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An ethnographic case study of secondary school's moral education in a Mainland city of the Greater Bay area /

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An ethnographic case study of secondary school's moral education in a Mainland city of the Greater Bay area /

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Student Theses
Publication Information:
Wang, Lei Hu Tiger
Hong Kong : The Education University of Hong Kong
Moral education (Deyu) is a large domain in China, dealing with interpersonal values, social norms, and ideological and political education, but often criticized for being overly politicized, neglecting contextual factors, and being exam-oriented. Since the Reform and Opening-up policy in Shenzhen, the content of moral education is less politicized and less indoctrinated, unlike that of the period after the Cultural Revolution. In 2019, Shenzhen was given more autonomy in implementing moral education under the GBA initiative. A "One school, one design" policy was even adopted in the Nanshan district in Shenzhen in 2020.Plenty of research focuses on the theoretical development and the general implementation of moral education theory in China. However, little attention is paid to individual schools' moral education practices and teachers' perceptions of these practices. This study intended to investigate the school-level implementation and teachers' perspectives of moral education to find out the facilitating and, more importantly, inhibiting factors across different layers to the success of students' morality advancement. To examine the contextual factors of moral education, an ecological perspective is vital for investigating how moral education is being carried out and perceived by teachers. Thus, Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory is used as the theoretical framework. In order to get a holistic portrait and explore the nature of these practices, a prolonged qualitative research method is more suitable for this study. Thus, a two-year-long ethnographic case study was carried out in the case school located at the heart of GBA, and a total of 18 teachers in the school participated in the semi-structured interviews. The research finds that the facilitating factors in different ecological systems include: 1) a strong foundation and guidelines on the national level; 2) teachers' constant renewal of their teaching methods and teaching philosophy; 3) an ambitious principal with clear visions for moral education; 4) Shenzhen's potential as the pioneer of moral education reformation. The lack of communication and mutual understanding contributes to moral education teachers' emotionally exhaustive experience. Here are the factors hindering the success of moral education on different levels: 1) the rigid content in the textbooks; 2) teachers' burdensome responsibilities; 3) teachers' vulnerability and powerlessness in dealing with parents and protecting their rights; 4) extravagant moral education activities without supervision and evaluation; 5) stuffy school culture; 6) no mutual understanding between teachers, the school, and parents on moral education belief; 7) no tight alliance across different layers; 8) the COVID-19 pandemic. The results suggest that 1) schools should be the only organization responsible for moral education, and an alternative and more inclusive model is needed; 2) decisions on moral education strategies should be made in a bottom-up instead of a top-down fashion; 3) teachers should be treated as socialist moral exemplars instead of merely as capitalist employees; 4) the Ecological Systems Theory should be used for more specific purposes in examining moral education in China
Call Number:
LG51.H43 Dr 2022eb Wanglht
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