The practice of weak framing from teachers’ perceptions in China

Tien Hui Chiang*, Allen Thurston, Jiangtao Zhao, Yanli Hao, Jing Ma, Yonggui Dong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on the code theory of Basil Bernstein, this study set out to examine how primary school teachers operationalize and experience their teaching practice with respect to the weak framing that may underpin teacher-pupil interaction, and how this practice is regulated by certain variables. Questionnaires were completed by 2,238 primary school teachers in China. The findings revealed that the teachers performed weak framing mainly through an invisible pedagogy in interactions with students, which was significantly affected by an interplay between student-based authority, students’ linguistic codes and use of textbooks. An elaborated code generates two crucial advantages: it reduces the impact of the constraints of textbooks and traditional pedagogy on student-based teacher authority, and facilitates the teachers in implementing weak framing. Therefore, providing scaffolding resources to underachieving students to assist them in acquiring an elaborated code could be the key to ameliorating the phenomenon of cultural reproduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1180-1199
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Basil Bernstein
  • code
  • primary school teacher
  • weak framing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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