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Asia Pacific Scholars' Reflective Dialogues on the Future of Education Innovation and Teacher Education in the New Normal amidst Global Education

The Asia Pacific Association for Teacher Education (APATE) and the Taiwan Education Alliance convened a conference on "Educational Innovation and Teacher Education in the New Normal" on November 18-19, 2022.With the keynote speakers and panelists invited from approximately ten countries," attendees exchanged ideas and explored pandemic-related issues concerning the development of teacher education systems, teaching, and research in and across different cultural contexts. The lively debate and discussions either in the in-person (physical) or online sessions of the two-day forum feature the concerns of educational researchers and practitioners from various countries concerning the new normal of education.

In keeping with the "New Normal", the conference offered a combination of online and in-person (physical) sessions. It also began with President Cheng-Chih Wu and Vice President Yao-Ting Sung delivering their pre-recorded welcoming speech to both online and in-person attendees. Following the three keynote speeches made on the first day by international scholars and the Department of Education, the conference was divided into three sections: Cross-national Panels, Postgraduate Research Forum, and Scholarly Individual Paper Presentations.

The four sessions of the cross-national forum were moderated by Hsiu-Lan Tien, Dean of the College of Education, National Taiwan Normal University (also serving as APATE President); Hui-Ling Pan, Distinguished Professor, Department of Education and Futures Design, Tamkang University (Taiwan); Professor Li-Ching Ho, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA); Director Yuk-Ying, Tung, Institute of Education, National Cheng Kung University (Taiwan).

Eleven scholars from ten countries (including Taiwan, the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Malaysia) gathered to discuss the education system’s response to the new normal, teachers' physical and mental health, teachers' adaptation to digital technology and teaching transformation, teachers' re-professionalisation and development, and inter-professional collaborative teaching under the new normal. Through the heated discussions, they inspired diverse and cross-disciplinary academic thinking that hopefully helps reflecting on teacher education systems and practice in various countries and developing broader and deeper possibilities for the future of teacher education.

The Dean of the College of Education at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Jerome T. Buenviaje, moderated the Graduate Student Forum, where graduate students from New Zealand and Hong Kong presented strategies for leadership, teaching, and interpersonal interaction among principals and teachers in response to the new normal in various contexts during the pandemic. Through this forum, APATE seeks to create a platform for the discussion and sharing of practical experiences from in/pre-service teachers, and graduate students in the field of teacher education under the new normal.

For the first time ever, two online sessions devoted to the dissemination research findings will be part of the annual APATE conference, moderated by Dean Hung, Li-Yu of National Taiwan Normal University's School of Teacher Education (Taiwan) and Associate Professor Tzu-Ling Hsieh of Institute of Educational Administration and Evaluation, University of Taipei (Taiwan). The conference was a resounding success in terms of the exchange of scholars’ local experiences and reflexive dialogues across nations, disciplines, and educational levels. We look forward to the face-to-face academic exchanges in the next annual conference with scholars and APATE members from different countries visiting Taiwan again to promote the cohesion and solidarity of scholars in the Asia-Pacific region, to make a thorough inquiry into the future-oriented schooling, and to engage in international collaboration in teacher training practices and research at all levels.