Patterns of variation in teaching "the colour of light" to primary three students

Mun Ling FUNG-LO, Pui Man Pakey CHIK, Ming Fai PANG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


The purpose of this paper is to show how the patterns of variation used in the teaching of ‘the colour of light’ were critical in helping a class of primary three students in Hong Kong to attain the conceptual knowledge. In this study, a “learning study” approach (Lo et al., 2002) was adopted, which is a lesson study (Stiegler & Hiebert, 1999) grounded in the theory of variation advanced by Marton and Booth (1997) to improve teaching and learning. Specifically in developing the research lesson, this study was premised on three types of variation: variation in students’ ways of experiencing the object of learning (V1), variation in teachers’ ways of dealing with the object of learning (V2), and the use of variation as a pedagogical tool to enhance student learning (V3). A conscious effort was made to vary certain critical aspect(s) and keep other aspects of each object of learning invariant in order to help the students learn better. Comparison between the results of the pre- and post-tests shows that there was significant gain in the students’ learning outcomes with respect to the intended objects of learning. The findings illustrate how teachers can make use of this theoretical framework to analyze their own teaching and thereby develop an analytical awareness of teaching and learning.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003


Lo, M. L., Chik, P. M. P., & Pang, M. F. (2003, August). Patterns of variation in teaching "the colour of light" to primary three students. Paper presented at the 10th European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction Biennial Conference: Improving Learning, Fostering the Will to Learn, Padova, Italy.


  • Primary Education
  • Theory and Practice of Teaching and Learning


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