The lifelong learning education reform in Hong Kong : a review from the perception of frontline teachers

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This study focuses on the secondary school teachers’ perceptions as they are directly related to the implementation of the New Senior Secondary (NSS) curriculum which signifies the completion of the first reform cycle in the reform proposal (HKEMB 2000). This research employs an ‘interpretive’ approach to study the frontline teachers’ perceptions on the HKEMB Education Reform so as to solicit their understandings, feelings and emotions towards the reform measures. Through the semi-structured interviews conducted, frontline teachers’ understandings, feelings, emotions and their comments on the benefits and positive measures as well as the disadvantages and hindering measures of the Education Reform are recorded. Phenomenology was chosen as the methodology of inquiry because it is believed to be the best the way to generate authentic discourses in the interpretive paradigm for studying feelings and emotions as well as understandings and perceptions. The discourse analyzed reveal the frontline teachers’ understandings, feelings and emotions during the implementation of the HKEMB lifelong learning Education Reform, drawing on the Heideggerian concepts of 'Being' and ‘horizons’. Research findings of the present study reveal that, due to different orientations and limited understanding of lifelong learning, frontline teachers are experiencing uncertainties and stress during the HKEMB lifelong learning Education Reform. I argue that meaning sharing and trust building between the policy makers and the frontline practitioners is the key issue to be addressed. It is important for policy makers to connect frontline teachers’ work and life to the implementation of reform measures in the later stages of the Education Reform. Findings of the research have implications on further studies about the relationship between curriculum innovations and the conceptions of learning, teachers’ identity, use of Information Technology and learning to learn.
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