Articulating contrasts in kindergarten teachers' implicit knowledge on play-based learning

Pui Wah Doris CHENG, Philip G. STIMPSON

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57 Citations (Scopus)


In Hong Kong, early-years teachers face professional challenges in adopting a creative and child-oriented pedagogy in which play-based learning is central. The paper illuminates teachers’ understanding of play, approaches used, difficulties faced, and their power in finding solutions. Six Hong Kong kindergarten teachers participated in an in-depth qualitative study that investigated their implicit sense-making processes in implementing play. The research tracked their framing and reframing of ‘reflection’ and ‘action’ for a year through interviews and classroom observations. The findings revealed that while teachers sought to include play, their thinking was often rigid and mechanical. Teachers had a dichotomised concept of play and learning. The study identified three teaching and learning orientations: the technical, the fluctuating and the inquiry, which provide insights into the thinking processes involved in making the pedagogical shift towards play-based learning. By articulating contrasts in kindergarten teachers’ implicit knowledge, the significance of teachers’ inner power, which is persistent inquiry and meta-cognitive learning, is revealed. The findings demonstrate how teachers’ inner power contributes to their professional development. Copyright © 2004 Elsevier.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-352
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 2004


Cheng, D. P.-W., & Stimpson, P. (2004). Articulating contrasts in kindergarten teachers' implicit knowledge on play-based learning. International Journal of Educational Research, 41(4-5), 339-352.


  • Theory and practice
  • Play
  • Professional development of kindergarten teachers


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