Variation in the Qualities of Instruction Methods Adopted by Different Kindergartens in Hong Kong

By Wai Ling Chan and Nirmala Rao.

Published by The International Journal of Early Childhood Learning

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study examined the learning and teaching approaches used in three kindergartens in Hong Kong, which were assessed as being of “good,” “acceptable,” and “unsatisfactory” quality, respectively, by the regulatory body and that used the same curriculum package. Participants were five kindergarten teachers, their students, and five specialists in pre-primary education, who provided an independent assessment of kindergarten quality. Each teacher was observed for three hours a day over three consecutive days. The specialists discussed videotaped observations of learning activities from each of the kindergartens in a focus group, and rated kindergarten quality. Results indicated that the ratings of the regulatory body and the specialists were consistent and appeared to be informed by the criteria for “developmentally appropriate practices.” The low-quality classroom was teacher-directed, engaged mainly in chalk-and-talk and paper-and-pencil activities, and involved few interactions between the teacher and the children or among children. The children in the other two kindergartens engaged in authentic learning activities, learned in small groups, appeared cognitively engaged, and had many interactions with the teacher and other children. Although the kindergartens claimed to use Montessori, Project, and Unit approaches, the specialists felt that none of them actually implemented their purported approaches with fidelity. The implications of the findings for defining and promoting kindergarten quality are discussed.

Keywords: Learning and Teaching, Quality, kindergarten, Hong Kong

The International Journal of Early Childhood Learning, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp.21-41. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 564.485KB).

Dr. Wai Ling Chan

Assistant Professor, Department of Early Childhood Education, The Hong Kong Institution of Education, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Dr. Chan Wai Ling has been working in the field of pre-primary education since 1979. In 2000, she joined the Hong Kong Institute of Education as a lecturer in the Department of Early Childhood Education. She was the former principal of the Hong Kong Institute of Education HSBC Early Childhood Learning Centre (ECLC) during the period of 2001 - 2007. From 2007 onwards, she has been serving as the Honorary Vice Chairman of the Tai Po District Early Childhood Educational Principal Association. Apart from her role as an assistant professor in the Department since 2010, Dr. Chan Wai Ling is the Associate Director of Centre for Childhood Research and Innovation (from 2010 onwards) in the Institute. Dr. Chan is the co-author of a book in the field of children’s transition. She has also co-edited a book in the field of young children and art, and a book in the field of teacher education.

Nirmala Rao

Professor, Fauclty of Education, Division of Learning, Development and Diversity, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong