By contrast, universitiesmaintained a strong commitment to theoretical disciplines of knowledge, compart-mentalized by specialization, to the standards of value neutrality that had madepossible the emergence of modern science, and to an intellectual discourse of liberalideas and open-ended questions. In France and England, universities retained theresponsibility for preparing secondary school teachers throughout the modern pe-riod. Right up to the 1960s and 1970s, university graduates in subject disciplinessuch as physics, chemistry, history and economics went directly into secondaryteaching positions without being required to undergo any professional formation ineducation. There was thus a striking difference between the ethos and intellectualformation of primary and secondary teachers.The three Asian communities that we will consider in this article followed rather

    similar patterns, although these developed a little later than those of Europe andNorth America. Japan was the rst to put in place a modern schooling system in thelate 19th century, and to establish a system of normal schools for the training ofprimary school teachers. Early in the 20th century, China developed moderneducation under the in uence of educators from Japan and Europe, establishingnormal schools and colleges as the earliest modern higher institutions. This wasdone with a great sense of urgency to modernize in the face of imperialist incursions.

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  • Teacher education and the university 7

    Taiwans system of modern schooling and teacher education diverged from that ofMainland China after 1949, but shared the same foundations and roots in thedevelopments of the rst half of the 20th century. As in Europe and North America,normal schools and colleges were among the rst higher institutions to welcomewomen students, leading to the emergence of the rst profession to be dominated bywomen, with the possible exception of nursing. The establishment of modernuniversities in Japan and China took place over the same period, but followedmodels such as Berlin, Paris, Oxbridge and Yale, with structures and curricularorientation quite different from those of the normal colleges.

    Con icts in Value and Orientation between Teacher Education Institutionsand the University

    With advances in education over the 20th century, and the movement to masshigher education from the 1960s, normal schools and colleges have naturally soughtto upgrade themselves to the level of universities. Teachers have demanded anacademic and professional formation equivalent to that of other professions, such aslaw and medicine, which had been a part of university life for much longer. Thetransition from normal school to university has taken different forms in the UnitedStates, England and France. In the patterns of change in Japan and China/Taiwan,one can see elements of all three Western traditions, as well as features that may owesomething to the very different cultural traditions and educational legacies of thesesocieties.Nevertheless, the core problematique of this transition lies in the deeply rooted

    differences in value orientation between the university and the normal college. Howwas the normal college to be upgraded to an institution with the scholastic rigourand standards of a university, while maintaining its commitment to the practicalimprovement of schools and teaching? How could the teaching profession achievethe status enjoyed by other professions, while remaining true to its mission ofdeveloping the potential of all children? The core con icts between the normalcollege and the university are schematized in Table 1 by identifying a set of polaritiesof value.Each of the six modern societies referred to (England, France and the United

    States in the West; Japan, China and Taiwan in the East) have approached thedilemma created by these polarities in somewhat different ways. Each createduniversity-level institutions for the formation of teachers that have their own uniquecharacteristics. The next section of this article will sketch out a pro le of thehistorical transition that has taken place, or is underway, in each society.Hopefully, these comparative historical re ections will be of intrinsic interest to

    readers. It may also be appropriate at this point to reveal the practical intention ofthis article. That is to provide a context for re ecting on possible directions for HongKong, where the upgrading of teacher education to the university level is a veryrecent phenomenon. Hong Kong has inherited both the educational traditions of theWest, through its long period of development as a colony of Britain, as well as theeducational heritage of China, with the majority of its population being Chinese.

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  • 8 R. Hayhoe

    TABLE 1. Contrasting orientations of the university and normal school

    University versus Normal school

    Theory versus PracticeSpecialized disciplines of knowledge versus Integrated learning areasValue neutral approaches to knowledge versus Morally directive approaches to

    knowledgeA relatively impersonal environment versus A nurturing environment with strong

    mentorship ties between teachers andstudents

    The liberal pursuit of all questions/intellectual versus Action oriented and eld-basedcuriosity knowledgeAcademic freedom and autonomy versus State control and professional

    accountabilityAn orientation to deep-level understanding and versus A craft orientation towards highlong-term change standards of practice

    From 1939 to 1993, teacher education for the majority of teachers in Hong Kong,particularly those in primary schools and teachers of subjects such as the arts andphysical education at secondary level, took place in colleges of education. Theseprovided 2- or 3-year sub-degree training after secondary schooling. The values andorientation of this training followed very closely those of the normal college.With the rapid expansion of university education in the 1980s, there was a

    precipitous decline in the quality of entrants to colleges of education, as more andmore secondary graduates gained access to university education. In 1994, the vecolleges of education were merged into a new Institute of Education and subse-quently placed under the University Grants Committee as the eighth public tertiaryinstitution in Hong Kong. The Institutes upgrading to university level and statushas since been taking place at a rapid speed. It thus faces the dilemmas arising fromthese value polarities in immediate and practical ways. The article will thereforeconclude by applying the comparative re ection and evaluation on the teachereducation transition in six societies to the case of Hong Kong Institute of Education.Parallel developments in Singapore will be taken as a kind of contrasting case to thatof Hong Kong.

    Comparative Re ections on the Transition from Normal School to Univer-sity

    The American Case

    There can be little doubt that the United States historically led the way in upgradingteacher education to an all-graduate profession, a process that was completed by themiddle of the 20th century, earlier than in any other society. Over the rst half ofthe century, the normal schools that had developed in all parts of the United States

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  • Teacher education and the university 9

    were either upgraded to become local comprehensive universities or were mergedinto the faculties of education of major national universities. In some cases, they hadbeen established by universities, but as attached non-degree colleges for those not upto degree study: poor stepchildren of academe in the words of one historian(Lucas, 1997, p. 39).Those that de...

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