The purpose of the study was to determine the ways lecturing staff at a polytechnic in Hong Kong approach their teaching and then to make inferences about their staff development needs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted individually with 39 full-time lecturing staff to determine their views on their teaching practices, the reasons some students fail to achieve the course objectives, the changes they would like to make to their teaching, the barriers standing in their way and the strategies they could use to overcome these barriers. Transcripts were analysed independently by three raters and themes extracted. There was a mismatch between the interviewees’ perceptions of the goals of higher education and what they were doing in practice. While they stated that the goals of higher education were to encourage problem-solving or independent learning, in reality they were aiming for the more narrow goal of developing in their students the specific job-related skills they saw as necessary for their discipline. Three categories of reasons were given for why students might fail to achieve course objectives: blame the student; blame the lecturer; and blame the system. A large proportion of the respondents indicated that they would like to change their teaching practices but were not certain about the specific changes they would like to make, although a change towards more interactive teaching was mentioned by a few. Barriers to change included lack of resources, student resistance and inadequate teacher training. Implications of these findings for staff development are discussed in light of findings from related studies conducted in other parts of the world. Action research is suggested as a viable option for staff development.
Scopus Subject Areas