10 SES 09 B, Research on Programmes and Pedagogical Approaches in Teacher Education
Today’s classrooms are becoming more heterogeneous than ever due to population mobility (Dooly & Villanueva, 2006). Teaching culturally and linguistically diverse students in classrooms has become a challenge worldwide (Gearon, Miller, & Kostogriz, 2009; Hickling-Hudson & Ahlquist, 2003). Hong Kong is no exception. The escalating increase in the ethnic minority population, i.e. from non-Chinese ethnicity, particularly South Asians from India, Pakistan, Nepal, and East Asians whose native languages are not Chinese, has led to a corresponding increase in ethnic minority children in all levels of schooling whose educational needs must be addressed. Language is a major obstacle for ethnic minorities to gain access to further education, employment opportunities and achieve social integration in the Hong Kong context. Therefore, it is crucial for ethnic minority children to learn Chinese at an early age to facilitate their upward social mobility (Gao, Park, Ki, & Tsung, 2008) and social integration.
As in many other countries, many teachers in Hong Kong are not culturally competent. They have no awareness of how to incorporate ethnic and cultural elements into their curricula and teaching to facilitate the learning of ethnic minority students (Ke & Tucker, 2015). They adopt the “one size fits all” pedagogy (Tse & Hui, 2012, p. 6) which is not responsive to the cultural diversity of students’ life experiences and learning styles. Moreover, some teachers treat ethnic minority students unfairly in their classes such as by paying less attention to them and by having lower expectations for their acquisition of Chinese proficiency (Gao, 2012). Against this background, effective professional development (PD) programmes are urgently needed to enhance the knowledge and skills of in-service teachers for supporting the learning of culturally and linguistically diverse students (Gandara, Maxwell-Jolly, & Driscoll, 2005). However, the majority of existing PD programmes are mainly designed for primary and secondary school teachers so there is only a limited number of PD programmes designed for early childhood educators. This points to a pressing need to offer PD programmes tailor-made for early childhood educators to learn how to best teach Chinese as a second language. While teaching multicultural students has been extensively researched in the Western context, the results of the present study fills in the knowledge gap and contributes to progress in the field of teacher education by examining the effectiveness of a PD programme in the Chinese context, a topic which has been under-researched.
The Programme adopted an integrative model which incorporated theories and pedagogical skills related to three theoretical underpinnings of the model: culturally responsive teaching, meaningful and pleasurable learning, and effective teaching of Chinese as a second language. Briefly, culturally responsive teaching refers to utilizing cultural knowledge of multicultural students, their prior experiences, and preferred learning styles to make teaching more relevant and meaningful for them (Gay, 2010). Meaningful learning occurs when learners connect new information with previously relevant learnt knowledge which enables them to understand the new knowledge (Ausubel, 2000) while pleasurable learning takes place when learners can acquire knowledge in a playful learning environment via games and/or technological tools (Kangas, 2010). For effective teaching, teachers use instructional strategies to facilitate students’ learning (Snow, 1990; Tabors, 1997) such as using exaggerated body language to associate language with gestures and instructional directions to help students understand, linking their teaching to students’ prior knowledge and utilizing visual aids, real objects, activities, and multiple repetitions to facilitate student language understanding and acquisition (Snow, 1990; Tabors, 1997).
The current study aims to explore the perceived changes in culturally responsive teaching, meaningful and pleasurable learning and effective teaching of Chinese as a second language among the participants after attending the Programme.
The study is part of a large-scale project named PLEM (Social Service Professionals, School Leaders, Educators, and Multicultural Teaching Assistants). The Educator Programme consisted of the (i) Introduction and Foundation (I&F) Course, and (ii) Practice Course. The I&F Course provided an overview, introduction, and discussion of the theories and strategies of culturally responsive teaching, meaningful and pleasurable learning, and effective teaching of Chinese as a second language. The Practice Course focused on in-class and group sharing of teaching practices and group discussion among the participants about how to meet the educational needs of Chinese language learners from ethnic minorities. We used a mixed-methods approach to examine the changes in culturally responsive teaching, meaningful and pleasurable learning and effective teaching of Chinese among preschool teacher participants. The participants were asked to complete the same questionnaire at three different time points: Prior to taking the I&F Course (P0), upon completion of the I&F Course (P1) and upon completion of the Practice Course (P2). A total of 69 educators completed the questionnaires at P0 and the questionnaires of 37 and 28 participants were successfully matched at P1 and P2, respectively. The quantitative results demonstrated that the scores at P2 were significantly higher than the pre-test scores in Programme Knowledge, Effective Teaching, Meaningful and Pleasurable Learning, and Culturally Responsive Teaching, suggesting that the participants had shown improvement in these areas. We also conducted focus group interviews to capture the changes of in-service teachers at P0, P1, and P2. At P0, many participants admitted that they were not familiar with culturally responsive teaching. More than half of the participants indicated that they did not consciously use culturally responsive strategies in their teaching. Some indicated that their schools did not have a culturally responsive environment. At P1, many participants said that the I&F course helped them understand more about the cultures, learning styles, educational needs and learning difficulties of ethnic minority children. A few participants had already used cultural responsiveness in their teaching and observed some positive effects on the learning motivation of ethnic minority children. At P2, some participants responded that the Practice Course had further heightened their understanding of culturally responsive pedagogy in application and their awareness of the educational needs of ethnic minority students when planning their curriculum and pedagogical activities. Some participants developed empathy towards ethnic minority students. They also summarized some effective pedagogy in teaching ethnic minority children in the interviews.
Based on the three major theoretical underpinnings, the Educator Programme has been designed to address the professional needs of preschool teachers for teaching Chinese to ethnic minority students. The Programme is the first local professional development programme for preschool teachers that includes culturally responsive pedagogy. Therefore, many participants responded that they were not familiar with the concept of culturally responsive pedagogy, showing that the existing teacher training programmes lay too much emphasis on teachers’ expertise on subject content but neglect the issue of classroom diversity (Yuan, 2017). Therefore, future training programmes for both pre-service and in-service preschool teachers should include culturally responsive teaching to enhance the teachers’ capacity to teach a culturally heterogeneous population. Apart from developing teacher competencies in teaching, the value of training teachers in culturally responsive pedagogy is evident considering the change of teachers’ understanding and attitude towards ethnic minority children after participating in the Programme. The participants had a better understanding of ethnic minority students’ cultural behaviors and lifestyles at the end of the Programme, and also developed empathy towards ethnic minority students. The lack of multicultural perspectives and teaching materials in teacher professional development programmes will continue to be a challenge in tomorrow’s teacher education. Therefore, multiple parties such as the government’s education department, universities and educators are encouraged to join efforts and work together to minimize the disconnection between teacher training and practice (Schorr, 2013). The results of the present study complement those from Western studies and reinforce the importance of developing culturally responsive teachers who are also able to use effective teaching skills to make the learning of ethnic minority students meaningful and pleasurable. Future teacher training programmes should aim at increasing teachers’ cultural competence and awareness towards ethnic minorities to achieve the goal of an education for all.
Ausubel, D. P. (2000). The acquisition and retention of knowledge: A cognitive view. New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Dooly, M., & Villanueva, M. (2006). Internationalisation as a key dimension to teacher education. European Journal of Teacher Education, 29(2), 223-240. Gandara, P. Maxwell-Jolly, J., & Driscoll, A. K. (2005). Listening to teachers of English Language learners: A survey of California teachers’ challenges, experiences, and professional development needs. Retrieved from https://cloudfront.escholarship.org/dist/prd/content/qt6430628z/qt6430628z.pdf?t=lw7uzk Gao, F. (2012). Teacher identity, teaching vision, and Chinese language education for South Asian students in Hong Kong. Teachers and Teaching, 18(1), 89-99. Gao, F., Park, J., Ki, W. W., & Tsung, L. (2008). Teaching Chinese as a second language in China – The cases of South Asians and ethnic Koreans. Linguistics & the Human Sciences, 4(3), 265-288. Gay, G. (2010). Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Gearon, M., Miller, J., & Kostogriz, A. (2009). The challenges of diversity in language education. In J. Miller, A. Kostogriz, & M. Gearon (Eds.), Culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms: New dilemmas for teachers (pp. 3-17). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Hickling-Hudson, A., & Ahlquist, R. (2003). Contesting the curriculum in the schooling of indigenous children in Australia and the United States: From eurocentrism to culturally powerful pedagogies. Comparative Education Review, 47(1), 64-89. Kangas, M. (2010). Creative and playful learning: Learning through game co-creation and games in a playful learning environment. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 5(1), 1-15. Ke, S., & Tucker, G. R. (2015). Unleavened cakes: L2 Chinese education for South Asian students in Hong Kong. Retrieved from http://clta-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Unleavened-Cakes-L2-Chinese-Education-for-South-Asian-Students-in-Hong-Kong.pdf Schorr, J. (2013). A revolution begins in teacher education. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved from http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/a_revolution_begins_in_teacher_prep Snow, M. A. (1990). Instructional methodology in immersion foreign language education. In A. M. Padilla, H. H. Fairchild, & C. M. Valadez (Eds.), Foreign language education: Issues and strategies (pp. 156-171). London: Sage Publication. Tse, S. K., & Hui, S. Y. (2012). Supporting ethnic minority students learning the Chinese language in multilingual Hong Kong. L1 Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 12(special issue), 1-27. Yuan, H. (2017). Developing culturally responsive teachers: Current issues and a proposal for change in teacher education programs. World Journal of Education, 7(5), 66-78.
Some networks have already started to plan their chairperson(s).
But at the moment chairpersons are only pencilled in, as we will still need to check for time conflicts between presentation and chairing duties. EERA office will work on this in due course and then officially let chairpersons know about their chairing duties.
Meanwhile, thank you for your patience.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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