The relationship between conceptions of teaching and approaches to teaching

Bick Har LAM, David KEMBER

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


The relationship between conceptions of teaching and approaches to teaching was explored in a study of 18 secondary school art teachers in Hong Kong. Conceptions of teaching approaches were fitted to a four-category model. Each of the categories was distinguished by reference to six relevant dimensions. As is the case in higher education, approaches to teaching lower forms, with little pressure from external examinations or school ethos, followed logically from conceptions of teaching. There was also evidence that contextual influences, if they were sufficiently strong, could play a part in teachers’ approaches to teaching in the lower forms. For senior forms, the most marked contextual influence on approaches to teaching came from the external examination syllabus. Of the 13 teachers who taught senior form students, eight reported using approaches to teaching that were significantly different from those they used for lower forms. The remaining four used essentially the same approach for junior and senior forms because these were consistent with the orientation of examinations that measure skill and knowledge acquisition. Finally, the data suggest that both the educational background of the teachers and the banding levels (designation of the school as high or low achieving) of the schools they were teaching in were related to the combined conceptions and approaches. The influence of banding levels could be due either to teachers choosing a type of school consistent with their beliefs or the environment of the school influencing teachers’ beliefs and practices. Copyright © 2006 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-713
JournalTeachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


planning of teaching
knowledge acquisition
Hong Kong
secondary school


Lam, B.-H., & Kember, D. (2006). The relationship between conceptions of teaching and approaches to teaching. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 12(6), 693-713.


  • Art education
  • Approaches to teaching
  • Conceptions of teaching
  • Teacher beliefs