Research PrioritiesEnglish and other foreign languages
Recommendations submitted by each sub theme paper at the 3rd AEMM
(Santiago, April 2004)
Math and Science Instruction
- Curriculum & Standards
It is important to achieve a balance between existing programs and emerging needs. Key priority should be given to develop clear standards and testing system to support teacher language accreditation, and to define clear standards for student learning and appropriate assessment systems.
- Exchange & Development
It is recommended to build on strengths of each economy through networking and collaborative initiatives such as the following:
- Compile a resource inventory including foreign/second language reference materials, resources and teacher exchange information and on-line training programs linked to EDNET Knowledge Bank.
- Link APEC Foreign Language Teachers with internationally recognized language teaching association, such as IATEFL or TESOL, to organize English language teachers' workshops, symposium and other training programs relevant to foreign language teaching, research and publication under the auspices of APEC EDNET (as endorsed by APEC HRDWG)
- Support APEC-wide events to create a "language star culture" that lauds achievement in foreign language (such as offering rewards, sponsoring contests, debates, etc.)
- Promote e-learning strategies for language teachers' professional development and creativity in classroom instruction.
- Create network of returning graduate students and exchange of foreign language educators and students within APEC economies.
Cooperate in relevant research projects, with clear identification of collaborative roles. The following initiatives are recommended:
- Study use of foreign language e-language learning, web sites and distance education programs to compensate for limited number of teachers and resources
- Assessment of communication skills, especially in large classes, and the possibility of collaborative assessment tools, along with associated impact studies
- Development of a collaborative foreign language teachers' standards assessment and accreditation program, along with associated impact studies
- Resource Leverage
Make the best use of resources available for research, networking and collaborative initiatives by:
- Implementing the Knowledge Bank
Using ICT for Teaching and Learning
- Build an online professional development network. Online professional development can be used to enhance teachers' knowledge about mathematics and science. For example, teachers in more developed economies could share their knowledge of how to teach science or how to use ICT to improve instruction with teachers in less developed economies. If done well, online professional development could be as effective as and more cost effective than face-to-face professional development. APEC should explore opportunities for providing online professional development in mathematics and science, and in foreign languages and ICT.
- Use all opportunities to share knowledge. APEC can create opportunities to share information about mathematics and science education. APEC should sponsor a seminar to discuss case studies: suggested seminar themes might include effective practices for teaching and assessing 21st Century skills and effective practices for training mathematics and science teachers. After the seminar, findings could be even more widely disseminated through the APEC Network for Education Knowledge Bank. The Knowledge Bank is a powerful tool that can be used by APEC economies to share information on policies, research, and effective practices. The Knowledge Bank could also house an online bank of assessment questions that measure students' mathematics and science skills in a variety of different formats (multiple choice, short answer, open-ended), including assessments at key grades and college entrance exams.
- Research how best to integrate instruction in science, technology, and mathematics. Technology is more available than ever in APEC economies. Consequently, it is important to determine how this technology can be used to change instructional techniques and improve student achievement. APEC should encourage research to provide educators with evidence-based methods for integrating ICT with mathematics and science instruction. Without such research, ineffective instructional practices could be inadvertently promoted.
- Promote the use of evidence-based educational policies and practices throughout APEC. Using the APEC Network for Education Knowledge Bank, economies will be able to share information on evidence-based best practices in science and mathematics education with one another. APEC is moving toward a research-based focus in its education work, reaching agreement on what constitutes a promising practice and what constitutes an evidence-based practice. Economies should identify their promising practices and rigorously evaluate them to see if they are evidence-based. They should then share proven methods with the other APEC economies.
- Build on existing cognitive research. APEC should work to determine how recent brain research could be used in teaching mathematics and science concepts, to determine appropriate sequencing of concepts, and to help students of different ages retain mathematical and science concepts. APEC or APEC members should also consider ways to use information collected in UNESCO and OECD brain research projects.
Governance and Systemic Reform in Education
- Establishing communities of practice, both on line and on site to share knowledge among students, teachers, researchers, parents, policy makers and other stakeholders among APEC communities.
- Collaborate on research and development (R&D). APEC economies can share and collaborate with one another on how technology tools can yield high pedagogical impact with low investment, and how such tools can be widely accessible and widely adopted, especially in regions where the digital divide in schools is an issue.
- Towards the Integration of ICT Literacy into Teaching and Learning. In the long run it is recommended that a holistic approach can be adopted in assimilating ICT into all aspects of teaching and learning to promote ICT literacy. Hence, the focus for future EDNET discussions and projects should be on close integration of the ICT sub theme into the other sub themes, namely English and Foreign Language, Mathematics and Science, and Governance.
- To have effective governance including transparent, accountable, regulatory, accreditation and quality assurance systems and also policy and program delivery.
These will depend on the economies' political and cultural context, level of economic development and international engagement. Information can be gained from other economies including outside the region.
- To build the capacity of individuals and at the local and central levels of government;
Decentralization and other reforms cannot occur without appropriate resource and skills shifts and capacity at local level. There is a need to balance local autonomy with national goals and aims.
- To strengthen ties between schools/education training institutions and local communities;
This encompasses moves to greater school based management systems (often including the building of social capital in schools), increased accountability of schools and greater community involvement.
- Higher Education Reform. To share best practices including quality assurance systems and international benchmarking.