A critical examination of experiential learning within the context of a Hong Kong preschool gardening programme

Lai Ping CHUNG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

To study what ways a gardening programme being implemented within the context of a Hong Kong pre-school support experiential learning. Dewey is one of the most significant figures in experiential learning. Kolb extended and modified some aspects of Dewey's work, with influence by Piaget and Lewin. Fenwick pinpointed some strengths and limitations of experiential learning. Experiential learning is the conceptual framework of this study (Dewey, 1938; Kolb, 1984; Fenwick, 2001). I was obliged to reconsider my own ideology both in relation to gardening and experiential learning and to recognise how ideology predisposed me to 'see' in some ways and not others. This study is a qualitative single case study using interpretivist paradigm. Multiple data collection methods were used, including unstructured, participant and non-participant observations, semi-structured individual and group interviews, research journal and documentation. The participants were duly informed of the purpose, procedures, and instruments that would be used, including any potential risks. Signed consent was secured. The findings indicated that the children learned through experiential learning. The teachers lacked the necessary subject knowledge - particularly science - for supporting children's learning. The study also highlighted how Chinese cultural beliefs and practices create significant tensions when implementing experiential learning, especially in terms of adult-child relationship. The implications to my teaching included (1) an integral component of my teaching; (2) students can try theories in order to develop practices; (3) enabling students to connect theories to practice; and (4) offering opportunities that students can reflect on their own learning, with engagement. Copyright © 2019 EECERA.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

Citation

Chung, L. P. (2019, August). A critical examination of experiential learning within the context of a Hong Kong preschool gardening programme. Paper presented at The 29th European Early Childhood Education Research Association Conference (EECERA 2019), Thessaloniki, Greece.

Keywords

  • Hong Kong early years education
  • Chinese culture
  • Experiential learning
  • Gardening
  • Teacher's role

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