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Cambridge Professional Development Qualifications

School News January 08, 2024
Cambridge Professional Development Qualifications

In the beginning of this academic year, WASCZ received official recognition from Cambridge Assessment International Education, designating as a Cambridge Professional Development Certification Centre. Additionally, the school was authorised to offer the Cambridge Professional Development Qualifications (PDQ) courses.

Cambridge PDQ courses fostering WASCZ Integrated Curriculum

As a trailblazing school in international education, WASCZ is committed to providing its students with the highest quality internationalised education. Developing integrated courses stands as one of the school's key developmental objectives. Providing our teachers with training in the latest international teaching theories and practices is a crucial strategy to underpin the successful implementation of these integrated courses.

Cambridge Assessment International Education places great emphasis on research related to the integration of Cambridge international education with the Chinese national curriculum. As a longstanding partner school of their examination centre, WASCZ aims to explore the development and implementation of integrated courses in collaboration with the University of Cambridge.

This collaboration is designed to assist WASCZ teachers in continual learning of the latest global educational research theories, self-reflection on teaching practices, exploration of best practices in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), and guiding students in constructing knowledge systems. This, in turn, helps them discover high-level thinking abilities and life skills, preparing them for seamless integration into overseas universities. This collaboration lays a solid foundation for the implementation of WASCZ's integrated courses.

WASCZ Sets a Record in Cambridge PDQ Training

Following voluntary sign-ups and a rigorous selection process, teachers from diverse disciplines, including mathematics, natural science, social science, engineering design and technology, performing arts, visual arts, and sports and exercise education, took part in the inaugural Cambridge International Teacher Professional Development training on "Teaching Integration of Subjects and English Learning. The mentors, hailing from various faculties such as English, Natural science and Social science, assumed leadership or senior teaching roles. The simultaneous participation of such a large number of teachers in PDQ training has set a new record for the Cambridge PDQ programme. This underscores the high level of endorsement from WASCZ's teachers for integrated courses and bilingual education.

Throughout this academic year, teachers are required to attend weekly training sessions. They are expected to design a series of teaching courses based on the acquired teaching theories, which are then discussed with mentors. This process fosters continuous reflection and improvement, ultimately completing 150 hours of integrated theoretical and practical learning.

Dr Min Du, Deputy Head in charge of educational development at WASCZ, holds a Doctor of Education (EdD) from the University of Cambridge. With over a decade of teaching experience in the UK and previous roles in local education authorities, examination boards, and key high schools in China, she serves as the project leader for the Cambridge PDQ certification. Dr Du conducts two-hour training sessions every Wednesday and Thursday evening, facilitating lively discussions, reflections, guiding teachers in academic writing closely related to teaching practices, and overseeing mentors in addressing the developmental needs of each PDQ participant through regular meetings, observations, feedback, and discussions.

The PDQ course comprises three units. The first unit focuses on learning CLIL and international cutting-edge teaching theories, involving mentors taking teachers to observe experienced teachers, prompting self-reflection on their own teaching practises. The second and third units continue the study of teaching theories, requiring teachers to integrate theoretical learning into teaching design and practise. PDQ mentors provide valuable feedback, guiding teachers in continuous improvement. Through this spiral learning approach, international cutting-edge teaching methods are incorporated into daily classrooms and education.

Motivation of Cambridge PDQ Participant Teachers

Mr Steve Dowson, the Head of the Visual Faculty at WASCZ with extensive experience in international art education, also participated in the Cambridge PDQ training. When asked about his motivation for joining the PDQ training, he expressed a deep understanding, stating that he has encountered many students with unique artistic talents, but unfortunately, their English proficiency limits their expression. Despite his busy schedule, he dedicates time every week to attend PDQ training, aiming to bring back what he learns to the his faculty. He hopes to lead the faculty in integrating English learning into art education, helping WASCZ students better express their artistic creations.

Currently, the Faculty of Statistics is developing and practicing integrated courses, with the majority of the mathematics teachers participating in PDQ training. Ms Lydia Song, with rich teaching experience, mentioned that since participating in the training, she has gained a new understanding of the design of teaching in the "Teaching Integration of Subjects and English Learning." She emphasised, "We are not only academic teachers but also language teachers. We not only impart knowledge of mathematics but also provide students with more opportunities to improve their ability to communicate in English." In addition to integrating subjects and language, there is also a focus on integrating subjects and life, helping students "transform passive learning into active learning" through a spiral learning approach. In our integrated courses, students not only learn unit knowledge but also receive project-based learning tasks. For example, in mathematics, students, under the guidance of teachers, identify research topics of interest in their daily lives. They use learned mathematical methods to collect, analyse, present data, and present written and oral reports in English. The students' achievements are presented and celebrated in various ways.

Working Together Towards New Heights in WASCZ Education

The Cambridge PDQ programme is one of the teacher professional development training programmes we have established to complement WASCZ integrated education. To promote the continuous progress of all WASCZ teachers, we employ various strategies, such as regular classroom observation feedback, professional training, educational research, and a comprehensive assessment of teaching and administrative staff. This stimulates staff to fully utilise their strengths and abilities. Through continuous learning and self-reflection, we aim to align the school's development with individual development goals, progressing hand in hand. While our challenges are significant, we believe that, with the joint efforts of all WASCZ staff, the school will provide continued improvement and enable every teacher and what to excel.