Critical thinking in Hong Kong secondary school English language classrooms : the case of five teachers

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Critical thinking in Hong Kong secondary school English language classrooms : the case of five teachers

 

Author: Mok, Fung-yee
Title: Critical thinking in Hong Kong secondary school English language classrooms : the case of five teachers
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2008
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Critical thinking -- China -- Hong Kong -- Case studies
English language -- Study and teaching -- China -- Hong Kong -- Case studies
High school teachers -- China -- Hong Kong -- Case studies
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: 392, 185 p. : ill. ; 31 cm.
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2233749
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/5879
Abstract: In 1999 the critical thinking recommendations were issued by the Curriculum Development Council (CDC, 1999) to all junior secondary school English language teachers in Hong Kong. The emphases of the recommendations include the importance of thinking in English language learning and the requirement for teachers to develop students' critical thinking through the subject. With a focus on teachers and their context, the present study aims to (1) investigate through classroom observation if the recommendations are translated into the five teacher participants' classroom practices, and (2) to find out the teachers' perceptions of the recommendations and the factors that they perceive to be constraining the implementation of the recommendations through interviews. Despite different interpretations of critical thinking and views on the teaching of critical thinking, all five teachers felt that the situational constraints and external pressure they faced made the implementation of the recommendations impossible. In the five case studies covering more than 1500 minutes of classroom teaching only two critical encounters were identified, and in both encounters students were given the time and space to think critically and exchange genuinely ideas in a supportive learning atmosphere. The data show a major problem with the critical thinking recommendations, i.e. the teachers are required to develop students' critical thinking in a quantity-driven, product-centred and top-down context that deprives them and their students of both the time and space for critical thinking. The study, though exploratory, has important implications regarding the changes needed especially in the area of teacher education in the local educational context.

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