The purpose of this paper is to offer the latest empirical findings of the difficulties and challenges in teaching New Senior Secondary (NSS) Liberal Studies in Hong Kong from the perspective of pre-service teachers.
This qualitative study is based on Danielewicz’s critical pedagogy framework for identity development. A sample of four pre-service teachers were recruited from the last cohort of final-year bachelor of education students at the University of Hong Kong. They were invited to engage in dialogues of enquiry, through which they recount their teaching encounters during their teaching practices. Emphasis would be put on two relevant pedagogical principles, including deliberation and reflexivity, which are of particular relevance to the case of Liberal Studies.
Challenges revealed the dispositions of conformist learning among the students, manifested in forms of misquoted information and the populist sentiments mirrored from mainstream media, which cost teachers extra efforts to facilitate inquiry-based learning. Adopting deliberation and reflexivity as pedagogical principles, student–teachers responded with attempts to reconnect daily life experiences to teaching, bringing back the social context of knowledge and seeking synergy between traditional and liberatory teaching methods.
This study is drawn from a relatively small sample of pre-service teachers and may run the risk of over-generalization. Moreover, this study tends to neglect other factors such as classroom dynamics, school culture, colleagues’ rapport and students’ responses.
Given the novelty of Liberal Studies as a compulsory subject under the NSS curriculum and its specificity in Hong Kong education system, the amount of literature devoted to this area has been inadequate; among the available studies, the majority tend either to focus on the macro level, addressing the broader narratives of education policies and curriculum studies (e.g. Fung and Yip, 2010; Cheung and Leung, 1998) or to discuss the topic with exclusive reference to political transition and post-colonialism in the 1980s and 1990s (e.g. Morris and Chan, 1997). Studies on the micro level have generally paid little attention to the dynamics of Liberal Studies teaching, focusing instead on its relationships with other aspects such as private tutoring (Chan and Bray, 2014) and cultural representations of religion in Liberal Studies textbooks (Jackson and Han, 2016); pedagogical studies on the subject remain a minority.
Kin Cheung Adrian, Y. (2019), "Challenges of cultivating critical citizens in Hong Kong: Voices from Liberal Studies pre-service teachers", Asian Education and Development Studies, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 14-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEDS-06-2017-0050Download as .RIS
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