The changing roles of Hong Kong teachers and students in the real and virtual spaces

Zhichang Marc XU

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The emerging blended mode of face-to-face and online teaching and learning is gaining popularity in Hong Kong and elsewhere in the world. This mode of teaching and learning mediates between the real and virtual spaces, known as the 'third space' (Gutierrez, et al. 1999).The presentation investigates the changing roles of Hong Kong teachers in such real and virtual spaces. Empirical data, including classroom teaching episodes and online Elearn Blackboard forum discussions, have been collected and analyzed using the approach of classroom and online discourse analysis. In addition, questionnaire survey data among Hong Kong school teachers and pre-service teachers have also been collected to verify the findings from the classroom teaching and online discussion data. The data have been analyzed in terms of discourse 'moves' and 'acts', e.g., inform, evaluate, opine, agree, request, suggest, answer, alert, confirm, to figure out the changing roles of the teachers and students in the real and virtual spaces. Research findings show that the traditional roles of teachers as information providers, knowledge transmitters, supervisors, assessors and role models are still dominant. However, teachers are also increasingly putting on new 'hats' as expert learners, facilitators, material designers, and organizers. The analysis also shows that the students not only act as learners, participants and respondents, but also as topic contributors, meaning negotiators, information providers, and strategic communicators and monitors, particularly in the online learning environment (Xu, 2008). The purpose of the presentation is to enable participants to have a better understanding of the status quo of the current teachers and students, and to seek ways to maximize teacher-student interaction in the third space.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


Hong Kong
role model
discourse analysis
student teacher
learning environment


Xu, Z. (2010, December). The changing roles of Hong Kong teachers and students in the real and virtual spaces. Paper presented at the 2nd East Asian International Conference on Teacher Education Research: Teacher Education for the Future: International Perspectives, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.