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A Qualitative Examination of Teacher-Student Power-Sharing in Chinese Classrooms: A Study in Hong Kong

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This article explores the dynamics of power-sharing between teacher and students in learning and teaching situations, and describes the theoretical bases, implementation, and results of an empirical study in three elementary schools in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Findings from 58 class observations and interviews with 50 students, 25 teachers, and three school principals suggest that teachers can empower students by acknowledging their right to and responsibility for learning and by sharing power with students. Power-sharing classroom practice requires the dual efforts of teachers and students, and can be facilitated by the teachers’ interactive teaching mode, students’ cooperation and willingness to engage in learning, and school policy and culture, etc. In the power-sharing classrooms, teachers played the role of facilitators and students played as collaborators. In this article, theoretical implications for understanding power-sharing and critical pedagogy are discussed. The empirical evidence from this Hong Kong study contributes to an understanding of teacher-initiated power-sharing in the Chinese context, and the practice of critical pedagogy in classrooms.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong,


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