Development of Southeast Asia Regional Standards for Science Teachers: Implication for Equitable Outcome in Science and Technology Education
In any world-class educational system, quality teachers with passion for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) play important roles in the nation’s human resource development especially in the fields of Science and Technology Education (STE). Hence a framework to support and improve teachers’ quality is important to maintain the standards of science education especially in a fast growing region e.g., SEAMEO. These framework/standards should be developed as benchmarks to improve quality teachers and their science teaching in order to achieve the vision of raising students’ achievement. This paper reports on the authors’ involvement in the development as well as implementation of SEARS-ST in response to this call for quality teacher standards in which the ‘Southeast Asia Regional Standards for Science Teachers’(SEARS-ST) was prepared through a series of development and editing workshops in 2014 and 2015. Participatory inquiry approach was adopted as research methodology to draft and edit SEARS-ST involving teams of SEAMEO’s experts. The authors as lead researchers were involved as coordinator of workshops, consultant and seminar speakers to disseminate the refined version of SEARS-ST formulated through blended learning mode to groups of educators. Research questions that were formulated after the first workshop were sent to the participants of the second workshop who were mainly SEAMEO educators to solicit responses, As an output of collaborative and participatory inquiry-based study, four dimensions of SEARS-ST were identified also as main discussion topics in the SEARS-ST document, i.e., (1) Professional knowledge; (2) Professional practice; (3) Professional attributes and ethics; and (4) Professional development. An exemplary case for ‘Malaysian Science Teachers’ Quality Standards’(MSTQS) is reported on how Local Descriptors were developed in line with the Components and Elements in each Dimension of SEARS-ST. It is hoped that the lessons learnt from this participatory inquiry-based study would serve as models to develop ‘Science Teachers Quality Standards’ (STQS) in other SEAMEO countries. Implications of study and suggestions for future research are also deliberated.
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