A study of guidance curriculum in Hong Kong primary schools

  • Yuk Yee Pattie Luk Fong

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis examines the question of what kind of guidance curriculum is suitable for primary schools in Hong Kong. The call for the development of guidance curriculum for primary school children in Hong Kong arises from the needs of students: their need for enhancement of their self-concept, and has been translated into guidance and educational policy documents, and structural and administrative changes in schools which allow more time for the development of guidance in primary schools. Given that the educational context of Hong Kong is "East meets West," the researcher posits that, in studying guidance in Hong Kong, both Eastern and Western traditions in guidance must be taken into consideration. The researcher further argues that a guidance curriculum that is suitable for the primary school children in Hong Kong should start by looking at the particular experiences, expectations and tensions that educators, guidance professionals, teachers, parents and children are facing in the competing and changing contexts of the Hong Kong society. These expectations and tensions are very much related to the colossal changes in Hong Kong and are reflections of various degrees of overlaps between "East" and "West", as well as "past" and "present". The researcher has drawn on literature concerning globalization as hybridization, the Chinese concept of yin-yang and the psychological processes at work when Western modernization meet with indigenous Chinese culture, to explain the dynamics of change in the Hong Kong context. This thesis develops a hybrid framework for studying such changes. The framework consists of open-ended questions designed by the researcher from the literature, an adaptation of Confucian's cardinal relationships and Lawton's model for curriculum development A qualitative case study method is used for this study. Data are drawn from the author's own experience in a two-week teaching attachment in a primary school, and interviews with guidance professionals, primary school principals, teachers and students in three selected primary schools in Hong Kong. A qualitative study is chosen so that the multiple realities of teaching guidance in schools can be understood in their naturalistic settings. The boundary of the case is Hong Kong with its implementation of Hong Kong versions of Radd's (1993) Grow with guidance system. Three out of the eight Grow with guidance system pilot schools are studied. The chosen schools differ in student composition, school type, and methods of implementation of the guidance curriculum. Data are obtained by individual interviews, the in-depth study of one case study school by the researcher as participant observer, and content analysis of guidance materials in the case study schools. Data by these three methods and from different stakeholders are triangulated, as information obtained is checked against each other. This study uses multiple forms of evidences and they persuade by reason. Being a qualitative case study, its purpose is to illuminate but not to generalize. The criteria for judging the success of this study depend on the richness and accuracy of data, as well as the coherence, insight and instrumental utility in presenting and reading the data. The researcher argues for a hybrid guidance curriculum for the primary schools in Hong Kong to suit the hybrid contexts in Hong Kong. Data obtained from content analysis and the case study schools show that the philosophical, sociological and psychological factors as well as the content, pedagogies, organization for teaching and practical arrangements of the guidance curricula are hybrid in the Hong Kong implementation of Radd's Grow with guidance system. The researcher concludes that a useful guidance curriculum for Hong Kong primary schools must first listen to the different voices of all stakeholders about the guidance curricula and their "self-other relationships", for those voices reflect their tensions and reality. Much of their voices are presented as stories following the Chinese storying traditions. Methods to help children to deal with tensions and conflicts at personal, school, home and societal levels include giving up self to follow others [chinese characters omitted, knowing self and others [chinese characters omitted],awareness of and accommodation of differences [chinese characters omitted]context analysis, communication using culturally and contextually appropriate ways and emotional management. This thesis contributes to knowledge by inventing the concept of "hybrid guidance curriculum" to suit the hybrid context of Hong Kong. A new hybrid research methodology is also developed in this thesis which enables the forming of new categories of "self-other relationships" and new hybrid key concepts for the guidance curriculum. As such, this study allows for the re-reading of new ideas and practices of traditions in a modern hybrid society. Moreover, it also highlights the importance of the development of a reflexive self in which one negotiates one's own positions and one's relationships with others. In a special case, this study examines the fundamental issue of adapting and integrating western traditions in a country with different culture and contexts. Research frontiers, home school co-operation and implications to teacher educators, practitioners and policy makers in the guidance fields are discussed. Although this research is basically about Hong Kong, the findings may also be relevant to other places in the world where modernization has taken place in the indigenous culture.
    Date of Award2002
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMarie Brennan (Supervisor)

    Cite this