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postgraduate thesis: Teacher identity reconstruction in response to China's curriculum reform : a case study of six English language teachers

TitleTeacher identity reconstruction in response to China's curriculum reform : a case study of six English language teachers
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Rong, X. [戎晓燕]. (2014). Teacher identity reconstruction in response to China's curriculum reform : a case study of six English language teachers. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5317054
AbstractEducational reforms have been widely discussed across the world in the 21st century, and recent research suggests that teachers are the mediating agents in implementing educational reforms, particularly curriculum reforms. The eighth curriculum reform in China, which requires a paradigm shift from the teacher-dominated, knowledge-based transmission mode of teaching to the student-centered, experience-based inquiry mode of teaching, has greatly challenged teachers. Notwithstanding the great importance of teachers’ responses to China’s new curriculum reform, there is a little qualitative research that examines teachers’ responses to the new curriculum reform. The present study sets out to examine teachers’ responses to the new curriculum within the particular social, cultural and institutional context, and to explore the factors that might influence teachers’ responses through a qualitative multiple case study. Three dyads of mentor-mentee senior secondary English teachers in three schools at different levels in Beijing, China were selected as the main research participants. Data were collected over a period of time in each school through interviews, observations and analysis of documents such as teaching logs and students’ homework. Data were analyzed following a grounded approach in an iterative process to provide insights into the process of teachers’ implementation of the new curriculum and to ascertain the mediating factors impacting teachers’ responses. Findings from case studies reveal that secondary English teachers in China responded to the new curriculum reform at both cognitive and behavioral levels. These responses altogether triggered changes in teachers’ professional world, which constituted teachers’ professional growth. Grounded in Wenger’s theory of identity formation, this study suggests that the changes in teachers’ professional world mediated teachers’ professional identity reconstruction through the participative and reificative dual process of identification and negotiation of meanings, in which teachers’ competences, trajectories, and participation in the new curriculum implementation were negotiated. During this process, secondary English teachers reappropriated the meaning of secondary EFL teaching in China as a student-centered, individually selective, pedagogically integrating communicative and traditional methods, Chinese context-adapted, but still exam-oriented teaching process in relation to the curriculum reform, and also reclaimed that secondary EFL teachers need to be equipped with updated knowledge pool, be aware of individual needs, make compromises to seek a balance between the prescribed curriculum and teaching reality, and allow an interactive teacher-student relationship in response to the curriculum reform. Findings suggest that the process of teacher identity reconstruction was mediated through three-level factors, socially and culturally: national policies, institutional powers, and teachers’ personal factors. This study contributes to an understanding of teachers’ cognitive and behavioral actions and the interplay between the two in response to a paradigm-shift curriculum reform from a sociocultural perspective. It provides a theoretical lens, namely teacher identity formation to interpret teachers’ responses to the curriculum reform. Situated in a Chinese context where Confucius largely impacted the culture of teaching and learning, this study provides a fresh perspective on Chinese culture of teaching and learning, and raises positive voices from frontline teachers, suggesting that teachers’ responses to the curriculum are not simply mass resistant, but rather complex and dynamic.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectTeachers - China - Attitudes
Curriculum change - China
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/206483

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorHarfitt, GJ-
dc.contributor.advisorTsui, ABM-
dc.contributor.authorRong, Xiaoyan-
dc.contributor.author戎晓燕-
dc.date.accessioned2014-10-31T23:16:00Z-
dc.date.available2014-10-31T23:16:00Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationRong, X. [戎晓燕]. (2014). Teacher identity reconstruction in response to China's curriculum reform : a case study of six English language teachers. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5317054-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/206483-
dc.description.abstractEducational reforms have been widely discussed across the world in the 21st century, and recent research suggests that teachers are the mediating agents in implementing educational reforms, particularly curriculum reforms. The eighth curriculum reform in China, which requires a paradigm shift from the teacher-dominated, knowledge-based transmission mode of teaching to the student-centered, experience-based inquiry mode of teaching, has greatly challenged teachers. Notwithstanding the great importance of teachers’ responses to China’s new curriculum reform, there is a little qualitative research that examines teachers’ responses to the new curriculum reform. The present study sets out to examine teachers’ responses to the new curriculum within the particular social, cultural and institutional context, and to explore the factors that might influence teachers’ responses through a qualitative multiple case study. Three dyads of mentor-mentee senior secondary English teachers in three schools at different levels in Beijing, China were selected as the main research participants. Data were collected over a period of time in each school through interviews, observations and analysis of documents such as teaching logs and students’ homework. Data were analyzed following a grounded approach in an iterative process to provide insights into the process of teachers’ implementation of the new curriculum and to ascertain the mediating factors impacting teachers’ responses. Findings from case studies reveal that secondary English teachers in China responded to the new curriculum reform at both cognitive and behavioral levels. These responses altogether triggered changes in teachers’ professional world, which constituted teachers’ professional growth. Grounded in Wenger’s theory of identity formation, this study suggests that the changes in teachers’ professional world mediated teachers’ professional identity reconstruction through the participative and reificative dual process of identification and negotiation of meanings, in which teachers’ competences, trajectories, and participation in the new curriculum implementation were negotiated. During this process, secondary English teachers reappropriated the meaning of secondary EFL teaching in China as a student-centered, individually selective, pedagogically integrating communicative and traditional methods, Chinese context-adapted, but still exam-oriented teaching process in relation to the curriculum reform, and also reclaimed that secondary EFL teachers need to be equipped with updated knowledge pool, be aware of individual needs, make compromises to seek a balance between the prescribed curriculum and teaching reality, and allow an interactive teacher-student relationship in response to the curriculum reform. Findings suggest that the process of teacher identity reconstruction was mediated through three-level factors, socially and culturally: national policies, institutional powers, and teachers’ personal factors. This study contributes to an understanding of teachers’ cognitive and behavioral actions and the interplay between the two in response to a paradigm-shift curriculum reform from a sociocultural perspective. It provides a theoretical lens, namely teacher identity formation to interpret teachers’ responses to the curriculum reform. Situated in a Chinese context where Confucius largely impacted the culture of teaching and learning, this study provides a fresh perspective on Chinese culture of teaching and learning, and raises positive voices from frontline teachers, suggesting that teachers’ responses to the curriculum are not simply mass resistant, but rather complex and dynamic.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshTeachers - China - Attitudes-
dc.subject.lcshCurriculum change - China-
dc.titleTeacher identity reconstruction in response to China's curriculum reform : a case study of six English language teachers-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5317054-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5317054-

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