Developing Self-Efficacy in Hong Kong Early Childhood Music Teachers

Marina Gall, Fanny Chung

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paperpeer-review


In Hong Kong, during the last decade, the arts have been identified as one the six major learning domains in early childhood education; music is recognised as an important area of this (Curriculum Development Council, 2006). It is well documented that those teaching young children are often non-specialist music teachers (Vannatta-Hall, 2010) and, resultantly, lack confidence in teaching music as compared with leading work in other subject areas (Chan, 2012). Fanny, the first author of this paper - a specialist in early childhood music education - became acutely aware of this within her work as a music teacher educator in a Hong Kong University. She developed a one-semester music pedagogy course for in-service early childhood music teachers to support their development of skills and confidence in leading music activities in their classrooms. A creative and play-based approach was adopted; this differs significantly to the ‘older style which favours a transmission model in which children, in the main, carry out mechanical activities such as breathing exercises and constant repetition of a song.

Fanny focussed on this course for her PhD study that considered the research question: What is the impact of a music pedagogy course on in-service teachers’ self-efficacy in teaching music to young children? The study involved thirty in-service early childhood teachers who were enrolled on the course in 2013/14. Bandura’s self-efficacy theory (2006) was used a lens through which to explore the teachers’ views. Data derived from questionnaires, focus group interviews and reflective diaries.

In this paper, we present the backdrop to curriculum changes in Hong Kong over the past decade, some detail about the organisation and content of the in-service course and teachers’ perceptions of their own development as a result of the course. Findings show a significant increase in teachers’ self-efficacy in planning and implementing creative and play-based music activities for young children as a result of involvement in this course. Since there are only a limited number of studies on early childhood teachers’ self-efficacy in teaching music, the findings of this study have significant implications for music teacher educators, universities, and policymakers in Hong Kong and across the world.

Bandura, A. 2006. Guide for constructing self-efficacy scales. In Pajares, F. and Urdan T. (eds.), Self-efficacy beliefs of adolescents (pp. 307-337). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Chan, W. 2012. Professional learning and pre-school music teacher education: developing a framework for early childhood music teacher education. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of New England, New South Wales.
Curriculum Development Council (CDC). 2006. Guide to the Pre-primary Curriculum. Hong Kong: CDC.

Vannatta-Hall, J. 2010. Music education in early childhood teacher education: the impact of a music methods course on pre-service teachers’ perceived confidence and competence to teach music. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016
Event24th EAS/International Society of Music Education (ISME) / European Regional Conference: Looking for the Unexpected - Lithuanian Academy of Music and Drama, Vilnius, Lithuania
Duration: 16 Mar 201619 Mar 2016


Conference24th EAS/International Society of Music Education (ISME) / European Regional Conference
Internet address


  • Self-efficacy
  • Early childhood music education
  • Hong Kong
  • Teacher education,
  • Play-based approach


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