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Chinese conceptions of 'effective teaching' in Hong Kong: towards culturally sensitive evaluation of teaching

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This study had two purposes: (1) to inform the process of evaluating teaching in higher education in Hong Kong; and (2) to contribute to the research on the cross-cultural application of models of teaching effectiveness. Specifically, we set out to identify conceptions of 'effective teaching' held by Hong Kong Chinese university students and Hong Kong Chinese and western expatriate university teachers. We then identified epistemic beliefs and social norms that buttress Chinese conceptions of teaching in Hong Kong. We began with an open-ended survey of students and faculty from six different departments, spread over four Hong Kong universities. Questionnaires were distributed to 405 students and 585 faculty staff. The departments were: Chinese language and literature; accounting; engineering; law; physics and public and social administration.Responses were received from 98 per cent (n=397) of the students and 14 per cent (n=82) faculty. Our findings relate to five themes: (1) The role and value of 'foundational' knowledge in undergraduate education; (2) appropriate roles and relationships for teachers and students; (3) the process of teaching; (4) ways in which faculty characterize Chinese learners; (5) attributions of responsibility for effective teaching. For those working in Hong Kong, our findings may provide grounds from which to consider the local context when constructing instruments and engaging in the collection of data for the evaluation of teaching in higher education. The study provides more evidence that conceptions of teaching, learning, and knowing are deeply rooted in specific cultural antecedents and social structures. It also affirms that the entire process of evaluation of teaching must be recognized as a cultural and value-laden interpretation of all that we observe.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/026013799293676

Publication date: July 1, 1999

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