The first year teachers' conceptions of a professional teacher: Cases of Hong Kong primary school teachers

Pik Lin Jocelyn CHOI

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Teachers have often been placed in the heart of educational reform. They are expected to play a pivotal role in the enhancement of educational quality. Various forces energize the professionalization project of teaching and there has long been advocacy that teachers should be regarded as professionals. Although literature shows that there are divided views on whether it is entirely favorable for teaching to become a 'profession', there is little disparity that teachers should uphold professionalism. While teachers as professionals may well be a conception that denotes different meanings by different people, this paper seeks to understand the conceptions of a professional teacher held by four fist year primary school teachers in Hong Kong. The paper reports the results of a study which entails three main parts. The first part is about the societal expectations of a professional teacher in Hong Kong. With reference to the profession literature, selections of key educational documents of Hong Kong were analyzed to find out the common expectations. The second part involves the analysis of the first year teachers' conceptions of what makes a professional teacher. Each of the four teachers have been followed through in the first year of teaching by four in-depth face to face interviews and at least three telephone interviews. Their conceptions of a professional teacher have been studied and analyzed in the context of their career events. The third part of the paper identifies the similarities and differences of the conceptions between those identified as the societal expectations and those held by the informants. The paper ends with a discussion on the various implications of the findings.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2000


primary school teacher
Hong Kong
telephone interview
educational reform


Choi, P.-L. (2000, September). The first year teachers' conceptions of a professional teacher: Cases of Hong Kong primary school teachers. Paper presented at British Educational Research Association (BERA) Annual Conference 2000, Cardiff University, England.