Watkins, D., University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
Much Western research has moved from a focus on student conceptions of learning to one on teachers' conceptions of teaching. This presentation synthesize the findings of a series of studies by the presenter, his doctoral students, and other colleagues in Hong Kong and mainland China. It extends previous research by investigating both the nature of such conceptions and how they change in teacher education courses and university staff development programs in a non-Western context. It also integrates findings from a range of research approaches: from the in-depth phenomenographic, to the observational and the quantitative utilising structural equation modelling. The results indicate that in a Chinese context concepts such as student-centred take on a somewhat different meaning; that Western-style teacher education courses can promote more meaning-oriented views of learning which influence teaching practice during such courses, but that the effects may be diminished by the realities of first year as a full-time teacher; and that a staff development program based on a conceptual change approach, can not only change lecturers views in this way and influence their teaching, but also is reflected in changes in their students' approaches to learning. Ways Chinese teachers are able to cognitively engage students even in large classes are also discussed.