Hong Kong kindergarten teachers' beliefs and practices regarding earlychildhood inclusive education
KeywordsInclusive education - China - Hong Kong.
Kindergarten teachers - China - Hong Kong - Attitudes.
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractEarly childhood inclusive education (ECIE) has been advocated in Hong Kong and other societies for decades. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that there might be some gaps between teachers’ beliefs and their practices regarding ECIE in Hong Kong. Although a large number of studies on the implementation of ECIE have been conducted in western countries, there are very few in a Hong Kong context. Therefore, this thesis is dedicated to the investigation of Hong Kong kindergarten teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding ECIE with two studies.
Study One was designed to be quantitative in nature, examining Hong Kong kindergarten teachers’ beliefs and practices of ECIE by surveying 184 practitioners. Responses revealed that Hong Kong teachers: (1) shared mixed beliefs in both inclusive education and special education; (2) had positive attitudes toward children with special education needs; and also (3) had positive attitudes toward inclusive practices. However, most of them reported that they had failed to put ECIE into practice. Further analyses found a significant school type effect: the teachers in special child care centers (SCCC) and kindergartens with integrated programs (IP) had more positive attitudes toward ECIE and tended to use more individualized practices than those working in kindergartens without IP. In addition, the special education teachers were found to hold the most coherent beliefs and practices of ECIE among all the samples.
Study Two was a multiple case study of five early childhood settings, with a focus on the gaps between teachers’ beliefs and practices of ECIE. The validity was established by triangulating the data sources (principal, general teachers, and IP teachers) and methods (classroom observation, interviews, and document analysis). The results indicated that: (1) there was no consistent pattern in teaching schedules, settings, curricula in the five cases; (2) the principals and teachers had mixed beliefs in ECIE and special education; (3) there was a remarkable belief-practice gap in ECIE; and (4) and the teachers from SCCC, kindergartens with IP, and those without IP had different attitudes about communication with parents, perceived behavioral control and intention, and the practical difficulties in ECIE implementation. These qualitative findings were consistent with those found in Study One.
The thesis is believed to offer a contribution to the theoretical and practical development of ECIE. This study provides empirical evidence to the early childhood policymaking. The findings imply that the educational authorities need to provide more resources, teacher training, and support to facilitate the implementation of ECIE in Hong Kong. The limitations of this research and future directions are discussed, and some suggestions about how to bridge teachers’ beliefs and practice gaps are also made.
Doctor of Education
Poon, T. [潘芷盈]. (2013). Hong Kong kindergarten teachers' beliefs and practices regarding early childhood inclusive education. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5055900