Curriculum and pedagogical practices in four Hong Kong kindergartens

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

Hong Kong kindergarten teachers, like their counterparts in many other parts of the world, face the challenges of implementing educational reforms and adopting new teaching approaches. This is especially challenging in the absence of detailed, concrete and explicit guidance on implementing new teaching approaches in daily classroom activities. The present study employed a qualitative collective case study methodology to investigate four kindergarten teachers’ perspectives and pedagogical practices in relation to the adoption and implementation of project and thematic approaches in four Hong Kong kindergarten classrooms. Three data collection methods were used, including semi-structured interviews, non-participant observations using an observation guide, and field notes. A range of strategies, including data triangulation, enhanced the credibility and dependability of the study. Key themes from the findings were identified through thematic analysis. The findings reveal that teachers were primarily focused on pedagogical practices associated with establishing and maintaining classroom discipline and rules, and ensuring children’s learning of academic skills. In the area of curriculum and pedagogical practices, the data indicated that teachers put extensive amounts of time and effort into enhancing children’s academic skills. Findings also showed that few children had free-play time. In most cases, children needed to finish their homework before they engaged in play. Such practice may affect other aspects of children’s development such as creative and critical thinking, and problem solving. With regard to discipline and rules, all teachers were concerned about children’s self-help skills and expected children to follow the classroom rules strictly. The teachers in this study frequently used demonstration and direct instructions to children to maintain classroom discipline and rules. The study found that there is resistance in Confucian-heritage cultures to children’s learning through play. The Confucian heritage assumes that play can disturb children’s learning and create an obstacle to academic achievement. The study found that Confucian principles are one of the major factors affecting the teaching practices of the four kindergarten teachers in this study. It recommends more play time for kindergarten children in these classes and suggests that a “play lesson”, which aims at promoting children’s creative and critical thinking, and problem solving skills is inserted into the daily schedule in the kindergartens. Copyright © 2015 Queensland Univesity of Technology.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherThesis (Ph.D.)--Queensland Univesity of Technology, 2015.
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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kindergarten
Hong Kong
kindergarten teacher
curriculum
classroom
teacher
learning
kindergarten child
data collection method
homework
triangulation
self-help
educational reform
Teaching
teaching practice
academic achievement
credibility
instruction
methodology
interview

Citation

Ho, J. (2015). Curriculum and pedagogical practices in four Hong Kong kindergartens. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

Keywords

  • Hong Kong education
  • Early childhood education
  • Thematic approach
  • Project approach
  • Curriculum
  • Pedagogical practices
  • Classroom environment
  • Confucianism
  • Teacher-child interaction
  • Free-play time
  • Play lessons