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An Exploratory Study of Hong Kong Chinese Students’ Conceptions and Experiences of Academics’ Care within a Higher Education Context

TANG, LAI,LA (2017) An Exploratory Study of Hong Kong Chinese Students’ Conceptions and Experiences of Academics’ Care within a Higher Education Context. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This research investigated Hong Kong Chinese undergraduate students’ conceptions and experiences of academics’ care and examined its pedagogical implications within a higher education context. Three purposes framed this study: 1) To explore the conceptions of academics’ care amongst Hong Kong Chinese undergraduate students; 2) To investigate Hong Kong Chinese undergraduate students’ perceived attributes of academics’ care and the perceived effects of academics’ care on learning and development in Hong Kong; and 3) To draw the implications of caring pedagogy for Hong Kong Chinese undergraduate students’ learning and academic development in Hong Kong.

The empirical data were collected from final-year students in the naturalistic setting of a Hong Kong university. By applying a qualitative research design, purposive sampling was used to select students who had experienced academics’ care during their university study. Data sources included in-depth interviews, write-up accounts and researcher’s notes. Thematic analysis was used to identify the themes emerged from the informants’ narrative accounts of academics’ care. Data quality procedures, included triangulation, member checks and audit trail, were followed to ensure research rigour.

Results indicated that academics’ care was conceptualized as a continuum of care, moving along the continuum from “Pedagogical Care” to “Holistic Care” and then to “Sustainable Care”. This continuum featured a deepening of mutuality, responsiveness and reciprocity. A dual overarching theme of “Safety Net” and “Sustainable Bonding” were identified in conceptualizing academics’ care in a university context. This thesis thus proposed a model of caring in higher education rested on three overlapping domains of the relational zone, attachment behaviour and the socio-cultural context.

This thesis has contributed to an under-researched area of caring pedagogy in a university context. The significant role of academics’ care in students’ learning, development and well-being has been discerned as a key construct of the socio-culture of care within the Chinese context. Implications were thus offered for future research on caring pedagogy, and for policymakers, university administrators and teachers in further exploring the opportunities presented by integrating care into teaching practices.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Keywords:Teacher Care, Ethics of Care, Vygotsky's Affective Aspect of Learning, Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), Adult Attachment in Educational Context, Hong Kong Chinese Students, Higher Education
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Mar 2017 09:25

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