Practising what you preach: Convergences and divergences in teaching perception and practice of grammar teaching in senior secondary schools in Hong Kong

Wai Kee Francisco WONG

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


This thesis reports on the findings of a study that investigated teachers’ beliefs and classroom practices of 123 English as Second Language (ESL) teachers and a focus group of six ESL teachers’ grammar teaching in Hong Kong. Studies of teachers‘ beliefs or cognition in formal instruction have attracted increasing research attention in recent years. However, relatively little has been written about teachers‘ beliefs or cognition in senior secondary schools school settings especially in Hong Kong where English is taught by second language (L2) teachers to large classes of students. The present study thus attempts to address this gap by investigating the grammar teaching beliefs of Senior Secondary (SS) SSl—2 teachers and whether their beliefs are consistent with their instructional practices. It also aims to identify possible factors that may preclude teachers from doing what they intend to do in their classrooms. All the participants involved in this study were local Chinese teachers teaching English as second language (ESL) to a large class of SS1—2 learners with different English abilities at different school bandings. In the first stage of the study, 123 in—service SS1—2 ESL teachers were invited to fill in a self—report questionnaire. In the second stage, pre—lesson interviews, lesson observations and post—lesson interviews were conducted with six teachers who exhibited differences and similarities in their beliefs about grammar teaching. Findings revealed that teachers’ beliefs exhibited a significant impact on their classroom behaviour and influenced the way that students learn. More importantly, however, there were gaps in terms of teachers’ consistency in their espoused approach and their actual practices. Apart from the inconsistencies between the teachers’ stated beliefs and actual practices, this study also revealed that in some circumstances the teachers were not be able to put their professed beliefs into practice owing to restraints of some contextual factors such as the expectations of different stakeholders, time, pressure from public examinations, teachers’ workload, large class size, and lack of classroom discipline. Pedagogical implications are also discussed with regard to their actual grammar teaching practices. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • English language -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- Chinese speakers
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ed.D.)--The Hong Kong Institute of Education, 2015


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