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Teachers in Hong Kong secondary schools have been concerned about students' misbehavior. The guidance and discipline teachers are commonly formed to deal with these issues and support teachers' teaching and learning. Guidance, known as pastoral care in UK schools, intends to promote the whole-person growth of students whereas discipline intends to manage students' misbehavior positively. In the context of Hong Kong secondary schools, the guidance, or counseling, team aims to offer a counseling service to students in need and organizes programs for enhancing the whole-person growth of all students. As Hong Kong Education and Manpower Bureau's Student Guidance Section suggested:
ï¿½school guidance work is . . . to help our adolescents maximize their own potential, acquire acceptable social skills, discriminate right from wrong, develop appropriate values. . . . In addition, school guidance work can help prevent or overcome students' problems through prompt assistance and appropriate advice. [Education and Manpower Bureau, 2004a]ï¿½
The discipline team aims to support students with behavioral problems and deals with disciplinary issues such as bullying and violence. It intends to promote students' social competence, such as self-discipline and self management, and to prepare them to be civilized and responsible citizens. As Hong Kong Education and Manpower Bureau's Student Discipline Section suggests:
ï¿½Discipline . . . should mean more than rules and control. . . . We want to educate them so that our students are able to think critically, to analyze the situations, to solve problems and make appropriate decisions on the action to take. . . . We want our students to develop self-control and self-discipline. We want them to develop into responsible and well adjusted adults'. [Education and Manpower Bureau, 2004b]ï¿½
Many studies have shown that positive notions of guidance and discipline, like those cited in the documents mentioned above, could not be implemented effectively. To address these issues, this article examines how teachers define their roles in guidance and discipline. One of the main themes emerging from the data collected, the influence of Confucianism on Hong Kong schools, is the focus of this article. Specifically, this article examines how Confucianism influenced how teachers made sense of students' behavior, and how their constructs were associated with the key principles of Confucius's teaching. It argues that teachers' understanding of guidance and discipline is influenced by Confucianism and that only by readdressing the value of Confucianism in schooling can the positive notions of guidance and discipline be achieved.
Due to the teachers' recognition that low learning motivation and being unable to learn could have negative effects, not only on their students' school success but also on their personal and social development, the teachers used many forms of punishment which were related to learning, so as to raise their students' intrinsic ability to learn. For example, common forms of punishment included writing lines and copying texts extracted from learning materials. Furthermore, in order to teach students a lesson, some schools kept misbehaving students in school to complete all their homework before they were allowed to go home. During the period of this research one Chinese language teacher requested a student who behaved disruptively in the classroom to copy a statement which was especially composed by the teacher. It was even amusingly put in poetic form: 'Lazy me! Lazy me! Why should I be punished? I am punished. Why should I be so lazy?' The student was asked to copy it 100 times (Hue, 2007).
Hue, M., (2007) ï¿½Emergence of Confucianism from the Teachersï¿½ Definitions and Guidance and Discipline in Hong Kong Secondary Schoolsï¿½, Research in Education, Vol. 78
Teachers are expected to responsible for the values of education and spiritual, moral, social, and cultural education as part of their educational role. This is emphasizes that teachers are at the centre of the teaching and learning process; therefore they must constantly evaluate what they do in the classroom and engage themselves in conscious reflection of their classroom practices. A commonly held belief about teaching is ï¿½Good teachers are born, not made.ï¿½ On the contrary, teachers are neither born with knowledge of a particular discipline nor competency in the use of instructional strategies or classroom management. Effective teachers work hard to attain these knowledge and skills by reflecting their practices.
The idea of reflective practitionersï¿½ gives rise of the process of learning in action (Schon, 1984) is of the view that teachers should become reflective practitioners by learning in action. This type of reflection demands an evaluation of what is going on and what measures can be taken to improve the teaching and learning situation thereafter. It can be used to assess the present teaching situation and what steps should follow to improve it. The most effective teachers do a lot of reflection and they employ systematic ways of obtaining feedback on their effectiveness because they want to become better teachers. Through reflection, the teachers or an individual is allowed to learn from the experiences which are an assessment on where this particular individual came from and where he wants to go next. To help teachers develop their skills, students can play an important role. Since they are the immediate clients and partners in the teaching and learning continuum they are able to provide invaluable feedback to develop teachersï¿½ competence.