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Selected Research Project
Project Title Examining Relationships between Teacher Effectiveness, Learning Processes and Goal Orientation in Hong Kong Classrooms
Principal Investigator Dr. Ko Yue On, James
Area of Research Project Teaching and Learning
Project Period
From 11/2012 To 5/2015
  • To examine how teachers’ teaching practices can maintain or vary across classrooms.
  • To understand how teachers’ teaching practices may affect students’ learning processes and their learning goals.
  • To investigate how students’ learning goal and self-learning can facilitate teaching and learning over time.
Methods Used

The first phase (10 months):

  • Through lesson observations of 400 lessons of 200+ teachers in 70+ schools to test the assumptions implied in Figure 1.
  • Lessons were taped and observed by at least 2-3 raters on at least 4 classroom observation instruments for comparisons.

The second phase (10 months):

  • A local primary school of 32 teachers of English and Math departments purposively selected for an in-depth case study
  • Each teacher will provide 3-4 lessons for ratings..
  • The purpose is to investigate the reciprocal relationship among teaching practices and students learning processes and learning goals as Figure 2. 
  • Surveys, interviews and lesson observations will be used for data collection.

Summary of Findings
  • Findings were based on a video database of 400 English and Mathematics lessons of 200+ teachers from Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou in the first phase;
  • An in-depth case study of 120+ lessons from all English and Mathematics teachers of a local primary school for is carried out in the second phase;
  • Generic characteristics of effective lessons were identified across lessons, subjects and cities;
  • Teachers showed variability in teaching effectiveness across teaching dimensions and across lessons, but consistency across lessons was generally higher than expected;
  • Math and English teachers showed different teaching strengths;
  • Teachers of the same departments could vary considerably in teacher effectiveness;
  • Teacher effectiveness of Hong Kong teachers was not necessarily better than that of teachers in Shenzhen and Guangzhou;
  • Different teaching effectiveness strengths can be identified in different instruments;
  • Different teaching effectiveness strengths varied in different levels of difficulties;
  • Global perception of teaching quality tended to be biased towards student participation or engagement, rather than structural characteristics;  
  • To establish the trajectory and stages of development in teachers for enhancing future teacher evaluation and education.
  • To confirm whether internationally developed observation and survey instruments are applicable in studying Hong Kong classrooms.
  1. Systematic classroom observation schedules as tools for measuring teaching effectiveness
  2. Consistency and variation in classroom practice of Hong Kong teachers
  3. The role of goal setting student learning in examination-oriented culture in Hong Kong
Biography of Principal Investigator

James joined the Department of Education Policy and Leadership as Assistant Professor in 2011. He has extensive training in linguistics, psychology and education, with degrees from Canada, Hong Kong, and the U.K.  His research experience and interests are diverse, including educational effectiveness, educational leadership, educational management, learning assessment, psycholinguistics, TESL, IT in education, learning disabilities, and mixed methods methodology. He has worked for various large scale research projects funded by the RGC in Hong Kong and by the ESRC and DSCF in the UK. He published at and served as reviewers for international journals and granting bodies. He is also a Research Fellow of the Institute's Joseph Lau Luen Hung Charitable Trust Asia Pacific Centre for Leadership and Change (APCLC).

Funding Source
Early Career Scheme