The Quality of Classroom Experiences in Chinese Kindergarten Classrooms across Settings and Learning Activities: Implications for Teacher Preparation

March, 2016

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education 57 (2016) 39-50
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study examined how Chinese teachers perform on Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) measures. The study also examined Chinese teachers' quality of interactions across settings (i.e., whole-group teaching, free play, routine/care, and outdoor play) and activities (i.e., language, math, science, art, and others) for future professional development considerations. Finally, the authors were interested in finding out any teacher-related variables (i.e., major of first and highest educational level, first degree, frequency and duration of in-service training and teaching experience) that might contribute to teachers' better instructional supports in the classrooms.

The authors observed 180 female teachers from early childhood classrooms in the southern coast of China-Guangdong. The majority of the participants had a high-school diploma equivalent as their first degree, majoring in early childhood education (ECE). Most participants obtained an associate degree or above through continuing education, majoring in ECE or related fields.
The authors collected data by using Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS).

The results showed that Chinese teachers were successful in building a warm and supportive relationship with children and managing behavioral aspect of classroom; however, they did poorly in dimensions of instructional support. It was found that all teachers were more effective at promoting children's development in structured activities than unstructured activities.
The authors also found that Chinese teachers scored lower on instruction support quality compared to international colleagues. It was found that Chinese teachers' lowest CLASS performance, especially for instructional support, occurred during art activities.
Finally, the authors identified that no teacher-related variables except for their years of teaching were associated with classroom instructional quality. This finding suggests that professional development activities have not focused on critical competencies skills teachers need to improve their practice or student learning.

These results have important implications for consideration of early childhood teacher preparation programs in China.
The authors argue that improving Chinese teachers' levels of instructional support is the key to improving quality-learning experiences for all Chinese children.
The authors also note that Chinese teachers need to develop competencies to provide high instructional support during both structured group lessons and less structured settings such as free play, outdoor play, and routine/care. 

Updated: Jul. 26, 2018