The Pedagogy of Learning: Engaging Teachers in Observing Children’s Spoken Word Errors for Professional Development

LAM, Ho Cheong

International Journal of Chinese Language Education; Jun 2022; Issue No. 11; p.1 - 28

Department of Chinese Language Studies, The Education University of Hong Kong
Chinese Language Program, Columbia University
Chung Hwa Book Co. (H.K.) Ltd.

Effective teaching requires teachers to have shared understanding with learners. If learners see the world in a way different from that of the teacher, the teacher may not be able to make connections with the learners, thus failing to convey the instructional content to them. Along this line, our project adopted the notion of ‘the pedagogy of learning’ and involved iterative cycles of research on children’s ways of seeing and the professional development of kindergarten teachers. In terms of research, we investigated the qualitatively different ways of seeing of children as manifested by the errors in the spoken words they used in everyday conversations in kindergartens while they learned to speak. Over the three years of the project, we had engaged a total of 254 in-service kindergarten teachers in observing children’s errors in their own kindergartens. A pool of 788 children’s errors was collected and 5 categories of errors were inductively identified: sound imitation (A), non-existent combination of characters from words (B), inappropriate use of the spoken forms of words (C), use of characters with inaccurate meanings (D), and creative exploitation of characters with relevant meanings (E). Concerning professional development of in-service kindergarten teachers, we presented the five categories of errors to the teachers in our professional development programmes to explore what they needed to know to teach children to correct each of the categories of errors and to use the appropriate spoken words. The presentation generated stimulating discussion among the teachers, inducing them to reflect upon their understanding of the Chinese language and their scientific knowledge about the world. On the whole, this project put forth the positive value of children’s errors and called attention to the potential contribution of the notion of the pedagogy of learning in improving the teaching of teachers for children to learn Chinese.

error analysis phenomenography spoken words teacher education the pedagogy of learning


2520-7733 (Print); 2521-4241 (Online)

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