Curriculum intentions, classroom realities: The learning and teaching of English reading to Hong Kong secondary students

Kevin Thomas REY

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


Reading is a multidimensional process that has evolved through history to adapt to accommodate environmental changes. Today, reading continues to evolve to meet the demands of globalization. The study examined the complex connection between curriculum, teachers, and students. To explore and research the relationship between stakeholders in the English reading curriculum, primarily policymakers, teachers, and students. The author selected English reading education for Hong Kong secondary students as a case study. Current and prior literature suggests that English reading to English Second Language Learners (ESL) focuses on the general perceptions and motivations of ESL learning and teaching. However, minimal research focuses on Chinese learners' self-perception of ESL reading, teachers’ beliefs and practices, curriculum interpretation, implementation, and intent. Therefore, examining, understanding, and identifying the relationship between Curriculum Intentions and Classroom Realities is essential.

The objective of the study was threefold (1) to find the relations between learning and teaching and the perceptions of students, (2) to identify teachers' interpretations of the English reading curriculum and how their beliefs and classroom practices could affect the implementation of curriculum, and (3) the alignment of ESL reading lessons prescribed by the Education Bureau of Hong Kong policymakers and the teachers’ implementation in class.

There were 250 junior form students participants and 24 English teachers. Questionnaires, semi-formal interviews, lesson observations, and focus group discussions were employed for data collection.

The results highlighted four themes around the area of (i) teachers' efficacy of curriculum interpretation, (ii) challenges affecting beliefs and classroom practice for the implementation of curriculum, (iii) students' understanding of the intent of curriculum, and (iv) the misalignments of curriculum intentions and classroom realities. The points that arose from the discussion indicated a disconnect between policymakers, teachers, and students. The gaps presented in the discussions yielded relevant and attainable methods to bridge the gap between policymakers and teachers, teachers and schools, and teachers and students to achieve convergence in curriculum refinements. The study recognizes that it contributed to the under-researched area of English reading in Junior secondary students and curriculum interpretation, implementation, and intent. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Education
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • WONG, Ming Har, Ruth 黃明霞, Supervisor
  • MA, Qing 馬清, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • ESL reading
  • Curriculum refinement
  • Curriculum interpretation
  • Perceptions
  • Beliefs
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ed.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2022.


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