Adapting Western pedagogies for Chinese literacy instruction: case studies of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Singapore preschools

Hui Li*, Nirmala Rao, Shek Kam Tse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Research Findings: Western ideas and progressive pedagogies have been introduced to China (including Shenzhen), Hong Kong, and Singapore to replace traditional Chinese pedagogy. But these imported ideas are not congruent with traditional Chinese culture and thus have encountered resistance from Chinese teachers. The present study observed and analyzed 18 early childhood classrooms in the 3 localities and questioned the class teachers about their respective teaching practices to see how those ideas were actually turned into practice. Whole-class direct instruction was found to be the predominant Chinese pedagogical mode. This indicates that Chinese traditional pedagogy still dominated those Chinese preschool classrooms. Slight societal differences in classroom practice were also found, reflecting the spectrum of openness and Westernization of the 3 cities. Practice or Policy: The findings suggest that people should adapt rather than adopt those pedagogical innovations developed in other sociocultural milieu, as different societies have different social, cultural, and educational traditions. Cultural appropriateness should be seriously considered when choosing the pedagogies to be adapted. Moreover, influences from the culture, language, teachers, parents, resources available, and the prevailing education system should also be taken into consideration when planning for pedagogical reforms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-621
Number of pages19
JournalEarly Education and Development
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

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