The contexts of teaching in the twenty-first century

Bick Har LAM

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


This chapter discusses: (a) the philosophical foundations of teaching in the east and west and their relevance to contemporary education; (b) the advantages and degeneration of confucian education; and (c) the reform of classroom teaching in the twenty-first century in the context of Chinese culture. It aims to develop a solid grounding in the philosophical and cultural basis of education for teachers so that they can become fully functional professionals and make it more likely that the current reform initiatives will be successful. After completing this chapter, readers will be able to: •comprehend the major philosophies that guide teaching; • recognize the values behind various teaching philosophies; •develop a conceptual scheme for organizing various approaches to teaching; •situate teaching in the context of Hong Kong’s Chinese classrooms; •explain the influence of confucian education on Hong Kong people; and •reflect on the historical degeneration of confucian educational thought and develop a positive attitude to improving teaching in their cultural situation. This introductory chapter provides a foundation for understanding the teaching profession. The chapter first introduces the background to the present educational reform in Hong Kong, to set the context of teaching for teachers in general and specifically in a Chinese society. It then moves on to study various terminologies for understanding teacher thinking and action, including the philosophical foundations and beliefs about teaching, with reference to confucian educational thought. It portrays how teachers’ thinking is guided by an array of values and preferences, and discusses educational ideas common across the east and west. The origins, development and degeneration in Chinese traditional educational thinking and ideas, and their current impact on Chinese societies, are examined. In the conclusion, readers are encouraged to think broadly about their practice in the classroom and contextualize themselves in their cultural environment and world trends, so that they can be professionals who play a crucial role in reforming and improving education. Copyright © 2011 Hong Kong University Press.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLearning and teaching in the Chinese classroom: Responding to individual needs
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherHong Kong University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9789888053926
ISBN (Print)9789888083428
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Lam, B.-h. (2011). The contexts of teaching in the twenty-first century. In S. N. Phillipson, & B.-h. Lam, Learning and teaching in the Chinese classroom: Responding to individual needs (pp. 1-30). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.


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