Hard and "Soft" policy for the school curriculum: The changing role of teachers in the "Learning to Learn" reform

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Teachers’ roles change as time changes. During the colonial period, the Hong Kong government controlled the curriculum content in various subjects by excluding knowledge concerning modern China or prohibiting overtly political material from being part of the curriculum. By law, the use of text and instructional materials was prohibited except in accordance with a syllabus approved by the authority. The use of legal structures to force compliance has been termed “hard policy” wince there are legal implications for non-compliance. After 1997, however, the government has given teachers a much more direct role in curriculum reform and renewal through the selection of school-based of school-based teaching materials in various key learning areas. This role has been given to teachers through a series of what might be called “soft” policy innovations where the innovations do not have the force of law but their success depends on teachers’ professional decisions and on persuasion. With such an approach, the role teachers has experienced a vital shift. This chapter analyzes such a shift through the perspectives of government policy and its expected role of teachers. It also argues that political considerations, rather than the instructional needs of classrooms, have had a significant influence on Hong Kong curriculum, resulting in the neglect of teachers’ professional development and their autonomy in making instructional decisions. Copyright © 2008 The Chinese University Press, Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeveloping teachers and developing schools in changing contexts
EditorsJohn Chi-kin LEE, Ling-po SHIU
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherThe Chinese University Press, Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research
Pages135-154
ISBN (Print)9789629963774
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Fingerprint

curriculum
reform
teacher
Hong Kong
teacher's role
school
learning
role change
innovation policy
teaching content
Law
teaching materials
syllabus
persuasion
educational research
government policy
neglect
autonomy
innovation
classroom

Citation

Chan, J. K.-S., Kennedy, K. J., & Fok, P.-K. (2008). "Hard" and "Soft" policy for the school curriculum: The changing role of teachers in the "Learning to Learn" reform. In J. C.-K. Lee & L.-P. Shiu (Eds.), Developing teachers and developing schools in changing contexts (pp. 135-154). Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research.