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postgraduate thesis: Teachers' use of senior secondary geography textbooks in Hong Kong : implications for meaningful learning

TitleTeachers' use of senior secondary geography textbooks in Hong Kong : implications for meaningful learning
Authors
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Chau, Y. [周玉蓮]. (2014). Teachers' use of senior secondary geography textbooks in Hong Kong : implications for meaningful learning. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5293001
AbstractGiven the current availability of newly-designed textbooks for senior secondary geography teachers and the limited focus on their role in promoting students’ ‘meaningful learning’ advocated in the curriculum reform, a study of teachers’ use of geography textbooks in Hong Kong is particularly timely. Seeking to know the teachers’ practice of using geography textbooks, this study aims at describing and explaining how teachers use the two sets of textbooks, and exploring how their use might be improved in the context of particular classrooms to bring about meaningful learning among students. Two single cases of teacher participants were chosen for study. A holistic case study approach was adopted with a wide range of qualitative research techniques, namely observation, interviews, documentation and journal-writing. Drawing on Remillard’s model of teachers’ role in curriculum development (1999), data collected for each case was analyzed to understand teacher’s activity of using textbooks in curriculum mapping, design and construction arenas. The findings showed that teachers may have different levels of engagement with the textbooks in different dimensions of teaching. Textbooks were generally used as a major source of knowledge in the content determination. Yet, teachers neither used them alone nor followed them slavishly. Driven by the advocacy of constructivist approach to learning, they not only chose relevant tasks from textbooks for students to undertake, but also used the textbooks as one of the sources of geographical ideas or stimulus materials to design the tasks with a focus on different levels of cognition for in-class activities. During the lessons, the PowerPoint files which came along with the prescribed textbooks were widely used for an exposition or reinforcement of students’ work. They were also flexibly used and adapted according to teachers’ spontaneous decisions to varying extents. Teachers’ diversity in their ways of using geography textbooks stemmed from the interaction between their different individual characteristics in terms of experience, knowledge and beliefs, and the textbooks in varying contexts. To a broader context, their diverse ways of using textbooks could be attributed to their different degrees of being influenced by public examination, lesson time, institutional polices and organization norms, professional development opportunities and computer infrastructure, as well as their attitudes towards students’ characteristics. It was worth noting that the constraints in the circumstances of teaching, such as time constraints for lesson preparation, sometimes made teachers difficult to perform their ideal teaching and learning roles. According to the three principles proposed by Hooper and Rieber (1999:258-260), certain ways of using the textbooks could generate the opportunities for supporting students’ meaningful learning were unveiled in this study. First, teachers who chose the essential content, selected important tasks and designed meaningful tasks based on the text and illustrations could provide opportunities for students to have active processing of lesson content. Next, the use of multitext approach in the group enquiry tasks, oral presentation and debriefing sessions could allow students to expose to information from multiple perspectives. Third, the presentation of content in the form of cases or examples, and the use of tasks or case studies in the textbooks for authentic work, issue-based or case-based enquiry learning could build upon students’ knowledge and life experience in meaningful contexts. Teachers’ interaction with textbooks did not guarantee the generation of meaningful learning outcome. To improve the ways of textbook use for students’ meaningful learning, several feasible strategies were identified. To cope with students’ limited capacity of working memory, teachers may slow down the pace of presentation, avoid students doing unnecessary tasks, and use suitable modes and structures of the presentation of information for students with different cognitive styles. Selective use of materials and props provided by the publishers could avoid the repetition of content and increase students’ interest in processing of lesson content. To increase students’ mental engagement in the tasks, their learning attitudes should be improved through interesting tasks in the textbooks, rewarding practice, team competition and small group work. It was also important to connect the content in the tasks to their existing knowledge through providing conditional knowledge, making the text more comprehensible to students and using visual images with more explicit information. Some higher-order questions should be added in the ready-made tasks to cater for diverse students’ abilities. Group work could be used to help the lower achievers in these tasks. Regarding the use of supplementary materials, teachers should use PowerPoints and their own resources together to sustain students’ engagement in the cognitive tasks. Since it was not easy to transfer knowledge through animations, words should be better presented as narration than on-screen text. To increase group engagement in the tasks, group work should be properly managed. Finally, teachers should make students familiar with real-life contexts before they started engaging them in tasks. In conclusion, teachers can use the textbooks to provide opportunities for students’ meaningful learning, but this sometimes became unattainable because of difficulties in the circumstances of teaching. Findings suggested that more efforts should be made to improve initial teacher education programme, increase teachers’ professional development opportunities, provide more useful offerings in the textbooks, relieve the problems of time constraints for lesson preparation and inadequate lesson time, and teach students’ enquiry skills and collaborative skills.
DegreeDoctor of Education
SubjectGeography - Study and teaching (Secondary) - China - Hong Kong - Textbooks
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/206514

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorChau, Yuk-lin-
dc.contributor.author周玉蓮-
dc.date.accessioned2014-11-03T23:14:51Z-
dc.date.available2014-11-03T23:14:51Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationChau, Y. [周玉蓮]. (2014). Teachers' use of senior secondary geography textbooks in Hong Kong : implications for meaningful learning. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5293001-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/206514-
dc.description.abstractGiven the current availability of newly-designed textbooks for senior secondary geography teachers and the limited focus on their role in promoting students’ ‘meaningful learning’ advocated in the curriculum reform, a study of teachers’ use of geography textbooks in Hong Kong is particularly timely. Seeking to know the teachers’ practice of using geography textbooks, this study aims at describing and explaining how teachers use the two sets of textbooks, and exploring how their use might be improved in the context of particular classrooms to bring about meaningful learning among students. Two single cases of teacher participants were chosen for study. A holistic case study approach was adopted with a wide range of qualitative research techniques, namely observation, interviews, documentation and journal-writing. Drawing on Remillard’s model of teachers’ role in curriculum development (1999), data collected for each case was analyzed to understand teacher’s activity of using textbooks in curriculum mapping, design and construction arenas. The findings showed that teachers may have different levels of engagement with the textbooks in different dimensions of teaching. Textbooks were generally used as a major source of knowledge in the content determination. Yet, teachers neither used them alone nor followed them slavishly. Driven by the advocacy of constructivist approach to learning, they not only chose relevant tasks from textbooks for students to undertake, but also used the textbooks as one of the sources of geographical ideas or stimulus materials to design the tasks with a focus on different levels of cognition for in-class activities. During the lessons, the PowerPoint files which came along with the prescribed textbooks were widely used for an exposition or reinforcement of students’ work. They were also flexibly used and adapted according to teachers’ spontaneous decisions to varying extents. Teachers’ diversity in their ways of using geography textbooks stemmed from the interaction between their different individual characteristics in terms of experience, knowledge and beliefs, and the textbooks in varying contexts. To a broader context, their diverse ways of using textbooks could be attributed to their different degrees of being influenced by public examination, lesson time, institutional polices and organization norms, professional development opportunities and computer infrastructure, as well as their attitudes towards students’ characteristics. It was worth noting that the constraints in the circumstances of teaching, such as time constraints for lesson preparation, sometimes made teachers difficult to perform their ideal teaching and learning roles. According to the three principles proposed by Hooper and Rieber (1999:258-260), certain ways of using the textbooks could generate the opportunities for supporting students’ meaningful learning were unveiled in this study. First, teachers who chose the essential content, selected important tasks and designed meaningful tasks based on the text and illustrations could provide opportunities for students to have active processing of lesson content. Next, the use of multitext approach in the group enquiry tasks, oral presentation and debriefing sessions could allow students to expose to information from multiple perspectives. Third, the presentation of content in the form of cases or examples, and the use of tasks or case studies in the textbooks for authentic work, issue-based or case-based enquiry learning could build upon students’ knowledge and life experience in meaningful contexts. Teachers’ interaction with textbooks did not guarantee the generation of meaningful learning outcome. To improve the ways of textbook use for students’ meaningful learning, several feasible strategies were identified. To cope with students’ limited capacity of working memory, teachers may slow down the pace of presentation, avoid students doing unnecessary tasks, and use suitable modes and structures of the presentation of information for students with different cognitive styles. Selective use of materials and props provided by the publishers could avoid the repetition of content and increase students’ interest in processing of lesson content. To increase students’ mental engagement in the tasks, their learning attitudes should be improved through interesting tasks in the textbooks, rewarding practice, team competition and small group work. It was also important to connect the content in the tasks to their existing knowledge through providing conditional knowledge, making the text more comprehensible to students and using visual images with more explicit information. Some higher-order questions should be added in the ready-made tasks to cater for diverse students’ abilities. Group work could be used to help the lower achievers in these tasks. Regarding the use of supplementary materials, teachers should use PowerPoints and their own resources together to sustain students’ engagement in the cognitive tasks. Since it was not easy to transfer knowledge through animations, words should be better presented as narration than on-screen text. To increase group engagement in the tasks, group work should be properly managed. Finally, teachers should make students familiar with real-life contexts before they started engaging them in tasks. In conclusion, teachers can use the textbooks to provide opportunities for students’ meaningful learning, but this sometimes became unattainable because of difficulties in the circumstances of teaching. Findings suggested that more efforts should be made to improve initial teacher education programme, increase teachers’ professional development opportunities, provide more useful offerings in the textbooks, relieve the problems of time constraints for lesson preparation and inadequate lesson time, and teach students’ enquiry skills and collaborative skills.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshGeography - Study and teaching (Secondary) - China - Hong Kong - Textbooks-
dc.titleTeachers' use of senior secondary geography textbooks in Hong Kong : implications for meaningful learning-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5293001-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Education-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5293001-

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