Curriculum innovation in the primary EFL classroom : case studies of three teachers implementing Hong Kong's target-oriented curriculum (TOC)
The central focus of this study is to explore how three primary school teachers were implementing Hong Kong's Target-Oriented Curriculum (TOC) in their lower primary English classrooms. TOC is a task-based, process-oriented innovation, introduced from 1995 onwards. The study involved a case study approach by which teachers' perceptions and behaviours were analysed during the period of a single academic year. Data collection methods for the study comprised mainly classroom observation and interviews. The former involved the study of five or six consecutive English lessons for each teacher in three separate cycles, the latter involved six semi-structured interviews per teacher. The emphasis was on qualitative data and analysis, although quantitative classroom and attitude scale data were also collected. The main findings from the study were as follows. Teacher A was positively oriented towards TOC, had a sound understanding and was implementing TOC principles to a high degree. Teacher B was somewhat neutrally disposed towards the innovation, was only in the process of developing an understanding of it, and was not implementing it as much as teacher A. Teacher C was very positively oriented towards TOC, had a sound understanding of its principles but was only able to implement it to a similar extent to teacher B. The main significance of the study includes: insights into research methodology derived from the execution of the study; confirmation and development of the theory of the management of change; insights into the classroom implementation of the key TOC classroom principles, task-based learning and catering for individual learner differences; and implications on the cultural appropriateness of TOC for the Hong Kong context.