Metacognitive teaching for developing student reading comprehension skills in Chinese language: A cross-case analysis between Shanghai and Hong Kong


Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


This study aims at identifying effective metacognitive teaching strategies (MTSs) in the Chinese Language that can enhance students’ reading comprehension abilities. Learning to learn is the common theme of education reform in Shanghai and Hong Kong since the 21st century. It implies that schools have to train students to become self-regulated learners since the new millennium. However, empirical literature using classroom observation to identify MTSs in a natural environment is scant. Such an approach of study can provide useful results to support student reading abilities within the Chinese-speaking regions. Therefore, this study attempts to fill the research gap. There are three research questions of this study:
Q1 What metacognitive teaching strategies are used by the Shanghai and Hong Kong teachers to develop students’ reading comprehension skills in the Chinese Language?
Q2 Are the metacognitive teaching strategies used by the teachers of the two regions suggest any similarities and/or differences?
Q3 What are the factors that may contribute to teachers’ use of metacognitive teaching strategies?

A cross-case analysis was employed in this study to identify teachers’ strategies and the factors that influence teachers’ instruction. The study compared the case studies of Shanghai and Hong Kong teachers’ classroom teaching and explored teachers’ metacognitive teaching factors. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used. Two schools from Shanghai and two from Hong Kong took part in the research. In each school, two teachers and about 70 students from two separate classes participated. Data were collected in multiple methods of inquiry, including questionnaires, lesson observation, and open-ended interviews. Classroom observations and interviews were conducted to identify MTSs for teaching the Chinese language. Questionnaires and interviews were used to explore the influencing factors of teachers’ use of instructional strategies. This research adopted NVivo to code the interview and observation data and explored whether metacognitive teaching can impact students’ reading comprehension.

First, the findings indicate that MTSs can benefit students’ metacognitive learning and their reading comprehension. And the most commonly used MTSs for the teachers in Shanghai and Hong Kong were identified. Second, the differences and similarities of the use of MTSs in the two regions were analysed. In terms of differences, the frequency of applying MTSs in Hong Kong is significantly higher than those in Shanghai. Moreover, in the Shanghai case schools teachers would like to use MTSs in questioning and visualised thinking. In contrast, teachers of Hong Kong case schools would like to use self‐directed and participative activities. In terms of similarities, the teachers supported students to extract, improve and apply the learning methods for solving problems. They all focused on facilitating students to think critically, justify their hypotheses, and provide emotional support for learning engagements. Moreover, a metacognitive teaching framework was proposed with four teaching stages: introduction, learning by doing, extended learning, and summary. Third, curriculum standard, teacher beliefs and their knowledge of metacognitive teaching are the influencing factors of the teachers’ instruction. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Education
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • CHENG, Chi Keung Eric, Supervisor
  • LAM, Bick Har, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Metacognitive teaching strategies
  • Reading comprehension skills
  • Chinese language
  • A cross-case analysis
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ed.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2021.


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