Hong Kong preservice teachers' focus of concern and confidence to teach - A perspective of teacher development

Year: 1998

Author: Chan, Kwok-wai, Leung, Man-tak

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Preservice teachers' focus of concern and confidence to teach are often considered to be important elements of teachers' growth and development. Fuller's (1969) model of three concerns, viz. "self", "task" and "impact" have been widely referred to by researchers in the study of teacher professional development and covered in teacher education programmes. The author of this paper attempted to conduct a survey study of a course of preservice secondary teachers in the Hong Kong Institute of Education to examine their focus of concerns and confidence to teach as part of the investigated areas of teacher development. The purpose was to see whether there was any difference from that proposed by Fuller due to different cultural context. The obtained results supported Fuller's model of concerns in that the "self" concerns were prominent and dominating within the sample under study. In this respect, there is little difference between the western and Hong Kong sample of preservice teachers' focus of concern. Of the "self" concerns, class discipline, acceptance by students and teachers' mastery of subject knowledge and teaching skill were classified the most important ones by the Hong Kong preservice teachers. These concerns were also closely related to the important factors which they considered for successful teaching. The high level of confidence and optimism exhibited before teaching practice also supported Weinstein's (1989, 1990) findigns that preservice teachers, whether elementary or high school teache5rs were unrealistically optimistic about teaching. The similarity in findings between the Hong Kong and the western samples studied by Fuller and Weinstein suggest the plausibility of utilizing western principles and concepts in local context. Above this, the author would like to draw the attention of teacher educators and program planners to the underlying reasons given by preservice teachers about their changes in confidence , optimism and concerns before and after teaching practice in order to focus the areas for future development in teacher education.