Examining Relationships between Teacher Effectiveness, Learning Processes and Goal Orientation in Hong Kong Classrooms

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Principal Investigator
Dr. Ko Yue On James
Research Fellow of APCLC,
The Education University of Hong Kong
Funding Source
Early Career Scheme
Project Duration


The current study addresses two paradoxes in teaching and learning research.

The first paradox is on the inconsistency in teaching effectiveness between and within teachers. Although both inspection and research evidence shows similar sets of characteristics in the instruction of effective teachers, research evidence has also suggested a teacher’s effectiveness as a non-static characteristic that varies throughout his/her career.Further evidence shows that the effective aspects of the same teacher may vary considerably across lessons.

The second paradox is on the contradictory goal orientations on learning. Students are expected to achieve the objectives of education set by policymakers that demand a mastery of the learning goal and deep learning. However,the examination-oriented culture prevailing in society actually emphasizes performance in examinations and encourages social comparison by performance.

The current study is framed in the recent findings in foreign contexts that may offer insights to solve these paradoxes. The research on effective teachers and teacher training suggests that a high level of consistency in teaching effectiveness may only be found in a small number of teachers, whereas other teachers may struggle in some areas and their effectiveness may fluctuate even after they have received relevant training. Moreover, recent research on self-learning finds that students, with teachers’ assistance, can control their learning with sufficient regular and constant feedback. This mode of learning is compatible with deep learning and a mastery goal. However, research on these emerging areas is still inadequate in Hong Kong. The current research proposes to study consistency and variation in teachers in different classrooms and schools in Hong Kong by measuring teaching effectiveness with classroom observation protocols in the first phase.

The results will be used to establish a model of teacher behavior ranked based on their relative level of difficulty, relating teacher effectiveness with students’ learning goals and processes. The second phase explores the reciprocal relationship between teaching practices and students’ learning processes and goal orientations. The case studies on four teachers selected investigate whether interventions initiated by these teachers would establish students’ self-regulated learning by transforming their goal orientations and whether these changes would,in turn, facilitate teaching over time. The current research will contribute to the broader literature on classroom research and the Chinese learner with strong implications for both teacher development and learning assessment. This subject is timely, when education reforms in Hong Kong are called calling for greater teacher accountability and a paradigm shift in teaching.


Refereed Conference Papers

Ko, J. (2016, July 6-8). Supporting Pre-service Teachers in Preparing for Teaching Practicums: A Blended Learning Approach. Paper presented at International Conference on Open and Flexible Education 2016, Hong Kong: The Open University of Hong Kong