HKU Study Finds Cumulative Impact of Recurring School Suspensions under the New Normal from 2020 to 2022 – Positive Action Insights for Students, Parents, Schools and Community
The first batch of findings from eCitizen Education 360 (2022) Project are released today (November 3, 2022). The project is led by Principal Investigator, Dr Cheng Yong Tan, and Co-Investigators, Professor Nancy Law and Professor Catherine K.K. Chan, from the Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong (HKU). The D. H. Chen Foundation is the Growth Partner and Funder for this Project, which is designed to provide a comprehensive picture on how students, parents, schools, and teachers adapt in the New Normal after multiple waves of school suspensions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Project is built on the eCitizen Education 360 (2020) conducted in 2020, and it aims to identify the cumulative impact on learning and well-being outcomes of students since then.
Data collection was conducted from July to early September 2022, involving a total of 51 schools (20 primary schools and 31 secondary schools). Over 8,000 students, 3,000 parents, 800 teachers, and 200 school leaders took part in the Project.
As compared to 2020, results in 2022 show that (1) primary and secondary students experienced more online learning activities and had more confidence in online learning. However, secondary school students had less positive online learning and well-being outcomes than primary students (e.g. self-efficacy, self-regulation strategies, cyberbullying experiences), and were much less likely to seek help from adults; (2) parents were most concerned about the impact on their children’s learning due to school suspensions; and they increased their interactions and involvement with their children’s teachers and schools in 2022; Furthermore, parents of secondary students were less involved in their children’s learning and had lower parenting self-efficacy; and; (3) school leaders and teachers reported more e-learning practices in 2022; were most concerned about the impact of prolonged suspensions on students’ academic standards; and found strategies to provide professional development and other facilitative mechanisms for the enhancement of e-learning, a collaborative school culture and community support, were the most important in helping schools to cope with the challenges in the New Normal.
Moving forward, based on the above research findings, the team recommends the following for different stakeholders under the New Normal:
For students: Providing support services to enhance student learning, cyber wellness and socioemotional wellbeing is necessary. Particular attention should be paid to the support to secondary students. There is also a need to conduct further research to investigate the cumulative impact of school suspensions on students’ academic outcomes.
For parents: There is a need for parenting services and support, particularly on digital parenting to support their children’s learning and wellbeing. Special attention should be given to parental education and support for parents of secondary students as they are less engaged in both home-based and school-based involvement, and the findings also show that secondary students are less well-adjusted, in terms of digital wellness, than primary students.
- For schools: School strategies to provide online learning and teaching support to students and teachers, and to enhance communication with parents have brought positive outcomes. More efforts should be given to the provision of professional learning opportunities and to foster a collaborative culture among teachers of effective online, blended, and hybrid teaching and learning to support student-centered learning and wellbeing. Efforts should also be made to leverage community resources and support for school development.
- For the concerned communities and policy makers: The strategies and efforts of school leaders and teachers to provide online learning and teaching support to students, and to enhance communication with parents have brought positive outcomes, which should be applauded and recognised. Community partners’ support have shown to have positively contributed to schools’ adaptations under the New Normal. Such efforts should be continued and strengthened.
Dr Esther Ho Yuk-fan, Chairperson of Hong Kong Association of Careers Masters and Guidance Masters, believed that the data on students’ wellbeing is consistent with their observations, and hoped that researchers could conduct more in-depth research on cyberbullying, especially in bystander contexts.
Mr Charles Chan Kin-hung, Executive Director of The Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong said that cyberbullying and peer relationships are inextricably linked and deserve wide community attention. He highlighted the importance of cultivating students' awareness to stop bullying in the first place and reduce the secondary harm. Meanwhile, we should encourage bystanders to take actions to intervene, stop and report cyberbullying incidents. In addition to mastering appropriate individual responses, we need to work together at the societal level to create a caring environment of love and respect that has zero tolerance for cyberbullying.
Principal Joanne Lau from LST Leung Kau Kui Primary School (Branch) mentioned that the current topic of cyberbullying is indeed important. Parents should be educated to differentiate between playful acts and bullying acts that affect their children. At the same time, the stipulation by the “Health Protection Measures for Schools” issued by Education Bureau (EDB) on “face-to-back” setting and facing one direction teaching arrangement have restricted interactions among students during classroom teaching and extracurricular activities. This could be more explicitly relaxed as these are adversely affecting the development of students' communication and collaboration skills.
Principal Fong Chi Heng HHCKLA Buddhist Chan Shi Wan Primary School said it has been three years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and many external social welfare organisations, colleges and universities and even some business circles have enthusiastically joined in and become her school’s partners, allowing everyone to share resources, and truly take from the society and use it for the society. Throughout the pandemic, the EDB has also supported her school to bring different stakeholders together. Despite the ruthlessness of the pandemic, she hopes that during these special times, students and parents can feel the love and concern in our society.
- Dr Cheng Yong Tan, Associate Professor, Academic Unit of Social Contexts and Policy of Education (SCAPE), Faculty of Education, HKU>
- Professor Nancy Law, Professor, Academic Unit of Teacher Education and Learning Leadership (TELL), Faculty of Education, HKU
- Professor Catherine K.K. Chan, Academic Unit of SCAPE, Faculty of Education, HKU
- Dr Min Lan, Lecturer, College of Teacher Education, Zhejiang Normal University
- Dr Qianqian Pan, Research Scientist, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
- Dr Sisi Tao, Post-doctoral Fellow, Centre for Information Technology in Education (CITE), Faculty of Education
- Dr Qianru Liang, Post-doctoral Fellow, CITE, Faculty of Education, HKU
- Miss Sophie Wenhui Li, CITE, Faculty of Education, HKU
- Miss Cassie Yimeng Li, CITE, Faculty of Education, HKU
About eCitizen Education 360 (2022):An extension of the Learning and Assessment for Digital Citizenship Project
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019, face-to-face lessons in classrooms have been supplanted by long periods of home-based online lessons in Hong Kong schools. During this challenging period of time, many schools, families, and students have struggled to cope with this New Normal of teaching and learning. Understandably, there are widespread concerns in Hong Kong society that student learning and wellbeing may have been adversely affected. It is therefore imperative to take stock of the impact of the New Normal on students’ learning and wellbeing.
Building on the strengths of the eCitizen Education 360 Project (2020) which has yielded valuable findings and practicable actions for stakeholders, this project, eCitizen Education 360 (2022), is underpinned by the understanding that teaching and learning opportunities and outcomes during (and after) the fifth wave of school suspension are continuously influenced by a comprehensive range of factors (or enablers) at the school, teacher, parent, and student levels. By gathering information about students’ digital learning, wellbeing and relevant self-evaluation data available in schools, we aim to provide a comprehensive picture of students’ learning and socioemotional wellbeing after multiple waves of school suspension and to support different stakeholder communities including policy-makers in developing evidence-based action plans that build capacity and resilience to support student learning in the New Normal.>
For more details of the “eCitizen Education 360 (2022)” Project and the report, please visit https://www.ecitizen.hk/360. For more details of the “eCitizen Education 360 (2020)” Project, please visit https://www.ecitizen.hk/360/e360-2020. To view the e-version of this press release, download related photos, presentation file and further reference materials, please visit http://web.edu.hku.hk/press.
For media enquiries, please contact Ms Emily Cheung, Senior Manager (Development and Communications), Faculty of Education, HKU (Tel: 3917 4270 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org), or Miss Sophie Li, Project Manager, “eCitizen Education 360 (2022)” Project, Faculty of Education, HKU (Tel: 3917 4759 / Email: email@example.com).
November 3, 2022
研究團隊於2022年7月至9月初收集數據，參與者來自共51 間學校 (20間小學和31間中學) ，包括逾8,000名學生、3,000名家長、800名教師和200名學校領導。
- 對於學生：有必要加强關注和支援學生的學習、網絡健康和社交情緒健康，並特別注意對中學生提供支援。同時亦需就學校停課對學生學業成績造成的積累影響, 作進一步研究。
- 對於學校：學校為學生和教師提供的網上學習和教學支持、加强與家長溝通等策略帶來正面成效。未來應加大力度為教師提供專業學習機會，促進教師協作文化, 以及各種線上和混合教與學模式，有效支持以學生為中心的學習和福祉。此外，還應充分利用社區資源支持學校發展。
- 對社區關注人士和決策人士：學校領導和教師為學生提供的網上學習和教學支援, 以及加强與家長溝通帶來正面成效，應加以讚賞和認可。社區合作夥伴的支援證實對學校適應新常態具積極貢獻，應持之以恆，並再加強該支援。
樂善堂梁銶琚學校（分校）劉鐵梅校長表示需重視近期的網上欺凌問題，並應教育家長辨別開玩笑和欺凌行爲，明辨對子女有影響的行為。同時，教育局提供的「學校健康指引」中，提及課堂教學和課外活動期間「面對背」和單向方式授課的教學安排, 此等安排都應稍放寬, 避免繼續影響學生溝通和協作能力的發展。