Teacher-directed versus child-centred: The challenge of promoting creativity in Chinese preschool classrooms

Hun Ping Rebecca CHEUNG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


It has been argued in the literature that it is harder for Asians than Westerners to think and act in a creative manner due to cultural influences and the discourses of creativity are always culture-specific. This study addresses this issue by using a qualitative research approach, exploring and analysing the characteristic features of creative practice and its pedagogic practices in a Chinese context. Case studies of three Chinese preschool classrooms were reported. Interviews and observations were used as data sources. Findings revealed that the Chinese teachers held similar perspectives about creativity-fostering pedagogies but the three cases demonstrated different interpretation of these pedagogies, ranging from being strongly teacher-directed to strongly child-centred. A balance between teacher-directed and child-centred was found to be more effective pedagogic practice in the Chinese classroom. Results suggested that different creative pedagogies might work for certain contexts and certain children. An awareness of both cultural and contextual appropriateness is important for creativity reform in the Chinese context. This offers useful insights when transplanting creative pedagogies from other contexts, planning professional development programmes to support a pedagogical shift from traditional pedagogic practice to creativity-fostering pedagogic practice. Copyright © 2016 Pedagogy, Culture & Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-86
JournalPedagogy, Culture & Society
Issue number1
Early online dateAug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017



Cheung, R. H. P. (2017). Teacher-directed versus child-centred: The challenge of promoting creativity in Chinese preschool classrooms. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 25(1), 73-86.


  • Case study
  • Child-centred
  • Chinese preschool classrooms
  • Creative pedagogy
  • Teacher-directed