A mixed method study of EFL teacher knowledge and practice in Chinese kindergartens

Xiaobo SHI, Siu Sze YEUNG

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Despite an increasing research interest in subject-specific teacher knowledge, there is limited research on teachers’ knowledge of English as a foreign language (EFL) in early childhood education (ECE). This paper, therefore, reports a mixed-methods study which investigated the relationships between ECE EFL teachers’ knowledge and their practices in the Chinese context. Four hundred and twenty-four Chinese kindergarten English teachers completed questionnaires and six of them participated in stimulated recall classroom observations. Quantitative and qualitative data analyses revealed two knowledge factors that had significant effects on the teachers’ practice, namely pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and knowledge of context. There was one common classroom practice, influenced by PCK and knowledge of context. This was the process-product-mixed pedagogy. In addition, not all teacher knowledge could be applied in practice because contextual factors intervened in the process. The study revealed the complexity of ECE English teaching and the influence of teacher knowledge. Implications for research and practice are discussed. Copyright © 2024 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Education for Teaching
Early online dateMay 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - May 2024


Shi, X., & Yeung, S. S.-S. (2024). A mixed method study of EFL teacher knowledge and practice in Chinese kindergartens. Journal of Education for Teaching. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/02607476.2024.2358039


  • Early childhood English education
  • English as a foreign language
  • Teacher knowledge
  • Pedagogical content knowledge
  • Teacher practice


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