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The discrepancy between teachers’ beliefs and practices: a study of kindergarten teachers in Hong Kong

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This study examines the discrepancy between teachers’ beliefs and practices in Hong Kong kindergartens and the factors that influence this discrepancy. Three kindergartens, considered by the Hong Kong Education Bureau to be of varying quality, were chosen from different areas of Hong Kong. Questionnaires about teaching beliefs were administered to 35 teachers from these kindergartens. These quantitative data were supplemented with qualitative data gathered during individual interviews with five of the teachers and the three principals. In addition, a focus group of five early childhood education specialists commented on the videotaped observations of the classroom practices of the five interviewed teachers. The findings showed that all of the teachers endorsed the advocated teaching beliefs, but there was a discrepancy between their beliefs and practices. The most significant factors contributing to the discrepancy were teachers’ professional education and their attitudes towards personal teaching introspection. Teachers were also under pressure from parents’ curriculum requests, demands on the children’s academic abilities and expectations for a strong link to Primary One. Enhanced early childhood education training that helps teachers to be introspective about their own teaching practices and beliefs is recommended. Government support is also required to teach parents what constitutes a high-quality learning environment for young children.
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Keywords: kindergartens; learning and teaching practices; teachers’ beliefs

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Education and Human Development, Department of Early Childhood Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Room 39, 2/F, Block 1, Lo Ping Road, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong, China

Publication date: May 26, 2016

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