Teacher competence in kindergarten education : Perspective of per-service kindergarten teachers in the Hong Kong context

Cheng, Tak-Lai and Houghton, Ann-Marie (2021) Teacher competence in kindergarten education : Perspective of per-service kindergarten teachers in the Hong Kong context. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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In the 1980s, the Hong Kong government published an official document about kindergarten education, stating concerns around the credential requirements for the kindergarten teaching profession. Over the following 40 years, by gradually increasing the minimum prescribed credential requirements for new-entry kindergarten teachers, the education department gradually shifted responsibility for training to a number of tertiary institutions, resulting in the rapid expansion of pre-service kindergarten teacher (PSKT) training programmes in Hong Kong. This shift exposed the belief of the government that the improved credential level of PSKT training will lead to better kindergarten teachers’ competence. However, this association is debatable. Both the government and academic scholars have conducted only limited research regarding the definition of teacher competence in kindergarten education for PSKTs in the Hong Kong context. This issue also raises concerns about the influence of teacher training programmes and how they can help PSKTs to function competently in the workforce. The current thesis presents an account of a qualitative research study that aimed to investigate how PSKTs’ competence is developed by teacher training programmes in the Hong Kong context. Taking a multiple narrative case approach, quotes were extracted from participant-led photo-elicitation interviews with 17 PSKTs from a higher diploma programme at an institution in Hong Kong. Thematic analysis of the content of these interviews was conducted to form the findings. The findings of this research indicate that institutional coursework, practicum placements and extra-curricular activities are all important to PSKTs’ perspectives of teacher competence. Furthermore, the study explores how PSKTs develop competence based on observation and reflection during a teacher training programme and how they perceive their most recent concept of competence for further application, with findings divided into the domains of ‘teaching and learning’, ‘student development’, ‘school development’, ‘professional relationship and services’ and ‘underpinned core values’. At the end of the thesis, the implications of the research for teacher educators and institutions providing PSKT training programmes are addressed.

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Thesis (PhD)
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29 Apr 2021 08:35
Last Modified:
12 Dec 2023 01:06