University of Saint JosephPreparing educators and schools for the future of education

Preparing educators and schools for the future of education


The University of Saint Joseph is working closely with schools in Macau to promote a multidisciplinary approach to education and research

Educators increasingly want to incorporate evidence-based research into their teaching practice, says Miranda Mak, coordinator of the Domingos Lam Centre for Research in Education at the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) in Macau. “They know that data can help them promote and improve their educational and teaching practices.”

The University has a wealth of educational expertise and has been working in and with schools in Macau for more than a decade. It has two centres – the Domingos Lam Centre for Research in Education and the Teachers’ Professional Development Centre – which are dedicated to promoting and improving education in Macau and the wider Greater Bay Area in China.

The Domingos Lam Centre, which focuses on research, aims to foster the “development of a research culture in the school of education, the USJ and also the wider community in order to impact education and society”, Mak says.

In one of its major projects, the Galaxy Entertainment Group Chinese Literacy Education and Research Project, researchers are helping schools to identify students who are falling behind in their literacy development in Chinese. They identify children who may need early interventions and collect annual data to determine which interventions are successful in different contexts. “With that process, we have built up a very good collaborative relationship with local schools.”

The project is “very multidisciplinary”, Mak says. “We have experts in education, language, teaching, cognitive areas, psychology and inclusive education. At the centre, we highly encourage cross-disciplinary research and collaborations with different institutions, faculty and staff, both locally and globally.”

With its collaborators, the centre also compares data collected in different regions, such as Hong Kong and other local areas, to benchmark and predict learners’ Chinese literacy.

The Teachers’ Professional Development Centre also puts collaboration and relationship-building at the core of its mission, says Isabel Tchiang, director of the Teachers' Professional Development Centre. “The centre focuses on making a practical contribution to the ongoing improvement and development of teachers, teaching assistants and the overall teaching and education in Macau and the Greater Bay Area,” she says.

As the world changes, education and teacher development must keep up with students’ changing needs. In the last decade, Macau has undertaken extensive educational reform to standardise its teaching offering. At the same time, new technologies and a shift towards project-based learning have disrupted the education space.

The Teachers’ Professional Development Centre aims to prepare educators to meet this new world of teaching while helping them to professionalise.

The University has been running teacher development programmes with Macau schools for more than a decade, and the centre has built on these relationships. “We promote the latest research into instructional design, pedagogy and also assessment, bringing together expertise from places like Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou and within Macau to facilitate the collaboration between different schools,” Tchiang says. Of the 74 schools in Macau, the centre works with about 55 of them.

Like the Domingos Lam Centre for Research in Education, Tchiang also encourages interdisciplinary expertise. Tchiang has been working with different schools in Macau and China, as well as tertiary institutes in the Greater Bay Area and visiting academics. “We have a lot of different partners who bring diverse insights and perspectives to our work,” she says. “Additionally, we encourage the exploration of different disciplinary areas to try and broaden our understanding of education.” 

Find out more about the University of Saint Joseph.

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