The perceptions and teachings of national identity and national Education: Case studies of Hong Kong secondary school teachers

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Abstract

Since the return of sovereignty to China in 1997, national identification with China has been one of priorities in Hong Kong SAR government’s education policy agenda. Hong Kong has seen an increase of National Education, which is an informal curriculum comprising of extra-curricular programmes and learning activities, geared towards the cultivation of a Chinese national identity based on ethnic and cultural terms. The question for the success of such a highly important policy initiative is: how do the teachers perceive their national identity and teachings of National Education? This qualitative case study attempts to explore the perceptions and teachings of national identity and National Education of 10 purposive samples of experienced, informative and illustrative Hong Kong secondary school teachers. The data was collected in 2009-2010. The research participants came from different subsidy types, religious and sponsored backgrounds. The research methodologies are triangulated uses of examining school-based National Education documents, qualitative semi-structured interviews and non-participant field observations of schools’ National Education programmes/activities. This study, however, does not generalise findings beyond the sample cases. The findings reveal that underlying an increasing trend of Chinese national identification there are different emphases in teachers’ perceptions and meanings of national identity. But this increased Chinese national identification does not exclude a local sense of Hong Kong identity. Besides, national identity is conceived in a wide array of ethnic, geographical, cultural, legal, and civic terms. Furthermore, perceptions of teaching National Education exhibited different meanings, aims, contents, pedagogies and evaluation methods among the research participants. This study argues for the need of more relevant empirical studies on the complex, integrated and multi-layered conceptualization of perceptions and meanings attached to national identity and National Education by teachers in post-1997 Hong Kong education. Stronger supports for diverse curricular goals as well as teaching in National Education would also be desired.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Citation

Chong, E. K. M. (2012, May). The perceptions and teachings of national identity and national Education: Case studies of Hong Kong secondary school teachers. Paper presented at the 76th Annual and the fourteenth Conference of the Children’s Identity and Citizenship in Europe Erasmus Academic Network, University of York, York, UK.

Keywords

  • National identity
  • National education
  • Perceptions and teachings
  • Case study

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