graduation, phd thesis

this is the second time i received such an envelope. the first time was around 9.5 yrs ago when we were in shanghai.

the paper work should have been completed at least 2 months ago. but 迟到好过没到 we always say. the long-awaited official closure of the 5 yrs 2 mth journey is finally here.

shot on Oct 16, 2017

like the last post, this is what my thesis research is about:

Chinese Language Teachers’ Conceptions of Knowledge Creation, Knowledge and Knowing

Set against the backdrop of education in the Knowledge Age, the current study answers calls in the literature to further advance knowledge creation in schools. Scholars observed that education in schools is not changing fast enough to prepare our young to meet the demands of the world’s workforce and citizens. Teachers are the key people educating students in schools, and scholars have highlighted a need to investigate their understanding of the phenomena. Sixteen Chinese Language (CL) teachers from Singapore were examined in this research as language teachers are primarily responsible for the basic literacies that form students’ foundation for lifelong learning. Positing that people’s cultural beliefs and the language(s) used are inseparable, CL teachers may possess an understanding of the different phenomena that reflect the influence of the Chinese culture by virtue of the language they speak and teach. To carry out the investigation, the current research adopted phenomenography — a methodology aimed at finding and systematising how people interpret the world around them — to learn about and to describe CL teachers’ conceptions of the phenomena.

Through the phenomenographic processes, four separate outcome spaces representing what the CL teachers understand of knowledge, knowing, knowledge creation in general, and knowledge creation in education, had emerged. Each outcome space represented the qualitatively different albeit limited understanding of teachers on a phenomenon. The critical variations in teachers’ understanding were presented in the different categories of an outcome space hierarchically. Critical variations aside, non-critical variations that have emerged from teachers’ conception were also captured.
The findings had shown that the CL teachers’ understanding of various phenomena did exhibit differences from scholarly conceptions. For example, the understanding of a shared outcome in knowledge creation had not emerged although theories of knowledge creation commonly described some form of shared outcomes as a key component of knowledge creation. Other aspects included community-related and process-related differences. In the understanding of knowledge and knowing, the emergence of direct definitions and types of knowledge during interviews, and the non-emergence of descriptions on the structural simplicity of knowledge were examples of the differences between theoretical and people’s conception. Besides demonstrating the differences, some of the CL teachers’ conception may be attributed to the influence of cultural beliefs. For instance, some of the CL teachers highlighted the non-receptive for changes as possibly an inhibitor to knowledge creation; their understanding of knowledge creation implied impending changes. Change, when seen as a disruption to existing harmonious state of things, was culturally undesirable. Similarly, the omnipresence of authorities of knowledge and the different ways of interpreting these authorities by different teachers reflected, on the one hand, the influence of hierarchy-conscious Confucian-heritage culture; and on the other hand, the possible moderating effect of English language and Western culture on the Singaporean CL teachers’ personal epistemology.

knowledge creation, education, teachers’ conception, phenomenography, Chinese Language

download link to the thesis will be made available through the NIE Digital Repository when it’s available (:

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