CJ Koh Professorial Lecture

CJ Koh Professorial Lecture

Wednesday, 25 March 2009


The National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University (NIE/NTU), Singapore will be organising the CJ Koh Professorial lecture by Professor Susan Fuhrman, President, Teachers College, Columbia University.

The CJ Koh Professorial lecture has been made possible through funds to the NTU Endowment Fund by the late Mr Koh Choon Joo, a lawyer and philanthropist. Mr Koh Choon Joo paid tribute to his late wife through the Pradap Kow Scholarship in Higher Degrees in Education. Mdm Pradap Kow was a teacher at the old CHIJ in Victoria Street.

Mr Ong Tiong Tat, Executor of the late Mr Koh's estate, has, in recent years, donated generously to the NTU Endowment Fund, thus leading to the Koh Choon Joo Professorship in Education, Pradap Kow Scholarship in Higher Degrees in Education and CJ Koh Education Fund.

About the Speaker

Prof Susan Fuhrman is the President of Teachers College, Columbia University, and Chair of the Management Committee of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE). 
She has written widely on education policy and finance. Among her edited books are The Public Schools (The Institutions of American Democracy Series, with Marvin Lazerson, 2005); Redesigning Accountability Systems for Education (with Richard Elmore, 2004); From the Capitol to the Classroom: Standards-Based Reform in the States (2001); and Rewards and Reform: Creating Educational Incentives that Work (with Jennifer O'Day, 1996). 
Prof Fuhrman's professional involvements include membership on the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the National Coalition on Asia and International Studies in the Schools. She is also a former Vice President of the American Educational Research Association, and a non-executive Director of Pearson plc, the international education and publishing company. Her research interests include state policy design, accountability in education, deregulation, intergovernmental relationships, and standards-based reform. She has also conducted research on state education reform, state-local relationships, state differential treatment of districts, federalism in education, incentives and systemic reform, and legislatures and education policy.

Professor Fuhrman's profile is at: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/faculty/index.htm?facid=shf2111

Details of the lecture are enclosed at Annexe A.

Annexe A

Creating Quality Teachers in the 21st Century

Teachers are the most essential aspect of any education system. In today's economy, in which more jobs increasingly demand high-level skills and independent critical thinking, all children must be educated to high standards and must therefore have access to quality teachers.

However, the core skills of a quality teacher have also changed, from competency merely in presenting material and assessing performance to expertise in understanding how children learn, in diagnosing learner difficulties and in designing activities to facilitate learning of key concepts. The evolution of teachers' roles has dictated an increased focus on recruiting the best people to teach, providing them with the best preparation, and maintaining and augmenting their skills throughout their careers. To realise these aims, ministries of education must partner with regional authorities and universities to create evidence-based teacher training programmes, drawing, in areas such as early childhood mathematics, on new advances in understanding of how children learn and in what sequences they should be taught.

The challenge for education schools, in particular, is to undertake extensive reviews of curriculum for novice teachers; create a continuous feedback loop with educators in the field in order to tap their craft knowledge; create induction programmes and ensure that novice teachers do fieldwork with excellent practitioners; and maintain links with graduates so as to be able to provide them with relevant continuing education that address the challenges they face in their jobs.

Ultimately, teaching is a profession that can be taught, enhanced and refined, and it is the job of education schools, working in partnership with policymakers and practitioners, to achieve those ends.