Implementing the Project Approach: A Case Study of Hybrid Pedagogy in a Hong Kong Kindergarten

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The Project Approach has been promoted in Hong Kong kindergartens since the 1990s. However, the dynamic processes and underlying mechanisms involved in the teachers’ implementation of this pedagogical method there have not yet been fully investigated. This case study of one typical kindergarten in Hong Kong documented how and why eight teachers implemented the Project Approach the way they did. Methodological triangulation was established through (1) videotaped classroom observations, (2) audiotaped interviews with the teachers and school principal, and (3) document analysis. The study revealed that instead of uncritically adopting the Project Approach, the teachers responsively adapted it into hybrid pedagogy between traditional Chinese pedagogy and contemporary early childhood pedagogy. Such a paradigm shift reflected the teachers’ (1) practical considerations of contextual realities (e.g., time limitation, curriculum demands, parental expectations, professional and emotional comfortability) and (2) cultural hybridity in pedagogical beliefs. The findings suggest that, considering cultural incompatibilities, when implementing pedagogies cross-culturally, a sensible, viable, and potentially sustainable solution is not a radical, direct transformation from a traditional pedagogy to an imported one, but rather an alternative, hybrid pedagogy that infuses unique characteristics of the two. Similarly, when promoting pedagogical change, policymakers should consider sociocultural and other contextual influences.

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Journal of Research in Childhood Education

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