Hong Kong has been actively promoting a student-centered approach to teaching since the 1980s. Despite this effort, students in Hong Kong still tend to be traditional learners who rarely experience and gain from real student-centered learning. While teachers hold a “quantitative” concept of learning and focus on transmitting declarative knowledge to students (Biggs and Watkins, Classroom learning: Educational psychology for the Asian teacher, 1995), students generally practise “rote learning.” Constructive learning models such as inquiry remain little used by students in most Hong Kong classrooms. This article reports a study that examines the feasibility of implementing inquiry method in Kong Kong’s primary classrooms. It analyses the implementation and some outcomes of an inquiry-based project conducted in two local primary schools—a traditional elite Catholic school and a progressive, less-privileged school. Finally, it discusses the contextual factors as well as cultural issues on teachers’ perception and implementation of inquiry in teaching. These factors include the following: impacts of prevailing ideology in the community of Hong Kong, and the top-down policy-making and management by the government. Copyright © 2009 Education Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
CitationYeung, S. Y. S. (2009). Is student-centered pedagogy impossible in Hong Kong? The case of inquiry in classrooms. Asia Pacific Education Review, 10(3), 377-386.
- Student centered
- Culture of teaching