What makes desirable learning activities? Exploring the rhetoric and practice in Hong Kong kindergartens

Yuen Ling Joyce LI

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


There is a good deal of evidence within the psychological literature that desirable learning activity is an interactive event, where the child actively constructs his/her own understandings within a social and physical environment. This kind of learning is sometimes referred to as ‘active learning’. Active learning refers to the interactive process between teacher and learner, and it is also applied to include the provision of some aspects of the learning environment. These ideas were introduced to kindergarten teachers when they received their in-service teacher education started in 1981. In a two-year school-based project, sixty teachers in five schools were to develop some videos on models of good practices collaboratively after sharing each others’ ‘effective’ teaching episodes with peer teachers who were experimenting with ‘desirable learning activities’ in their classrooms. This study is to report the planning, implementation, assessment, classroom ethos and adult support displayed in the project deliverables (videos) so as to portray the context in which children are expected to learn in Hong Kong kindergartens. Records of dialogues during sharing sessions/case discussion sessions and post-project evaluation meetings, and project deliverables (four to five vignettes from each of the five schools) were collected and analysed. Teaching records (lesson plans), and commentary of videos were sources of data collected for triangulation. The aim was to capture the belief of teachers and a variety of ‘desirable learning activities’/learning and teaching episodes so they could be analysed for learning environment and pedagogy. During sharing/case discussion session, the principles of ‘high child participation’ and a joyful and harmonious learning environment were upheld and teachers in general consented their initiation to engage children in learning activities. The project deliverables showed that teachers tended to introduce activities that targeted a ‘collaborative and permissive learning environment’ but freely chosen play activities or child initiated learning were absent in the vignettes. Items that were found to be ‘worked’ in peers’ classrooms were internalized and absorbed into the teachers’ repertoire. The findings of the study suggest that there was some evidence of significance in the use of case discussions/worked examples to shape instruction, though strategies concerning the scrutiny of the pool of knowledge for the development of ‘cases’ are of concern. Copyright © 2006 Nova Science Publishers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew developments in learning research
EditorsSamuel N. HOGAN
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers
ISBN (Print)159454669X
Publication statusPublished - 2006


Li, Y. L. (2006). What makes desirable learning activities? Exploring the rhetoric and practice in Hong Kong kindergartens. In S. N. Hogan (Ed.), New developments in learning research (pp. 217-233). New York: Nova Science Publishers.


  • Early Childhood Education
  • Theory and Practice of Teaching and Learning


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