Sustaining learning study in Hong Kong schools

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Learning Study has been implemented for teacher professional development in Hong Kong since 2000. Guided by variation theory, Learning Study has three unique features. First, it focuses on student learning of the object of learning in planning, teaching and reviewing lessons. Second, variation is used as a pedagogical tool for lesson design in the hope of enabling students to discern the critical features. Thirdly, teachers collaborate together throughout the process of planning, teaching and reviewing lessons (Lo, et al., 2005). However, sustaining Learning Study may be inhibited by many challenges, including teachers’ pressures from the examination-oriented system, heavy workloads, pressures from parents and lack of support and trust among staff (Zhang, 2015). How to sustain Learning Study in schools is yet to be explored. This presentation reports a study investigating the Learning Study practices in two Hong Kong schools (a primary school and a secondary school), which have adopted Learning Study for teacher professional development for over 10 years. The study utilized qualitative research methods including interviews with school leaders and teachers (2 leaders and 4 teachers from each school) and observation of Learning Study activities to identify the forces facilitating and inhibiting Learning Study in the schools. <BR> Content analysis (Northcutt & McCoy, 2004) of the data from interviews and observations was conducted and the data were coded with the theoretical framework in Markee (1997), which categorizes the contextual factors facilitating and inhibiting the sustainability of Learning Study into four aspects: features of Learning Study, macro-context (e.g., socio-economic development, education reform, teacher education), school leadership practices (e.g., understanding and developing staff in the school; designing organization and cultivating a learning culture; managing internal and external resources) and teacher characteristics (e.g., personality, motivation, past experience). The presentation enriches our understanding of the development of Learning Study in Hong Kong schools and provides insights in sustaining education reforms like Learning Study.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
EventThe World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS) International Conference 2016 - University of Exeter, United Kingdom
Duration: 03 Sept 201606 Sept 2016


ConferenceThe World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS) International Conference 2016
Abbreviated titleWALS 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


Zhang, Y. (2016, September). Sustaining learning study in Hong Kong schools. Paper presented at the World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS) 10th Annual International Conference, University of Exeter, Cornwall, UK.


  • Leadership
  • Management and policy aspects of lesson study


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