15 Mar, 2023
14 : 15
Yew Chung Yew Wah Education Network (YCYW) organised its network-wide Professional Development Days (PD Days) on 24-25 February. Over 2,000 staff from 20 campuses participated in this two-day event with nearly 70 webinars across geographies, disciplines and divisions. Themed ‘Learn. Grow. Empower’ with a subtheme of ‘Celebrating our Journey, Shaping the Future’, the event is a great opportunity to exchange ideas and cultivate better collaboration.
In the event’s opening address, Dr Betty Chan Po-king, CEO & School Supervisor, said that YCYW's remarkable 90-year history was not only a source of inspiration for all, but also testament of the mission and dedication to lifelong learning in the pursuit of sustainable development and accomplishments. Prof. Paul Yip Kwok-wah, Chairman of YCYW, encouraged staff to learn from history, and to guide students to value learning and understand history.
The PD Days event also featured keynote presentations by Ms Jennifer Zhu Scott, Executive Director of The Commons Project, a non-profit public trust, on ‘Future-Proof Education in the AI Age’, ‘Stories of Success’ by Mr Rushton Hurley, Founder and Executive Director of Next Vista for Learning, as well as lectures and workshops delivered by YCYW educators, and ‘YCYW Education Talks’ presented by YCYW students and alumni. "
As the main organiser of the PD Days , the Learning and Professional Development Department had been working relentlessly for six months to prepare for the event. We had the pleasure to talk to Claire Peet, Academic Professional Development and Quality Assurance Senior Manager, to share the stories behind the event.
Q How did the team come up with the theme ‘Learn. Grow. Empower—Celebrating our journey, Shaping the future’?
A The first part, “Learn. Grow. Empower” speaks to our strategic intention as an organisation. It communicates that lifelong learning is at the heart of our principles and practices and is central to our collective development. The word ‘Empower’ is of great significance as it is our people who bring our shared vision to life.
‘Celebrating our journey, Shaping the future’ captures the significance of this event in our 90th year. Our history evokes powerful messages of resilience, innovation, and creativity; qualities that we believe will continue to be the bedrock of our next 90 years. Both the theme and sub-theme were collectively proposed, in consultation with the event steering committee and working group. Both groups represented a cross section of our locations, divisions, teams, and roles.
Q What does the organization want to achieve through this two-day event?
A The overarching outcome for this event is that colleagues can come together to ideate, create, and innovate together, regardless of location or role. The keynote speeches, the peer led sessions and external speakers are there to provide a stimulus, evoking individual, and group reflection on themes that we know will continue to be of significance.
Participants may take something different from these stimuli, based on their individual context and learning journey, but the most important outcome is that they have the chance to express and explore these themes. The event provides a foundation and framework for reflection, yet, in aligning with the event theme, empowers colleagues to dream big and consider new possibilities.
Q How does the PD Days event encourage YCYW staffs to keep learning, keep thinking?
A In celebrating our 90th year we have had the opportunity to consider our unique stories and how these powerful insights bring our community together. The last 3 years have only cemented our appreciation for real connection and genuine relationships. As such, we wanted to encourage the community to see value in their own YCYW stories and recognize the impact they have. This message transcends all our teams, as everyone has a part to play.
The topic of AI is causing uncertainty for almost all sectors and industries globally, so our interest in this topic serves two distinct questions: ‘How can we as educators, utilize AI in a way that furthers student learning and progress, without diminishing the individual learnership skills our students need? ‘Secondly, ‘What does AI mean for our roles (both academic and non-academic teams) and how will this affect the type of work that our students do in the future?’
Q What are the accomplishments that you would like to highlight for this year’s event?
A The absolute cornerstone of the annual PD event is the peer led workshops. This year, close to 70 bespoke sessions were created by individuals and teams from across all YCYW locations and divisions. We were ecstatic to be able to host workshops run by our non-academic and divisional colleagues this year and are looking forward to broadening the selection available even further in future.
Each workshop is created and hosted by colleagues from across the community and everyone is invited to put forward a proposal at the start of the academic year. It is these workshops and presentations that build connection and collaboration across our teams as everyone can select specific sessions to attend that align with their own personal growth needs and focus areas.
In joining these sessions, it was awesome to hear people making connections between Ms Jen Zhu Scott’s keynote and specific workshop topics. For example, in a workshop dedicated to developing parent relationships, a colleague asked, ‘How can we better understand the concerns parents might have around AI specifically and how we further support our parents in this area?’