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Title: Conceptions of teaching and learning held by teachers of Mandarin and Cantonese in Chinese complementary schools in Scotland
Author: Cheung, Wai Wan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 363X
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2015
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The thesis explores Chinese teachers’ conceptions of teaching and learning Chinese at Chinese complementary schools in Scotland. The teachers taught either Cantonese or Mandarin, the two main Chinese languages spoken by Scotland’s Chinese communities; teaching took place on a voluntary basis at weekends; the teachers were drawn from a variety of occupations; most of the pupils were of Chinese ethnicity, with in addition some non-Chinese children. The research mainly draws on phenomenography, a research approach that investigates variation in conceptions of different phenomena as these appear to particular groups of people – in this case, teachers of Chinese in Scottish complementary schools. The variation refers to the different conceptions of teaching and learning that were identified in the group of teachers as a whole. Semi-structured interviews with each individual teacher were devised, conducted and analysed according to phenomenographic procedures. From the group as a whole six key conceptions of teaching were identified, and likewise six key conceptions of learning. In addition, the research focused on a smaller number of teachers in order to identify individual profiles in greater depth. The teacher interviews also elicited the metaphors that the teachers considered represented good teaching and learning. The interviews also served to identify the factors that the teachers considered had most influenced their conceptions, and they were complemented by qualitative classroom observations designed to identify factors that would allow the researcher to better understand the context in which the teachers had formed their conceptions. The findings showed that Mandarin and Cantonese teachers had much in common, but that also there were clear differences in particular areas that seemed to be explained both by differences in culture between Mandarin-speaking Mainland China and Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong, and also by emerging differences in power and status, with Mandarin assuming a dominant role and Cantonese showing some decline in numbers and in optimism, with some parents switching their children over from Cantonese to Mandarin. More generally, the findings suggested that the teachers were dedicated, adaptable, and different from the stereotypical perception of Chinese teachers of the sort that emphasises examinations, rote-learning and authoritarian teaching style. The teachers in the present study generally understood their pupils had multiple identities and they sought to teach in a child-centred way, and to help their pupils preserve moral values and a Chinese component of their identity through learning Chinese language and experiencing Chinese culture.
Supervisor: Johnstone, Richard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Conception of teaching ; Conception of learning ; Teaching of Mandarin ; Teaching of Cantonese ; Complementary Chinese school ; Chinese teacher ; Chinese learning in Scotland ; Phenomenography ; Chinese language--Study and teaching--Scotland ; Mandarin dialects ; Cantonese dialects