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Policy and Effectiveness of Small Class Teaching: The Hong Kong Experience IP Kin-yuen LAI Kwok-chan The Hong Kong Institute of Education Two Government Approaches

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policy and effectiveness of small class teaching the hong kong experience

Policy and Effectiveness of Small Class Teaching: The Hong Kong Experience

IP Kin-yuen

LAI Kwok-chan

The Hong Kong Institute of Education

two government approaches

Two Government Approaches

Governments supported class size reduction in principle, and then formulated policies and invested the necessary resources for its implementation.

During such process, some governments further improve the existing curriculum and the teaching methods, and then summarized their experiences and extended the scheme.

Some governments are skeptical on the effectiveness of small class teaching and whether it should be included in the public policy agenda.

Different government policies and strategies on small class teaching were often the products of tensions among various social forces.

the first stage expansion of basic education

The First Stage: Expansion of Basic Education

A low-cost and high-efficiency model

In 1954 the Legislative Council adopted the following temporary measures: the maximum class size in government and aided schools was 45.

the second stage improving the quality of education in the public sector
The Second Stage: Improving the Quality of Education in the Public Sector
  • Green Paper on Primary Education and Pre-Primary Services (1981)
  • No class in the public sector should exceed 40, while schools adopting the activity approach will be permitted to reduce the size of their classes to 35.
  • A Perspective on Education in Hong Kong (1982)
  • The Education Commission Report No.5 (1992)
  • A reduction in the standard class size of five places at each level from P1 to S5
slide6

In 1996, there was a teachers’ survey on their views on 9-year compulsory education. The teachers perceived that the most urgent issue was that the Government should place more resources on “reducing class size” or “increasing numbers of teachers”.

slide7
In 1997, the education reform was to help students learn how to learn, which involves developing their independent learning capabilities leading to whole-person development and life-long learning.
  • Small class teaching became appealing in view of the education reform and improving classroom practice.
  • A decline in population growth
slide9

Note: Total Fertility Rate means no. of birth per thousand of women

Source: Hong Kong Annual Report (1981-2001) and Census and Statistics Department (2003)

slide10
The Education Commission (2000) remained skeptical of whether a decrease in teacher-student ratio would increase the effectiveness of teaching.
  • Following with Tung’s 1997 policy address, there was a need to absorb two more students in each class in a primary school and provisionally suspend measures for class size reduction in secondary schools.
slide11

Source: Enrolment Statistics 1990 and 2002 by Statistics Section, Education and Manpower Bureau

recent disputes on small class teaching
Recent Disputes on Small Class Teaching

Tension between the following two forces:

  • The number of primary school students had continued to decrease, the job security of teachers in some school areas was being affected.
  • Government’s skepticism of cost-effectiveness
slide14
It will be ineffective if class size is only reduced on a small scale.
  • Small class teaching will involve in a huge amount of funding.
  • From the overseas research and experiences, no significant correlation has been found between small class teaching and enhancement of learning effectiveness.
  • Overseas research findings on small class teaching are inconclusive regarding its effectiveness on learning enhancement.
  • For cost-effectiveness, methods other than small class teaching may have similar outcomes.
  • In Hong Kong, small class teaching should not be implemented before teachers were given appropriate training.
slide16
研究方法

採取質化的個案研究法,包括課堂觀察(每節均錄影並轉錄成文字紀錄,以便分析),與校長、教師、學生、家長進行面談,以及參閱學校有關文件等等。

slide17
探討的問題,主要包括以下幾點:
  • 校方決定採取小班教學原因及決策過程;
  • 學校在現行制度和資源下如何安排小班教學;
  • 採取小班教學之後,老師和學生對教與學觀感,有無出現變化;
  • 個案經驗對今後進一步推進小班教學有什麼啟示。

目前分析仍在進行中,以下是我們研究的初步報告。

slide19
小班教學的成效

1.學生的課堂參與狀態出現變化

2. 師生關係與互動發生變化

a. 教師更了解個別學生的情況,更容易給予較充分的個別照顧

b. 課室秩序較易管理

3. 教師的教學方法發生變化

a. 小班提供更大的教室空間,以便進行各種活動

b. 上課時進行分組活動比較容易

c. 有利於引入強調互動的教學方法